Monday, April 14, 2014

Conquering Mt. Daguldol

Last weekend, I just climbed my sixth mountain, Mt. Daguldol with my awesome outdoor club Isang Backpack Ka Lang. This is probably the second time I told myself not to trust blogs that say they've been there but they've never really relate what's IN there, well, especially for mountain climbing newbies like me.

Getting to Mt. Daguldol is easy:
- Take a bus going to Lipa (get down at SM City Lipa)
- From SM City, take a jeep to San Juan.
- From San Juan, take a jeep to Brgy. Hugom

We had our lunch and bought our supplies at San Juan wet market. This was also where our hired jeep was waiting for us to take to Brgy. Hugom where we will start our trek along Laiya beach.

After registration, securing a small hut for tomorrow (so we could rest after the descent) and getting a guide, we started trekking along the shore. I find it weird that we started the activity at midday, when the sun is at its most intense. The sea was so inviting, It makes you want to jump in and forget that you're supposed to trek going up the mountains.

Dear sea, please take me away from this excruciating heat.

Yours truly trekking at the beach.

See how hot it is, it's 2am!

It's still a long way to go to that corner over there.

I would classify the trail as moderate to difficult. Before I went here, I googled  everything, from the trail to the campsite, but I only got answers for the latter. So I'll be telling the truth that this mountain is not for those who just wants an easy climb, like Mt. Pulag. LOL. The first part was slippery due to the small crumbling rocks, not to mention it was extremely hot, they did some kaingin on the other parts of the mountain so they could plant some vegetation. There's very little shade for you to cool yourself in, so I suggest you cover yourself entirely even if you sweat like there's no tomorrow (sweat or sunburn, you decide.) However, the guides have installed small huts along the road (but quite far from each other) so you can take short rests for a bit.

That trail is slippery due to small crumbling rocks.

So many winding uphill climbs....

After cooling down, we resumed our trek to Mang Lizardo's place, which is marked by a flower garden with a small hut of refreshments that sell fresh buko juice to ice cold halo-halo. I didn't pass the chance, because according to them, it's still 2-3 hours trek going to the campsite. That doesn't sound good for me since we already missed the sunset when we reached Mang Lizardo's place.

We just arrived!

Chillin' at Mang Lizardo's place.

From here, the winding ascent to the top begins. You'll pass by rows of big boulders along the way and it's pretty hard to climb them with the weight of my things as the trail gets stiffer, tougher and harder. It's dark already when we reached the second wooden gate (or was it third? I lost count already..) the trail past this point is bearable than the other, rocky but you don't need to climb much, but be careful because it's too narrow, one slip could make you fall that nearby cliff.

Those big boulders look interesting, like, how did they get there LOL.

Taking a break before another ascent.

It was my first time doing a night trek and good thing I have my LED light for me to use. However, not too long on this trail, I saw the most incredible thing I've always wanted when climbing mountains: fireflies. LOTS OF FIREFLIES. The last time I've seen fireflies was when I climbed Mt. Natib in Orani, Bataan. Seeing them somehow took my weariness away. There's this little who came up to me and I've felt how warm a firefly is, it's just so magical. I've always wanted to keep it and take him with me, but my friend says mind the faeries who live there, if you get what I mean.

The sunset that I missed because I was too slow... This was the first group who went ahead of us.

About 30 minutes of walking on the same trail, we finally came to an clearing which finally screamed "SUMMIT" for me so I hurriedly ran to my buddies who were already making preparations for our dinner, well, they can't feed themselves because I was tasked to cook food that's why. After cooking dinner, we had tons of fun from having a crazy socials night to rolling on the grass in our sleeping bags then sleeping outside our own tents. Sleeping there felt so good, I hardly had a backache because my sleeping bag is equally as soft as the grass I laid on.

Socials night.

Chicken Mechado for dinner

Mt. Daguldol's vast grassy campsite compensates for the lack of scenery this mountain has to offer. Probably the best campsite I've been, it's so pretty and well maintained - it could pass off as a backyard of some private villa or something.

We even enjoyed taking jumpshots while still on our sleeping bags and it was epic.

Whoops! ..and thank you Kirby for waking up for five minutes to let us nail this jumpshot.

The view of our pitched tents sunkissed by the morning sun on a grassy hill is a beautiful, I'd wish all campsites were made of these.

To cap off our climb, the group enjoyed taking selfies and group photos at the summit before heading down.

The grassy summit.


Turista vibes at the summit of Mt. Daguldol.

I find it so weird that it only took me two and a half hours to climb down but almost five to go up, that already includes slips, slides and falling down on my knees during the descent (I told you, the trail is slippery!). I already missed them when I got down the mountain and was already too tired to walk on the beach (coz I fell several times LOL) So the guide suggested we should hire a small boat to take us to the other side of the island! 

The panoramic view of the entire coastline of Laiya was breathtaking! Here I was, having the ride of my life, treading the bumpy waves and enjoying the salty air on my skin. I didn't mind the heat of the mid-day sun as I waved goodbye to Mt. Daguldol for giving me one of the best camping trips I've ever had. :)