Monday, February 6, 2012

Marvelling Mt. Maculot

Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.
Mt. Maculot, Cuenca, Batangas (02042012)
This famous quote was coined in the post-war era but later on  adopted by most hikers/climbers. There's no greater need to expound what the quote has to say. As a sign of respect to our dear Mother Nature, we aren't suppose to alter it's beauty. We were given the privilege to wander it's beauty at no cost, and I know it's really tempting to bring something home, but it's really better to leave them as it is. :)
I really don't have the head for heights. I easily experience panic attack on high places. And I cry a lot. But I can't resist a friend's invite. I told myself, this an outdoor experience I'll surely won't forget. To go or not to go. I chose to go. 
My minds were filled with countless images of me climbing a mountain. I've watched several videos and read articles of people who've dared climb Mt. Maculot. These added fuel to my enthusiasm to go hiking.
And so the big day came. With a backpack-ful of clothing, foods, toiletries, gadgets and some safety kits, we boarded a JAC bus bound for Lipa. Then a jeepney ride to Cuenca. And tricycle ride up to the foot of the mountain. 

It's already noon and we've decided to get some rest first then eat lunch. Prepped a bit as we prepare to ascend. It rained but it didn't stop us. It's even more fun to trek where the trail is muddy and wet.
Trek na!
I thought of hiking as just plain, long hour of walking down a grassy field. Not a sight of tiredness can be seen on each one's faces.. til we no longer see houses and cemented roads. But rocks, grasses then trees. All lined up. All the images pictured in my head suddenly vanished. I'm facing a real mountain. Not the one I've seen from movies where I can picture meadows (Twilight-type) and tall trees, and hear the birds humming. Hahaha..
At the foot, we offered a prayer to God to bless and guide us as we start to walk the trail, climb over rocks and trees, brave the strong winds and rain til we reach the top. And God did take good care of us. No one felt sick nor harmed. Amen!
How will I describe the trail? For a first timer like me, it's definitely H-A-R-D.. I can't picture how I managed to clinged on the roots and branches and pulling myself up from rocks to rocks. Good thing I wore myself a pair of gloves as there was no moment that I didn't see myself grab whatever my eyes has  landed on. 
Regaining strength
Stop over!
Helping hands
 I already thought of collapsing and giving up. But I know there's really no point for turning back. Glad that there were several stop overs and my friends were all willing to heed my request. Some stop overs were manned and they sell fresh buko juice for 10 pesos. We got the chance to meet fellow hikers who were already descending at that time. And it felt great to hear words of encouragement. There's the famous greeting among hikers, "Good morning sir/mam.. Ingat po kayo sa pagakyat/pagbaba.."  The trek took 2-3 hours. Blame it on the stop overs! 
Up above, the view was now clearer. There were no more trees but grassy fields. More difficult to climb as there were no more roots nor branches to hold on to. We didn't actually climb upon reaching that part, but crawl. The trail was somewhat steep and since it's now an open field, it's scarier to look down. One false move and you'll see yourself rolling down the trail, leading to nowhere. 
It's a messy climb!
Grassy fields
Multi-tasking it is!
Upon reaching the camping the camping site, we unpacked our things and started to put up our tents. We cooked for dinner. Shared some drinks and stories. Our friend Jansen told some stories of Mt Maculot like the girl who committed suicide by jumping off the cliff at Rockies and the guy (..if im not mistaken!) who hung himself at the mango tree. The camping site was once burned so setting up a bonfire is no more allowed. Creepy stories.  
Sleeping was a bit of a problem. I'm not namamahay, but the strong gust of wind kept me awake. Katakot! And it's freezing cold outside. I'm already wearing a thick jacket and a blanket but it still sends shivers down the spines.
Pancit and sinigang for dinner
Cold morning
After breakfast, we all headed to the Rockies. It ain't that easy to go there. You have to descend a bit then cross a bridge-like formation. Very steep. The climb to Rockies was very challenging. Lots of huge rock formations. I was able to climb but I had to cry first. I haven't climb yet but I am already thinking how are we gonna go down. Again, I felt the urge to give up. But I am already there, few more steps and I will reach the Rockies. And I don't wanna be left behind when all of them are rejoicing reaching the top. With all my strength, I pushed myself up. I didn't dare to look down. 
The gust of winds became stronger. Harder to breathe. But the view is so much magnificent! 360 degrees of Taal lake. Some dared to take their pictures on the cliff but I preferred to stay in just one place. I am already consumed with the beauty of the place. Cried. This is truly an unforgettable experience. I patted myself for showing bravery and determination. I thanked God for making me reach this far. Getting up there made me appreciate the beauty of nature and the beauty of life. Mine is one life worth-living.
The mountain experience surely left everyone with a big smile on their face, with a handful of bravery and with a hope-filled lesson that for as long as you believe in something worth doing, you can do it. Always equip yourself with positivity that no one can stop you unless you let them. Let not fear control you but your faith in God. It might leave you tired and wounded but these can be easily remedied.But the experience you shared with other people and with the nature is so much priceless.


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