My friend Ivy, has a client who’s a member of a mountaineering group in Tarlac. For that weekend, we did not have any plan in place, and since anywhere is a better option to staying at home, we thought about taking the invite.
This will be the first time we, along with my drinking buddies, will be taking a hike as a weekend activity. The hike is expected to be completed in less than 2 hours. We, along with my buddies, agreed to meet by 8am at Ivy’s house in Mabalacat, Pampanga, and from there, we shall meet the mountaineers by 10am in Mcdonalds in Tarlac City.
It does not come as a surprise though that my buddies come delayed. We got completed at Ivy’s house by only 9:30 and had to leave late from Mcdonalds Tarlac at past 11am.
From Mcdonalds, there was a chartered jeep to get us to San Jose Tarlac. By 2pm, we were at the hill and wasted to no more time. The seniors were asking us if we’ll get porters, but that’s never on our limited budget. Besides, being the younger ones, we prefer to take the challenges as is.
|kicking it off|
Within only 20mins of treck, and perhaps less than a hundred steps from the hill, one friend Julie was having her asthma already; Another invitee, Gelo, was feeling his cardiac; Another, Joanne, was complaining how tired she is and that she wouldn’t want to proceed.
|starting with the slopes|
The senior mountaineers were surprised and said this will be the first time there will be someone to quit. Meantime, Dra. Go was saying since it is our first time, we’ll just have to rest every so often, and take more water. It was compelling how she tries to motivate us to complete and see what it feels like up there...further, perhaps, to get us into mountaineering as a habit. Since Julie’s asthma is the more serious of all complaints, I took her luggage to loosen her up.
|rest after 10 mins... :-)|
Indeed, we stopped at every place possible. We took all pictures we could at the view. Midway through, we had only 3Liters water for 7 people. Everyone was saying that the next time we’ll have to hike, apart from our luggages, we’ll get 2 extra porters to carry each of us in a hammock, like we were madame Cleopatra, or Queen Tamad.
|tonton's shoes giving it up|
We reached the summit at almost 5pm. We’ve set up 2 tents for the 7 persons, both loaned by Dra. Go. We reheated the prepared asado, and had our dinner. At 7 pm, we started the socials. The seniors were having the san Miguel light in cans, and we the juniors had 4 D’bar vodkas.
|and some more rests|
....after all that much alcohol, I am excused for not remembering anything
|and finally getting there|
It was roughly 7 am when we woke up, brushed, and had breakfast. Right after, we set to pack up and explore the nearby Bungkol Baka etc.
|and my neglegted feet|
Compared to what we’ve gone through going up, moving from mountain to mountain and eventually downwards was probably 5 times more difficult. Some slopes would be too lean, and either they’re slippery dry sand or hard rock where you can’t hold to anything. I bet if I’d fall there, there’s not even time to yell for help as i’d drop directly to some sharp stones which I could see from where I stand.
By 11 am, the senior were already at the host in the village getting ready for our assumptous luncheon; Where, we, well...we were still working our way through the bushes and trying to figure out how we can get to the host house before the seniors finally give up waiting and think about leaving us.
|the crime buddies again|
We were 2 hours behind the seniors and as I had been dehydrated, and all my mates were with the guides anyway, I thought about going ahead. I took the rest of the trail myself through the cemetery and then through the villages. When I got there, the seniors were almost done with their lunch and i was too shy to join them. By the time they arrived, we were all asked to finish lunch asap as the seniors will have some other affairs later in the afternoon.
|now with everybody else|