I could describe this as one of the most extreme climbs I had. The intensity of the trail coupled with the demented environment and extremely bushy and muddy trail going to the summit is more challenging than what I thought. Mt. Makiling is known for its steep and moist terrain, but I also found out that it's pretty heavy with flora and strangely looking trees so vast that you can hardly see the trail.
Starting the day with a bang. Nothing beats a morning with the challenge of a rigorous exercise that awaits you such as hiking. The crew does the warmup walk on a gradually elevating road winding up to the mountain. The guy infront, Elmer, is a seriously awesome trail-master and he's very fast but amazingly, he never gets tired.
We did a reverse dayhike so we started at the other side of the mountain in Santo Tomas, Batangas ending up in the creepy forest of Makiling in Los Banos near UP. It lasted for about more than fourteen grueling hours of nonstop trailing action and minute moments of rest. Despite the major challenge of the climb and the seemingly endless hours of walking, the euphoria was also unexplainable like your body is drunk with adrenaline pumping nonstop through your veins all the way to the top. Two of the greatest lessons I learned in climbing are Patience and Willpower. When you choose to involve yourself in this kind of activity, you can never complain nor lose the strength to go on, because there is always no turning back.
The grinning sun trailruns with us welcoming our crew with a blissful daylight.
On the way to the first summit, you can already see Mt. Maculot brooding on the other side of the stretch of the vast plane.
This was taken very early in the morning where the skies are just starting to spill daylight into the clouds. Very playful sight!
One of the many things that makes climbing "pointfull" (contrary to others saying it's pointless, risky and a self-inflicting fatigue activity), is maybe the joy and the feeling of blessedness of seeing things you haven't seen before and seeing them in a literally different perspective. I remember one of my favorite phrases "When your life is at risk, you see and appreciate all the beauty of it."
Of course, you have to get used to the slap and tickle kind of wind in the mountains leaving you nothing but equally slaphappy with the cool cleansing breeze touching your skin. What they also say about climbing mountains is that it cleanses not only your spirit (well, in theory), but also your lungs and also makes your skin radiant.
Hello, and look at us and the difficulty of the trail.
There were some vertical challenges where you have to pull yourself up with a rope and mind you, it was not easy especially if you have a couple of liters hanging on your back. Oh, but I remembered to apply the lessons I took in my Sports Climbing class before. Same principles apply!
I've seen many of these while resting and wondered how these species can just be everywhere. Weeds are survivors, as all mountain climbers are.
It got all foggy and drizzly on the way to the first peak right just before the sun hits the middle of the day. Was kinda sad because we weren't able to see the view from Haring bato.
Clearly, a mountain has many secrets and you can only see for yourself. The temperature up is very cold and very moist, it makes the species here alive. We trekked through mud but I didn't feel 'that' dirty at all. Being with nature is purely awesome.
The all-time enemy. We call it "Limatik" or some call them "linta" but a smaller version of the usual one. I got many of them in my hair.
Trail food--aah, the only legit time where I can snack on sugar and other source of energy rushing food. I had a pack of skittles and gummies in my pocket, helped me not die on the long trek.
And you all know where we came from. For the record, I was the muddiest among the crew because I literally drowned in mud after falling and slipping more than ten times.
*Watermarked photos from Ms. Carol Villafuerte, a fellow climber.*