Monday, October 31, 2011

Mt. Maculot- Cuenca, Batangas - October 2011

Disclaimer: Im not an experienced climber and to that matter, with handicaps. I’m overweight and is coping up with a knee injury I’ve inflicted on myself doing a first 10K run a few years back. Bottom line, use this info as reference but don’t take it from a noob hiking enthusiast.

I have done Mt. Manabu twice and twice learned a lot of lessons the hard way, even when I came mostly prepared the second time. I must admit that Mt. Maculot was a relief of some sort, given that it wasn’t raining unlike the 2 times I climbed Manabu.

7:30AM. Our two man group, Gerald and I, met at Robinsons Lipa.
To get there, I took the bus at Buendia Taft-going to Batangas, boarded off Star Toll exit (Tambo exit) and took the jeep to Robinsons. There are jeeps going to Cuenca in front of the mall which we took and boarded off at the Cuenca Municipal town hall. We loaded up at the nearby eatery and took the tricycle to the jumpoff. There is a mountaineers stop (Ka Manuel) a few meters before the area to load and clean up as well.

  • ·         The trail is more or less a 2hour assault.
  • ·         Hardcore tip is to progress slow but non stop. You’ll be there in more or less an hour.
  • ·         There are lots of mini stops as well to sit and catch breath.
  • ·         Expect your heart rate to near max.
  • ·         Cover up, there are mosquitos, ants and blade grasses, especially near the summit camp.
  • ·         Dont get lost. It is to your physical and psychological advantage to be with someone who knows the trail as even those who previously climbed Maculot, take the wrong fork.
  • ·         Pick up garbage along the way and don't add up to the pollution, please.
8:50AM-11:20AM. After about 2.5hours of streak-rest-streak, we reached our destination. An awesome view of Batangas and Taal lake. Up the summit camp, there is a small store that offers most of what you’ll need.. or want. Softdrinks, Liquor (Grandma, Gin...), Yosi, Gatorade, Finger foods, and they’ll even cook the instant noodles for you. It’s convenient for those who come less prepared. Of course, that sort of stuff is gold’s worth (say x4 the price) as they need to carry all those just because you can’t or don’t want to. This is not the real summit but here can be found what is awesome in Mt. Maculot... The rockies.

An assault almost 50degrees (I assume) with boulders you’ll need to scramble (crawl on 4s) to make your way pass. Virgins usually bump their heads (as I did) at the second or third boulder block. It’s a nice climb and you’ll get to the top in about 15mins. I can’t justify how awesome it is up there by describing, even with the photos, so I leave it to entice any enthusiast reading this to visit the place. Then again as a personal note, don’t mess up the mountains and come prepared. Don't mistaken climbing this mountain to awesomeness, as I noticed in some of the guests.

There’s also the grotto for those seeking penance or just want to photo bomb with the cross. We didn’t bother pass by... sorry Jesus, maybe next time.

The protrek reads 760MASL at the summit camp and 775MASL at the rockies. (Pinoy Mountaineering reads it 706+ at summit-so I definitely have some calibration issues with the PRG-130Y. 

We were down in no time starting descent at 4pm and reaching the jump off at 5:30pm. A bit of relief that we passed the 6pm mark as darkness is always creepy besides the ghost stories I read from other blogs. Gerald also mentioned that someone committed suicide jumping off the cliff at the rockies. What's disturbing is that HER spirit is sometimes seen by guests and even tags along with them. I'm sure there are a lot more creepier stories during overnight socials.

  • Bus to Lipa-P124x2=P248(back and fort)
  • Jeep to Rob-P8
  • Jeep to Cuenca-P24x2=48(back and fort)
  • Morning meal-P57
  • Tricycle-P20x2=P40(back and fort)
  • Environmental/Registration fee-P10
  • 1.5L Coke-P135/2=P67.5
  • Mountain Dew at Eatery-P12x3(I had two and I got Gerald 1)=P36

Total : P514.50

Coordinates from the summit camp.
Coordinates from the Rockies.
First Mini Stop. Buko Juice for sale.
Catching breath.
Nearing the summit camp.
When there are lots of Blade Grasses, you're near the top. Plus, if you keep your eyes open, theres actually a rock with writings on it saying, "Malapit na Po."
Thats a 711 to your right and a small hut-almost standing, hardly usable but an added protection against the heat of the sun and rain.
Business up Maculot.

Friend of Lem Pascual. Christopher Puso.
From a top the Ledge before assaulting the rockies.
Man made Army commemoration.

Gerald and his Deuter Act Lite 32L.
Rockies assault.

Videoke or some event, still heard from 775MASL.

Finding shade and a little comfort from rocks.
A bunch taking photos of a snake they found.
Catwalk, edge of the rockies.

Post Climb Assessment:
  • Bring at least 2L of water, not 1.5L.
  • Will need to retire the Merrel Ottawa Water Pro due to tight toe room, les use the Sandugo slippers.
  • Pack lighter.
  • Thin clothing is good, but dry fit is still the way to go.
  • Sunblock... Its easy to forget sunburn while enjoying the view from the rockies.
  • Open patella support, left knee.

PS: Upon registration, We noticed a family of about 8-10 members signed up the log book ahead of us, same day. We were able to catch up with the dad and his son resting in one of the mini stops. We had a little chat and found out that they opt not to full fill the climb as the Dad was worried about the child's condition. Enrico, 8 or probably 10 year old slim kid on glasses. Said that he has a rare condition called Kawasaki disease. A very deadly and traitor condition that even fit and active athletes die on the spot when the heart failure kicks in. We know that they did their research and that they come from a well to do family as the dad tells us bits of info about the origins, preemptives and probable source of this rare disease... oh and that we were conversing in English most of the time.
It was a sad moment but Gerald and I felt that we should at least give the kid some inspiration. Enrico is determined but the father is afraid of what worst may come.
"Im sure you have your reasons, wanting the kid to do the climb given his condition. Im not a parent yet but if be of any inspiration.. and I totally understand how you feel as a parent, not wanting to lose him... I guess maybe it would also be good to consider letting him do what will make him happy given that he's a ticking bomb and could go "out" any time." Those were my words to the dad. He politely answered, maybe when he's old enough to decide what he wants to do.
I was reminded of how unfair life is for some and how many junks its value... and here a kid who could die any time with Tiger determination and a parent who doesn't want to lose the kid by protecting him against what may trigger the condition...
Hopefully this is not my last Maculot climb, but the first of many. A place to refresh and re-evaluate purpose, appreciate nature and life, relax, replenish and be reminded that life is awesome even as we live it at its simplest, that, at least for myself.