The loud alarm woke me up, it was 4:30AM of March 31st. Usually I will be annoyed of the sound of my alarm clock, but this time, it’s a different feeling. This will be the day that I will re-visit Pico de Loro.
The meet up at the Ternate Municipal Hall was scheduled at 8:00AM, at least 11 people have confirmed their attendance for this much awaited climb. According to the weather bureau, there will be rain during the weekends, and it looks like we will be trekking on a rainy day. It was raining the whole week, a storm build up was spotted far south in the Mindanao area and threatened to affect even the Visayas and Mindanao. But it didn’t kill our spirit, the group was determined to scale the mountain. Of course, all safety precautions and warnings were taken seriously.
There are lots of reason why I was so excited in pursuing this climb, it was set to be the training climb for Mount Tapulao which is scheduled later this month, secondly, I got a new bag, it was a Deuter Act Lite 35+10 SL and just being with friends who enjoys nature as I do is enough reason to be excited.
With all things in order, I left the house before 6:00AM, I’ve estimated my travel time to Ternate to take at least an hour and a half, though it was just around 30 kilometers, tranferring from 1 public transport to another will eat up much of my travel time, a tricycle ride from our village to the jeepney waiting area, the jeepney ride to the bus stop and finally the bus ride to Ternate.
I arrived at Ternate shortly after 7 o’clock, then a few minutes later I received a text message saying that part of the group were at the Ternate public market taking their breakfast while the group from Manila is about 45 minutes away. At about 8:00AM, the group coverged at the Municipal Hall with the rented jeepney already waiting for us. The group decided to pass by the public market for the last minute marketing before proceeding to the DENR registration area.
The sun was up when we started trekking, everything seems to be in order except the weight of the bag that was hanging on my back. Sir Jim weighed it before we left Ternate and it registered 16.57 kilograms! That would be 1.5KG for the bag, more or less 3KG for the tent, 3KG of water (1KG per 1L), about 4KG for the food, cookset & stove combined plus another 5 or more kilos for clothes and other necessities.
Since it was a training climb, the pace was a little bit faster than our Mount Maculot climb, Sir JR was the designated pacer while Sir Jim was the sweeper. The target was to arrive at the camp site in 3 hours time.
There were not much rest stops taken, besides the usual base camp 1 and Alibangbang park, we only stop whenever it’s necessary. It only took us 3 hours and 57 minutes to reach the camp site.
Upon arriving at the campsite, the weather started to show signs of rain, the group decided to pitch our tent and then the rain starts pouring. As a safety precaution, we need to cancel our summit assault.
We consumed the remaining time talking, eating and appreciating the view from above, by 6:00PM, dinner was served. During the socials, we faced 2 bottles (long neck) GSM Blue alongside the usual talks of anything under the sun (or the moon to be more accurate), that’s the fun part, the hassle came after we called it a night (10:00PM to be exact), a group of more or less 20 persons arrived at the camp site and started talking while pitching their tents, that’s normal though, but the problem was, it didn’t end even after they’ve finished pitching the tents, they went on with their non-sense talk (and even shouting & cursing) until around 4:00AM the next day.
Everybody was pissed! Sleep deprivation was not on the list of our expectations in climbing Pico de Loro, more so, all of us would rather enjoy the serenity of being away from the hustle and bustle of city life. That sucks, but the scene reminde me of what the culture of Pico de Loro was and is still today. The noise and partying remained as it was before, we (not SMB Mountaineers, but my hiking buddies then) used to be them in the late 90′s, now I understand why other campers would shout (and curse) us then.
All of our anger vanished when we reached the summit, despite the strong winds and the difficulty of the assault, the view from above was breathtaking, from there you will be able to see how great God’s creation was. It’s beyond definition.
From the summit, we broke camp and started our descent to our next destination at 8:00AM, our next stop will be at the falls. The small amount of rain has brought enough water to flow at the falls, normally during summer, the falls will dry out, that’s another blessing to count, we soke ourselves to the cold water, nothing beats a cold “shower” after a long day of walk.
Overall, it was fun, for me it was a test of my endurance, I tell you, carrying that 16.57 kilos of load in my back for 3 hours and 57 minutes was no joke! I have endured the more than 6 kilometers anf trekking carrying the heavy load, no way I will do that again. Maybe another training climb before Mount Tapulao, MakTrav (Makiling Traverse) or Mount Batulao will be good.