Sunday, April 17, 2011


This is an organized climb of UPM Member, Dada Macusi, my acquaintance in my December 26-29, 2010 Mount Pulag Climb. This climb is dated February 5 – 6, 2011 in Mount Bungkol Baka located in San Jose, Tarlac with an elevation of 650 MASL (meters above sea level) or 2,132.54 feet above sea level. It is consist of 21 participants, namely: Dada Macusi (the organizer), Allan Hernandez, Alvin Raymundo, Andy Portuguez, Charlie De los Santos, Edward Dalisay, Erwin Villamor, Gladys Siamen, Jay Cabrera, Jester Ga Moyano, JM Martinez, Jong Dumalo, Joy Abutan, Leizl Bernardo, Ray Leonard Bernardo, Jason Frias, John Jeffrey Reynaldo, Rand Jester Poquiz, Raul Gonzales, Robby Sanchez and me. The local guides were: Florante Dades and Johnny Basilio.

The climb started when we met in Dagupan Bus Terminal in New York corner EDSA, Cubao, Quezon City at 5:30 A.M. of February 5, 2011 (Saturday) but due to the non-availability of a bus trip suited for a few late comers, we opted to take the nearby Victory Bus Liner where we left at 6:30 A.M. heading for Tarlac City. From Tarlac City, we boarded again a chartered jeepney going to the jump-off point. We had our lunch along the trail in a soothing creek after more than an hour trek from the jump-off point. After that, were endless cardiac assaults heading to the campsite where we arrived there at 4:45 P.M. The scenery was awesome and we have to stop from time to time to capture the irresistible beauty of the mountain’s environs in store to our naked eyes.

Daylight in the sky was gradually fading into darkness when we had the chance to pitch our tents overlooking from a narrow rocky edge standing proud of its elevation. Our chefs headed by Jason Frias (an international cruise liner chef) together with Jay Cabrera, Joy Abutan and John Jeffrey Reynaldo cooked for our sumptuous dinner. The other small groups prepared their supper separately though we had socials after dinner highlighted with a social drinking spree. Lights-off was at 11:30 P.M. though a few participants continued to have their separate social drinking like Allan, Alvin, Jester and Rand close to their respective tents.

Thanks God! I savored a deep and dreamless sleep in my tent alone. I felt safe having the rest of the group around my tent though I prayed to God before I succumbed to sleep that all of us will be safe in this majestic mountain. As I really felt I was fully detoxicated from an accumulated cosmopolitan exhaustion and toxins, it was not difficult for me to notice the wake-up call at 5:00 A.M. of the next day, February 6, 2011 (Sunday). Summit assault followed at 5:20 A.M. for an effortless 20-minute ascend and stayed there till 6:30 A.M. to enjoy the magnificent sunrise scenery. While we were grinding our cameras on the summit, the group of Jason stayed in the campsite to cook for our breakfast. I highly appreciated their effort to have shown their culinary expertise and it was evident in the food they served to us. They were quite organized and orderly on how they prepared the food in an unfriendly environment like the open camp site.

As we returned to our campsite at around 7:00 A.M., the aroma of the food for breakfast led us to eat in reckless abandon. Thanks to the chefs. Then, break camp followed till 8:50 A.M. In descending the mountain, we trailed through the traverse route passing through rolling hills, rice paddies and local native’s dwellings of which the biggest community of the Aetas was the Abeling Tribe in Baag Village located in Sitio Baag, Brgy. Iba, San Jose, Tarlac. We communed with them for 30 minutes. It was like a short time (absolutely not three hours) immersion and feeling their nerves as they welcomed us with wide, wide open arms. Gradual trekking sessions followed trailing picturesque sprawling hills but it was really an exhausting walk for all I knew. The sun was unfriendly and it was somewhat cooking up my Myra-pampered skin. We stayed longer in the Vice Governor’s Farm at 11:22 A.M. to prepare and eat our lunch.

We proceed with our trek at 1:12 P.M. going to the Eco Camp where our chartered jeepney awaited us for a short but rough road drive to the Monasterio de Tarlac and arrived there at 2:25 P.M. We stayed longer in the Monasterio de Tarlac for around 40 minutes where our fishing male companions were busy in scouting for gorgeous and beautiful female pilgrims clad in unholy attire exposing their fleshy cleavage somewhat inviting to invade their privacy. Another short drive followed heading to Moriones River in Brgy. Iba, San Jose, Tarlac for clean-up and refreshing bath where we stayed in the Resort of Vice Mayor Christian Yap rented from Mr. Sebastian Lagonilla with caretaker Lita Bartolome. While the rest of the group was enjoying the soothing and cool waters of Moriones River, the group of Jason (Jay, Jeffrery, Joy and Edward), cooked for a special carbonara with unlimited servings. It was already 6:40 P.M. when we left the resort and drove to Tarlac City boarding our chartered jeepney and arrived there at 7:50 P.M. Through the enterprising negotiation skills of Dada Macusi, we were given a special bus trip by Dagupan Bus Liner for the 21 of us. It was a non-stop trip leaving Tarlac City at 8:20 P.M. going to Manila. I arrived in my Mandaluyong apartment at 10:50 P.M.

Indeed, the entire trip was really enjoyable. Too glad, I was invited to join this group. Thank you, Dada.

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