Showing posts with label Mt. Makiling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mt. Makiling. Show all posts

Beautiful things don’t ask for attention

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January 24, 2016 – There must be a good reason why these confidently beautiful kapa-kapa (Medinilla magnifica) blooms are hidden all the way up Mt. Makiling. And while some cultivated ones are already in the backyards being one of those prized ornamentals, nothing beats the splendor of it thriving in the wild. I wish people could be like that, passionate and confident and peaceful and free, in the midst of or away from whatever chaos or adversities there is. Or even from solitude.
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Mt. Makiling: Flora and Fauna

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Mt. Makiling’s been known as a home of diverse biological species, some of which are endemic to the Philippines. Reports have it that the Philippine eagle, Rafflesia, and even cobras peacefully thrive at the vastness of the rainforest. And while I have not seen any of these yet along the trails during any of my Mt. Makiling hikes, I’m still lucky to have a glimpse of the rich and appalling flora and fauna the forest offers. Though the subsequent set of photos will not do any justice, here’s the photo dump anyway--



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Mt. Makiling Diaries

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Extremely enchanted by the multitude versions of Maria Makiling tales during my early years in grade school, it was but a huge personal dream to climb Mt. Makiling ever since UPLB happened to me, way back 2007 – that time when everything I see were vividly technicolored contrast to how the current hues turned out. 

Then there were my late grandfather’s repetitive stories and myths about the mountain every single summer or semestral breaks I spent at home while having grandfatherly chats with him (that which I sorely miss right now), but I never managed to climb the peak until after I graduated from the university. But as they say, there’s always a right time for everything, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 it is – I eventually hiked Peak 2 up, not once nor twice but four times! And still am expecting more climbs soon enough.

May 15, 2011. My first official Mt. Makiling encounter was actually at 6 months BTE (before thesis existence), or I prefer to call it – end of my happy outdoor days. We were a group of 6 brods and sisses from UPLB Chemokinesis, who hiked up to the famed Flat Rocks and Mudspring, inexperienced in climbing mountains as we used to be. It was relatively an easy trek with us finishing both courses in half a day. This was also my first encounter with Mt. Makiling’s notorious limatiks drawing the first runs of blood out of my skin. After that, there were other spontaneous follow-up hikes to Flat Rocks and Mudspring since then including that terrible Flat Rocks encounter with the rain pouring down so hard that it was almost impossible trek back to the jump-off. Happiness, just like most other things sometimes comes with a price. And it’s the price of risk we should not always be willing to pay. #SafetyFirst

October 28, 2013. The tenth mountain off my #13PeaksFor2013 Project was fortunately realized through my first Mt. Makiling-Peak 2 climb. I have been climbing mountains around Laguna and Batangas for the past months that year so I knew I had the best pair of knees to fruitfully surmount the third highest peak in Luzon, at last. However, it wasn’t the perfect weather there is to begin with as the trails were dark with occasional thunderstorms and rain showers evidently casting off the skies. While we clearly understood that Makiling was just normal like that being a true tropical rainforest in its very essence, the clouds were just too heavy enough to condense every time. And as expected we were rain-soaked for most parts of the trail. The climb was not entirely easy, but it’s not difficult either. The view on top wasn’t something that would melt your face away from the skull, though the entire climb was enough to set a heart on fire. Another classic example of ‘the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

November 16, 2013. My then next Mt. Makiling encounter is probably the most memorable hike I did thus far, which happened shortly after my first Peak 2 experience, few weeks after the onslaught of the Super-typhoon Yolanda which set Tacloban into a looming pit. Together with that bunch of 22 other tired but determined climbers, we climbed to extend our helping hands through our own simple and unselfish ways. Read: this. A part of me was glad upon reaching the peak for the second time – a place where all of us were exhausted, but definitely not unhappy.

January 31, 2014. Sometime during this date, I was uncertainly crawling at probably some of the lowest points in my life. Course we have those moments of when-you-have-nothing-left-to-burn-you-have-to-set-yourself-on-fire kind of shit. And luckily, Mt. Makiling served to be a temporary escape from that crappy trap for me at that time. 

October 26, 2014. While it’s true that I have different motivations (be it to dust off anxiety attacks or simply celebrate small joys) on climbing Mt. Makiling (or every other mountain, in general) over and over again, it still boils down to the mountain’s densely canopied charm that draws my feet to it every single time. It might be a mostly long boring stride for some, and the idea of forever-ly walking those same long muddy and rocky trails under those same shady boring trees, for the second or third time is kind of redundant. But as they say, one can’t climb the same mountain twice. And unless you try to climb a mountain more than once, you’ll never understand that sweet and compelling truth for such. 

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The #13PeaksFor2013 Project

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All those spontaneous climbs and risky moves during hikes that I did with friends and alone were an evidence of how 2013 turned out to be big time in the realization of my huge fascination for discovery and thrill of adventures, with all those grains of sweats, aching knees, and gasping breaths, all the more. And as I look back at those days on beguilingly elevated lands across the clouds, I’m doing this countdown of my best mountain-y encounters one by one.

13.Mt. Maculot (January 13). They say nothing beats the first time. But then, the seemingly unending treat with every trail I walked from then on makes this at the bottom. Surely the intricate rock formations at the Rockies and the glorious view of a piece of Taal Lake on the sidelines were a win, but then, way to go. There were more of these on the latter climbs.

12. Tayak Hill (May 8). Long walk and a minor climb if you wish. And the deafening silence up there was more than perfect for those who seek peace or solitude in the midst of an open air way above the nearby Laguna towns. The adventure’s still there, minus a huge chunk of that element called danger which probably made the climb less exciting. Nevertheless, the 360 degree view on top with the gloomy view of the devil's mountain in the background is still no less than exceptional.

11. Mt. Manabu (February 16). After that record-breaking 54 minutes to reach the summit with minimal breaks along the trails, this turned out to be one of the most tiring ones I did thus far... which greatly reminds me of how healthy my knees once were and how much weight I have gained from then on. Mountain climbing is a test of mental strength. The first thing that needs to be done is believing that you could be up there. And it’s another thing to be there with that time pressure challenge and yet still with your eyes not missing the grandiose feast. 

10. Jubilee Hill (February 2). Fifteen minutes was all we needed to complete the course. But the whole thing was still memorable in many sorts. In case you’re wondering where it’s located, it’s that hill with bright cross when you happen to see yourself in a night at UPLB.

9. Mt. Romelo (April 11). ..and Buruwisan Falls of course! There is this great deal of pride about trekking at least a portion of the infamous Sierra Madre range and visiting the painfully beautiful but deadly-once-you-come-closer Buruwisan Falls. Though the place has been heavily visited nowadays, it's still a great feeling in knowing that as natural wanderers, we place that flag of pride of being into some place most people do not have a chance of seeing at all.

8. Mt. Kalisungan (January 26). This hike would never be complete without Mang Bino, my all-time favorite guide as of this date. His meekness with each of his tales related to the mountain – from Agot Isidro to Yamashita treasures were one for the books. The last time I heard, his house at the foot of the mountain was burned. Hope he’s fine.

7. Mt. Mabilog (February 23). Getting lost is more fun in Mt. Mabilog, and there were just too many lessons I learned out of this hike – in between those trials in the trails and the joys in very step. Needless to say, getting lost, sometimes mostly define my experience of the outdoors. And there's nothing more surprising than that feeling of refreshment made possible by Lake Pandin, after all those uncharacteristic events that happened that day.

6. Mt. Batulao (November 2). There are basically 7 things I like the most about this mountain. I’ve said it before and I won’t say it again.

5. Mt. Malipunyo (August 21). Honestly, I think I technically failed the #13PeaksFor2013 project because of this failed climb. If my knowledge serves me right, we were only able to reach the first of the mountain’s 3 peaks due to a terrible encounter: stormy howling winds, heavy-pouring rains, thunderbolt and lightning (very very frightening me!) – name it. Indeed, it’s not always a sunny day as we climb, and no matter how much we think and prepared we are, there will come a time when we are faced with so much of what we can take that the best thing to do is to just walk away, for the mean time. After all, getting to the peak is optional, but going home is mandatory. Plus, the mountain will not go anywhere, and there will always be a next time.

And talking about next time..

4. Pico De Loro (January 18). Well this could easily climb the list if we were able to successfully conquer the Monolith. But as they say, there’s always that right time for everything. And trust me, there really is.

3. Mt. Balungao (December 30). The last one I had that year. Dramatically on my very own province. With my beloved high school friends.


2. Mt.Zion (December 26). Just because I climbed it alone. I knew the risk but I had to take it. Because ultimately, the greatest risk is not taking the risk at all.

1. Mt.Makiling (November 16). I was able to climb this mountain twice that year but the second time’s definitely the sweeter. It was a climb with a cause – a climb I’d be glad to do all over again for a cause I wish would never ever happen again.


**The #13PeaksFor2013 Project is a concept I promised to fulfill by conquering 13 mountains in one year, given a limited resources as an inexperienced hiker. 
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