Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mt Manalmon, San Miguel Bulacan

The 5 day weekend of the October-november holidays has been a great opportunity for a getaway. While we initially agreed to go beaching since it has been a while since we went to a beach, last minute consultation detoured it towards Mt. Manalmon.

I didn’t really want to go climb because of the intense heat of the weather, but it has been argued that Manalmon will be a 1hour climb so it will be ok. Likewise, there is a river within the destination where we could soak, so I gave the beach away.

It was already past 3pm when we left San Simon Pampanga where we were to meet our friends. By 7:10, we were in Madlum where we did the registration. Registration was P5/head and guide was P300/day, which makes it P600 for the overnight trip. It was our first time to do a night climb and given that it was cool, in about past 1 hour, we were already in the campsite. The final 30minutes of the treck is an estimated 65 degrees assault. There was a huge group in the camp, NASAKILAK and another set of 10, nameless. We prepared food immediately as it was past dinner time, and by 10pm, we were ready to booze.

Morning after, we left camp at 9:25 and reached the river before 10am. We prepared lunch and explored the river around. After our luncheon, we headed back to the jumpoff point in Madlum where we’ll proceed with exploring the bayukbok caves. Caving was an additional P30/head. It was 5pm when we got back to the ranger hut in Sibul/Madlum and was ready to leave by 7:15.

For some reason, I forgot to bring my headlamp charging from the socket. Madlum admin rents out gears, and for the headlamp, I paid P30. The stores in the community also have a fair price of goods. Marlboro cigarettes at P30/10sticks. Royal 1.5L at P50.

For caving, make sure to have a meal and enough rest. There will be a lot of cases where you’ll have to pull your body up and steep steps. It is a must to be on tight grip shoes as rocks could be very sharp. It is very muddy inside and it will need an extra pull on the feet to walk on. If I were to do it again, I will consider bringing a hard hat to avoid hitting your head with the stalacmites/stalagmites (don’t really know what’s the difference; too lazy to google). Mosquitto repellent would be almost necessary and ben gay for possible cramps.

A little caution, the river had uneven depth especially deep near the huge boulders of rocks. If you don’t know how to swim and have a lifevest, better have it handy.
If you’ll need to ask for directions along the way, ask for Sibul instead of madlum. According to the guide, people are more familiar with it as sibul than Madlum.

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