Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mt. Pinagbanderahan

After a scary, heart-pumping and savoring experience at Bantakay Falls, The BACKPACKERS and guests went to our supposedly main destination turned side trip…
Mt. Pinagbanderahan.

Part 2: Mt. Pinagbanderahan & Zigzag Forest Park

by Nickson Garcia


All aboard again!
On the road going to Mt. Pinagbanderahan, we passed by another famous road in Atimonan, the Zigzag or also known as “Bitukang Manok”. For obvious reason, it is called as such because it is literally a zigzag road. In most part, road guides only allow one-directional flow of cars, while other vehicles wait on the other side. What I found entertaining and at the same time useful were the people assisting along the road with colorful flaglets. What they actually do in there everyday is to waive their cloths signaling which cars can proceed driving to their direction. It was also then when I knew, through Sirs Mon, Vic and Sean, that you can give coins to those people. You can do it by throwing them the coins or simply dropping them while the car is running. Just be sure that you will not hit them in the head.


Located in Barangay Ilaya, Atimonan Quezon, it took us about fifteen minutes from jump-off of Bantakay Falls to Quezon National Forest Park. The park is the jump off point to Mt. Pinagbanderahan. It was way passed lunch time when we arrived and everyone was starving. The group, while waiting for the food to be cooked, decided to roam around the Park. 

BP Angel
The park is full of life size man-made animals (such as snakes, crocodiles, deer, monkeys, etc.,), nipa huts, sari-sari stores, clean comfort rooms and a veranda where a videoke machine is located. It is where our guests, cousins DR and Jet, sang famous OPM rock songs. The food arrived, especially made by our guests Sirs Vic and Sean. Indeed it was delicious and worth the wait. While eating, guest Marta joined the group and sang a Spanish song with a “cha-cha” beat. It was an afternoon where I just want to lay down and sleep after a tiring trek from Bantakay Falls and a full stomach. But in reality, our journey to conquer Mt. Pinagbanderahan has not yet started.

BP Anna
BP Heinz

Relaxing inside the nipa hut
It was past 3:30 in the afternoon when we finished our lunch. BP Ivan said that our trek will start at around 4:00PM. Guests Mon, Albert and Vic decided not to join the climb due to injuries sustained from Bantakay Falls. After a prayer led by our regular guest Leah, we started our climb.


Compared to Bantakay Falls, I was expecting that this climb would be much easier and faster since we didn't have our backpacks. According to the locals, the climb would be around an hour but as we know, locals have a different kind of speed when conquering their own mountain. What maybe an hour for them can be three hours for us (OA!).

Staircase inside a mountain
A  stopover

Cemented and stair-ed” would best described the trail. Personally, I don’t like mountains with stairs, not because it is inappropriate but because it causes much more damage to the legs and feet. To further describe the trail…trees lying, leaves scattered, huge rocks with deep holes and open caves are some that we encountered. We trekked inside the lush forest of Atimonan. Forty minutes has passed and the trail got more and more steep and narrow. I saw that a fellow BP and some guests were crawling on the trail.

Jethro conquering his acrophobia
First time climber and guest Sir Jethro was slowly and methodically walking through the trail. I thought at first that he was just watching small insects crawling, but after some questioning, I found out that it is due to Acrophobia (fear of heights). After an hour and 10 minutes of walking (and some crawling), we found ourselves on top of Mt. Pinagbanderahan. 


Summit group shot
A circular cemented summit with a historical flag pole in the middle and a brief information of Mt. Pinagbanderahan are things that can be found at the summit. It is around a size of a 2 four-seater car (parked parallel to each other). The summit also serves as campsite to those planning to have an overnight stay but I should say that it is not ideal for a large number of people because of its small area.

BP Ivan

BP Anna adoring the view
As to the view, it would be best describe as BP Anna continuously singing her hearts out on a Spanish song (and even sang a Spanish version of a Beyonce song) while looking around a 360 degree view while we confusingly watched her from her back saying “What has happened to Anna?” (hahaha!). In short, it was magnificent!

Yes, we were lucky enough that the rain did not obstruct our view. We were able to see a magnificent view at the summit and I myself repeatedly kept on saying  “WOW!”. After a few moments, clouds suddenly appeared and at last…we were again higher than the clouds. 


Overall, I enjoyed my Mt. Pinagbanderahan climb together with BPs and guest because in this climb not only I proved that I can be a ”protector” in socials but also a “guide” to those who wish to jump the Bantakay Falls, right guys?


Exactly a year ago, I was invited through Twitter by my friend and fellow BP, Marion to join this certain group in their mountain adventure. I was excited to somehow experience again the beauty of nature not knowing that it is not only the love of travel and nature that I would be experiencing, but also a family. 

BP NICKSON, the author of the post
For a year of mountains and adventures; for all non-mountain activities and parties; to the BPs and guests I have traveled with…I would like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU all! May we continue to explore more mountains, beaches, falls, caves and everything that can be discover in our country.

The BACKPACKERS in Mt. Pinagbanderahan
Ivan, Angel, Heinz, Anna, Nick
Our Mt. Pinagbanderahan Guests:
Sean, Isabel, Rexie, Marta, Leah, DR and Jethro

For The BACKPACKERS Atimonan Adventure 
Part 1: Bantakay Falls, click here

Photos credits to Albert and Jethro

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