Being a common site for many trail running events, Sapang Uwak trail is actually more popular to trail runners than regular hikers. Its 28-km trail length has long been a challenge to all sorts of adventurers. Usually, hikers would give it one day up to Patag Campsite, spend a night there, continue to the crater the following day and descend the mountain that same day. Giving it a total of 2 days of an adventure.
But not so very long ago, I participated in an event arranged by Sabit-Sabit mountaineers, which aims to hike Mt. Pinatubo via Sapang-uwak trail in just one day. I know, that 50+ kilometer (balikan) in a day sounds a bit absurd, but the fact that a few groups have already done it in the past encourages me to bite this crazy idea. Bahala na si batman.
Sunday - April 6, 2014
A van full of adventurous souls left Manila at around 12 midnight. The catch is, if we want to finish early, we must as well start very early. Organizers of the hike have made the necessary arrangements with the Sapang Uwak Tourism prior to our hike so getting to the jump-off point went pretty smoothly. Meron kasing check point en route to Sapang Uwak Village. No permit would mean illegal entry, thus bawal tumuloy.
It was 3 in the morning when we arrived at Sapang Uwak Village, and right away we began hiking. Accompanying us were 2 aeta guides from the village. By the way, Sapang Uwak is an aeta village.
The trail was rather friendly during the first few hours of our hike. It was a long open dirt road with a seemingly never ending series of uphills and downhills. The sun hasn't pierced the dark sky just yet so I was kind of clueless how the environment looked like on the early parts of the trail.
|Two hours into trekking, the sun finally showed up, revealing the distinct contour of Mt. Arayat.|
When the sun came out, I realized that our team of 18 was already divided into three subgroups. First group is the relaxed pacers who are eagerly marching forward despite being left behind, the second group are the mid pacers (where I belong) who are trying their best the catch the 3rd group, the third and last group are the fast pacers who actually ran the trail in fear that the mid pacers would catch up with them.
|At first, petiks lang ang trek, pero habang tumatagal, nakakapagod na din. Walang katapusang ups and downs.|
|Wild sunflower along the trail|
|As time goes by, the hike has become more arduous. Parang wala nang katapusan.|
|sandwich break para sa mga kumakalam ang sikmura|
|Steep ascent past Miyamit Junction|
By 10 AM, hints that we're hiking an active volcano began to show up. The trail that was originally composed of brown compact soil begins to transform into grey course sandy surface. So as the vegetal cover, from dense green trees and banana plants, tall grasses became more common. Having been to a number of mountain that is volcanic in nature, that environmental transition was quite familiar.
|grassland cover on sandy surface, senyales na malapit na kami sa volcanic crater. Senyales din na kelangan na magpayong kasi sobrang init na.|
|feels like trekking on lahar field. Konti na lang, malapit na.|
Excited and expecting, I rushed towards the high ground. I was hoping that the crater summit was well within reach once I reach the top. So I ran. Tumakbo ako kahit init na init at uhaw na uhaw. When I got there, however, I realized how far we're still from reaching our destination. What we saw was a valley separating the ground where we're standing and the likely crater summit. Amazingly, we saw the fast pacers group already at the top, probably chilling and celebrating their victory.
|10 x zoom. The fast pacers already chilling at the crater rim.|
Since it was almost noontime, we decided to move on and march down towards the valley so we can have our lunch there. To get down the valley, however, one must scramble down the very steep trail, which for me, was the most challenging part of the entire hike. It was so steep, probably 80 degrees. and there were no strong roots nor branches to cling on as we go down. Not to mention, the very lose ground.
|Characterized by being sun-exposed and has very lose ground, this part of the trail proved to be the most challenging part of the trek.|
|Quick lunch break bago ratratin hanggang crater rim.|
|konting tiis na lang!|
|spotted along the trail, pitcher plant|
|At last, the peak of Sapang Uwak trail.|
|Blessed to get a clearing we wished for. In a flash, napawi ang pagon namin. Believe me, mas nakakatulala ang view na yan sa personal.|
|toinks. Batang Lakwatsero sa Mt. Pinatubo.|
|green valley as seen from Pinatubo crater.|
I did not hike for a month after this long dayhike of Mt. Pinatubo. Indeed, Sapang Uwak dayhike is challenging.
Another successful volcano adventure for Batang Lakwatsero. For more volcano adventures, check out the following links: