30 August 2007

Survivor: Daguldol


What to do with a 3-day weekend? Go on a trek, of course!

We planned for the trek for a good 3 weeks, but it was mostly asking who's coming and trek suggestions. Schedules have been quite difficult for some; however those who could not make it were compensated for by some officemates who joined a couple of days prior to the activity.

Mt. Daguldol is located in San Juan, Batangas. The ride going there from Manila is a 4-hour trip. The trek officially starts at the registration area, the first leg being a one-hour beach trek. Then the ascent to the mountains will take around 4 hours, making a total of 5 hours. Whew! From our group, 9 went via private vehicles at 6:30AM (thanks Sir Sam!) while Janice and Dave were to take an 11AM bus. We skipped the beach trek by "rally-driving" by the narrow mountainside. We parked right by the site where the assault began.

After lunch, we called Janice informing her that a guide will be waiting for them later in the day, and then we started our trek.

Minor climb, Level II
This climb is significant to me because this is my first ever Level II climb! However, some things do not really go as planned. For example, I was supposed to have a companion who was to help share my load but he backed-out the night before, so I had to carry all my stuff, which was heavy. The path wove its way by the mountainside, one side opening out to a heavily-vegetated cliff. The sights are truly awesome. It's really great to see that such places still exist in our country.

There are stopovers along the way that offer seating areas; some even have refreshments such as halo-halo or buko juice. Here are some photos of the place where we had the most delicious coconut juice and coconut meat.

We started trek at 1:30PM. We reached the campsite at 6:30PM. That's a five-hour trek! We were still feeling lucky at that time because we thought it will take us much longer than that, and the path can be quite slippery and muddy as was anticipated by Sir Sam and Mommy Helen (they've been here before). They were a bit surprised when the guide said that the old camping site is no longer open to the public, and that we were being led to the new campsite. The lands there are privately-owned, and when the original owner died, he no longer wanted to entertain camping. And so that's that. Our first concern was water source, but we were assured that such was also present in the new site.

It was, for me, a difficult climb because I was really carrying quite a heavy load. On the final hour, we were met by a woman and her kid with their horse. They offered to carry bags for a fee. I hesitated at first (because they were saying your bag will smell like a horse after that ride!) but after a couple more minutes I relented. There was no way I can carry it anymore.

When we arrived, another group was already there and so we set-up near the hut owned by landlord, who was there as well. This proved to be an advantageous site for us because I showered and rained sporadically, prompting us to take shelter in the hut and we were able to cook rather comfortably too!

One of the guys noticed me unpacking my backpack and he commented that when he unloaded the pack off the horse, he was surprised at how heavy it was! I was vindicated. I did not imagine all that weight. Whew!

At this juncture we were wondering if Janice and Dave decided to continue the trek - what with the rains and the incoming darkness - or checked in a beach resort instead. We were surprised when they suddenly showed up. They took the trek in three hours, which included the walk by the beach! Come on!

Dinner was extra-special with tinola...

... and grilled liempo, tuna and hotdogs

This was also a special day because we were celebrating Sir Sam, Mommy Helen, and Harry's birthdays! They didn't know actually that we had cake with candles ready to start the socials. The funny thing was, we used "magic" candles which rekindled every time the fire was put out. After Sir Sam and Harry blew out the flames (with party poppers!), they turned back on, prompting them to alternately blow it out. Of course, it just won't die off so we removed the candles after a while and I'm not sure how they permanently doused the flames. That was funny though.
Our socials was cut short to an hour when it suddenly rained again. We rushed into our tents for the night.

The summit was only 15 minutes away from the campsite and we have decided to wake up early to see the sunrise. But this was what greeted us at 5:30AM:

It was dark, cold, and foggy outside. We slept for a few minutes more before cooking breakfast.

It rained on and off once again, which held up our descent til 10. The path was quite slippery by now, but we managed to descend in 3 hours (including a stop at the coconut place! yum yum).

We had lunch at the beach and took a dip as well. We left at 6PM, with the cars hauling away our stuff and the rest doing the beach trek, rendezvous at the registration site.

We were tired (and expected to discover muscles in areas we never thought we had) but we brought with us happy and very memorable trek memories indeed.

Lessons I learned from this trip:
1. Travel light
2. Use sandals that do not loop on toes, or with plastic parts that rub on your skin. These can really hurt your wet skin.
3. Bring extra sandals (Thanks to Sir Sam for lending me his spare sandals and walking stick when my sandals' velcro failed to stick with me)

How to go there (courtesy of jhersay33's multiply site)
:
San Juan Batangas is 115 kilometers from Manila, a two to three hours drive depending on traffic situation and routes taken. When commuting, there are two options to get there. The first, common and easiest way to get there is via Lipa Batangas. From Manila you can take either Lipa, Cuenca, Batangas City or Lucena bound buses. From Lipa bus terminal (Big Ben, Jolibee, Mc Donalds) take a tricycle ride to the Lipa City Public Market. From the main road, CM Recto corner Mercury Drug Lipa is where jeepneys plying San Juan Batangas passes by. Alight at the San Juan Batangas Public Market (Petron Gas Station). From that road, the second corner is where jeepneys plying Barangay Hugom waits for passengers. The second option is via Batangas City. From Batangas City there are jeepneys and buses plying San Juan Batangas.


[Thanks to Janice and Dave for some of the photos above]
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