a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My First Sunburn for the Rainy Season – The Pinagbanderahan Peak Experience

Though summer had officially ended weeks ago, this did not stop me from getting a smooching  kiss from the sun.

Now my skin is all toasty and a bit itchy. Most of my limbs are aching from my weekend getaway of hiking and swimming with my other mountaineer friends, plus Tom, Milmar’s friend who is now getting acquainted to the amusing world of the great outdoors.

On a very humid Saturday afternoon, our group of six convened at the Lucena Grand Terminal. From there, we rode an ordinary AB Liner bus bound for Ginangan-Calauag which took us to the main highway going to the Quezon National Park. The windy hot ride lasted for less than 45 minutes and while on the way, I was able to have a little chat with a local shrimp vendor who was coming home from a morning of selling shrimps.

We trekked for about 15 minutes down the cemented highway before we decided to stop and just hitch a ride from total strangers. The main jump-off to Pinagbanderahan peak is about two hours away on foot and only a couple of minutes via private transportation. I think there’s also a public transportation which will take you directly to the main reception.

Me and Rhovee were able to get a ride from this nice couple while the guys, waited for another vehicle to transport them.

A few minutes later, the rest of the group reunited and we registered at the reception area of the Atimonan Tourist Information Center.There isn’t any fee to pay. We just signed our names on a logbook.

We decided to trek the following morning and just relax for the rest of the day. We set our camps on the concrete floors at the second floor of the Tourist center.


There’s a cafeteria downstairs and that’s where we spent a great deal of time eating and listening to the members of our group who can sing. I didn’t get to sing with the mic. Thank God for friends who can carry a tune so I just needed to listen.

After dinner, the guys did their male bonding while me and Rhovee did our girl talk inside the comforts of Milmar’s tent while sitting on top of Tom’s soft, fluffy sleeping bag.

I brought a tent but it was too rough for our ultra feminine, skinny bodies (bwahaha) so I connived with Rhovee to switch tents with Milmar. I figured he’d probably be either too sleepy or too drunk when he comes back from the male bonding session so he probably won’t notice that we were inside his tent. Hehehe!

With our evil plan in place, we proceeded with our bonding session then several minutes later, JZ came upstairs and joined us. About an hour later, the rest of the guys came back with Milmar and Tom who just scratched their heads when they noticed us lying comfortably inside their well-made up tent.

Can’t say I slept peacefully as I heard vehicles whizzing around the highway even at midnight. We woke up at about 5:00AM with JZ cursing from his tent. There was a group that had just arrived in the park and were quite rowdy. In a way, it served as our wake up call to prepare for our light trek.


Breakfast was almost uneventful had it not been for the poor little insect that dived straight into JZ’s “lugaw”. It was quite unbelievable that there six of us and that insect chose JZ’s soup. Hehehe! He’s a pretty lucky guy. With all his misadventures, I can actually create an entire blog post and have succeeding chapters to be uploaded on a monthly basis. (Peace kapatid..belated Happy Birthday!)

After fixing our stuffs, we set off for Pinagbanderahan peak which was an hour or less from the Atimonan Tourist Information Center.

Trail here is 95% cemented and is a great hiking trail. Though a bit slippery, some parts have handle bars to support you. The foliage is amazingly rich and along the way, you will marvel at the different species of trees around you.


It’s really quite an easy trail – cool and not a lot of steep parts. It’s quite perfect for contemplating.

In 45 minutes, with only minimal stops for taking pictures, we finally reach the Pinagbanderahan Peak which is located 477 MASL.

I was amazed at the 360 degree view of the world below me. From here you can see Pagbilao and Lopez bay, as well as the municipalities of Atimonan, Pagbilao, Padre Burgos and Lucena. I learned from a website that the Pinagbanderahan Peak used to be an outpost during the Japanese invasion. Thus it’s an even more interesting destination for people who are into history.

We went down after 30 minutes of chatting taking pictures. On our way down, we passed by the Cueva Santa for a little caving. This was where Manny’s friend got married. Hehe, now that’s an idea. The cave is pretty small and you can pass it in less than 10 minutes or more, depending on the number of people who went ahead of you. It was a bit challenging though because we had to cling to the boulders from a ten feet crevice to get through to the other side.


We got back to the information center in about 30 minutes. After breaking camp, we hitched a ride from a buko vendor. It was quite fun riding at the back of his small truck. We went down a series of zigzags and saw some great views along the way.

Adventure #2 – Swimming in Kwebang Lampas

We decided to hit the beach after our hike. We rode another bus from Atimonan, then got down at a junction going to Ibabang Polo. Then hired a 350 peso trike ride going to the main jump-off. Whew!

Kwebang Lampas is a pristine cove in Pagbilao with a beach located inside a private property owned by the Lukangs. To get here, one must either trek for 30-45 minutes from the Lukang property or rent a boat that can originate from several jump-offs. Of course, our group decided to trek again.

We spent several hours relaxing on the sand, mingling with each other and JZ’s teammates who incidentally were having their team building there. Me and Rhovee swam at the left and right side of the cove. It felt great. I haven’t swam in a while and I missed it.


Though this place has no fresh water – just restrooms and huts for rent, it’s a favorite destination for non-squimish nature lovers because of the serenity of this island.
We boarded a bus back to Lucena at around 6:30PM and spent some time over at Manny’s place.

We took the 2am bus back to Manila and two hours after we arrived in Pasay, I had to report to work. Tiring, but worth it.

By the way, here’s some travel information to share:

How to Get to Pinagbanderahan Peak Via Private Transpo

Notes:
You can take a bath at the reception area of the Atimonan tourist Info. Center
If you’re not bringing private transportation to Kwebang Lampas, be mindful of the last trip going back to Grand Terminal. I think it’s around 3PM (just recheck with the locals).

If you’re bringing private transpo – in both Pinagbanderahan and Kwebang Lampas, there’s a pretty safe area where you can leave your car. In Pinagbanderahan, you can leave it near the reception. In kwebang Lampas, you can leave in inside the property of the Lukangs (you need to pa a parking fee).

Overnight is not allowed within the beach property of the Lukangs. The property is the subject of a land dispute between the Lukangs and a government official so to protect the safety of its visitors, the caretakers do not allow overnight stays.

In Kwebang Lampas, you can take a fresh water bath from the main-jump-off. Just coordinate with the caretakers of the Lukangs before you set off for Kwebang Lampas so they can order it for you in advance since they don't have regular water supply.

1 comment:

  1. i missed pinagbanderahan and tatlong eme. i used to go to this place during my college years. :)

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