Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Not-so ‘Curvy’ Trip to Mount Maculot

I first heard of Mount Maculot from Jay, a friend and an officemate. A mountaineer from Batangas, he has climbed Mt. Maculot 50 plus times already since his college days and has been swaying us to climb for god knows how many times already. Time permitted, we finally gave in to his invitation before 2008 ended—during the long break. Maculot is just my fourth mountain to climb. Not that many but I promise myself that I will engage more into climbing activities this year (*crossing my fingers*).

Initially, there were four of us - Pat, Dax, Jay, and I - but Pat backed out the last minute due to “some unavoidable circumstance”. Oki had been to Maculot earlier so I had no one to invite, considering everyone was bound home (most of them in far away provinces). The three of us climbed that one fine, Sunday morning. “Today is the best time to climb!” I told myself. The wind was like a subtle brush of cool air, the sun wasn’t too harsh. Everything went smooth.

welcome to Cuenca!

The arch of the town of Cuenca, at the background is Mount Maculot.

Arriving in Cuenca, we were greeted by a huge arch with the inscription of the town. At the background is a great peak of Mount Maculot. Instead of riding the trike to the Mountaineer’s Stop Over and Store, we decided to walk (all because Jay said it was a short distance). We got to the jump off point way passed nine in the morning.

the rocky trail

Dax in "pink" leading the pack.

Mount Maculot is a minor climb, around one to two hours you’ll reach the summit. At 685+meters, this is at least 5 times the height of Mount Kinabalu (4095 meters), my recent mountain climbing experience. The trail to the summit is well-established and relatively not difficult to climb (going to the Rockies would perhaps require some careful rock climbing skill since it’s quite steep going up and down but other than that, it's fine).

a sneak peak of the view at the top

I am enjoying a sneak peak of what my reward would look like at the summit.

Half way to the summit, we’re rewarded by a sneak peak of the view at the top. If you’re not in a hurry to go up and you’re not aiming for a spot to camp, it would be nice to stop and enjoy what nature has to offer. The sweep of cold air is refreshing too.

the grassland

Dax looking 'so pink' amidst the tall cogon grass.

We reached what Jay referred to as the “grassland”— the part of the trail wherein bust-high cogon (Imperata cylindrical) grasses abound. The grasses sway with the wind, thus we hardly see the narrow trail.

the campsite

The campsite including the empty stores and the mismanaged garbage.

Finally, we reached the campsite. According to Jay, during weekends and summer months of the peak season, there is a sari-sari store at the campsite. When we got there, it was all empty and there were loads of empty plastic bottles and mismanaged garbage. It’s sad to note that, a place as beautiful as this, is not well maintained.

the Rockies

The Rockies at 685 meters. The trail to the top is pretty much established already.

the top

At the top is the "reward" a scenic view of the Taal Lake and the Taal Volcano.

We continued our trek all the way to the Rockies, which is just adjacent to the campsite. We left Dax at the Maculot signage. I think, he got intimidated by the steep and rocky climb all the way to the summit thus he decided to wait for us at the other end. Rockies is actually a rocky formation covered in green vegetation. At the top is a scenic view of the Taal Lake including the world-famous Taal Volcano and the plains of Batangas. Mount Makiling and Tagaytay Highlands also come into view. Jay pointed out that along the Batangas Bay to the south is the Maricaban Island, and Mt. Halcon.

the edge

Two early climbers enjoying the view. They are almost at the edge of the Rockies.

We found some early climbers who are taking their time enjoying the view. They were literally “on the edge” of the Rockies already. We took our time at the top and headed back to the town after a few hours.

another mountain conquered!

The three musketeers!!!

Yeeha. Another mountain conquered! I wish to conquer Mount Pulag soon (sana! sana!).


kyels said...

Beautiful photos Rayts!


By the way, have you been to Sumaging Cave before? I'm planning to go there if I can this year. It seems very adventurous - the whole plan.

my gulch said...

hi kyels!
happy new year. sorry, i wasn't able to reply your email.

anyways, yes i have been to Sumaging Cave. that's in Sagada, Mountain Province. I remember Ferdz has a nice account on it. You are required to have a guide going there. It's one of the best caves I've ever went into, you'll enjoy there kyels. goodluck!

p.s. did Batanes arrive safely? or has it even reached your doorstep yet? by now, it should be there. hehe.

Photo Cache said...

climb every mountain ba ang theme of 2009? great shot of the three of you.

Ferdz said...

katuwa naman at nag enjiy kayo. It may be a minor climb but very rewarding. In-underestimate ko yang mountain na yan dati but I found that I really enjoyed the views.

More mountains to climb in 2009! :D

the donG said...

wow! laging ko ng naririnig yang mt maculot dahil nga sa dami ng umaakyat dyan pero ngayon ko lang nakita ang ibang mga perspective nito. usually yung 6th photo ang laging naka feature. the rest ng kuha mo kakabilib. ganda pala talaga. natutuwa na kasi ako sa gulugod pero itong maculot parang kailangan ko rin palang akyatin.

sama mo naman kami sa pulag. hehehe...

my gulch said...

@photo cache:
ganun na nga, hehe. if time permits lang naman. iba kase talaga ang thrill ng mountain climbing paghihirapan ang reward. thanks! buti na lang may tripod. :-)

onga, minor lang pero ganda ng scenic view sa tuktok. sa totoo lang mas na-appreciate ko 'to kaysa Low's Peak ng Mount Kinabalu. ala masyadong makita kundi bato. sana nga madami pang maakyat sa 09.

naku salamat. madali lang akyatin sana ma-try mo minsan. pulag? oo ba. hehehe.

the donG said...

yihaa! sabihin mo lang kelan para makapaghanda ako. dream climb ko yan.

pieterbie said...

Wow what great scenery. I'd love something like that, if my knees and ankles would stand the challenge :-)
Must be great having such mountains to climb, Belgium is so flat.

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