The mountain-climbing group in our office (the same people I went together up Mt. Batulao and Pico De Loro) had this mission to climb the famous Mt. Pulag within the month. Since Pulag is a bit challenging compared with those that we've already tried (it will be an overnight hike + we'll need to survive low temperature and high altitude sickness), it is advised that we do some warm up climb so that it would get easier when we go for Pulag.
Coincidentally, my college boardmates wanted to do some mountain climbing, and they chose to climb Mt. Manabu. Because I was getting addicted to climbing mountains, I agreed to go along with them (this enthusiasm would backlash on me soon; more about that on my next mountain-climbing posts).
|cross at the summit of Mt. Manabu |
(cross looks bent because this is a panorama shot)
We went for the climb on a Monday (we took advantage of the Chinese New Year holiday). It was my first time to commute to Batangas from my home. I discovered that there were bus terminals in a mall near Alabang. That's what I rode (together with my other boardmate) to SM Lipa where I met with our other boardmate who lived in that vicinity.
It was actually a cloudy day and we were worried we might get caught in the rain during the climb, but yeah we still pushed it. From SM Lipa, we took a tricycle to the mountain's registration center. All climbers must list their names on their directory. This is also where we got our local guide.
Tips for first time climbers: The people there would try to sell you seedling pots that they would say you could plant in the mountain to help the forest. Don't bother buying them.
When our guide saw the seedling pots that we were holding, he got a bit sad because his fellow locals were ripping off visitors. Still, he told us he would help in planting them in the forest.
During our climb, we saw houses - most of them selling food and refreshments for the tired mountaineers that would pass by.
The mountain trail had station numbers to serve as markers on how far the peak is from that point.
At one of those stations, the local there, who I presume to be Tatay Tino (per the tarp below) served free civet coffee, which is made from coffee beans retrieved from poop of the civet cat (alamid in Filipino).
They say this coffee is of high quality because only the best beans are eaten by a civet. The coffee beans don't get digested by the civet but instead gets flushed out together in its poop.
|My cup of cat poop (lol). The coffee tasted fine.|
I'm no coffee connoisseur so I couldn't really differentiate the taste of this coffee from the usual ones I drink.
While we were just chilling out in Tatay Tino's hut, my boardmate recognized this bird inside this cage. Apparently it was a Luzon bleeding heart pidgeon.
|Its most prominent feature is the reddish hue in its chest, creating an illusion|
that it is injured.
It was my first time to see a bird like this and I was fascinated. ヽ(°◇° )ノ There were still other animals there with us - dogs and cats. This one cat was so friendly, it sat on my lap for several minutes while we were there. :D
|Crazy. Fast-forward to now, I realize this cat looks exactly|
like the one we have at home. @_@
As we continued the trail to the peak, there were lots of things to see along the trail. There were unusual flowers and some trees and leaves (and spider?) to see.
Unfortunately, we also saw some of these...
|trash left by fellow mountaineers :(|
|our guide holding the seedlings and looking for the perfect spot to dig on the ground |
(take note of that deadly knife!)
After several minutes of climbing, we were nearing the peak already, and it was still cloudy! :O
I noticed in each station, there was always a cross nearby.
After a few minutes of walking, we finally reached the peak of Mt. Manabu! And quite expectedly a large cross marked the summit.
Too bad it was still cloudy when we got there (it was a bit drizzling actually). As there were not much to see around, we started going back down after a few minutes of rest.
See that mountain peak on the photo below? That is Mt. Maculot according to our guide. That's one of the mountains our group at the office wanted to climb. :D
|There's another cross!|
|our after-climb meal|
All-in-all, Mt. Manabu was a fairly easy climb mainly because we did plenty of rests along the trail hehe (the longest one was in Tatay Tino's hut). Too bad we were not able to see the view at the top because it was cloudy. Anyway I still enjoyed this adventure! :D Another mountain off my list!
Another takeaway from this climb was the "ritual" that one of my boardmates does whenever she climbs mountains. She told me that on the summit of each mountain she climbs, she does some quiet time to pray. This activity never occurred to me. I told myself I'd do the same the next time I climb. :)
, by Kath R