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A Lazy Adventure on a Lazy Weekend

I woke up at 2AM to take a quick bath, still a bit hung-over from a get-together with friends the previous night. I was meeting Gay, a college friend for an early breakfast before her quick beach escape to Puerto Galera. She had just returned to the Philippines for a short break from her round the world gallivanting with her hubby and adorable toddler so we thought we'd catch up a bit - at 4AM! :P 

Up until the time I woke up, I kept on changing my mind where I'd be that weekend. I was stressed from work and had tons of backlogs to clear. As I put on my shirt, I felt a sudden inexplicable longing to be in the mountains and the whim was just too strong to ignore. Before I fully comprehended what was happening, I was already on my hiking shoes and ready to breeze out the door. 

After laughing the morning away with Gaye and her beach buddy Monette, we parted ways and I began my last minute journey to this place I can consider my second home, Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas. I stopped counting the number of times I've hiked this mountain but every visit is as enjoyable as my first - which I can't actually recall when. :P 

I started hiking before 9AM. Then the stress of the week got to me and I felt lazy. I told myself I'll just hike until I felt like stopping. As I followed the trail through the thick foliage, my eyes wandered on the trees that had interesting branches - some were thick, others twisted and some appeared to be romancing other trees - their branches entwined  to the next tree.

I consciously chose a wrong turn. It's a path that has piqued my curiosity for quite some time. I met a local who was chopping some wood and asked where it led. He told me it's a trail used by locals to get to their farmlands. I decided to check it out. What the heck. It's not like I had an appointment that day. 

The trail is narrow and leads to several other trails. I made sure I remembered my way back. Here, foliage is thicker and I felt I had the mountain to myself. The normal trail that leads to the campsite of Maculot is swarmed with hikers on a weekend and you'll hardly feel alone on the trail. It's always fun to meet other people who shares the same passion but for this particular weekend, I didn't not feel like meeting new people. I just wanted to be left alone. 

I spent some time in the woods, just taking photos of trees and enjoying the solitude which I rarely have when I'm in the city. I went back to the regular trail, hiked a bit and before I reached the campsite, I decided to go down. I got the solitude I wanted and it was time for another adventure. :P 

To the town of Taal! 

Taal is a 45-minute jeepney ride from Cuenca, Batangas. It is famous for its heritage houses and the biggest Catholic church in Asia - St. Martin de Tours Basilica. 

I only spent two hours walking aimlessly around this town before I decided to go back home. The  sweltering heat of the sun was just overbearing! 

Travel information is available at their tourism website. You can also check out this walking guide from Eazy Traveler.

Itinerary for Mt. Maculot can be found at Pinoy Mountaineer.

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