Hibernating from mountain climbing was the most regretful decision I made in my traveling career. I got killed by my fear of going out of the sun because the rainy season is coming. After deliberating so much time, questioning if I will continue to embark the journey to the woods and summit. I decided to go back to the trails again. January 2015, after not hiking for more than 8 months. I put up a camp and hike itinerary for a bunch of newbies. then, we set foot in Mount Daguldol.
We went aboard on a bus going to Lipa City, Batangas. The day before the set, I was able to fixed all the camping equipments we needed from the people who supported the hike. It was a beautiful day, the sun rise in full bloom. We are ready to conquer the day, full of smiles.
Reaching Lipa City, we rent a jeepney that will take us to Barangay Hugom. We registered and have our teenage guide (mandatory before climbing Daguldul) arranged. Registration cost Php 35.00 / $0.77 and the guide fee is Php400.00 / $9.00. For a group of 11, 1 guide was enough for all of us.
Due to the recent change, resorts managements do no longer permit hikers to use the beach front trail as it is bother their guests so we need to trek the hard way. The ground trail is now polish by pavement. The heat of the afternoon sun is killing all of us. Drenched in sweat after a 10 minute-walk, we reach the real mountain jump off in no time.
The trail is no longer as diverse as expected but is still challenging path to walk on. The mountain land is being change over to hotel and resort infrastructures which added ill to the view. It was not a wise transformation as it kills the environment.
The trail is endless, woods, grass, boulder rocks and muddy trails is all over Daguldol. We are all tired and weary because we all came from work. No sleep, restless and hungry. We reached Tatay’s place (I forgot his name).
Fresh buko juice and snack time for the rest of us. The afternoon sun is setting down and we are still half way to the camp site. Some of the trail members were too tired so they pay local kids to port their bags to the campsite.
An hour before reaching the camp site the wind change and the sky formed its dark clouds. We are duly delay from our itinerary, it was dark and the rain starts to fall from our head. The trail went muddy and wet.
We are in the assault part of the trail, its raining cats and dog, the pro hiker are in the tail part of the trail and the newbies are in the camp site with guide. When we reach the camp site, everyone is drenched and cold. We immediately set our tents and camp under the furious thunder storm. The rain did not stop the entire night time.
Most of us cleaned up and tried to stay dry the entire duration of the rain. After sheltering on our little flysheet supposed to be ground sheet, we manage the night and moved to dinner. Some did not eat because it was too cold. I was freezing. I cannot feel my feet and hands due to long exposure to the rain. I can feel my back and neck tightening.
My clothes are wet and even though I changed several times I can still feel the rain water seeping through my clothes. Investing on high-end hiking gear will actually save your life in this type of worst weather scenario. Lights out, it went dark and again COLD.
I woke up feeling numb from the pain of the past night. The thunder-storm had passed, another day to finish what we’ve left. We reached the summit in 10 minutes from the camp site. It was vast, cold and there is no clearing to sight the view we all googled. Anyway, it was worth all those hard driven experience. After taking all those photo ops.
We decide to go trek down, back to the jump off. Since all our things are wet, we were unable to cooked our breakfast and decide to go down instead. The trail is all wet and muddy. I can feel the mud water in my feet. My shoes were harassed by the path we are walking through. My bag is heavier than yesterday because water is through the tent and things I brought up.
Double the difficulty and heavy equipment on my shoulder. 2 hours of sleep, I want to closed my eyes and passed. I am doubting myself, I am not strong. I am just brave. But, nevertheless I need to keep on pushing until our final destination.
We reach Tatay’s place, food is served and we all dive in to the glorious fried egg with margarine. We are all tired of the happenings last night. Weary and dread we went down still manage to conquer the severe pain on my back. Once again, I survive another hike.
I drink all the carbonated drinks by body could swallow and puff all those cigarettes my lungs can take. We rent a small cottage, beach front and cooked our lunch before going home. Clean up all the mess, dried all the wet clothes and equipment. We play Frisbee, sing on a videoke and take a deep into the ice-cold sea water. I was relax and happy that all of us was able to make it through the night. I was fulfilled that everyone are happy to be part of. We are successful in climbing Mt Daguldol.
I unlocked another achievement. Fighting the fear to go back to the mountains, I was able to complete an itinerary that serves as an actual guide and beat myself from the body limitations I assume I would never ever fight.
Finally, I was able to bring someone I truly love and share what my world means. At this point of time, we manage to hike several mountains and formed our own group. It was not a happy ending for us but it will be a HAPPY TRAIL ENDING.
0600 ETD Lipa via Bus (You can take the Cubao or Buendia Bus whichever is near from your house. We took Araneta Center Terminal)
0830 At Lipa, rent a jeepney to Barangay Hugom (Lipa to Barangay Hugom is a 2 hour ride)
Option 2: For Small Group,Solo or Dual Hikers
From Bus Drop Off in Front of Jolibee, ride a jeepnet to SM Lipa then take Jeep to San Juan. From San Juan take a tricycle to Barangay Hugom (It will be a journey)
1130 ETA Brgy. Hugom Outpost. Register and arrange for guide.
1300 Start Trek – Pavement road from Barangay Outpost or ride a jeepney or tricycle
1530 ETA Mang Lizardo’s place
1730 ETA Niyugan Campsite, Set Camp (We set our camp around 1900 due to heavy rain, slow-mo effect)
1900 Dinner / Socials (Nope, we did not eat on time!)
0600 Wake up call (Chilly morning)
0620 Start Trek going to summit
0640 ETA summit
0800 ETD from summit
0830 Breakfast (We did ot eat)
0930 Break Camp
1000 Start Descent
1100 Back at Mang Lizardo’s place (We ate)
1200 Resume descent
1400 ETA Laiya Beach. (Rented a cottage for Php 500.00 with a long table: No Entrace once you rented the cottage)
1700 ETA SM Lipa. Took the Bus to Manila
1900 ETA Manila
Things to Bring
•A good pair of trekking shoes or rubber shoes
•Sun and Rain Protection (Sun Block, RAIN COAT / PONCHO, shades, cap etc..)
•Water or re hydration fluids(prescribed is 3L)
•Extra clothes and clothes for swimming
•Snacks (Trail Food)
Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
Images Souce From: Gel Conopio and Herdy Marzan (Yapak Mountaineers)