Friday, April 19, 2013

Mt. Cristobal-Kabanahaw Cleanup Crusade - Kinabuhayan, Dolores Quezon - April 2013

Although it was last minute, Sir Egay rerouting the climb from Major to Minor is a blast of lung held air- a definite relief to a foreboding fear concerning my knee injury- the same handicap I keep blabbering about in all of my hiking posts.

The Banahaw moratorium is still in effect, but the group Kaban and Tuco were able to get the DENR's permit to exempt us and allow to visit the long-time closed mountain in hopes to facilitate a cleanup crusade side by side with the climb. But there are hushes and qualms about our exemptions' why's and how's so to avoid controversies and the sorts, in respect to the standing agreement, opted us to take our fix on to the nearby mountain instead.

The Cristobal consolation.
The 3 days 2 nights IT on my mind was clear. It was as well in consensus with my meal plan buddies.
  • DENR Kinabuhayan - Pitch Tent, leave stuff.
  • Cristobal Dayhike - Back to DENR
  • Cleanup the next day - Break camp
  • Set up Camp at Bangkong kahoy - Overnight
This setup opted me to ditch the 55+10 liter Deuter Aircontact and just bring a 34liter Jansport daypack.

Mt. Cristobal 1350MASL (Crater reading)
9:30AM. From DENR Kinabuhayan, we walked all the way to the Cristobal junction marked with a blue chapel (if not a shrine) and took the gradually steep but cemented road all the way up to the Montelibano's house (Registration). A jeep or truck is also capable of ascending these roads all up to the Montelibanos. Depending on your pack, getting here may take an hour, give or take.
There is a water source here, oh and friendly cats too.

11:00AM. Officially started trek.
Cristobals trail is all out incline with established footings of rocks and roots as well as ravines. There are turned down trees which you'll need to go on over or under, as well as all-4, down-crawls nearing the end point of the hike. All manageable with proper balance and presence of mind. Soil when dry is a little powdery but compact and hugs enough grip to shoes. Precipitations usually occurs at noon time and fog usually goes down at the Crater area causing limited visibility and temperature drops.

1:15PM Crater
What welcomes and relieves you from the 2-3hour assault initially is the crater camp site. 20minutes further is the Bulwagan saddle, then further, the summit (Jones Peak).

Chasing light and reserving strength for the following days cleanup, we decided to just stay at the Crater, eat lunch and get back to our tents down the mountain. With nothing but a pack of drained water, food containers and basically -a light pack, I thought that descending the mountain will take less of the time up, than down. It still took Duval and I at most 2.5hours going down the Montelibanos while some of the younger guys made it before the hour timer struck 2. I can explain my case, (Weak knees, poor fitness level, just got off from night shift..) but Duval- I've known him as a powerhouse, and yet his knees were already on red alert even before we reached the campsite.
On another note, the trail may not be as tightly negotiable to run, going down- as it is other mountains.
  • No Sun and Globe signals at Kinabuhayan, sporadic up at Montelibanos and at Bangkong Kahoy. There is a Smart tower along the cemented road going to the Montelibanos but I wouldn't know if broadcast is excellent. (Sun user here.)
  • There is a store that sells halo halo by the side of the Smart Tower going out of the cemented trail.
  • The Montelibanos House has a grass yard where you can relax before the assault.


Crater reading

Crater Summit
Halo halo beside the cell tower.
Cleaning under mishap.(Next day, clean up crusade)

Short of a kilometer, hip-hopping over rocks along the river (Ilog ng landas) going to Kalbaryo (Santo Calbaryo), I saw Duval stopped, letting others advance. The knee pain that met him at Cristobals descent, said hello and it did me as well. Somehow, it was relieving to at least have a buddy in these times as a few meters from the DENR quarters, this bitch of a knee pain manifested already. I was gonna push it till fucked up, but turned out, Duval got to it first. Our nights recovery of ointments and compression straps did not do us any good so we had to abandon Team Kalbaryo and merge with Team Yapak instead.

Team Kalbaryo led by Sir Egay Tenepere, treks all the way up Santo Calbaryo with steep inclines, sharp rock footings and sun exposed summit to clean up. Team Yapak headed by Sir Manny Rosales does the nearby Yapak ni Hesus area. Last year, we did Tatlong tangke and brought sacks of garbage, consisting mainly of liquor bottles and meal leftovers wrapped in plastic hidden under grasses. Trash from Yapak are mostly small plastics, cigarette butts, tin cans from small bon-fire camps, sacks and a hella plenty soaked clothes and under garmets-some got stuck between rocks that we had to slice out to partially get most of its parts. (In the video, I was lifting a sack-bag of soaked clothes. I punched knife holes to get the water dripping and lighten the load as it was hella heavy and funny smelling.)

The UST Mountaineers who stayed up Cristobal also did their part, noon time after their descent. 

Soon after, everybody gathered to take a jeep up Bangkong Kahoy Valley where a view of the majestic Banahaw can be seen.

Team Yapak, Sir Manny Rosales of Kaban.
Yup, Napkin.
Clothes and Bra.

Team Kalbaryo

Although local government penalizes caught garbage violators, this place seriously needs some beating when it comes to visitor awareness and discipline.

We are but a small group, with a full hearts intent to help, and the trash we have gathered  may possibly be short of a days worth, but seeing the problem un-attended, drags a burden in us if we do nothing to act on it. I cant say much of what idealisms I have in my head, but just cross fingers that change will come in ways that will not be as bad and as late. May the mountain fully recover.

I personally hope to be part of this yearly clean up crusade and trigger in others the desire to not just fulfill their climbing fix, but be pillars with but strength and willingness to achieve a groups mission.

Route to Bangkong Kahoy Valley

Video Summary (Best viewed HD)