Monday, June 25, 2012

Mt. Gulugod Baboy 2012


December of 2010 when a group of friends decided to conquer a mountain: Mt. Gulugod Baboy. Most of them had mountain climbing experience but many did not expect that the beauty of the sport will allure them in craving for more. Thus, the start of The BACKPACKER's commitment in discovering the beauty of nature and targeting at least one climb per month. 

Since then, this group of friends found themselves wandering in many mountains, beaches, islands and caves. And along the way, they were joined by several others who shared the same passion and took the same commitment. The family started to grow. Several months have passed and their bond became stronger. They walked on several trails with eyes feasting on majestic landscapes. Come June of 2012, after several summits, they have decided to revisit that mountain which technically started it all, Mt. Gulugod Baboy.




Revisiting the Swine Spine
The BACKPACKERS Back in Mt. Gulugod Baboy
June 23-24, 2012

by: Ivan Ignacio


WELCOME TO ANILAO

inside Ate Elsie's eatery


It was 10 in the morning when The BACKPACKERS and six guests boarded the rented van en route to a familiar destination: Anilao, Mabini, Batangas. This famous dive spot is truly a haven for those who have the ardor for the deep blue. Countless resorts and diving facilities inhabit its shores. Aside from the many water activities that one can enjoy in this water-bordered town, it provides an adventure for hikers and campers too. Standing at 525MASL, Mt. Gulugod Baboy offers a grand vista of the sea and the town below, a refreshing escapade where you can commune with nature.



We arrived in Anilao at 12:30PM and ate our lunch at Anilao Eatery, managed by the hospitable Ate Elsie. It was not a big nor fully developed town and we only had few choices of viand as they were not expecting quite a number of customers that day. However, the accommodating and nice Ate Elsie is one of the million proofs that Filipinos are the most hospitable persons in the world. She took her time in arranging the boat for our water adventure the next day. After eating in the eatery and a few photo ops along the shore of Anilao, we headed to Philpan: the jump off point in a typical Mt. Gulugod Baboy hike.

Anilao's mini lighthouse
wacky pose by the beach
BP Ralph
BP Heinz




ONE HOUR AND THIRTY MINUTES

The ascending paved road is without a doubt the most knee breaking course in the Mt. Gulugod Baboy trail. However, BP Lead Ivan and BP Photographer King who were seated in front of the van seriously discussed when told by van driver Kuya Arnel that he can take the group all the way to the end of the concrete road which will spare them from the arduous introductory part of the climb. King wanted to push with the hike up the cemented road as he believes it is a must-experience part of a typical Mt. Gulugod Baboy hike. But ultimately, the group grabbed the opportunity of being taken all the way to the end of the road not to risk the itinerary and to give the newbies an easier and more relaxed hike.


First time climber Sheryl assisted by BP Heinz and BP Ralph


We had six guests, three of which were visitors of this blogsite: Carla, Sheryl and Lean who expressed their desire in joining a nature trip. They had constant communication with the Lead and finally, the hike that they were all waiting for ~ Mt. Gulugod Baboy! The three plus Gladys were the mountain climbing 'virgins' who were all very fortunate in joining some of us in having Mt. Gulugod Baboy as their first climb. Our two other guests were couple Jane and Rommel, college friends of BP Ivan. The group altogether was very lucky to have been blessed with a perfect weather! 





The start of the journey 
Climbing, a passion, BP Ivan
BP DeePee


The group started the hike at 3PM. After a couple of steps, the first timers soon found out the cardiac effects of hiking: they realized that they were like running out of breath and their hearts were beating faster than before. But no matter how exhausting the trail can be, everyone had their eyes on the prize: to reach the summit of the mountain. We had a couple of stops before we reached the resting station which sells halo halo and softdrinks. After resting, we readied our backpacks and continued the hike.


At one of the rest stations
Guest couple Carla and Lean


Mt. Gulugod Baboy, being a minor climb, is one of the perfect mountains for those who are starting to appreciate the sport. You will have the opportunity to skip the cemented road, eat halo halo in the middle of the hike, invigorate your spirit through the several resting stops at the earlier part of the trail, a water source near the campsite and ultimately witness the majestic view above. As a matter of fact, it took us just one hour and thirty minutes to reach the campsite considering that we still stopped for quite a while at one of the resting stations. 

Campsite after one hour and thirty minutes!




BONDING AT THE SWINE SPINE

The group rested for a bit after reaching the desired campsite. It was a perfect invitation to just chill and crack jokes and stories to one another. We worked hand in hand in setting up the tents and after that, many helped in preparing that night's dinner.

Chons and Percy setting up their tent
Preparing dinner
Sitting on top of Mt. GB, BP King

Dinner was served early so we still had some time to rest and prepare for socials. We munched on meat loaf and the delicious chicken & pork adobo which was pre cooked by BP Chons ~ thank you Chons! While the others cleaned up the campsite, Annalyn, Sheryl, Ivan, Ralph and Percy went to the small community nearby to get water and wash the kitchen utensils. On their way back, they spotted a snake which was silently on its way down the mountain! Sadly, nobody brought a camera and the reptile passed by without any remembrance for the group.


Group picture before dinner and socials
Everyone huddled in a circle, with the exception of Gladys, who was the youngest climber who rested early. It's time for the most awaited socials! It was the opportunity for us to know our first time companions and vice versa. We welcomed and conversed with our guests as we exchanged stories and laughter as the shot of either rum or gin was being passed around. There were a couple of celebrations too. For The BACKPACKERS, it was Percy's birthday climb. His birthday was a day before the climb but the celebration of the group was during this weekend trip. Our guests, too, had something to celebrate that night! It was Sheryl's birthday month too. Guest couples Jane and Rommel were celebrating a pre-anniversary, in a couple of days they will be marking their third year anniversary. Finally, Carla and Lean celebrated being together for five years and two months. What a feat! And what a perfect way to have these celebrations! For our birthday celebrant Percy, a cup was passed around while each one gave his/her wish at the same time pouring a shot of gin. The birthday celebrant then drank the content of the cup, no matter how high it was. This is known as The BACKACKERS' Birthday Shot.

BP Ivan and college buddies, guest couple Jane and Rommel
Carla watching while Sheryl gives the first part of Percy's birthday shot
King wishing for birthday boy Percy as part of his birthday shot

Percy and his birthday shot

After a couple of hours, youngest in the group, Gladys, came out also to bond with her ates and kuyas. Anna and Sheryl grabbed the opportunity of having the perfect moonlight weather for a stargazing session. When all the bottles were emptied, everyone hit the hay. 

Guest climber Gladys ~ youngest in the bunch @ 19



SUMMIT SHOTS


We woke up early morning to hike up the summit of Mt. Gulugod Baboy. For some, it was nice to be back!

Standing at the summit of Mt. Gulugod Baboy
BP Annalyn
BP Chons
Ginoo at Binibining Pilipinas wave
Our guests ~ Sheryl, Rommel, Jane, Gladys, Carla and Lean
Thank you for walking with us!!!  ^.^
The BACKPACKERS at the summit of the Swine Spine!
Anna, Heinz, DeePee, Ivan, Chons, King, Percy and Ralph



DESCENDING THE SPINE

The downside of having a non rainy weather while climbing Mt. Gulugod Baboy is that it tends to get scorching hot at noon. So we immediately broke camp after visiting the summit. It was very nice to be back at Mt. Gulugod Baboy, and this time, we were fulfilling our goal: sharing the passion to others while they, too, stare in awe and amazement on how our country is truly a paradise on earth!

Descending from the summit

Our adventure in the town of Mabini in Batangas was not over yet! As a matter of fact, our spirits were still high and enthusiastic for the post climb adventure where the other Backpackers would be joining us. We were looking forward in washing up at the stunning waters that surround Sombrero Island! Beach bumming at Sombrero Island is next...!



Mt. Gulugod Baboy climbers
Gladys, Carla, Jane, Sheryl, Chons and Anna
King, Rommel, Percy, DeePee, Heinz, Ivan, Ralph and Lean

Thank you to Heinz and King for the photos used in this writeup

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