The wind was howling with the cogon grass dancing its rhythm, it was foggy creating a mystical ambiance, the trails slippery and muddy, it was cold and they were soaking wet. But it was their last 400 meter push towards the summit.
Last Saturday on August 4, 2012, it was another adventure as the team of 11 climbers braved the rain and hiked Mt. Manabu
in Sto.Cruz, Batangas. Two other trips Mt. Pulag
in Benguet and Mt. Cinco Picos
in Zambales had been cancelled due to sporadic landslides and a very risky river crossing, but Mt. Manabu on the other hand, gratefully enough, allowed the team to climb up and visit its glory.
As expected, the hike would be much more challenging with its muddy trail due to the intermittent rains which fell the previous day. The climb even became trickier as the rain welcomed the group as they started. Despite the rain, it did not let the spirit of adventure die down. The group, led by Coby Sarreal and Joel Grande, had that thrill of adventure inside them that even with the dampening situation, saw the beauty beyond it.
Nature, rain specifically, has its own charm to craft an even more scenic forest and this was evident all throughout the trails. It had brought the fog just below the mountains crawling upwards, creating a nostalgic feel of the northern mountains. This allowed us to bathe in the rain, and reminisce the times when we children going out to play as if no one was watching.
In the middle of the trek an early treat was to be had, as they cherish the brewed alamid coffee served by Mang Pirying, a famous local and landmark of the mountain.
As they pushed towards the summit the group was welcomed by a weather of strong winds blowing from all corners matched by drizzles. With this, one of the climbers even shouted “Face massage!” enjoying and savoring the moment. After which the team finally arrived at the summit of Mt. Manabu with its cross as its marker.
When it was time to descend, they chose to use the other trail to complete a Mt. Manabu circuit. This proved to be much of a challenge, as numerous rattan plants blocked their way, making the difficulty of the climb raise to another level. With the help of Joel and his skills the group was able to make its way unscratched. It wasn’t all throughout challenging, as numerous fruits were abundant, to name a few were Katmon and Santol. On the way back to the summit, some of them even enjoyed the coconut and avocados from the local farmers, which were ridiculously inexpensive.
The climb with all its stories was shared over delicious native chicken as Tinola served by the locals.
Congratulations to the first timers!