Training Climb Jottings (2/3): Mt. Mingan, Dingalan, Aurora

There are at least two things I expected from the second training climb: first, it’s going to be wet, second, there’s going to be an awful lot of pain. Boy, it did not disappoint. 

In some of their stories, AMCI members mentioned emergency camps, limatik, teka-teka and all other things that make trekking more difficult than love (hugot #1). These are the things that would make you ask the very same questions you ponder on every Monday during status meetings: why am I doing what I’m doing, are we done yet, what is happening, watdahelpapajeezus, what is putang ina?

Anyway, Mt. Mingan stands at approximately 1,900 MASL, and is located in the province of Aurora—five hours away, depending on your driver’s brand of steroids. A quick desktop research would tell you that this mountain is not yet rated and definitely not frequented by hikers. True. The trail says it all. 

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Oh, ho ho, wait lang, what trail? Saang banda?

The adventure begins at 45 MASL, Brgy. Davil-Davilan–from 85 up until about 300 MASL, it was a steady/slippery river trek + bouldering  (that is potentially life threatening to clumsy people) with a few roped segments. Past the falls, where we had lunch, and you have a goddamn assault up to the campsite at Station 5, 1190 MASL. 

In some parts of the trail, we found nice little patches that actually offered a view—but they were few and far between.

Silip lang before entering the rainforest, a little above Kuya Roger’s Kubo.
When you’re so dark you can pass as a tree trunk, wear orange. I’ve always reasoned that wearing orange would make it easier for rescuers to find me in case I fall into a ravine.

The assault *should* be relatively simple and straightforward in the absence of heavy rains. Except for me–I climbed with a 13-kg pack after volunteering to carry the tent and deliberately packing some extra alcohol + one tabo of trail food. Guess what, there are things worth suffering / dying for, like cheap merlot.

The tabo had about two packs of spicy mixed nuts, two packs of M&Ms peanuts, one small pack of Oreos, Jelly Ace 18’s, one Snickers bar (thank you again, Lira)—all of which were fucking gone before dinner. I walked and ate like it was tag-gutom and it was my last chance in life. In a mountain like Mingan, it doesn’t matter if you’re chewing M&Ms or fucking screwdrivers from Ace Hardware. Gotta keep your mouth busy. Lel. 

By around 3:30 PM we were already in camp, safe from a classic TC2 horror story. But as it turns out, day one ain’t got nothing on day two. Because, yeah, day 2 had us going for another hour up to the summit of Mt. Cinco (1,430 MASL).  The view was so stunning I almost cried tears of frustration and regret.

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Joke lang. Bangin ‘yan sa baba. 

Anyway, we just enjoyed the trail because if a storm was about to hit us, then might as well give it the finger.

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It was then that I made the most glaring mistakes, such as, but not limited to, not wearing leggings and deciding to bust my knees keeping up with AGL Sharon all the way down. I swear, when the group ahead gave us permission to OT and the trail cleared up, she and James just ran off like some motherfucker was chasing them with a machete. I had to follow, scamper while yelling putangina! putangina! putangina nyo po please!!

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A beef tapa moment I won’t forget.

Hoho! Lunch happened at 403 MASL, Bukohan area, about an hour and a half ahead of the itinerary. Ganyan sila eh, atat mag-beach! From there, it was a chill walk down to the last river crossing and back to Davil-davilan.

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Scenic na to for real!

Looking back, I think the most fun climbs are also the most difficult ones. Yes, I looked back.

I zoomed in.

And found gems.

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Only I can truly understand the joy of eating hopia.
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Marc, WTF studio picture??
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Olive!! Haggard beh.
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AGL Sharon. Caption this.
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Lai was there! Lai was there!

Let me conclude this post with an inspirational cliche: you have to look through the rain to see the damn rainbow. Look here:

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Now look again.

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Good night, fuckers! ❤



Training Climb Jottings (1/3): Mt. Naguiling, Lobo, Batangas

Here we are again at the eleventh hour. Training climb #2 is up in the next six days and I’m psyched as hell because there’s only one thing AMCI members are saying about it: it’s going to be tough. Nothing is more stimulating than the idea of NOT making it with your pride and your limbs intact.

(Side note: The first and last time I had to keep myself from sobbing all the way back to the jump-off was in March of 2015, on a 36km trail full of unstable rocks, done in about 13 straight hours with a friend who was freaking limping. I loved/hated it to bits and remembering it is enough to make me shout putangina-ina-ina-ina once again)

But anyway, I’m here to chronicle–for the heck of it, because you know how faulty my memory is–the events that transpired during the first training climb at Mt. Naguiling (1007 MASL), one of the Lobo, Batangas peaks. This is the first time I climbed with a big group and it did have its share of Xs and Os.



  • Extremely good food. Let me reiterate: extremely because I can’t cook to save my life, not even with a proper kitchen. It was refreshing to be with people who actually know what to do with fires, pots, and raw chicken (I was left to chop the salted eggs and tomatoes, because it was the best I could do without putting people in danger)
  • Keeping up with a member named Jepoy, who could have been a human x mountain goat. I’m used to hiking alone on a slow, steady pace, but the guy I had to follow didn’t seem to break a sweat, even during the 400-meter assault #goals #wtf #pagoda #teng ene
  • Choice of mountain. Naguiling’s completely off my radar until they told me it actually exists. Haha! I’m a sucker for hot, open trails (hence my dark, sun-smacked skin) but this one’s an agricultural heartland in the first half  and a rainforest in the second. Beautiful canopy, weird animal sounds, mud slides and all

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  • Severe lack of group equipment. All the items I hoarded at R.O.X. and REI in the past were for solo hiking. Imagine my mother’s surprise when I said I’m packing the rice cooker because WHOAAA I FREAKING HAVE FRIENDS TO CLIMB WITH NOW, AND THEY’RE ABOUT A HUNDRED, AND WE NEED A BIG POT FULL OF CARBS
  • Too many people, too hard to disappear and do the thing. Forget the trowel, bitches. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 😥
  • Group presentations. Not exactly a negative, but SWEET BABY JEEEZAAS, I was just waiting for GOD to strike me with a flaming pitchfork when we were singing/dancing to the Skelan jingle HAHAHA, I KENAT!!!

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We were told that training climb #1 is for nature appreciation and it’s supposed to be the easiest of the four that we’ll have to do before November. Personally, I think it was far from easy due to several factors: some rain, lack of familiarity with this kind of trail, and the goddamn mud that stuck to my shoes.

Mud makes descending a challenge and descending has always been a challenge to me, regardless of the weather or trail class. Unfortunately, my mom and dad’s families have weak knees. So yeah, fuck genes and fuck mud.

To end, let me give you this photo of TC1, Group 8. Yeah, baby! All photos (c) Lira Avedillo our GL.