Travelogue of a Vagabond: Mt. Batulao

November 20, 2015 (2 years ago)
Posted in Blog: English | Categories: Non-Erotic | Tags: , , ,

I love travelling. And i love taking photos. I love eating too. Currently my new love is cooking. And what ties all of these together is my love for writing. I was reading thru my previous notes and stumbled upon this. It was originally written around 2010. I hope you like it. :)

Travelogue of a Vagabond: Mt. Batulao

"We're gonna go hiking tomorrow, wanna come?" My brother casually asks. "Do you think I can handle it?" I replied. Haven't been jogging in almost four months now. The weathers kinda gloomy. It was cold in the morning, it was raining in the evening. OK. I’m just too lazy to jog after those 2 weeks off ok? Happy now? Where was I. Hrmph. So I casually asked if I can handle it, bearing in mind that I have no exercise at all. "Yeah sure. The guide she says it's an easy course" he casually answered. So I said, "What the hell, sure. Why not." Apparently, it was hell.

So there we were at the starting point at Evercrest somewhere in Batangas. Took a tricycle (to those who are not in the know, it’s a motorcycle with a sidecar which you rent for short trips in some places here in the Philippines) and ventured to the start of the new trail to the summit.

The hike started fairly easy. I was taking shots with the camera on sceneries or even trivial things along the way. The whole purpose of me joining this hike was to practice my picture-taking (I can’t call it photography yet. It’s still too embarrassing to call it such.) “skills” (Again, I use the term “skills” veeeerrrry loosely.) In my mind this whole trip was a bunch of walking. Heh. I can do walks! I can jog for 2km straight! Ah. Stupid me. Somewhere in Heaven, God was probably laughing on His throne at my naivete. A quarter of the hike, we arrived a “pitsop” where some dude sells fresh buko juice and ice cold Mountain Dew. How apt. By then I was sweating profusely. Not tired but a little uncomfortable because of the morning sun bearing down on us on every step of the way. I kept thinking. “At least it looks like it’s gonna be cloudy the rest of the way.” By this time, I think God slipped off His throne from laughing so hard.

And so we marched on. Like a handful of soldiers ready to storm a castle we pushed forward. By the time we reached the first peak, I was fairly exhausted. It was a short distance from the last pitstop but the terrain started to lean to a more vertical level unlike before that it was fairly level. I was out of breath by then. Fortunately for me, the group started to take some pictures. That was my chance to rest and of course practice! It was a welcome change of pace. The general good feeling of camaraderie lifted my starting-to-feel weary spirit. So I casually asked someone (I really can’t remember who. Sorry. :P) how much farther till the summit? They said the trail was 10 peaks. 10 being the summit.

Holy crap.

This was the first time I thought that maybe I should just go back. Wait for them at that last pitstop, drown myself silly with buko juice and mountain dew and wait for them leisurely at the cool shade. Unfortunately, my stubbornness got the better of me and continued on this tormenting endeavour. Minutes seemed like hours as we pushed forward. My legs starting to ache as the trail keeps heading northward. To make it worse, I’m well way out of breath. Chalk it up to no exercise. Halfway through the trek, we stopped at what seemed to be an abandoned pitstop. By this time, I can’t even talk to people I’m with. I was gasping for dear life. I kept thinking. “What the hell, huh? What an idiot.”

By this time I was seriously thinking just to stay there and take a nap or pass out whichever comes first. Again, this must be my pride egging me on,

“Ah c’mon! We’re already there! You can’t give up now! You’re brother would disown you!”

And so I did. Every step after that was laborious. The SLR I was carrying feels like a couple of concrete blocks tied around my neck. My brother, the kind soul that he is, offered to carry the camera. Man I was glad he did. The fact that it lessened my burden, it also served another purpose. I was worried I might slip since I’m just wearing my skate shoes (I know. I said already that I was ill prepared ok?) and destroy that serious piece of technological equipment. Without that clouding my head, the hike seems a little easier. Not easier that I can breeze through the trail, though. Easier I think because I can crack jokes along the way. Rennie asked me if I was still ok. You know what I said? I replied “Not really. It seems that my breath has somewhere else it needs to go. I keep trying to catch it” He laughed. I dunno if it’s out of pity or he found it really funny. Come on. It’s funny. Shut up.

Where was I? The hike was long. I was still out of breath. My muscles burned. But there was this part of the trail that we have to cross a few meters that on the one side, it was a cliff. On the other side, well it was also a cliff. It seems. I was literally crawling on my hands just to get across. Another brilliant thought just flashed through my weary brain. “Why did I come here when I hate heights?” Sheesh Captain Obvious. You just remembered that now?  At the last part of that knife’s edge, we just realized that there was a safer path on the right side. Dammit. Oh well, I didn’t fell to a rocky death so it’s something to laugh about.

By the time we reached the summit, I was thanking God, Buddha, Zeus, Odin and SpongeBob for having endured it all. Man. The view from the top was breathtaking. Took a 360 view of the place but I am still in the process of finding out how to stitch the photos together. I know. Use Photoshop. Shut up.  After a brief lunch while admiring the view and an insane session of picture taking, Someone casually asked the lady who sells sodas - bless her heart for letting me sit under that make shift store and rest on its cool shade (yeah there still someone selling those insanely addicting mountain dews at this height) about a group of clouds heading our way. You know what the lady said?

“It’s rain”.

So we decided to start packing up. As we descended, the rain started falling. Noy, an experienced hiker said “Guys, It looks dangerous”. He was an experienced hiker. When he says it’s dangerous I’ll believe him. We backtracked and waited for the rain to subside. Thank God it did. But the thing is, clouds swarmed the place. It was so cloudy it reminded me of Silent Hill. Again, we asked for advice from the soda lady on how long usually that cloudy condition lasts. Another surprise. “Sometimes it lasts till evening. Or even early next morning.”

Another holy shit moment.

We don’t have the equipment to stay there till morning, So we decided to push on. I was thinking this was insanity but what choice do we have? We decided to go down albeit with a slower pace. Thankfully that cloudy condition dissipated not far from the summit. The... Read More

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