Sunday, May 29, 2011

THREE PEAKS: Mt. Bagong Bali

San Miguel, Bulacan

Second Challenge: Be Among the Firsts at Mt. Bagong- Bali
By: Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.

From left: CONTZ, YORK, Gwen, FRANK, Andie, Marion, HEINZ, Clue, Weng, ANGEL, IVAN, LIZ, RALPH, Alex [In CAPS: The Backpackers]

"As per the Madlum Association, we are the fourth team to conquer this mountain. Good job Backpackers!" ~ Ivan Ignacio, The Backpackers Lead 

It was a very challenging course for all of us. It started soon as we were completely off Mt. Gola's elevation and back to the relatively flat surface of the earth. A lot of crossing-the-river challenges, muddy, rocky, sloping, and sometimes dangerous trails. And all of those (?) in almost total darkness of the night! many got tripped, slid, and got soaked.

"Climbing Mt. Bagong Bali was not as easy as the two other peaks because we had to do several river crossings (a couple of leech sightings and a leech bite), and we had to do an evening river trek when the sun already set on day one. Exhausted but we managed to reach the summit campsite of our target mountain!" Ivan Ignacio

The descend from our first peak target.
Where we freshened up, halfway to the second target.
What slowed down our pace and made the course difficult was the numerous times we crossed the river.

"After we freshened up on the small falls,we are welcomed by the first waist deep river crossing, and thats only the beginning. During the river crossings,there are instances that we need to pass our backpacks first to each other till it reach the other end of the river because of the strong current. After several river crossings and a number of terrified campers (mainly because of the leech), we are able to reach the jump-off point of Mt. Bagong Bali." ~ Ralph Flores

Exhausted and hungry, the group was unintentionally divided into four when we were already on the assault to the peak where we had to camp. It was very steep, almost 85 degrees if i am not mistaken, and there was no established trail; not to mention the soil and grasses had gone slippery because of dew. As a matter of fact, each group just made its own way going up. The first group that reached the peak was led by Ivan; the second included our three girl guests with Ralph; the third was Heinz and Marion; and, the fourth was guided by Frank.

Finally, after almost four hours of hardships, everybody had arrived at the campsite. Ignoring body pains, everyone helped in setting up the camp. Ivan initiated and started the cooking while most grabbed the opportunity to change clothes. Then we shared a simple dinner.

York needed to rest after he helped setting up the tents.

Preparing dinner.
Alex at rest mode.

Whenever we are camping overnight, we never miss to have socials. Yes, we had a simple and very light socials. Mostly attended by the boys (which was very understandable because of the exhausting Day One activities, so far, two peaks were CONQUERED!).

To our girl climbers, you really worked tremendously hard to be at those peaks with us. Thank you and congratulations!

Tired as well, we decided not to stay up late that night. What's important to us was- we were able to celebrate Ralph's birthday as mountaineers, on top of Mt. Bagong- Bali, which is another success for The Backpackers. Fourth team to climb it- that was really AWESOME!

Ralph took his "birthday shot" with all our wishes for him, we finished two bottles of Boracay Rum, then flatted our backs on our sleeping bags.

Ralph, the birthday boy, waits for until his "mahal sa buhay" wishes.

We woke up at 6:00 AM (well, mostly did) on our Day Two. Whoa! The view was very compensating! It was nice to see Mt. Arayat from afar and recall unforgettable memories when The Backpackers climbed it'; and Mt. Mabio from a not-so-far distance looked inviting, huh!

The Backpackers: Originals
Women Survivors of the Two Peaks
Men Survivors of the Two Peaks
Our Guides: Ka' Tonying and Kuya Al
Survivors of The Two Peaks
After breakfast, the group started another journey. Mt. Manalmon peak was next.

The descend from Mt. Bagong-Bali was bearable as expected. Lighter packs now and the daylight made our lives easier. Crossed the river again several times again and coursed the stony to rocky trail going down.

Find out who among the casts did a Voluntary Exit from the Challenge! Read our next blog entry "Third Challenge: Acing Mt. Manalmon".

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