Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MOUNT BANAHAW CLIMB


Though I decided not to join the March 26-31, 2002 Mt. Halcon Climb, I still joined the March 16-17, 2002 Mt. Banahaw Major Preparatory Climb since for me it was a new mountain to scale and absolutely a new challenging adventure. I arrived at this very crucial decision since I opted to join the Palawan Zafari and Nature Trek with the same schedule which was held during the holy week. Scaling, Mt. Banahaw was such a very worthwhile mountaineering experience though it was such an extremely exhausting activity. We were a group of eleven PNB Mountaineering Club members, namely: Jing Gumba (Expidition Leader), Elmar D. Portento (Sweeper), Edgar E. Tugade of CITEM, Eileen V. De Gala of PNB Balayan Branch, Jenny Ferrer, Arthur R. Tagle, Christian Dominique T. Tagle (Lead Man), Connie Vasquez, Ricardo N. Eslao, Antonio M. Alcaraz and I. We had a chartered Tamaraw FX from Manila to Brgy. Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon and vice versa owned and drove by Gil, an acquaintance in Mt. Manabo where he also served as our driver from its jump-off point in Lipa City to Manila.

Based on the excerpts from the Moneysaver Magazine Volume 4 No. 4 April 1995 page 23 on its article entitled: “Trek to the Mystical Mount. Banahaw”, the following accounts has been recorded as: Mt. Banahaw lies 100 kilometers southeast of Manila and rises 7,380 feet above sea level. It was once an active volcano, its last recorded eruption being in 1721. This eruption caused a lake to form in the volcano crater but in 1743, probably because of another eruption, the crater broke open causing a flood and an avalanche of boulders. Today the crater is called Ilalim. Since 19th century naturalists Edward Marche and the Frenchman Gironiere discovered the mountain’s exotic beauty, Mt. Banahaw has been a national park. All year, rain clouds constantly cover its peak, giving abundant rain and natural waters. Thus it has been called Rain Mountain.

On the other hand, our climb started when we left in Connie Vasquez’s residence in Mandaluyong City at 5:00 A.M. consisting of only 8 persons, namely: Jing, Elmar, Edgar, Jenny, Art, Christian, Anton and I. We just picked-up Eileen in San Pablo City, Laguna while Ricky and Connie left Manila at 7:00 A.M. Our group arrived in Brgy. Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon at 7:00 A.M. We started the trek, after negotiating with a local guide and porter, at 8:00 A.M. and arrived in “Tatlong Tangke” or “Batya-batya” after an hour where we had our ample rest. We resumed our trek at 8:40 A.M. and arrived in “Kapatagan” at almost noon time and we decided to have our lunch. The trail even from the start was really consisting of cardiac assaults causing us to get occasional rest. On our way to “Unang Durungawan” which means first Window, my buddy Jenny and I, met a handsome mountaineer from San Miguel Product Packaging Division of Imus, Cavite, in the name of Joseph G. Arevalo.

Our lead pack consisting of Anton, Christian and Elmar arrived in our campsite in “Pangalawang Durungawan” at 2:30 P.M. while Jenny and I, arrived in Unang Durungawan at almost 3:00 P.M. and were contented in taking pictures in its extremely awesome scenery together with Jing and Elmar. We met friends like Roldan “Coy” Cana, Jorge Michael Jana and a photographer/mountaineer Warren Laygo. After that, we courageously did the wall climbing or ruppelling to our campsite in “Pangalawang Durungawan”. We were lucky enough to have experienced such a perfect weather for us to enjoy the peak. The group of Joseph Arevalo, who were all from San Miguel Corporation of Imus, Cavite, has pitched their tents just next to ours. Ricky and Connie arrived in our campsite at almost 8:00 P.M. and we started our socials with so much fun coupled with a usual drinking spree. Our neighboring group slept early leaving our group in the midst of fun and enjoyment exchanging chit-chat nothings and humorous lines. Though, we were still enjoying, we decided to have our rest at almost 11:00 P.M. Jing, Elmar and I shared in one tent.

We had our breakfast preparation at 6:00 A.M. where Jenny and I were tasked to prepare for it for our group since we were divided into two groups. We had our break-up camp after breakfast and had a 30-minute assault to the mountain’s peak called “Ikatlong Durungawan”. I could not help but appreciate this piece of God’s creation endowed with such a perfect beauty. I felt so grateful to God then for giving me that opportunity to witness again His unrivaled work of creation. We stayed there shortly and as went back to our campsite, we started descending the mountain. We were suppose to reach the jump-off point earlier but Connie was unfortunately lost. We had no choice but to wait for her in “Tatlong Tangke”. With this, we reached the jump-off point at almost 4:00 P.M. There was a long drive for us in going back to Manila as we arrived at almost 9:00 P.M. and I was home at almost 11:00 P.M.

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