Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 : A year in a glance

Well, Its another year had passed and a number of adventures had happened. Its now time to look back on some things that I was able to accomplish this year, before welcoming the 2014 with a bang!!

I was able to set foot on some of the major peak this year, Sicapoo, Tabayoc, Kibungan, Dulang and Kitanglad, and Mt Pulag.

In Sicapoo
Early in my hiking career, I made peace with myself that I will not able to complete all the mountains listed in Pinoy mountaineer. I do not have the means and the time to be able to do that. I belong to the working class people with just two days per week off. With the little time and means I have, I will just try to set foot on the mountains which I deemed worthy with little means I have.

Mt Tabayoc Forest
Having made peace with myself and accepted my state in life early on, save me from being envious of what other climbers have accomplished. And was able to save myself from feeling of want and unsatisfied desire and heartbreaks from not being able to climb all mountains in Pinoy Mountaineer's list.

Kibungan Circuit
Some of them can do a hike every week, some of them was able to accomplished having to summit all 9/9 level of difficulty. Some was able to hike outside the country. And they are might proud of their accomplishment as you can see it on their facebook page. Sometimes I wonder what kind of work they are doing that they are able to climb multiple days at least once a month, or able to do overnight climb every week. Of course , that would be a different story if your a rich kid and have someone you can ask money for or and wait for your monthly or weekly allowance. In my case, I need to work hard and just wait for my salary and save for the climb. You see, all my climbs and gears came from working my asses in a BPO company.

Mt Dulang Dulang Summit
This coming year, I am excited to be able to set foot in the island of Visaya for the first time and summit Mt Kanlaon and probably Madjaas this February. 
Another year had passed, Another year will come. One thing for sure, I will still hike and just be contend with whatever I will accomplish this coming year.
And will be forever thankful to Almighy God for giving me the strength to accomplish my hearts desire.

To all my hiking friends : real and imagined. Happy New Year. More adventures for all of us..

Somewhere in the mossy forest of Mt Lumot

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The complete idiot guide for Luzon 312

To be able to climb multiple peaks simultaneously is a great achievement for any hiker. Thus to be able to climb the 3 highest peak of luzon, Mt Pulag, Mt Tabayoc and Mt timbak brings great pride and sense of accomplishment to whoever successfuly climb these giants. 

However in the past few years, almost everybody are doing it. Climbing and Organizing Massive climb for what they have called Luzon 321. They start in Mt timbak to Mt tabayoc and ends up to the most prized of them all Mt pulag- the third highest peak in the Phillipines  and the home of the famous sea of clouds.

The Group at Mt Timbak Jump off

The organizers rented a jeep to pick them at Baguio then it will bring them to mongoto school and then they will start their hike up to MT Timbak, after that they will board again the monster jeep this time they will proceed to Lake tabeo in Ballay. The next morning they will hike up to Mt Tabayoc summit, go down , board the jeep again and proceed to tawangan where they going to camp for the night and there they will start their Mt Pulag entry. After camping in saddle campsite, they will exit in Ambangeg and once again they will board their rented jeep to take them to Baguio city.

You see, they save a lot of walking hours by renting the jeep and the challenge and difficulty of the climb is lessen, its become too convenient thats why everybody are doing it.
Now comes the twist, and we called it the Luzon 312.

Mt Timbak Summit

The plan was to finish the 3 mighty peaks without renting a jeep. and It will be a pure walkathon up to the end.

The plan was from Baguio board the bus to the Jump off of Mt Timbak, proceed by foot to kabayan central, walk all the way to the jump off of Mt Pulag. Ascend the peak via akiki trail then descend to tawangan
then walk uup to 6 hours to lake tabeo and camp there . The next morning that will be the start of ascend to Mt Tabayoc then before 12pm proceed to kabayan central by habal habal and ride the van to baguio.

This idea is much more difficult than the traditional Luzon 321.

I started to coordinate my plan to Madam mering, Ranger Heron of Akiki and Ranger Arlan of tabayoc and teddy - guide of Mt pulag to Tawangan trail.

From Mt Timbak to Kabayan Bario Trail

And I assemble a 7 man team for this journey. They were my friends and hiking buddy and they are strong climber as I must say.

However due to family emergency - and to my deepest regret , I was not able to participate to the climb that I designed.

Akiki Trail

Let me just share to you how it can be done.

Saddle Campsite

From Mt Timbak you can trek down to Kabayan Central - 4-6 hours depends on your pace
Kabayan Central to Akiki Jump Off  : 1-2 hours
Akiki to Saddle                : 7-8 hours
Saddle to Tawangan exit : 5-6 hours
Tawangan exit to Balay   : up to 6 hours - you can take habal habal to save time
Lake Tabeo to Mt Tabayoc Summit : 2-3 hours depends on your pace

Tawangan Trail Forest

Here are the projected expenses :

Manila to Baguio : P 450
Baguio to Km 55 : P 120
Reg fee mt Pulag: P 200
Guide fee akiki to Tawangan      : P3800 up to 7 hikers
Habal Habal Tawangan to Balay : P300
Guide fee : Tabayoc                 :P1000 up to 7 hikers
Habal Habal from Balay to kabayan central : P300
Kabayan central to Baguio                         : P220
Baguio to Manila                                      :  P450
If you want to save the P300 habal habal fare from Balay to Kabayan central, you need to spend another night in Balay in order for you to take the Bus to Baguio. Bus have only 2 trip a day. 7am and 10am.
Contacts :
Madam Mering               :  0919951316
Ranger Heron (akiki)       : 09087578319
Ranger Arlan  (tabayoc)  :09469528483
Teddy            (Guide)     : 09079873719

All picture courtesy of Randel Balio the last man standing to complete and finish
the Luzon 312 walkathon.

My Buddy at the view deck of Mt Tabayoc Summit

Due to insistent public demand, I will now include the draft itenary I created before the climb based on logistics provided by locals in Atok Benguet, Ranger Heron and Ranger Arlan, and the Guide in Akiki-tawangan trail.

Day 0  10PM etd cubao
Day 1
4am   : EtA Baguio, Walk to Dangwa
415am : ETA Dangwa,buy packed lunch and pack dinner. Take breakfast
6  am : ETD DAngwa to km 55
8  am : ETA timbak jump off. HIke
10 am : ETA Timbak Summit,photo ops,pic
11 am : Start Descent
01pm  : Lunch  on Trail
04pm  : Kabayan Central
05pm  : Akiki Jump off-register get guide
sleep in the ranger station or in the school-or in eddet
Day 2
5am wake up call, prepare coffee and packed lunch
7am start trek
11am : ETA Marlboro lunch
12   : start trek
3pm  : saddle campsite, pitch tent
4pm  : optional summit sunset
5pm  : prepare dinner
6pm  : dinner
7pm  : social

Day 3
3am  : wake up call,prepare coffee and noodles,packed lunch
5am   : Summit Assault
6:30am : Descent
7:00 : break camp
7:30 : descend via tawangan trail-pinoymountaineer i.t
0815 Enter mossy forest line
1200 Lunch on trail
1300 Resume trek
1600 Arrival at Brgy. Tawangan. take guide to Ballay
8pm arrival in balay stay in lodge
* Or you can rent habal habal from tawangan to balay for P300/head
Day 4
3am : wake up call ,prepare coffee and packed breakfast
4am : start trek to balay basecamp-
5am : basecamp proceed to mt tabayoc
7am : summit breakfast
8am : start descend
9:30: basecamp
10:30am : lodge, fix things,
11:00   : Etd Ballay
12:00   : ETA kabayan central , lunch
01:00   : Take van to baguio

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Outdoor Brand Haters..

Theres one issue nowadays in the field of hiking or any outdoor sport for that matter-that is the brandtology. Or the love and hate of an imported outdoor brand.

Theres a lot of people outthere who are either brand hater or brand ambassador. If you are brand hater, you always have this comment " Ganda nga ng mga gamit , weak naman, ang bagal naman, or kung ano ano pang negative comments " on the other hand there's also people who loves to brag the brand they carry " look I got this new tnf jacket, Mh pants and shirts, New osprey packs, etc, you know what I mean. 
If your just scaling some minor mountains in calabarzon area, or some major ones in benguet. You will encounter some people who just love to stare on what brands youre using and will also try hard to notice if your strong or weak or if your a fast walker or just fast talker. I don't understand if they just envy you because you can afford to buy branded gears or just pure sick brand haters.
Im guilty of this one as well, Im not brand hater. Im just a brand lover. I just want my gear to be durable, to stand the test of weather and the elements. The product that will still performed during the coldest night with fiercing winds into the scorching sun and brutal trail.
I just want my shoes to carry me troughout the climb, one that doesn't give me anxiety if im going to slip or not if i put my whole weight on the slippery rocks , roots and leaves. One that can still be in one piece even though I put in in deep ankle mud.
I want my jacket to keep me warm and dry during the intense rain in the deepest jungle.
I want my tent to shelter me from the storm and cold in the highest peak of the mountains and give me a good night sleep.
I want my pack to carry everything I need troughout the days of hiking , and have the strength to carry all my gear and supplies.
If my gears do what it was design to do of course Im happy. If they are not, I will look for something else to do the job.
In my climb in Mindanao, those brands dont matter. What really matter is that if your gear works in the toughest terrain and weather. The guides, local mountaineer, porters was not concious and doesnt give a damn if they are wearing the latest vaporwick shirt from north face, doesn't give a shit if they carrying an osprey or mountain hardwear packs and doesn't really care if you sleep in your cozy north face or msr tent. What they really care about is that if you know how to respect people and their beliefs. If you know how to talk and to take care of you companion.
These mountain people might not the money to buy the latest and brightest gear available. However, they have been in the mountain long enough to know what works and whats not and they have survived and still enjoy the climb and the journey even though they are not a walking fashion outdoor shop.
However, If you climb Mt pulag, You will see its like a outdoor fashion show. You can see a lot of different brands locals and imported. You'll see the difference from a real outdoor person to the weekend warrior and mountaineer wanna be. You'll see a lot of people checking cautiosly each and every one gear and You will see a lot of the north face, mountain hardwear, osprey, marmot, mammut, arteryx, black diamond, outdoor research, conquer, habagat, lagalag, tinguian , silangan, trek, and many many more..
As long as your gear works and your comfortable using it , its fine. If you can afford imported brand and will not break your budget you can go for the brand you love. After all, the mountains doesnt give a damn what brand you carry. What really matters is that your gear is up to the challenge on what ever the mother natures will throw at you.
Happy Hiking..

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kitanglad to Dulang Dulang Traverse

Theres already a lot of post about these two popular mountains, and I do not intend to add up to a tons of information about itenaries , trail situations, water sources, et al. Mt Dulang Dulang is the 2nd highest mountain in the Phillipines and Mt Kitanglad takes the 4th place.

At the summit of Mt Kitanglad
The Original plan was to do a triple traverse and we named it as the Bukidnon almigh-3. The kitanglad-dulang-maagnaw traverse. We thought we could summit all three mountains. I have communicated for more than a year to the point of contact in kitanglad and he assure us that Mt Maagnaw is open and there is no problem to our climb. However, just a few days before we land in Laguindingan Airport, Our point of contact had difficulty to confirm if we can ascend Mt Maagnaw, He cant deny nor confirm if it is open or not. Of course that was a sign that we need to have a back up plan, If our ascend to Maagnaw will not be materialized. It turns out , we got the confirmation on the basecamp of the kitanglad that theres a friendly people above Maagnaw and theres an ongoing operation for the past few weeks. We did not push trough our Maagnaw dream due to security reasons, instead we just contend ourselves to set foot on the second and fourth highest peak of the Phillipines. And we are blessed with a very nice weather troughout the climb, making us enjoy every moment, every trail difficulties, and the clear view of each summit.

Thus , Im 8/10 now. With just Maagnaw and Ragang are not yet summitted for me to complete the top 10 highest mountain in the Phillipines.

Inside the forest of Mt DulangDulang
As all of the great adventures it start and ends..and only the memory of something wonderful stays with you troughout the years of your life.

This climb is for the books.

At the summit of Mt Dulang Dulang

Climb Expenses :

Laguindingan Airport to Agora Terminal : P450 via taxi
Agoro Terminal to Kitanglad Crossing    : P105 bus
Kitanglad Crossing to Basecamp          : P45 via habal habal
Registration                                        : P500/head
Basecamp to Waiting shead               : P20
Guide / Porter                                    : P500/day
Highway to Ampalaya                        : P 35 bus
Ampalaya to Agora Terminal              : P215 bus