Last March 2014, I had the opportunity to hike 3 Easy-Level mountains. If you want to start a career in hiking, you should definitely try the following treks.
1. Mount Sto. Tomas, Benguet (March 1-2). It is a very easy trek because the trail is actually part of the National Road. The spice of this trek is the cold Benguet air. If you want to leave the crowded Baguio City and want to try something new, wake up early and take the challenge.
Unforgettable personal experience: My cousin Jared and I had to take a rest. Since it is a national road, we sat in front of a stranger’s house, on the floor like some teenage Nomads, opened a canned tuna and soda crackers, and talked about larger than life topics. People passing at us were smiling as we invite them to sit and eat with us. (We also hitchhiked downhill. It was Jared’s first hitchhiking experience)
2-3. Mount Manalmon and Mount Gola, Bulacan. (March 8)– 2 mountains in 1 day? Possible? Yes it is. We actually booked a package under Trippy Travel. It is very cheap. The package includes a trip to Mount Manalmon, but my Dad decided to explore another mountain called Mount Gola. We just have to pay an extra amount of money for the guide. But everything is worth it. (If you want to try it out, go check Tippy Travel’s website at http://www.trippytravel.com/events/mt-manalmon-madlum-river-bayukbok-cave-adventure/ )
3 Unforgettable Personal Experience:
1. Since it is a package trip, we have to share the experience with other people. But this time, it is an experience worth sharing for. A bunch of yuppies were traveling with us and I enjoyed every minute I was with with them. The tour guides were not just guides but a bunch of big brothers willing to protect and guide the flock.
2. Any mountain, for me, is a huge spiritual object. It connects my spirit with nature, literally and figuratively. The feeling that the mountain gives you no matter how cold or hot the weather is will just heal your soul. During my trek, my dad and I had a heart to heart talk. We don’t usually have these kind of talks but the mountain opened doors for it to happen.
Last year, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. It was also the season when my Dad is preparing for a trek to Mount Pulag. We were all devastated. My dad associated that low season to mountain climbing. From that day on, he stopped hiking. He was traumatized. I guess this is the irrational stuff that depression gives us. I can’t blame him.
I didn’t know. I have regarded my dad as a tough guy with no soft spots. But this is quite a revelation for me.
While walking downhill, my dad suddenly told me that it was difficult for him to start climbing again. Because every mountain reminds him of my grandma’s cancer season (Thank God Grandma is now ok). But everything is ok now and the mountain, whom he once despised is now his friend again, and probably his healer. Mount Manalmon and Mount Gola is the 3rd and 4th mountain he climbed this year. 2 weeks ago, he climbed his 5th and as I write this post, he is planning for his 6th. I am waiting for his plans to hike Mount Pulag.
3. To start the Mount Manalmon trek, you should pass Madlum River. You have 2 choices: take the raft with zero level of difficulty OR take the monkey bridge with an infinite level of difficulty. Of course, life is short so I took the Monkey Bridge. It is a death defying act. It is a rope-walking thing without any harnesses or safety gears. Those are the moments when you are completely alive, without giving a damn if it is your last.
*Special thanks to Ace and his team for organizing this trek. Check out http://www.trippytravel.com