|Holding hands in the Rockies|
On February 26, 2012, Carlo and I conquered Mt. Maculot in Batangas. Our outdoor feat was not just a simple post-Valentine celebration (if climbing a mountain can be considered 'simple' at all), but more of a positive turning point in our friendship and partnership of almost two years. For some people, this may seem too much for a one-year-old relationship. As corny as it may sound, I think it's important to keep on looking for creative and adventurous ways to take our relationship to a higher level, to strengthen it and have fun at the same time. Well, we literally took it to a very high level by reaching the summit of Mt. Maculot on that bright sunny day. It's not the first time we climbed a mountain together. But on this particular adventure, it's just the two of us. This bout measured not only our physical strength and endurance, but how much we care about each other as well.
The first time Carlo reached the summit of Mt. Maculot was during his college days at UST. For me, it's a new challenge. Of course, I got first-hand information from Carlo himself. But it still wasn't enough for me. So, as usual, I resorted to my most reliable friend: Google. I still wanted to be sure that I am equipped with all the details, particularly the level of difficulty and other special concerns about that mountain. Everything I needed to know about Mt. Maculot I got from Pinoy Mountaineer's very informative website. To check the details about climbing Mt. Maculot, please click here.
Our original plan was to go on a dayhike on February 24, Friday, and then spend the night in a nearby resort (we tried to make a reservation at Mt. Maculot View Resort, but got no reply from them). We also considered spending Saturday until Sunday in Puerto Galera. It was a very exciting idea, but we also had qualms about it due to financial reasons and the lack of preparation time.
In the end, we had to move our climb to Sunday, February 26, because we just couldn't pass up the sky lantern event at UP Diliman and our friend's birthday celebration at Fred's in Cubao Expo. (For our sky lantern event experience, pls check out my previous post by clicking here).
The Day We Got HIGH
The Day We Got HIGH
The day finally arrived! We packed our bags the night before. Since it's only a dayhike, we brought a few important things only:
- Canned goods - two cans of tuna and a can of vienna sausage
- Can opener
- Rice - we bought take-out rice at KFC Buendia
- 2 liters of water
- Swiss knife
- Flashlight - in case it gets dark before we finish our descent
- Trail food - DingDong, marshmallows, and fish crackers (which we bought on the bus)
- One set of clothes - undies, shirt, shorts
- Rubber slippers - for tired feet after the climb
- Light jacket - this is useful during the bus ride
- Hat - our native hats from Kultura have a dual purpose: as a sombrero (hat) to protect our head and face from the glaring sun and as an abaniko (hand-held fan) to cool us down
- Basic - alcohol, Biogesic, wet wipes, tissue, mirror, comb, shampoo, light towel, soap, moisturizer (for kikay me), extra plastic bags
I chose to wear my long-sleeved, breezy shirt and running shorts to keep me cool during the trek. With my Conquer backpack, North Face shoes, and charcoal socks, I was set to go. We left Carlo's house a bit late, past 5am, so we decided to take the LRT to Buendia. Because we didn't want to embark on our adventure with an empty stomach, we took a quick breakfast at KFC. Afterwards, we went to JAM terminal and boarded a bus going to Lemery. The bus left at about 7:30am. At around 10am, we were already at Cuenca proper, where the grandeur of Mt. Maculot can be viewed from below. We checked in at the registration booth (it was just on the side of the street), made a quick stop at a sari-sari store, and started our ascent.
|View of Mt Maculot from below|
Luckily, the sun hid in the clouds most of the time, though it's still hot. As I was going up the mountain, I painfully realized the importance of making sure one is physically prepared for the challenge. Jogging and warming-up before the climb would have given me the endurance that I needed. It also made me realize that I need to cut down on my consumption of pork, chicken and pork skin, grilled meat, coffee, and softdrinks. On my mind, I vowed to go jogging regularly, do sit-ups, eat more fish, vegetables and fruits, and drink lots of water.
The trail we took was the one headed straight to the Rockies. We're not familiar with the trail going to the Grotto, so we didn't pursue it. The dry, loose soil made me slip a few times, that's why Maculot does not mean 'easy climb' in my dictionary.
|Heading up to the Rockies|
The trail stops where cold buko juice can be bought for only 7-10 pesos... those I loved so much! It was nice to take a rest and greet the other mountaineers. Most of them were already descending Maculot after camping near the summit the night before.
Finally: The Rockies
After a few rests and lots of buko juice and water, and with Carlo carrying my backpack for me (thanks a lot, baby!), we reached the Rockies at noontime. And what a view! It was spectacular. We're both so happy we made it to the top together. We stayed there until the others have left. Carlo propped up the tripod and we took pictures of ourselves and of the beautiful surroundings. We took our time savoring everything: the Taal volcano, the green landscape, the clear skies, and the pristine waters below. We're proud of ourselves for reaching this far on our own. A proof that if we can conquer mountains, we can overcome anything - hand in hand.
|Views from the top|
|Gates of heaven|
As we were descending Mt. Maculot, we saw this spectacular view. It was like angels would come down and sing to us. It felt like we were blessed by the gods on that day.
Tired feet and aching body didn't diminish the happiness and fulfillment we felt. After cleaning up, we walked and rode the bus home still holding hands.
|Tired but still smiling at my love who took this pic|