Up until now, Hindi pa ako nakapag Mt. Pulag kahit Amba-Amba trail man lang. Every mountaineers knew that Mt. Pulag offers a fantastic view of "The Sea of Clouds", however I am not yet physically and equipment ready so I tried choosing other mountain, Mt. Damas.
3 teams, 25 participants, 1 summit
Few of my fellow climbers mentioned that this mountain offers such view kaya am excited for the climb. 5 of us. from Stormchaser Group, joined 20 other participants of the said climb which was hosted by Green Advocates for Mother Earth - Nature Explorers Society of Tarlac (GAME-NEST).
Gearing up for the climb, I prepared 2 packed meals (breakfast and lunch), 2 liters of water, 2 liters of Gatorade and 1 500ml of Powerade. I also bought my first Apexus Tadpole Tent, Trek Pole, 2 pairs of clothes and my climb body Chocobo.
This was my first time to participate on a climb wherein I have no idea what's instore for the 2 day activity since I did not received any itinerary.
We left Manila via Five Star Bus (Cubao Terminal) around 7.30am heading to Camiling, Tarlac. No idea about the distance, we were a bit shocked because we paid 200+ for the fare, indeed it was a long ride.... no wonder ganoon kamahal ang pamasahe.
St. Michael the Archangel
It was almost 12noon when we arrived in Camiling. Some participants were at the market while the others were already at the meeting place. We took the chance to dine first for brunch then head to the meeting place. We passed by the Old and the new church of St. Michael, took some photo Ops. The rest of the team were waiting sa isang truck (hindi ko alam paano idescribe basta truck sya at nagkasya kaming 25 participants plus 4 guides).
It was a very long, bumpy and dusty ride going up to the jump off point. 25 participants took the opportunity to get to know each other while I took the chance to sleep. (kagagaling ko lang from work so basically 12 hours na ako gising noong paakyat palang kami).
The jump off area is a small settlement for locals. We took our late lunch and some orientations. By 3.30pm the hike started. If you're wondering why we started the hike late, it's because our organizers made sure that we will not get to much exposure sa araw to avoid heat stroke and the hike will take about 2 hours.
Prior the said climb, my friends from Stormchaser, Mam Anj and Sir Kevin described the trail going up to the summit as "difficult" due to the assault and descend and that was what was printed in my mind that time. Truly indeed there were assaults and descends yet it was not that difficult. Loose soil made it a little bit hard which causes some of the participants to slip but as a whole, my assessment: Nothing special about the hike going up, typical ascend and descend but it doesn't mean hindi ka magiging extra careful.
By 5.30 or so, 5 of us (Me, Sir Kevin and Rex, Mam Sirikit and Andrea) and the Organiser Sir Alvin were the first people to reached the summit.
The summit offers a small portion wherein it only accommodates 6-7 tents only. A spectacular 360 view of the area and some mountains from a far can be seen like Mt. Arayat. There were 2 campsite sa area, one is just below the summit and the other is sa summit na mismo. Since nauna kami sa taas, we pitched our tent their and got ready for dinner.
The ground was not that flat which makes it hard to sleep at that time plus my location was cliff na ang gilid, I need to make sure na hindi ako mapunta sa left side ng tent, while sleeping, or else sa baba na ako makikita kinabukasan.
Hindi mawala ang socials sa isang climb, this is the time wherein everybody get the chance to know each other. Hindi na ako nagstay masyado ng matagal sa "socials" dahil kailangan ko din bumawi sa tulog and may kunting lagnat din ako that time at gusto ko din maaga gumising at ng masaksihan ang "Sea of Clouds".
Sea of Clouds, asan ka?
I woke up very early dahil sa mga "tweets" ng mga ibon. Hindi alarm clock yan... such refreshing to my ears, the music of nature. Medyo madilim palang noon kaya nagmadali ako lumabas sa tent to witness the "Sea of Clouds", sad to say.... it was a Cloudless morning, such a dismay.
Ok, nakadalawa na si Mt. Damas, my mind was set na sana mag enjoy ako sa Ubod Falls para makabawi naman. Wala ng breakfast pero I took a chance a kumain since maaga naman ako nagising then nagready na for descend and by 8:00am. The descend going to the falls was a bit steep and baging ang hahawakan pababa.......seems exciting, heheheh. Seriously, malaking pasasalamat ko sa trekking pole kasi laking tulong talaga eto to balance me specially sa mga steep na portions.
Kahit hindi kalakasan ang tubig sa Ubod Falls. sobrang babad naman ako. I even took a shot na magstay several time sa base (where the falling water meets the bottom). Sarap sa likod, parang nagpapamassage, although always bear in mind na dahil running water eto and sa brink possible na may bato or mga bato na masasama at baka mahulogan ka. so be careful. (see Ubod Falls Blog entry)
We spent the half day sa Ubod falls, pabalik balik ako maligo at magbabad. Sobrang refreshing kaya solve na ako sa adventure na to. 1:00pm dumating ang last group (medyo mabagal ang pacing nila kaya always nasa huli sila sa trek, later ko lang nalaman na hindi sila regular hikers at may kasamang couple na first time sa ganitong activity..."tindi").
Quarter to 3:00 came and lahat ay ready na to camp out. Boom! wicked short cut ang dinaanan namin. Seriously, the most tiring, hardest traverse so far na naencounter ko. We took a short cut to lessen the time spent sa traverse para iwas gabihin sa trail. We went up sa "Burol", assault was like 80-85 degrees, loose soil at matindi pa din ang sikat ng araw plus nakafullpack pa ako that time kaya pahirapan eto. Upon reaching the top, a minute of walk sa flat surface then boom, descend na wagas, kunting hawakan na mga damo plus may mga halaman na akala mo baging pero punong puno ng tinik..
The Climb ended with a halo halo, naka dalawa ako. A bus was waiting for us para ihatid sa terminal. Before saying our goodbyes sa ibang participants, we had a short dinner sa Chic Boy.
Tired, Cuts and Bruises all over my legs ......... another mountain conquered.
Once again, Thanks to Green Advocates for Mother Earth - Nature Explorers Society of Tarlac (GAME-NEST).
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