Climbing Mt. Kanlaon (Mapot – Mananawin Trail) — Take 2!

We’re back at Mount Kanlaon for a second attempt to reach its peak. The last time we were here, thick fog and strong rains brought about by a brewing storm hindered us from going any further than the Shoulder Camp. But this time, it was an entirely new experience. ♥

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At Day 1, I woke up groggy and grumpy for not having enough sleep. It was 4AM. Just 2 hours before that, I was still preparing food and stuff needed for the climb. But nonetheless, I went out of the house with my heavy pink bag strapped to my back, and together with boyfie, waited at the dark empty road for a cab.

It was almost 5AM, we were one of the last to arrive at Cebu North Bus Terminal. We hurriedly went inside the only bus bound for Kanlaon City, and found out that a small conflict had already sparked. Our friends who came before us had reserved seats for us, the latecomers, but the other passengers apparently did not honor reservations, they just took the seats and ignored our friends’ pleas. What’s up with that?! First come, first served, I guess.

There was no point in arguing. So our group decided to transfer to CitiLink where we can ride the V-hire bound for Toledo. I slept the whole time, so I can’t tell you much. Then we rode the Lite Shipping barge going to San Carlos City.

I fell asleep as soon as I got comfy on the bunk bed. Gotta get more rest. After a quick brunch in San Carlos City Terminal, the last step was to take a bus from there to Kanlaon City. And you guessed it, I slept some more.

It was already 11:30AM when we arrived at Kanlaon City Bus Terminal. By then, I’ve had enough rest so I was all perked up and ready for the assault. At the terminal, we were greeted by our guide, Sir Islaw, who was also our porter on our previous Kanlaon attempt. Sir Jigz was also there, our former guide, who is now known as Konsehal Jigz after he won in the last election. (Congrats Sir Jigz!!! :D)

After all the early morning struggles we just went through, we were told that we were too early to start the trek right away. So… great news! We have extra time for a quick side trip — the Sudlon Falls!

We waddled our bare feet in the cool waters for a while. Then at past 2PM, we left and headed for the Mapot Jumpoff via our chartered vehicle. Farms abundant with sayote, corn, and sugarcane can be seen beside the cemented road. Although, the sun was high up in the sky, I could feel the cool fresh air against my face. A sure sign that we have moved away from the polluted skies back home.

The jumpoff was a small trail leading away from the main road and into the mountainous part of the city. All sorts of vegetables can be seen on the lush farmlands that comprised most of the trail, the most common of which are carrots, spring onions, and cabbages.

Going up towards the first campsite was quite easy. The slope was at a high angle but it was bearable. We reached the campsite in just over an hour. This recorded time includes our quick stop at Sir Islaw’s place where he harvested a couple of sayotes from his own ginormous front yard, I mean farm — errrr — his own farm at the front of his own house, to be accurate.

At the campsite, we took our time setting up our tents, changing into clean clothes, and cooking our freshly harvested sayotes. The menu was linat-ang baboy, the unofficial soup for a cold night in the mountains.

After having a generous fill of the tasty goodness, we still had enough energy for our favorite game, The Resistance. It was another fun session of laughter and epic fails — epic stories that will always be remembered (and need I mention, laughed at).

Time flew by. It was soon time to call it a night. I fell asleep so quickly, only realizing how tired I was the instant I lay my head against the soft misty grass below our tent floor.

–o–

The next morning, I laid down inside the tent for as long as I can. My body felt so heavy, like I was jet-lagged. I only left the fluffiness of my sleeping bag as soon as I heard “Breakfast is ready!”. That morning’s menu was Japanese curry. It wasn’t too spicy, but I burped curry all throughout the day.

We started Day 2’s trek at 8AM, 2 hours after the planned schedule. Many times I thought it was going to rain, because it was cold and I couldn’t see the sky from all the thick fog, as if the forest was made up of trees with white clouds instead of leaves.

Thankfully, it didn’t rain.
But unfortunately, the fog didn’t subside either.

So when we reached Makawiwili Peak, there was nothing to see but a thick wall of white fog. It seemed like we were just in a photo studio, and not really in the challenging mountain where we really were.

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We rested for a while at Makawiwili Peak, hoping that the clouds would part and show us a supposedly grand view of the Margaja Valley below. Surprisingly, I wasn’t too tired so I stayed at the peak posing for pictures instead of sitting down and catching my breath. Yep, that’s me with the pink hat, blue jacket, and bright yellow socks. Clearly, I’m not a fashionista. I believe that time should be given to more pressing matters (like “what’s for dinner?”), rather than stressing about matching colors.

As we were going downhill from Makawiwili peak, the heavens proved it’s kindness and we were given a partial view of Margaja Valley. Yey! ♥ During the rainy season, water would gather down there and form a lake. In other times of the year, it’s just a brown spot on the ground.

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From Makawiwili Peak, it’s an up and down trail towards the  gentle slope of Mount Kanlaon’s shoulder, where we will be setting up camp. It was still bright when we arrived but I couldn’t tell what time it was. I had no watch and I didn’t feel like bothering the others. However, don’t let my few narrated paragraphs fool you, it took many hours to reach camp, long enough to make your leg muscles beg for a holiday.

We deserved a great dinner after that. So to answer this prayer, we had pork and misua. Nothing better than a steamy hot soup to survive the chilly night.

Speaking of survival on chilly nights, it was terribly cold and wet that night. Right after dinnertime, rain poured like crazy so we had to run inside our tents, and wear every piece of dry clothing to keep warm. Strong winds rattled our tents, threatening to flatten it on our faces. And as if we still weren’t having a hard time, rainwater had to puddle up inside — yes, inside — the tent. We had to get up and scoop out the water so we wouldn’t end up with hypothermia.

I knew everybody else was having the same fate because I could hear hustling and complaining from the neighboring tents. At 2AM, the rain finally stopped, but our stuff was already soaked so we had to sleep in awkward positions just to get some rest.

The next morning, we were blessed with a somewhat foggy sunrise. Which was a lot better than I expected after what happened the night before.

We had an excellent breakfast, which our guides and porters, as dependable as always, helped cook. Then we geared up for the trek to the summit. We decided to wait a while until there was a sign of the fog clearing away.

It never did. So we decided to go for the summit anyways.

The trail up was rocky, but relatively easy. There were a few short shrubs and rocks, but other than that, the mountain was basically bare.

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A giant pile of rocks greeted us at the very top. A border of rocks was also laid out, to mark the “safe side” of the trail. So if you value your life, this is a good time to follow the rules. Accidents have happened here before, you can ask your guide about it.

Soon after we reached the summit, we were given the best blessing we could possibly hope for while in a mountain — a CLEARING! The sun finally overpowered the gloomy skies and showed us the incomparable magnificence of Mount Kanlaon!

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We finally reached Mount Kanlaon’s peak! And have great photos to prove it!
Mission accomplished! ♥

–o–

Special thanks to Sir Islaw, Sir Jigs, Sir Julan, our porters and our new friends Webster and Ramil for being with us in this incredible journey.

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