On my first attempt to scale Mt. Tapulao in June 2007, it took me 14 hours to reach the bunker, an hour away from the summit. I was carrying more load and I was less fit. None of the people in our group reached the summit due to time constraints.
March 8, 2009 – after I have forgotten what torment to the body a Tapulao day hike can bring, I decided to accompany a friend and we started trekking at 3:46am. It took us 8 hours to reach the summit and another 6 hours to go back to the jump-off. About 4 hours before we got down, all my energy had been drained, my knees were aching terribly – the worst pain I can remember, my toes felt dead. At some point in our ordeal, I wanted to cry but I couldn’t because it would slow us more. We got down at 7:44 PM, much later than I did the last time because me and my friend fell asleep in the summit due to exhaustion. We only woke up when we felt the sun beating down on our faces.
Grueling as it was, Mt. Tapulao is my favorite mountain. It does not have a difficult terrain but the length it takes to get to the summit drains the energy out of you and you are left with just your soul and faith to accomplish the trek. It allows you to evaluate yourself - what you are, what you’re made of. The trek is a test of patience because the trail looks like a long and winding road that will never end. Another reason why I love Tapulao are the views. It a real treat to the eyes because of the pine trees, the sea of mountains and the interesting creatures and friendly people along the way. An hour away from the summit, the weather becomes colder – like that of Baguio’s and you can get enveloped in a fog as early as 12 noon.