Thursday, February 16, 2012

Picking Some Lorry Atop Pico de Loro

Not all people appreciates the challenge of a good trek. This I found out when I couldn't get our barkada to join us trekking. We just sent out an invite to anyone who came to mind instead. ( anyone reading this can contact me in case interested to join the next trip. Bear in mind we are slow though.:) ) Therefore, the group I was with conquering Pico de Loro was mixed with old and new-found friends alike.

Leaving Manila at 4.00 am, we followed the easy directions which generally told us to head for Puerto Azul from which point we got confused where to go, even after asking several locals. (The trick was to head for the other road (not the gated one which is Puerto Azul itself until you see the sign below not very far from the fork of the road.) 

We eventually found it at around 7.00 am and registered (20 php per person) and paid for parking (50 php per car) and off we went. The start of the trek is a little way back to where you came from where a path opens with a bamboo bench to the right.

We trekked mostly down the mountain from where we came from for an hour until we reached a stopover where we registered once again (another 20 php per person). We thought we were halfway at this point only to find it was just a fourth of the total trek. 

It was mostly flat fields for an hour and then an hour of killer continuous trek up. (My poor, poor knees!) Several times, we felt lost only to find ribbons tied on the trees to tell us we're in the right path. I felt like, and did sing a line ( all that I know ), "tie a yellow ribbon tree." only now that I am home and have Internet did I learn I got the one line wrong, should've been "tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree" and that I actually sang it to the tune of "Yellow Lemon Tree." Forgive me, music is not a strong point of mine. Nevermind, my companions got what I wanted to sing. 

We were arguing whether to go through the gate or not since that would usually mean "private property" but there was a ribbon there and so we went on.

I must say, pro mountaineers we met on their way down truly helped ease the weariness with their friendly greetings of "Good morning Ma'am/Sir" (Apparently that's how mountaineers address each other), "enjoy" and my favorite, "You can do it! Just 10 minutes more!" Of course, they wrongly estimated the time since we were traveling at a much slower pace than they do. After 3 hours of hard, hard labor though, we suddenly reached a clearing with some groups of bamboo scattered about and we realized we have reached the peak! Hooray!!! We drop our things and eat our meager pan de regla (menstruation bread) and Reno Liver Spread while rewarding ourselves with the scenic view. Once again, we were unprepared for our great hunger! 

As usual, Argel my dearest gay friend asked for a photo session from Meh which burned their faces red. :)

After some rest, Fred and I decided to explore more and realized we weren't at the apex yet! It was a heart-failing climb up. The trail was not a trail but rather rocks with handholds and footholds that you climb almost 90degrees up. I have to admit, I didn't reach the top. I went chicken. There were many professional or else much much more experienced mountaineers on their way up and I was in their way and so at a point just before the summit, I stopped and turned back. (The view from up the cliffs really knocked my dizzy as well.) Fred could've gone on but was too much a gentleman to leave me. It was sad that we didn't have any camera with us to take a picture of how high we were up! When we went back to our "camp", it was 1.00 pm, the time to take a group picture and go back down. It was an easier task going down although much more slippery ( I must've slipped three times, clumsy me! ). 

On our way down, at the sign of Pico De Loro after the gate, we turned to the other trail, which led us to a waterfalls. It was small and nothing majestic, but it was fresh cold water in a cool cove. 

After some 10 minutes of rest we continued our way back. With less rest stops, we touched base quicker than expected at 4 pm. Then it was time to go back to Manila. 

This is my first (well, only) mountain climbing experience and already, I'm eager to go for more. Meh had even texted me saying she misses the body ache. Ha. Ha. Well, same here.  :) 

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