Sunday, May 16, 2004Note: Feel free to click on the photos to get a bigger picture
Just last Thursday, my bestfriend asked me if I wanted to join her and her officemate's team of mountaineers on a fun climb that coming weekend. I'm really more of a beach person so I hesitated. The trip sounded more exciting when she told me that there was a promise of a waterfall the day after the climb. I figured that staying in Manila would leave me going out and drinking with friends and well, I was just a bit sick of that already. So last Friday, I told her I would go. This will be my first mountain climbing experience, ever. I was ecstatic!
Saturday, May 15, 2004-- MT. KAWA-KAWA, HERE WE COME!
Meeting place was in Crossing at around noon. But we ended up waiting for a couple of hours for another guy. We left manila at 3pm. We took a 2-hour jeepney ride to Tanay (I was told it really doesn't take this long but it was really traffic last Saturday) and from Tanay, we took another jeepney to Siniloan (took us about 30 minutes). From Siniloan, we met up with another climber, hung out in Jollibee for awhile and prepared all our stuff.
While the others were fixing their bags, Bianca told me that I would need to buy my own flashlight as it was already getting dark and that by the looks of it, we were going to have to do a night trek (which was something I was very, very scared of). So we headed to the market and I bought a flashlight for 110 bucks (my most extravagant purchase for this trip!). I was even complaining that maybe I shouldn't have to buy my own flashlight anymore and just share with her but she insisted that it was very essential that I get my own.
And then we took a 5-minute tricycle ride to the town of Pangil, Laguna.
THE BEGINNING OF THE CLIMB
We got to the foot of the mountain at around 630pm. It was already getting dark and for the first 10 minutes of the climb, I really wanted to give up and head to the nearest bed and breakfast in the area. The first part of the trail was cemented but it was waaaayyy too steep and it was killing my legs. To top it off, it started to rain. We stopped so we could put our jackets on, made sure that everything in our bags were in plastic bags so they won't get wet and we continued.
Thank God Bianca asked me to buy a flashlight! It was pitch dark and without my flashlight I wouldn't know what to do! The trail was rocky and very very very muddy. Once I got my momentum, my adrenaline just kept on rushing that it wasn't exhausting anymore despite my sweat. Actually, there was already no way of telling whether it was sweat or rain. I've never seen my trainers that dirty before (the mud was really thick, heavy and clingy) and it's such a shame but the city girl in me kept on saying "eewww", "yuucckk", "fuck!" and "shit" everytime I would step in really icky mud or everytime I would almost trip because of a rock I didn't see. But everyone from the group were sooo warm and supportive and instead of scoffing at moi, they merely laughed and assured me that I was going to be fine. And true enough, halfway through the climb, I was happily walking by my lonesome and didn't need that much help from the others. And this is coming from someone who's REALLY afraid of the dark.
We got to the campsite just before 9pm. We pitched our tents, changed into our clean clothes and got ready for dinner. Now, I always had the idea that camping food consists of canned goods and well, that's it. Boy, was I wrong!!! Guess what we had for dinner? Fettuccini!!! And it was yummmmyyyy!
I got really exhausted after dinner and decided to take a nap. Until Bianca woke me up and said that everyone's joining the other mountaineers in the kubo upstairs for drinks and pulutan coz it was raining really hard in our campsite. We found ourselves surrounded by 17 teenagers who were playing the guitar, singing songs while we were passing around shots of gin (with orange juice as the chaser) and our pulutan of sisig very oddly cooked in a caldero. I loved the idea of 2 groups of complete strangers just having fun without pretentions. Hehehe! Cool huh?
At around 2am, we went back to our campsite and I dozed off.
Sunday, May 16, 2004--REDEEMING FACTOR
Woke up at around 9am, went out of the tent and took a look at our campsite. It looked better in broad daylight. Was looking at trail below us and guess what I found in the middle of nowhere?
We had coffee and prepared to walk down the mountain to see what we all came up there for. The Pangil Falls aka The Hidden Falls. I was not able to perform any sort of stretching exercise before taking the trek down to the waterfall. And I regret that. It was soooo hard. When the mountaineers said that we were going down, we were really going down. I really don't know the mountaineering term for it but some of the spots we had to hike in were in a 90 degree angle so we almost had to sort of rappel going down most of the time. A small patch of skin from my thumb got torn off from holding on to the rope too tightly.
You know that saying, "Pag may tiyaga, may nilaga"? Well, the waterfall was sooo breathtaking that every ounce of exhaustion I felt vanished in a flash. Really. And I have the pictures to prove how truly beautiful and mesmerizing this place was.
I wanted so much to get close to the waterfall and so I braved the boulders (they were very slippery, mind you) and what do you know? Not only did I go mountain climbing but I went rock climbing too! The water was just the right kind of cold. Absolutely refreshing especially after the excruciating hike.
It only took us an hour to go down the mountain. These were taken when we stopped over to rest in a really nice patch of land near the foot of Mt. Kawa-Kawa. Check out my really filthy tank top and how the trees behind me are swaying. The wind felt really good!
Although my body is hurting like never before (and I highly doubt that I'll be able to walk straight when I wake up tomorrow), I really had such a great time this weekend. So much fun that the people I was with asked me to go with them on their next mountain climbing trip (it has yet to be planned)!
Loves the beach, wishes she had more time and money to travel, recently got hooked to climbing mountains, reads anything she can get her hands on, frustrated writer, adores her 3-year-old Lhasa Apso, Tashi, constantly needs caffeine,
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