Okay. So when I climbed Mt. Talamitam, I swore that I wouldn’t do it again. Which is why it surprised me when I started dreaming of another peak to conquer.
What I love about mountain climbing is that it’s so goal-oriented: I have to reach the top and I have to get back down, no matter what. When I get invited to other activities like Muay Thai, running, or Zumba, I shake my head because I don’t enjoy it; I don’t see the point. With mountain climbing, though, it’s always the same no matter what: you have to get up and get back down again, with various challenges in between.
Recently, I went with my boyfriend and a couple of our friends to Sitio Madlum in San Miguel, Bulacan, two hours away from Cubao.
After registering for PHP10 each, we headed to Mt. Manalmon.
The trail was quite easy: lots of plain ground, with only a few steep portions. For the most part, there weren’t many trees to provide shade, so we got sunburned fast.
These two dogs also followed us! Apparently, they know the hills like the back of their hand (paw?).
At 196 MASL, Manalmon isn’t really a mountain so much as a hill. The climb was very easy, but we needed to stop every once in a while to let the guys catch their breath :p
The summit was on top of a huge rock that you had to scale. There was no shade there, though, so we didn’t stay for long lest we bake even more.
HEAR ME ROAR
After a lot of rest, we started walking to Mt. Gola.
This was more challenging, as the trail involved lots of climbing on sharp rocks.
Be careful of the barbed wire!
See the river in the background? That was one of several we needed to cross. Since I was wearing rubber shoes, I had to take them off to cross. I was limping throughout because the rocks at the bottom dug into my feet! They seriously hurt 🙁
Since the hike up Mt. Gola was a bit more difficult, we enjoyed the summit much more. The fact that it offers more shade didn’t hurt, either. We must’ve spent a good hour or so just relaxing at the peak, enjoying the view and the breeze. This is why I climb: to leave my cares behind.
Sitting on the edge of a cliff because why not <3
We left for the twin peak hike at around 7:30AM and got back at around 1:30PM. We had a quick lunch of Century Tuna and rice, which we bought from one of the many stores at the foot of the hills.
Afterwards, we went spelunking in the cave.
I’m not sure which cave we went to, but our guide reassured us that is was the “more extreme” one, meaning that we were in for rappelling, helicopter ladders, and more. Every step was a thrill because a wrong move could send you plummeting into the jagged boulders below! Extreme, indeed. This was even more harrowing than the twin peak hike!
When we finally got back, covered in mud, sweat, dirt, bruises, and cuts, we went for a relaxing swim in the river. It was a great way to end a jam-packed day.
Bring sunblock. No excuses.
Wear gloves. You’ll be climbing rocks that can cut you.
Wear appropriate sandals. You’ll be crossed rivers several times, and the rocks are sharp as fuck! My feet still hurt from crossing barefoot 🙁
Bring at least PHP1000 to cover guide expenses (the four of us paid PHP920 for the guide, inclusive of headlamp rental), equipment rentals, transportation (the tricycles charge PHP200!), and food.
Ela is a twentysomething who is constantly getting stuck in self-destructive behavior and bouts of low self-esteem. She struggles with depression and writes to relieve herself of her feelings. Sometimes she even blogs about other things like makeup and positivity. One of her pieces was published in the Inquirer Young Blood in October 2017.
She likes cats, dogs, and sometimes even people.