Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MOUNT IRAYA CLIMB


The October 2, 2003 Mount Iraya Climb. This was a part of my September 25 to October 3, 2003 Batanes Tour. Mount Iraya is a dormant volcano and the highest point of the Batanes group of islands standing at 1,008 meters or 3,307 feet above sea level whose last eruption was recorded in 505 AD. It is located in Batan island and is adjacent to Basco, the capital of Batanes province. The climb was a package arranged for me by Del Millan amounting to P1,200 with Philip Cardona as my guide. Incidentally, five students of Batanes Polytechnique College (BPC) climbed the mountain, namely: Emil Canedo, Rey Cabizon, Jerold Camacho, Reynaldo L. Ballada and Harvey M. Gutierrez and they joined us while we were on our way to the mountain’s shoulder.
I really anticipated that the climb was a difficult one but it turned out to be easier than I expected. Its height and trail was comparable to Mt. Maculot of Batangas. Halfway from its shoulder to the peak were cogon and one has to resort to a four-wheel drive. From the jump-off point after the Basco Airport to the shoulder is rainforest and thus a lot of shades were present because of the abundant trees growing on it. It took me and Philip barely four hours to reach the peak as we stayed in its midpoint waiting for the magnificent open skies to showcase the whole Basco and the airport runway and its neighboring Sabtang and Itbayat islands. But the clouds opened in segments only. The thick clouds were not as cooperative as we expected since it only opened in seconds and then it closed again and so we could not capture the best pictures we wish to have. We took our lunch on its peak and rested there for 30 minutes but we were forced to descend as it was very cold in the summit coupled with strong winds and the clouds never opened completely for us to get the 360 degrees scenery. Descending the mountain took us more than an hour to do so with less difficulty. The students were running down continuously teasing each other. At the jumpoff point, Philip treated us with fresh buco taken from the coconut trees owned by their family.

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