Friday, February 17, 2012

Mt. Maculot - Cuenca, Batangas - Febrauary 2012

You know you're out of shape when you easily pant, suffer knee inflammations at a rated 3/9 minor trek and finish a 2hour climb/descent more than the projected. Then again the latter is debatable and panting is expected when you do Mt. Maculot..

Mt. Maculot Redux. I was invited by couples Gian and Leo to join them do Maculot. My wife was then forced to get herself some clothing and gear to abide by my invitation to drag her with me. So it was the 4 of us.
We took the same route when I first did Maculot with only a few differences.
  • 3am-4:30am - Bus at Cubao Araneta - Old Puregold area. To Batangas, Tambo Exit. (P132x2)
  • 4:30am-5:15am - Tapsi at Tessies Goto - Tambo Exit. (P60x2)
  • 5:15am-5:45am - Jeep to Cuenca - (P20x2)
  • 5:45am-5:55am - Tricycle to Jump off, passed by Barangay Registration. (P20x2 + P10x2 Environmental Fee)
  • 6:15am-9:05am - Trek to Campsite, rest then off to the Rockies.
  • Lunch at the Rockies.
  • A Cold Refreshing Sprite care of the 711 at the Campsite (P35x2)
  • 12:45 Descent.
It took us a while climbing up as my wifes knees were manifesting inflammation, the more when we went down. We took the pace slow, catching up with Gian and Leo at the Kusina stops (those small tables and benches you stop over after every a few tens of minutes.). So if you plan on doing Maculot, make sure you do a lot of knee exercises to strengthen your knee joints and shins. Wear a patella band to make sure your knee movement doesn't derail causing stress on your patella tendons.

What you are up against.
As I said in my previous post, Mt. Maculots rockies is a more or less 2hour Assault. Assault as a technical term, by my own definition is the final difficult ascents up a summit. For the less fit, Maculot is not an easy climb nor a walk in the park type of climb. Think of it as a Not So Defined StaircaseThe Trail requires good balance and strong knees to lift yourself up and crawl up roots and boulders at times. Bring at least 1 trekking pole. I was able to pick up a bamboo stick which I thanked a lot for being around as it was a big help in keeping my balance especially on the way down.
The Campsite at 700+MASL, by the way, is not the real summit. There is the Grotto and the Summit at around 500 and 930MASL respectively. Expect another few minutes of trek once up the Campsite onwards the best part of Mt. Maculot-The Rockies. Here can be seen an awesome view of Taal lake and the Taal Volcano. It can get pretty windy up the Rockies which can detach you thinking you're not getting fried by the sun, so its always a good idea to protect yourself.
We were back at the Jumpoff at around 545pm and cleaned up at Ka Manuels. A pail of water costs P15
Some things to be thankful for. 
It was a good thing it didn't rain during our climb and most specially, the descent. The weather is not A1, as it has been raining the whole week, and at the area, the day before. It would have definitely made things worst for us. Thank you as well to Gian and Leo who patiently waited and helped carry my wifes bag and lent us a pole to assist in lessening the stress on her knees. 
  • 1 pail of water to clean up. P15 (We used Gians unused extra pail)
  • Tricycle to Highway - P20x2
  • Cuenca Jeep to Lipa Robinsons - 24x2
  • Dinner at Robinsons Lipa
  • Bus to Ortigas - P125x2
Approximate Expense for 2: P907
*Not including Dinner, Packed Lunch, Trail Food, Water and Fare going to and from Bus stations.

Given what we have subjected ourselves to, I realized that there is actually some relief in overnight hikes. That you get to rest and gather enough time to recover, and you pace with less pressure and care. I hope to arrive at that joy in climbing, that I get to, even without the comforts of a real bed and civilization, rest my head upon an aching body and appreciate the outdoors longer.
I was able to put some gear to a break-in.
  • New balance 411 - P1.7k Purchased at a Surplus Shop. Traction and Toe comfort is great. Much better than the Merrel Ottawa Water pro. Significantly cheap yet qualifies to my needs.
  • Deuter 3L Source - P1.7k Purchased at Habagat. The dillema with Mineral water containers is that the huge ones tends to affect your bags balance when you stick them at the side.
  • Lagalag trekking pants - P1.2k Purchased at Habagat. Although not convertible, the knee area is padded by a double layer of the main material which protects and makes it comfortable specifically when doing bent knee climbs.

Headware freaks
Resting at one of the pitstops
Kusina Pitstop, almost near the Campsite.

A mark left by the Philippine Airforce
A thick dip thru Vegetations, before assaulting the boulders at the rockies.
At the Rockies, left side.
At the Dila or tongue part of the Rockies.

Our make shift slanted table when we ate lunch at the rockies.

Most of the Videos were taken by Gian which I edited and compiled.

PS: On the way back, we were able to encounter, "Weekend Warriors". I mean this in ridicule of how people take for granted and disregard what the mountains can subject them to. The first batch at the rockies, has a guy wearing maong pants and addidulas rubber shoes, much like he was just about to go to a mall to stroll. The next group of women, we came across at around 3 or 4pm on the way down, were on maong shorts and are doing the assault at the late part of the day and they were not planning on sleeping over at the campsite. Gear is irrelevant. we only have our instincts and capacity for survival. But gear and proper clothing increases our chances in surviving and securing that we do not trouble ourselves when mother nature kids on us. I personally hope these people learn from the deficiencies and challenge themselves after their mastery and not during their noob attempts.