Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mt. Cristobal (CrisTrav) | Finishing the Unfinished Business

I can still remember the first time I ascended this mountain, it was March 26, 2012 (the day after I graduated from college). We were also on a quest to traverse this mountain but ended up not pursuing it because of an unexpected circumstance, parang kaming mga basang sisiw noon. You might want to check out that experience in this link: Mt. Cristobal Failed Traverse.

About 9 months have passed, and I, once again, faced the same mountain where, for the first time, I felt that I was defeated.


Sunday - January 6, 2013

Two weeks prior my very much anticipated Mindanao Mountain Madness, my Talomo-Apo megatraverse team decided to have a preclimb event on this so called Devil's Mountain, a traverse dayhike. 
Just for those who do not know what a preclimb is, it is an event, be it a climb or just a simple table meeting, that is usually held a few days or weeks before the main climb event. Participants of the main climb are of course the expected attendees of a preclimb event since it aims to discuss matters that are important and needs the whole group's consent (i.e. meal plan, budget, final itinerary, down payment, load distribution).
Traveled by bus from Manila to San Pablo City then transferred to a chartered jeep for the jump-off in Dolores, Quezon, it took us about 4 hours in total.

When we reached the jump-off at around 08:00 AM, I looked up on the sky, it was so blue, very promising. Of course, it brought big smile upon my face, I knew I will finally get done with my unfinished business in Mt. Cristobal. 

Geared up with my fullest energy, we started the first climb of the year (yes, ito ang unang akyat sa  taong 2013) at 8:30 in the morning.

Promising weather! awesome
Starting from the cell site, we trekked through the concrete road to the Montelibano house, we rested there for some time then carried on through the seemingly endless ascending trail up to the crater area. All in all, we took length of Dolores trail for 3 hours.

along the way to Montelibano House, we saw Mt. Banahaw partially covered by clouds
then we reached Montelibano house at 9:00 AM.
walang tao sa loob
From the Montelibano house, our trek continued on a steep ascending trail through a forest. It was really an exhausting trek, I must say. 
Dahil nga exhausting yung trail, we had some couple of rests along the way.
some parts of the trail were blocked by fallen trees and landslides, kaya medyo kailangan umeffort
Me with my friend Oscar (left) and our very energetic 14-year old guide, Angelo (center). Siya ang salarin kung bakit kami sobrang hiningal sa trail.
The flora has become more fantastic as we reached the crater area. Moss-covered surfaces in the scene
meet the team.
the swamp which is believed to be the crater of Mt. Cristobal
just another captivating scene from the crater area.
It was foggy and drizzly (which is just the normal weather condition in the area) by the time we arrived at the vicinity of the crater swamp. And it was almost 12 noon, everyone's tummy were shouting for  food. No good spot around the crater, the hungry us moved further towards the saddle and there, we settled for lunch.

Bulwagan Saddle campsite, the forever chilly spot in Mt. Cristobal.
We had lunch here after having a great photo op session
After about an hour, the group continued trekking to Jones Peak. Through a maze of talahiban (bigla kong naalala yung experience ko noong first time kong dumaan sa talahiban part na yun, umuulan at giniginaw kami), we reached the peak/viewdeck in no time.

ang napaka-matalahib na trail ng Mt. Cristobal 
reached the place at 12:40 PM.
At first, I thought we will not see the rare clearing in Mt. Cristobal, but surprisingly...

it appeared!
The rare clearing of Mt. Cristobal appeared before us!
One by one, I was able to recognize the mountains to the North and North-West of Mt. Cristobal: Mts. Kalisungan and Atimla, Mts. Sembrano and Tagapo as well as the beautiful Mt. Makiling, and it really made me happy.

Satisfied with what we've seen, we decided to carry on with the trek. From the summit area, our guide led us to a downward trail which was steep and muddy. The only support we could use was the tall talahib found along the trail.

somewhere on those tall grasses is the steep downward trail to  Brgy. Tala in Rizal, Laguna, the end point of our Mt. Cristobal Traverse day hike.
The steep talahiban trail turned to a forest trail after about 30 minutes.. it was however still steep and muddy and slippery. There were several roped segments as well.

as we go along the trail, we would hear butts slamming on the ground
hindi ka in kapag walang putik sa pwet.
The trail remained like that for about 2 hours. We found banana plants and grassland at the end of our steep-muddy-trail ordeal.

gradual descend from this point of the trail
at the foot of Mt. Cristobal, grassland. The trail here was quite confusing, with several splits and branching trails
Along our way down, the view cleared even more. Thus, I got photos of the prominent peaks in Southern Tagalog.

click the photo to enlarge
The time was 04:00 PM, we're almost done with the traverse. We just kept walking, following the trail that soon led us to Brgy. Tala. Then after 30 minutes, we're already done. We finished early, so to kill the time while waiting for our chartered jeep, we went up Tayak Hill which is just nearby (continue reading here).

Tayak Hill seen somewhere from the trail below Mt. Cristobal

It was a nice and refreshing experience at Mt. Cristobal. Really glad to have finished what was left unfinished for 9 months. Awesome! I finally completed a Mt. Cristobal Traverse.  


  1. For guide, you can contact Mang Lucio - 09993903350 . He can also arrange chartered jeep for you :)

  2. Uy kasama nyo pala si Trajan. Nakasama namin sya sa Kanlaon last year. Congrats ulit sa epic Mindanao climbs!

  3. sir magkano guide fee? alam ba ng guide ung trail papunta sa nagcarlan? tnx

    1. We climbed Mt. Cristobal on March 10-11, 2013 and I would say the best yung experience namin. Di man nagclearing at nakita and 7 lakes and other mountains sa Jones Peak but we saw a sea of clouds. It's best to camp overnight para maexperience nyo yung mga fireflies sa palibot nang bulwagan/saddle area. we also saw some rodents. no need for guide pala kami may markings ang trail. sundan nyo lang yung mga nakataling plastics and marking tapes at di kayo mawawala. kung biologist like me, maeenjoy mo ang fauna and flora.

  4. hi ivan, billy to. ung brother ni paul, when will be your next climb ? i want to join. sabihan mo naman ako para macheck ko rin kung pede ako. thanks. nice blogs. i enjoyed reading it!!

    1. abang ka lang sir ng announcement sa FB page ko :)

  5. Hi Ivan, where will be your next climb? i want to join if ill be available too....nice blogs i enjoyed reading it and the pics too....

  6. Sir,

    Baka pwede mo po mapost yung IT nyo ng Cristrav dayhike. Very much appreciated.

    Thank you

  7. Hi sir, ask ko po Magkano po guide sa maktrav. Overnyt po? Pano po pumunta ng hnd na mag rent ng charter jeep.. 5lang po kc kami.. may public jeepney ba n pwedeng sakyan papuntang jump-off? Salamat

  8. Astig ca sir.. Sana makasama kami sa inyo ng super friend co na si Tine..



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