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! ❤



Batolusong and other matters of great importance

I thought that after a couple of months (just two, actually) of staying put and keeping silent, I should get back to this piece of space and write once again. The problem is not the absence of a muse–it’s more like a serious accrual of personal blunders that just cut off the drive to write.

Anyway, to those interested: letting you know that my BMC training (yes, I’m doing it only now) and application to a local mountaineering org now bars me from doing my solo climbs for as long as four months. On the flipside, I get to do a number of training climbs with a fairly big group (this is completely outside of my comfort zone, by the way, because I like being self-contained). Maybe, just maybe, I can write about those.

Before this restriction was put in place, however, I was still able to do a quick trip to Rizal, to a small mountain called Batolusong. It was the first time I commuted (took a jeepney) to the jump-off and boy it was fun. This post serves as my photo dump.

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Did I ever mention that I have a love-hate relationship with open trails? I’m a complete sucker for panoramas, but the obvious trade-off is the excessive heat–my poor sun-smacked skin can only take so much.

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This hike was great to say the least, from the weather to the availability of trail-side buko juice, to the ground that wasn’t hard on the knees. I needed this so bad. For two months I didn’t see that much greenery and a good amount of super nega-vibes almost came close to choking me to death. This was freaking redemption!

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When I started the year, I said wanted to do a total of 12 summits, one each month. But it’s already mid-June and I am nowhere near half. Maybe I’ll have to scale that goal down, because as you know, adulting is and would always be the biggest villain of your life.

Haha! Cheers!