Tayak Hill

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Certain places are named based on their existing characteristics. So when the team declared a plan to climb the Tayak Hill, I envisioned some messy climb since I was of a Pangasinense origin where the term tayak means muddled/scattered or something related to something in high disorder. But then, I was wrong. Tayak actually refers to the green grass abundantly growing on the trail up to the hill. It was March 9, 2013. And before moving further for the real action, we took this group picture off a bridge along the way to draw a permanent remembrance for this hike.

The hike started out as usual. After we rode off a jeepney from Los Banos southward ‘til we reached Brgy. Tala Rizal, we started walking the trail. Unexpectedly, we found our feet landing on a cemented way upward contrary to the usual muddy, slippery, and brown-slash-grassy trail most mountain trails offer. As we go on with the trail, we didn’t have any idea that the actual climb had already began as we walk that long, clean, boring road, which quite seemed to go on forever. The path was indeed long, though it was still tolerable to some extent. There were occasional steeps but nevertheless, the hike was a nearly zero slope. The challenge arose as the sun went blazing hot as it was nearing noontime already towards the end of our hike. The absence of tall trees to shade our path denied us the luxury of having a shady trail. As a result, we ended up sun-soaked throughout with toasted skin at the end of day. Truly, we can’t have a cake and eat it, all the time.

A few more walks lead us to the main jump-off point (Tayak Nature and Adventure Camp) towards the hill where we spent the lunch time. We opt to just buy some drinks from an unsumptuous eatery at the site since we have our packed lunch ready with us. For the first time, we had lunch on comfortable chairs and tables for a dayhike. We also treated ourselves the much coveted rest before pursuing further with the climb. We also had the chance to meet a few other hikers who we're on their way for a camp-out to Mt. Cristobal.

As we resumed climbing right after the quick break, sudden rain shower blessed our way uphill, which eventually ceased after a couple of minutes. It wasn’t hard to notice that we’re really nearing the peak as the famous white cross landmark’s already greeting us from where we’re standing at that time. The wind started to blow harder masking the hotness from the rays of the sun. It took us just around 20 minutes to finally get to the peak. Just like any of the mountains we climbed in the past, the stunning scenery right there on top compensated all the tiredness we had after the long walk. For another time, I caught myself sighing in awe and relief. And much to my surprise, the view up there was exceptional too, overlooking some of magnificence in the neighbourhood as Laguna’s seven lakes, Mt. Makiling, Mt. Kalisungan, Mt Malipunyo range, etc. Right behind us was Mt. San Cristobal mysteriously blanketed in blue. Of course, photo-ops is inevitable at the peak.

Right then, we did a little breaking-of-a-rule. We’re not supposed (I think) to ride that mountain bike mounted on a cemented platform; this display signifies the hill as the Biker’s Haven. But we did it anyway. Below is the staggering evidence of this utterly wrong deed we did up there. I confess, this really seemed legit.

Tayak Hill wasn’t much of a climb. But it surely disproved me from my first impression about its name. The place was on a state of low entropy contrary to what I initially pictured in my head. In fact, the climb has helped me fix some of those work and life debris scattered in my head. Much to the green tayak grasses thriving on it is also a much further colorful history behind it; that which made this whole outdoor thing worth more than a weekend lying in bed.

The sky was overcast and a threat of afternoon showers was very evident already so we decided to descend. Good thing it didn’t rain as we go down. Unlike the other climbs where we went home with shoes and pants caked in dried mud, this time, we did arrive home clean and dry.



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