Greatest Hits… So Far

We are already halfway through 2014. I started writing this post in January. It was supposed to list ten of my favorite hikes from the previous year. A lot of things happened since then and sadly, I never got to really finish my post.

The Daily Post’s writing challenge this week asks us to “shake the dust off something” and this post (its draft) that I have ignored for so long immediately popped into my head. And since I’ve already hiked several times this year, I’m now making this a list of ten of my favorite hikes so far – and that covers the whole of 2013 and the first half of this year.

I started climbing mountains in February of last year. My first hike (which was in Mt. Gulugod Baboy and which you can read about here) was one of the best experiences I have had. Since then, I have been in 31 different trips, reached 30 different summits, and climbed a total of 37 mountains (including those that I climbed more than once). Of course, with all those mountains I’ve been to, I have my favorites.

10. Mt. Gulugod Baboy

Anilao, Mabini, Batangas
LLA: 13°42’55″N; 120°53’43″E; 525 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: Half-day / 1-2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2

On the 9th of February last year, I had my first taste of mountaineering when we hiked up Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Mabini, Batangas. At 525 meters above sea level (MASL), the mountain is not really that tall, but this did not take away anything from the experience. It was still an awesome adventure. I had a bit of trouble hiking because it was my first time, but the feeling after having reached the summit was well worth it. Also, my first time to camp out on a mountain is an experience that I will never forget. Right then, I knew that I wanted to continue climbing for as long as I can.

9. Mt. Palay-Palay + Monolith

Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas 
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3

Mt. Palay-Palay, more popularly known as Pico de Loro because of its summit shaped like a parrot’s beak, was the fifth mountain I climbed. I remember climbing it with ease because I already had a lot of practice. But it was not the ease of the climb that made me fall in love with Pico de Loro; it was the monolith! The monolith is a rocky outcropping more popularly known as “toreng bato” or rock tower. Standing on top of it felt amazing!

8. Mt. Arayat Traverse

Arayat, Pampanga
LLA: 15.2067N, 120.7441E, 1030 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 5h (North Peak) 8h (South Peak)
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail class 1-4 (10kms)

It was in Mt. Arayat where I first saw a “sea of clouds.” This is what mountaineers here call a phenomenon wherein clouds cover most if not all of the area seen from the summit (or a peak) of a mountain. Aside from seeing this wonderful view, I absolutely loved the campsite. Traversing Arayat in March of this year made me love Arayat even more! We took a different trail going up and headed on to another side of the mountain going down and both trails were amazing.

7. Mt. Pulag (Ambangeg-Ambangeg)

Bokod, Benguet
LLA: 16°34’58″N 120°53’15″E, 2922 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 4-5 hours / 1-2 days
Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-2

Mt. Pulag will always have a special place in my heart. It’s a lovely place! Taking the Ambangeg trail on our way up and down the mountain made this climb very easy. We had a ton of fun during our socials. Eight of us squeezed inside one tent and drank and laughed and shared stories. The extreme cold and humidity made sleeping very difficult, though. But as they say; “no pain, no gain.” In the morning after a very cold and uncomfortable night at camp, I witnessed a magnificent view complete with Pulag’s famed sea of clouds.

6. Purgatory Traverse

Bokod, Benguet
LLA: 1705m (Mangakew); 2290m (Pack); 2080m (Purgatory); 2329m (Komkompol)
Days required / Hours to summit: 2-3 days / 4-5 (Pa); 5-7 (Pu); 9-11 (K)
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 1-3

Along with Mt. Bakian and Mt. Tangbao, we passed a total of six different mountains in this one trip. Called the “Purgatory traverse,” this multi-mountain hike actually takes one to the summits of four mountains: Mangakew, Pack, Purgatory, and Komkompol. We only passed through the trails of Bakian and Tangbao but we did not reach their respective summits. (That’s why I’m not including either on the list of mountains I’ve climbed) This was my first major climb and it was a very good experience. 🙂

That’s it for now. Five of my favorite hikes. It’s not over yet. Hang on for my top 5 hikes (so far)! 😉

To be continued…


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