Of Mountains and Goals

Another continuing theme of this blog will be mountaineering. It is perhaps the one thing I am most passionate about. Mountaineering for me is not just a sport or a recreation, it is a way of life, an expression of self, and a practice of faith and devotion.

Here is a list of my top ten goals in relation to mountaineering:

1. Climb Mt. ApoWithout a doubt, climbing the highest mountain in the archipelago has crossed every mountaineer’s mind. At 9,692 ft., Mt. Apo is the Philippine’s highest and most prominent peak. Climbing it would usually require a 3-day expedition passing steep slopes, virgin forests, huge boulders, and even sulfur vents. With fantastic views of Davao and North Cotabato and amazing landmarks like Lake Venado and Bongolanon Falls, Mt. Apo is one of the most rewarding climbs in the country.

Updates: Read about my first Mt. Apo climb here: Climbing Mt. Apo

My second ascent of the Philippines’ highest peak is my toughest climb to date (Oct. ’14). Story here: The Talomo-Apo Megatraverse.

Mt. Apo
Me with Mt. Apo as background (top left), Group with Mt. Apo as background, taken from Lake Venado (top right), Group at the summit (bottom left), Me at the summit (bottom right)

2. Climb D2K. “D2K” is what most mountaineers call the traverse from Mt. Dulang-Dulang to Mt. Kitanglad. In one expedition, the most dedicated hikers will be able to climb two of the most prominent mountains in the country. At 9,649 ft. (only 43 feet short of Mt. Apo’s height), Dulang-Dulang is the second highest peak in the country; while Kitanglad is the fourth (9,511 ft.)

Update: We were supposed to do a D2K traverse back in May but due to unfortunate circumstances, we were only able to climb Mt. Kitanglad. (There’s always a next time!) Read about the Kitanglad climb here: Taking on the Trails and Riding the Rapids.

 3. Climb Mt. Pulag (several times, completing all four trails). There are a total of four known and established trails going to the summit of Luzon’s highest mountain. There is the Ambangeg trail which is the easiest, the Akiki trail which is the hardest, the Tawangan trail which is said to be (and arguably) the most beautiful, and the Ambaguio trail which is the longest. The first three trails start from Benguet, while the Ambaguio trail starts from Nueva Vizcaya. All trails eventually lead to the summit of Mt. Pulag where hikers can sometimes see its famed “sea of clouds.”

Updates: I have already climbed Mt. Pulag twice. (November 2013) In my first climb, we took the easiest route possible: Ambangeg-Ambangeg. When I next climbed it, we took the much harder but definitely much more scenic Akiki-Ambangeg trail.

Mt. Pulag
Eddet River, Akiki trail (left) Group Pic, Akiki trail (center) Summit; sea of clouds (right)

 4. Climb Mt. Kanlaon. Mt. Kanlaon is an active volcano. If that is not enough reason, it is also the highest mountain in Visayas. And if those still cannot convince you of Kanlaon’s majesty, it is also the Philippines’ largest active volcano. Climb. It. Now!

 5. Finish Luzon 3-2-1. Luzon 3-2-1, meaning one climbs Luzon’s three highest mountains in one go. Mt. Timbak – Mt. Tabayoc – Mt. Pulag. Completing this would require one to take Pulag’s Tawangan trail. All three mountains are among the Philippines’ 10 highest.

6. Climb the 10 highest mountains in the Philippines. And they are: Mt. Apo, Mt. Dulang-Dulang, Mt. Pulag, Mt. Kitanglad, Mt. Kalatungan, Mt. Tabayoc, Mt. Ragang, Mt. Maagnaw, Mt. Timbak, and Mt. Amuyao. I still have eight to go. XD

7. Climb at least 1 active volcano in each of the Philippines’ main islands. Some of Luzon’s active volcanoes are Mts. Banahaw, Mayon, Pinatubo, and Taal. In Visayas, there’s Mt. Kanlaon. Mt. Hibok-Hibok is one of the most famous active volcanoes, it is in Mindanao.

 8. Finish at least 3 9/9 climbs. 9/9 here signifies the degree of difficulty of climbing a mountain. Of course, it goes from 1/9 – 9/9. Some of my choices are: Mt. Halcon in Mindoro, Mt. Guiting-Guiting in Romblon, Mt. Mantalingajan in Palawan, and Mt. Sicapoo in Ilocos Norte.

 9. Do a solo hike. Doing a solo hike, as well as any other hikes, comes with both risks and rewards. In solo hiking, however, one increases the risks. There are upsides and downsides to solo hiking and it remains to be one of the most debated topics in mountaineering.

 10. Climb a mountain outside the Philippines. Because of its fame and its proximity, most Filipino hikers start with Mt. Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. There are , of course, a huge number of alternatives. Some of the closest to the Philippines are: Mt.s Rinjani and Kerinci in Indonesia and Mt. Doi Inthanon in Thailand. Personally, some of my (eventual) goals are the Canadian Rockies; Europe’s Mt. Olympus, Mt. Elbrus, and Mt. Vesuvius; Taiwan’s Xueshan (Jade Mountain) and Yushan (Snow Mountain); Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Mt. Huashan in China. Mt. Huashan is dubbed by many as the world’s most dangerous trail because of this.

That’s it. Please wish me luck. 😉

This is a “sub-list” of my 30 BEFORE 30 list. Please click the link to know more about it. I hope it gets you inspired to live life to the fullest! Carpe diem! 😉


16 thoughts on “Of Mountains and Goals

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