Since the beginning of the year, I had this intense desire to cover new grounds and do things I have never done before. Since mountaineering is gaining popularity these days, I jotted it down on my bucket list. This idea was fuelled when Jin invited Josh and I to climb Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas. At last, may lakad na matutuloy. The only catch is to keep the group small so we can easily monitor each other.
A few weeks before the climb: the original plan is to ascend Mt. Batulao
A few days before the climb: because of the untoward incident that happened in Mt. Batulao, we need to take Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez Rizal instead.
A few hours before the climb: by faith and by guts, we tried to check if Mt. Batulao is already open for hikers but we were discouraged by the residents and our guide. So our last minute decision is to ascend Mt. Talamitam instead. Since it is my first hike, I don’t have any expectations about mountain climbing except that I will end up feeling tired and exhausted, so it really doesn’t matter to me which mountain we are going to take.
Ok konting backtrack…
Our meeting place is at Jollibee Farmers at 5am of January 30. I felt really excited to see Jezz and Nats because I don’t have an idea that they are also coming. All in, the group is composed of seven, with two ladies Jin and Jovy tapos si Ptr. Josh, Kuya Benj at ako, bukod kay Nats and Jezz. Nang makumpleto na kami and after a short prayer, we boarded a bus to going to Coastal Road, from where we will board a bus going to Nasugbu. Halos puno na ang bus at tayuan na rin pero tinuloy na namin. Besides we are off to adventure, sinimulan lang namin ng maaga 🙂
Bumaba kami sa Evercrest, since we’re gonna try the Batulao trek and from there we will meet our very cool guide – Kuya Jonel. While waiting, we take pictures, have a few chats, bought some candies and snacks, and responded to the call of nature.
After deliberation, we’ve decided to take Mt. Talamitam, just a few minutes tricycle ride from Evercrest. We were welcomed by a lot of hikers registering and very accommodating locals.
After registration last minute purchases, off we go! Good thing may carinderia for those na walang dalang baong lunch like me (actually lahat yata kami).
From the registration area at Bayabasan, we started trailing sa sementadong kalsada, na unti-unting nagiging lupa. We also crossed a makeshift bridge made of bamboo. From there, the trail becomes more challenging dahil madawag na. We need to be careful as well from goats roaming around the trail, as well as from their poops. Haha! Also, I never knew that the shade from the shrubs and trees we are trailing will eventually cease as we approach the summit. Kaya samantalahin ang lilim! It was almost 11am when we took our lunch on a shady area, in view of the vast beauty of Batangas city.
The midpoint of our trek is an open field where there are lesser trees, but a ploughed space for talbos ng kamote, and a few number of goats and cows. Yet from this place is one of the most scenic spot to appreciate the beauty of Mt. Talamitam. Jin describes it as the one we usually draw in our bond papers as elementary students – the M-shaped mountain with a clear blue sky as background and few trees to none at all. It’s as if my childhood drawing came to life, and just within reach!
We continued our hike under the scorching heat of the sun around 12:30-1:00pm. Sabi nga nila, the nearer you get to the summit the trail gets harder, steeper and more challenging. It became more challenging indeed! During the last stretch before the summit, under the heat of the sun and aching knees and legs, I am already contemplating as to what entered my mind for me to get through this suffering? Haha! Seriously, I feel like I am already giving up. But I have no choice, the summit is just a few steps away, and going back is much harder because I might take the trail alone. Senti lang.
At last, we reached the summit!
To be honest, I didn’t take pictures as soon as we reached the summit. I tried to find shade first (and comfort my aching legs and catch up for my breath. There is one crowded bahay kubo occupied by other groups and I tried to squeeze myself among them just to hide from the heat. Nang medyo narealize ko na wala akong mapwestuhan, sumuko na ako and good thing is there is another bahay kubo a stone’s throw away. So the whole #TeamHugot, as we call ourselves, headed towards the shade and rested there for a while. We ate snacks, played games and uttered some of our hugot there. We will not call ourselves #TeamHugot if not for these:
“Magtiwala ka sa spikes ng Merrell shoes mo…” – Kuya Jonel (guide) Buti pa ang sapatos pwedeng pagkatiwalaan.” – Jovy. Ang lalim nun Jovs a? Haha!
“Minsan mas maganda na nakikita mo yung gusto mong puntahan mo para may motivation ka pag-akyat.”
“Minsan ang guide nahuhuli rin, para pag nahulog ka Alam mong may sasalo sayo.”
Heto mas inspiring…
“Hindi lahat ng expectations na hindi natupad ay hindi na maganda.”
“Mas maaappreciate mo ang isang bagay kung alam mong pinaghirapan mo itong makuha.”
“Tanawin mo lang” referring to Mt. Batulao na natatanaw naming from the summit. “Sa ngayon dito muna. Sa susunod, dun naman. Take one step at a time.”
Not until I have mustered enough strength (and the clouds blocked the sun) did I take pictures of the surroundings. My goodness, the scene is so awesome!
Of course we took epic pictures of ourselves.
Ohh I forgot to mention that there are locals who sell buko juice, mountain dew (kasi nasa mountain — ok sorry, corny ko), and ice cream on stick. Syempre asahan nang mas mahal, pero dahil umakyat din sila at napagod, the doubled cost is justifiable. We feel you manong.:)
We descended as soon as we have taken enough pictures and the sun has finally surrendered to the clouds, around 3:30pm. The scene gets more interesting because we have taken a much wider trail compared to the steep, narrow trail we had prior to the summit. Plus the cool mountain breeze was a bliss! Tanggal pagod.
When we reached the midpoint, we came across mountaineers who will spend the night at the summit. Some has brought with them Emperador pa nga. Haha! Party party sila.
Since we have chosen a different course, we have to cross a river, (di ko nga alam kung river nga yun, pero running water naman) and I was really tempted to dip my feet on the water. Buti na lang di ako nagpadala sa tukso kahit sobrang pagod na pagod na ang paa ko. But hearing the running water is refreshing. I really love how the nature sings song.
Bago pa man kami makabalik sa carinderia where we first registered, may nadaanan kaming bahay na nagbebenta ng buko juice. There we rested, ate snacks and refreshed ourselves.
A few blocks away, we arrived at the carinderia at Bayabasan, where we again took a rest, bade farewell to our cool guide and boarded a bus to Cubao. Supposedly we want to go to Tagaytay for a sidetrip, buti na lang di na kami tumuloy, otherwise sobrang matatagalan pala kami.
We reached Cubao at almost 11pm, some rushed to their homes already while some of us took a late dinner at King Sisig, Farmers Market.
And that my folks, is my first hike experience. Other pictures can be viewed here (link).
Inasmuch as I would like this post to serve as a hikers’ guide to Mt. Talamitam, I think this doesn’t qualify. But I hope these information below will be of help:
Things to bring:
- Water, lots of it. But if you can afford to bring an extra cash for doubly-priced juice and soda, you can do so.
- Comfortable clothes. Since wala masyadong puno sa trail ng Talamitam after the midpoint, might as well wear protective gears like arm sleeves and leg warmers. Umbrella din kung kaya mo, para pag-uwi mo makilala ka pa ng mga magulang mo J
- Shoes or slippers na makapit, yung hinding-hindi ka bibitawan. Haha!
- But you can eat a heavy meal sa carinderia.
- Wet wipes para sa tulad ko na nagshorts lang paakyat dahil muntikan ko nang di makilala ang paa ko sa dumi.
- Loperamide to keep you focused.
- Motivation to keep you going.
Sabi nila, Mt. Talamitam is for beginners. Actually that’s what I’m thinking of as well. Kahit parang gusto ko na sumuko, that’s because of the scorching heat of the sun. Kaya tip lang, mas maaga ang ascent, mas maganda. We ascended ng halos 9 na rin kasi, epic fail. But still we fell in love with the view.
Here’s some of the cost we’ve incurred:
- Cubao to Coastal: Php40 each
- Coastal to Evercrest: Php120 each (pwede na ipadiretso sa Bayabasan, kailangan lang kasi naming i-meet si kuya guide dito)
- Tricycle to jumpoff: Php150/tricycle (eto yung incidental cost namin since di kami dumiretso sa Bayabasan)
- Lunch: Php40 and ulam, Php10 ang kanin, (available at the registration area); Php40 ang Mountain Dew or Buko Juice (depende kung san mo bibilhin)
- Guide Fee: Since cool and very helpful si Kuya, we gave him Php525 (75x7pax) but usually guide fee is pegged at Php400/guide.
- Registration Fee: Php40 each
- Restroom: Wiwi is Php5, Php10 kung di inabutan ka, Php20 kung maliligo ka pa
- Sitio Bayabasan to Cubao: Php150 each
Since I don’t want to bother myself with computations, and may iba pa akong mga gastos bukod dyan, prepare Php700 to ensure na makakauwi ka 🙂
Until next hike!