Friday, March 9, 2012

Mt. Tagapo | A Solo Adventure

A day before the climb, I felt the butterflies flying inside my stomach. I was still unsure if I am capable enough to do this solo hike since it will be my first time. But thanks to my mountaineering mentor for reminding me this: "pumunta ka nga ng marinduque mag isa eh. ayun nga ang liit lang na burol/isla" hahaha... My morale was boosted, off I went to my 7th mountain

February 18 is the date that I braved my 7th mountain, and it's quite a different experience since I've done it the "solo way". I got no proper training in this so called "mountaineering", so I just relied on my 2 month old climbing experience for this first solo hike.

Days prior to this climb, I've done a research on how to reach Talim Island (where Mt. Tagapo is located) if I'll be coming from Manila. Thanks to Pinoy Mountaineer site, all my queries were answered. The route: EDSA Crossing - Port of Binangonan - Brgy. Janosa - Mt. Tagapo.

Journey to Talim Island

The time was 8:30 AM, I finally reached Binangonan Port after about 1.5 hours jeepney ride from EDSA Crossing (P41.00). Unfortunately though, I failed to catch the first boat trip to Brgy. Janosa (it left a few minutes before my arrival). Boatmen depend their trips on the inflow of passengers, hence there's no regular schedule of boat trips to Talim Island. So I was left with no choice but to just board the boat and wait until it get filled with passengers.

the Port of Binangonan
Laguna de Bay seen from Binangonan Port
solo at the boat
While waiting, I prayed that fellow mountaineers would board the same boat (umaasang makakasabit ako sa climb nila, since I'm really not familiar with the trail and Talim Island itself). But it never happened, after about an hour and half, the boat left the port of Binangonan.

During the boat trip to Talim, I brought out my camera and enthusiastically took pictures of the things that looked interesting. Late ko nang na-realize that everyone in the boat were staring at me (medyo nahiya ako pero kunyare na lang hndi ko sila napapansin).

there's the summit of Mt. Tagapo aka Mt. Susong Dalaga
Then an old woman asked me, "taga-saan ka iho? halatang dayo ka dito ah (where you from? it's obvious that you're not from here)"

"Opo, taga Manila po ako, aakyatin ko po ang Bundok Tagapo na mag-isa (Yes, I'm from Manila and I'll be climbing Mt. Tagapo solo)," I replied.

The old woman (I forgot to ask her name) was surprised when I said that I'll be hiking solo. "Ang tapang mo naman, ano bang nakukuha mo diyan sa pag-akyat na yan e puro uling lang naman ang makikita mo doon? (You're brave, but what can you get in climbing that mountain? you won't see anything up there but coals)" 

I fell into silent and just smiled at her. But inside my head I shouted, "ito ang kaligayahan ko! (this is my happiness)."

After about an hour of exchanging thoughts and conversing with the old woman (bihira kong gawin iyon, I'm an introvert you know), we reached the port of Brgy. Janosa. I bid goodbye with the old woman since sa kabilang barangay pa siya bababa. I was again on my own.

welcome to Brgy. Janosa
Trek to Mt. Tagapo

My heart broke when it drizzled as soon as I got off the boat, mukhang hindi pa ata ako matutuloy sa solo climb na ito. But God is good, it stopped after about 5 minutes.

I proceeded to the barangay hall of Brgy. Janosa (the jump-off point) right away to register but no one was manning the hall. I asked the tambays around but they don't know as well the whereabouts of the barangay hall's bantay. Lunch break ata nila. I headed to a nearby store and asked if they know where the bantay of the baragay hall is. The lady asked me if I'm a mountaineer, so I said yes (sa loob ko, kunyaring mountaineer lang po) .

kumpleto ito, meron silang CR na pwedeng gamitin
Brgy. Janosa's mini plaza,
surrounded by important buldings like the church and the Barangay Hall 
Ayun naman pala, nasa loob ng tindahan ang bantay. Kuya Arturo, a barangay tanod, asked me if I will get a guide, I said no (wala kasing pera pambayad ng guide - P300). He again asked me if I've been to Mt. Tagapo, I again said no, it will be my first time climbing this mountain. I saw kuya Arturo scratching his head and told me, "seryoso ka, maliligaw ka niyan"

I smiled and told him, "tatanong ko na lang po yung directions, baka may makasalubong naman akong mga mountaineer"

"Nako, wala pang umaakyat, ikaw pa lang ngayong araw na ito," he said.

Upon hearing that, I felt nervous and excited at the same time. Solong-solo ko ang Mt. Tagapo!

After I registered and paid a fee of P20, I asked kuya Arturo for directions. He told me:

• follow the way at the back of the church,
• walk along an alley beside the school then walk across the community until I reach the trail
• follow the main trail beside a riverbed, no right or left turns.
• once you reach the mango tree, look for the trail sign he tied on a branch, follow that trail.
• continue following the trail signs until you reach the summit
(mabilis niyang sinabi yan, buti natandaan ko), 

Kuya Arturo then gave me his number in case of emergency. A few more preparation and I started my trek at exactly 11:30 am.

I simply followed what Kuya Arturo told me. When I reached the school, I entered an alley to a residential area. There, I asked for directions to Mt. Tagapo. I'm glad they all helped me, but all of them kept on asking me why I'm all alone (laging smile lang ang sagot ko sa kanila). I felt better when I finally reached the trail. 

The trail was rocky on the earlier part, and I noticed that there's a dry river bed to my right. It's a gradual ascent so I did not get tired easily. I passed by a bamboo forest until I reached the large Mango Tree that kuya Arturo was referring. I looked around and quickly spotted the blue plastic that he tied on a branch (dito sa climb na ito ko na-realize ang kahalagahan ng trail signs) which led me to a steeper trail. 

inside the bamboo forest
this is the mango tree
to its right, a trail sign is tied on a branch
I continued following the single trail, walang liko-liko. Around 12:10 pm, I rested to drink water. I seated on the ground when suddenly, a snake appeared before me. Instead of fear, I felt amazement (a biologist's instinct I guess). Though, the snake rapidly vanished into the wilderness. After the 5 minute rest, I continued the trek.

By 12:40 pm, I had my first glance of grassland (Mt. Tagapo is popular for its grassy summit). "Malapit na ako sa summit," I told myself while wearing a priceless smile. 

hello Mt Tagapo
the hills are alive.. ansarap magpagulong dito
At the Summit

Wow, I made it all by myself (proudest moment) I conquered my 7th Mountain! I reached the summit at exactly 12:50 pm (1 hour and 20 minutes trekking).

The view was amazing, 360 degrees view of Laguna de Bay, the great Mt. Makiling, even the buildings of Metro Manila, they're all visible from the summit, ang ayaw ko lang ay ang tirik na tirik na araw.

the city's skyline
fish pens of Laguna de Bay,
Mt Makiling covered by clouds
this flag marks the summit
solo climb success
I only spent 20 minutes on top. There's no shade against the midday sun, baka maging tinapa ako if I stayed longer.

The Way Back Home

I started the descent at 1:10 PM. Medyo nagmamadali ako since I still need to catch the Pyromusical in the evening.

Along the way, I came across some mountaineers, and of course I greeted them with the obligatory "magandang hapon mam/sir". Ngayon pa lang pala nag-aakyatan ang mga mountaineer, napa-aga pala ako. I met several more mountaineers when I reached the mango tree.

In less than an hour, I'm back at the jump-off point. And as a reward, I bought a bottle of softdrink. It's kuya Arturo who's manning the store this time, he greeted me. "Nakarating ka na sa summit? ambilis mo sir," he said.

"Madali lang po sundan yung trail, salamat po," I told him while sipping my cold softdrink.

After a few minutes of rest, I walked towards the port to wait for a boat that will bring me back to Binangonan Port. Lucky me, there's already a boat docked at the port so I boarded it right away, but it left after 40 more minutes.  

being chased by birds. nakaka-aliw. andami nila sobra
At around 3:45 pm, I was back again to the mainland. But oops, where can I get a jeep back to EDSA Crossing? I asked the people around and they directed me to the terminal located at the back of the public market. There I found the jeeps bound for JRC. The fare was the same, P41.00 one way.

*for complete itinerary and budget, follow this link

First solo dayhike success!



  1. Good job well done!

    Hindi ka na binata, nak. Lol.

    Gusto ko yung shot na pay fish pens at may birds. Tsaka parang DSLR na rin ang gamit mo sa mga photos ah.

  2. That 'inside the bamboo forest' shot looks like a cut-out from Lord of the Rings - so vibrant and full of color. Congrats on your solo climb. Ang galing mo!

  3. congratulations ivan! Nakaka proud tlaga.. clap clap! hihihi! I've tried climbing Virgin Forest in Coron nung solo trip ko. Pero may sumalubong din na ahas kaya naudlot. Badtrip! hahaha! Dun siya sumuot sa dadaanan paakyat. E di bale na lang. Ayokong umuwing may sawa sa ulo. Valentina?!?! hahaha!

    1. sayang nmn.. dapat tinuloy mo na. mababait namn yun..

  4. parang masaya ang sunrise dyan...pwede ba tayo umakyat tapos overnight tayo?

    1. yun nga, walang matinong campsite... pero maganda nga siguro ang sunset at sunrise doon.

  5. Congrats on your succesful virgin solo climb.

  6. wohow.. congratulations.. thanks for this post, will climb Mt Tagapo on weds, di na rin kami magha hire ng guide... haha.. I envy you, sana makapag solo climb din ako!

  7. Galing! I understand the the butterflies in your stomach pretty well, Ivan. But the point is, you made it -- ALONE. I wish I could go on a hike too one day. This time, sa bundok. I kinda like the more challenging part of trekking the road less traveled, a mountain in this case, than a cove. Hehe ...

    Pag magka-comeback mode na ako.

  8. I remember this mountain is visible from a high building in Taguig. Basta yung shape niya, madali mong matatandaan. This mountain aka Mt. Susong Dalaga... o Batulao naman Ivan!

    1. taralets sa Batulao.. wanna really try that mountain soon.

  9. wow. congrats sa solo climb. pasabit sa susunod ser! ;D

  10. this inspiring climb was really great being solo hiking!wow hope on july i can also climb that mo

  11. Kainggit ka have the guts! I hope I can do it someday...Like your pics...Pasabit next time pag pwede...hehe...Goodluck on your next travel/climb...

  12. Sayang nung ininvite mo ako di ako pwede. Can the two of us go here?

  13. Nice naman neto.... magawa nga to this Monday.....

    Galing... been to several mountains na din pero dko pa na try magsolo climb....pero dahil sa blog na to... gagawin ko na. :)

  14. Napaaga ang plan ko.....

    Dahil sa sobrang nainspired, nachallenge sa blog mo Sir! June 3, kinabukasan nagSolo climb din ako dito.....First time ko din yun magsolo at first time akyatin ang Mt. Tagapo.....

    maraming ligaw na trail pala dun pero was able to reached the summit after an hour.....

    Salamat talaga ng marami sa blog na to for the information.... :)

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  17. ive been reading this for a couple times. pinag iisipan ko pa ng maigi kung mag lalakas loob akong akyatin ito, gustong gusto ko. baka solo, wala naman akong makasama. natatakot pa ako baka maligaw ako. hehe .talim island is about 30 mins away sa bahay ng tita ko. wew.

  18. hi! Tagapo use to be my first dayhike. pero hindi ako kasing tapang mo so i climbed with buddies. next week babalikan ko na sya (tagapo) hehe.

    nakakaaliw basahin yung blog mo sir :-)
    good luck sa mga climbs mo.


    thanks po.

    1. hi po. i plan to climb tagapo one of these days too. baka pedeng sumabay sa inyo. heheh kung ayos lang. but if you intend to do it solo, aus lng po. ;)

    2. Nice! ano po ang target day ng climb mo? solo kayo sir? :)


    3. di ko nga magawa ng solo eh kc baka maligaw pa ako.. hehehe wla pa ako date. hanap pa makasama. ikaw po? may target date nba? malapit lng kc talim samin. cainta lang ako

    4. tiga Rizal din po ako sir Tayuman. hehe.
      how about this coming Tuesday sir?

      e mail tayo :-) graceannagon@y.c

    5. cge po.. email ko kayo.. :) thanks!!

  19. hi Ivan - ask lang - pede kayang magtayo ng tent jan sa mt. tagapo and stay for 1 night? - thanks

    1. sa pagkakatanda ko, parang walang malawak na campsite sa Mt. Tagapo.

  20. may water source po ba na malapit sa campsite?

  21. hi! ngayung mahal na araw marami nanaman siguradong aakyat dito at mg ka-camp for 1 nyt stay! :)

  22. Ngayung mahal na araw madaming mga ka camp ngayun dito sa Mt. Tagapo for 1 nyt! :)

  23. Sir ang galing mo sa solo climb mo.
    Sana magawa ko rin yun.
    Good job!!!

  24. Yay!!! I've done my fifth ascent.. I'm thinking of climbing solo for my 7th, too! try ko rin kaya ang Tagapo??? hhhmmm...Sir, sa tingin mo, pwedeng ko kayang dalhin sa summit mountain bike ko? (experience lang :) )

  25. My Tagapo climb (3rd summit; 5/12/14) was supposed to be a solo hike, inspired by this entry. Alas, I was not ready yet. Someday.

    Congratulations, sir Ivan!

    PS: My Tagapo experience can be read here:

  26. Magsolo hike din ako. Wala naman problema ako lang kasi then girl pa ko. Pero gusto ko talaga. Tas magside trip ako sa falls at cave sa binangonan.



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