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Friday, October 28, 2011

Mt. Gulugod Baboy » A Romance of the Mountains

"I may not know it,
But these are the moments that I'm gonna remember most,"
- The Climb by Miley Cyrus -

Sensuous summit curves; Sea in perpetual tranquility; Vibrant tangerina sunset and glorious sunrise; Wild mushroom blossoms; Tantalizing breezes; Snaking silk fog… 

When it comes to romance, Mt. Gulugod Baboy looks like love, caressing, fresh, vibrato, mango-sweet. There is no question about it. This mountain is sensuous.

Please read on and let me guide you on your online climb…

A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon when we reached one of the three peaks. They crawled forward teasing us with soft rain showers and cold fog while we are pitching our tents. It was already five o’clock in the afternoon when we reached the campsite, just in time to catch the magnificent setting sun, painting the sky with vibrant hues. This is the priceless reward we all got after two hours of steep ascend – the sun carries with it all our exhaustion as it sets.

Mt. Gulogod Baboy is definitely for the quikie romantic nature lover like you. Located in Southern Batangas and just a bus ride away from Manila, this simple itinerary takes in Luzon’s ideal weekend getaway. Just a short hop from the Philpan jump-off is the lovely coast of Anilao, which offers some of natures’ most incredible diving sites – true to its title as the birthplace of Philippine scuba diving.

These beaches will lure you from the peaks of Mt. Gulugod-baboy, especially a view from the Pinagbanderahan, its highest peak, because from there you can see the Janao Bay, Maricaban strait which bears Sombrero and Maricaban Islands, hiding on the hazy bluish fog is my hometown Mindoro. This really is a sight!!!      

So, after the climb we will be having a side trip at Anilao’s beaches for a refreshing dive. Perfect right!

The lure of the triumvirate peaks

Now back to our love affair with the mountains. The sun-drenched panoramic peaks of this lovely mountain is actually a triumvirate – (1) the Gulugod Baboy which means “pig’s spine” – so named because of the contours of the hills; (2) Gitna, the center peak and; (3) Pinagbanderahan, the historic peak where Japanese airmen crash landed and survived during World War II.  

On this mountain, in the land of “Ala-eh”, romance, mysticism and adventure come into fusion. The array of swaying talahib grass and an occasional dash of wild flowers, solitary tree and white cows grazing, whispering breeze and silvery fog, form a natural picture of a Philippine countryside – overpowering and irresistible.         

It nestles in the very bosom of the Calumpan Peninsula, its triumvirate peaks casting wonderful shadows in the sunrise and moonlight dancing over the soft ripples of Anilao waters. This gave us enchanting sensation, which we cannot obtain anywhere else. The peeping Sombrero Island over rippling waters add to the sorcery and magic of the scenery, while the mountain’s intermittent breeze casting spells and murmuring pagan chants vary the allurement and mystic.              

This is the spot where you can touch the brilliant horizon. Where you can talk to the clouds and play with fireflies. Where the grazing white cows are the perfect visuals for Bruno Mar’s  “The Lazy Song” and not those monkeys. 

These scenes from the Gulugod-Baboy peak are without doubt one of the many explanations why there’s traffic of hikers on this mountain.

Hiking the Gulugod

"The heights charm us, but the steps do not; with the mountain in our view we love to walk the plains."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-

If idyllic mountain pastures, bahay-kubo and occasional mingling with the locals form part and parcel of your hiking enjoyment, with high peaks and lots of sunshine, then you only have one problem with Mt. Gulugod Baboy: you will be spoiled.
However, before you start thinking that this is a “chicken” climb, let me disabuse you of that idea that this is “just” a 2/9-difficulty trek. You may end up with broken limbs and nasty bruises if you’re impatient and heedless.

Nevertheless, it is worth trekking on in here to catch the afternoon sun peeping on palm leaves. Once in while it’s also nice to chat with fellow hikers for some bonding moments. I’m not a full pledged mountaineer (yet) but I noticed that most mountaineers are courteous and friendly – if you meet them on the trail, they’ll take time to smile and give pleasantries which is really uplifting.

Romantic dinner at the peak

 How about ending the night with a romantic dinner set-up in the mountain. Yes, a romantic dinner at the peak – complete with wine, wine glasses, candles, wild flowers and a guitar. This date with the mountain is a total romantic blast!  

Drinking those wine and rounds of vodka at the peak is pure pleasure, so is breathing the mountains living air - every detail is memorable. Our bodies seems to feel tired from the ascent but it was all washed away by the twinkling heaven and occasional zooming wishing-star.

Beachineering at Anilao

What makes the Mt. Gulugod-baboy extra exciting is that the jump-off is conveniently located just a hop away from rows of Anilao resorts. So after our romantic date with Mt. Gulugod Baboy and a muscle aching descent, we checked-in at The Brine Valley Resort in Anilao (Ligaya), Mabini Batangas just a few blocks away from Philpan.

Personal notes: On mountaineering and building beautiful memories

When I received an e-mail from Carla about this climb, I quickly thought that I was up for this because I already missed their previous invites for the Mt. Makulot climb. With a little planning from our side (we are only guest hikers of the Emerson Mountaineering Club), we met at the bus station in Buendia.

Together with Carla and her husband Kuya Vanny, (sorry if I got the spelling wrong) – both first class pinoy mountaineers and with the weekend warriors from Emerson and my work buddies at Eastgate, we conquer Mt. Gulugod Baboy.

The weekend warriors: Emerson Outdoor Group and Eastgate guest climbers
Together we experience the beauty of the countryside. No pain here, no dull empty hours, no worries about work and no pressure of corporate hassles. Mt. Gulugod Baboy are so compactly filled with beauty, no petty personal worries has room to be.

I think we all share common understanding that Mt. Gulugod Baboy, [or any mountain on our future climb] offer us an escape from the stressful and typical cubicled life. 

This is why I want to climb mountains. It always reminds me that there’s more to life than chasing careers and dreams of having fancy house, cars and gadgets. This is why I can almost cry whenever I reach the peak, watch a sunset or sleep under the stars – a primordial chance to experience what truly means to be human in an infinite expanse of interconnected life.

On the bus going to back Manila, I fret because I am entering reality again. So I tried to mentally explore my options in life in the mountains or at the beach. I don’t know where it will take me, but I know it is where I want to be. 

…and these are the moments that I'm gonna remember most.

Yodi chilling out at Mt. Gulugod Baboy

Miscellaneous Information

Mt. Gulugod Baboy Quick Info: 
Location: Anilao, Mabini, Batangas
Jump-off point: Philpan Dive Resort, Anilao, Mabini
LLA: 13°42'55"N; 120°53'43"E; 525 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: Half-day / 1-2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2

Our Itinerary: 

Day 1    
0700     Assembly at RSC
0715     ETD going to LRT Buendia
0730     ETD going to Batangas (P170+)
1030     ETA Brgy. San Teodoro or Philpan Dive Resort Anilao
1100     Start Trek
1230     ETA Gulugod-Baboy (Peak 1)
1300     ETA Gitna (Peak 2)
1400     ETA Pinagbanderahan (Peak 3). Lunch. Set Camp.
     
Day 2    
0600     Wake up call
0630     Breakfast
0730     Break camp
0800     Start Descent
1000     ETA Brgy. San Teodoro or Philpan dive resort Anilao. 
            Beachineering (side trip)
1530     Pack up
1600     ETD going to Manila
1800     Home Sweet Home

Thanks to the uber-cool Emerson Outdoor Group for the invites. Nice meeting you guys, Sa uulitin!!!
(Please send me your correct group name to edit this post) 
I'll upload photos on my FB account soon.  
_____________________________
Complete trail information:
» Mt. Gulugod-Baboy (525+). Pinoy Mountaineer: Your Guide to Hiking in the Philippines









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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry, and cliff jumping can make him high,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a self-certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan hiker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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