28 January 2008

Where's the view at Manabu?

For our first ever trek for 2008, we chose Mt. Manabu located in Lipa, Batangas because, as our research revealed, Mt. Manabu is an easy climb and the view is astounding. Likewise, the camping is said to be quite spacious and - owing to lush vegetation and flowering shrubs and berries - the site looks like a park! Excited, we prepared for the trek.

Imagine our surprise when we woke up to an overcast, rainy Saturday morning! Undaunted, we headed off to Wendy's Buendia, the customary meeting place. We were to get a bus but given our number it would be more convenient to rent a van so at 3,500 pesos we were comfortably off to Batangas.

We arrived a couple of hours before lunchtime and it was still drizzling quite strongly. We imagined that we'd be the only ones doing the trek. Amazingly, we saw a group of campers cooking lunch at the stopover. As we started the trek in the drizzle, more trekkers - some with dogs - crossed our path.

taking a breather, the wet seat notwithstanding

Due to the weather, the regular 1.5-2 hour trek became around 3 hours. It was foggy, and we knew it will be dark soon and so we had dinner at 6. The cool weather made the cozy tents inviting and so we took our after-dinner rest, planning to wake up about an hour later. But the strong winds were soon upon us, whipping our tents hither and thither and making for a very cold night indeed. The neighborhood campers were undaunted as they progressed with their merrymaking.

But almost as sudden as the winds arrived, it abruptly stopped at 10. We went out and had some time for small talk before calling it a night.

The following day dawned foggy as well, so we prepared breakfast and soon were clearing the camp. And then the fog gradually lifted! As we descended the damp trail, the sun peeked every so often and the white mist revealed the scenery which could have been ours to marvel at the day before. Our descent reminded me of Narnia, when the White Witch's magic hold on the kingdom was weakening and the 100-year winter was coming to an end.

It was, overall, a nice trek. Relatively easy, in fact, inspite of the weather. We plan to come back and hopefully, the weather will be more cooperative.

There are a couple of houses you need to pass through. They have long benches for taking breaks.

a foggy afternoon
berries! we didn't dare eat these though. It'll be a very awkward place to have an upset stomach.

Photos from the descent...

at last! we can see the view!

this hut offered fresh coconuts.
one of the streams we crossed, allowing us to remove mud off our sandals and feet.
Some ropes along the path help traverse the more challenging areas.
Stopping over at a house, where an old man welcomed us and offered coffee and water.

There is a parking area where you can leave your car for a 100-peso overnight charge. There are also simple but clean toilets and bathing areas at less than 20 pesos per person.

This little fellow (a preying mantis) hitched on my backpack. I took a photo and the owner of the parking lot carefully picked it up and dropped it off the nearby vegetation.
Kwek-kwek and fishballs, anyone?
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