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|
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|
"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|
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
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
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|
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|
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|
*for complete itinerary and budget, follow this link
First solo dayhike success!