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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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 at 685 meters. The trail to the top is pretty much established already.
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.
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.
The three musketeers!!!
Yeeha. Another mountain conquered! I wish to conquer Mount Pulag soon (sana! sana!).