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By the time I had finished work, I only had an hour left to rest, shower and finish packing. Such is hiking life these days as I returned to corporate world after a 7 month break. Always rushing, often lacking sleep for an early hike the next day. It's tiring but I'm very thankful for the energy and wonderful hiking companions. :)
|Inside the mossy forest of Mt. Banahaw de Tayabas (Photo by Pat of The Green Wayfarer, visit her blog!)|
The travel from Manila to the jump-off in Tayabas was quite fast, around 4 hours with a hired van, passing Sariaya. That didn't really give us enough time to catch on sleep but the hearty pre-hike breakfast at Pat's home was energizing, giving us a happy boost before the challenge.
Before starting our hike, we had a briefing at Barangay Lalo where we were introduced to our guides and porters. By 10:14 AM, we started to make our way to the trailhead. The spotless sky, accompanied by the raging summer heat made us sweat instantly. Fortunately, the trail from start to camp 2 (1,400 MASL) was moderately challenging with plenty of flat sections.
As most of us didn't get enough rest the day before, we took it easy, taking time to appreciate the scenery and each other's company. There was a lot of banter and laughing, making the fatigue bearable.
On our way to the campsite, we passed what looked like a fern garden and a section filled with giant pandans. Past this area, we were serenaded by cicadas that made beautiful sounds as we walked deeper in the forest.There were snake sightings too but fortunately, off the main trail. :)
Finally, after 6 hours of hiking, we reached the campsite, a nice flatland surrounded by tall trees and big enough to fit 15 tents. There's nearby water source too, about 30 minutes away.
On the second day, we hiked 3 more hours to get to the summit, a small area surrounded by foliage. Just a few meters away is a view deck where you can see Banahaw de Lucban, another trail offering views of its forested crater.
|(L-R) Summit with wonderful company Pat, Gid, Cynthia, Vinci, Me, Niel (in Gray) & Coby (Photo by Kevin Manuel)|
It took another two hours to go back down to the campsite and fortunately, it only started raining as we were nearing it. Water drenched the tent exteriors, making it a bit messy to pack. It's the inconvenient side of adventure that I've grown accustomed to.
From camp, going back to the jump-off was much easier, taking us about 4.5 hours including our refreshing buko break at camp 1. There are wash-up areas at Barangay Lalo but we opted to go to a resort, about 30 minutes away, for a shower and dinner.
Check out my friend's post of our climb here : Pinoy Mountaineer | Hiking matters #592: Mt. Banahaw de Tayabas, the “other side” of Southern Tagalog’s highest peak
Important Note: Access to the trail is restricted but possible by securing a PAMB permit from the office of the PASU (Park Superintendent) of Mts. Banahaw & San Cristobal Protected Landscape in Pagbilao. Beware of scammers organizing hikes to Mt. Banahaw.
*PAMB - Protect Area Management Bureau
Thanks to Gid for organizing this!