Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sibuyan Island, Romblon (Lambingan Falls and Cantingas River)

HOLY WEEK (2014) IN SIBUYAN ISLAND



LOOKING BACK

It was August of last year, when The BACKPACKERS had a climb at Mt. Pinagbanderahan wherein we had a guest mountaineering group called I.S.G. or the Integrated Solid Group, composed of Sean Roa, Mon Fajardo and Vic Del Rosario. It was a night of scary and at the same time, wacky socials that will never be forgotten. Again, they were our guest at the rainy Mt.Pico De Loro 2013 request climb. By that time, The BACKPACKERS already had a connection with them and their company.

 Come December of last year, Sean created a Facebook event entitled “Mt. Guiting Guiting Traverse”. I was determined to join the climb since I heard that Mt Guiting Guiting (aka “G2”) is known to be one of the hardest and most technical mountain in the Philippines. And with that, I together with my fellow BP Isabel Fonte joined that event.



GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER

          The scheduled trip to G2 was from April 15 to 19, 2014, just in time for the Holy Week. Isabel and I met at Araneta Center Cubao Bus station and expecting only for one more person to join us on our way to Batangas Port, Fernan Lapie. He is an Engineer currently working in Australia and in the country for vacation. Suddenly, while at KFC, another girl, whom I thought looks familiar, came in and introduced herself to us. Her name is Lav Nazarrea, a government employee and is also part of the G2 climb. At around 12:00pm, the four of us boarded ALPS bus bound to Batangas Port and so our journey began.
      
        We arrived at Batangas port at around 3:00pm. We met the rest of the group there. In addition with the three ISG group members, we also met Grin Perlas. At 5:00pm, the eight of us boarded the MV Grand Unity of Navios Lines.

Boarding time
Almost "individual" shots at MV Grand Unity
Inside MV Grand Unity
That was my first ride with a ship this big since I was 6 years old (I can barely remember it). By this time, we got a chance to know a little bit about the members of the climb party.



HELLO SIBUYAN ISLAND!

After almost 15 hours of travel (supposedly 13hours) or at 9:00am, we finally arrived in our destination…SIBUYAN ISLAND. The island is part of province of Romblon and it is where my fellow BP Isabel was born and raised. As soon as the ship docked at the port, people wearing yellow shirts came rushing in. I thought they were going to pull the ship towards the dock but they happened to be porters who came rushing to pick the carriage of the passengers.

Hello Sibuyan!
The port is located in the town of Cajidiocan (pronounced as Ka-Hi-Di-O-Kan). From there, we met our contact person/tour guide/ tricycle driver/ founder of G2 traverse, Mr. Remy Robiso and another driver named Racky. Sir Remy arranged two tricycles as our transportation for the day.

Unlike our previous climbs, we first dealt with our side trips before the climb proper due to our tight schedule and first on our list…Breakfast! We had our heavy breakfast (9:30am) in the market place in Cajidiocan. After that, we embarked on our first activity.



HOME SWEET HOME

An hour of travel (10:30am), we arrived in a small barangay named Danao at Cajidiocan. In our first activity, we visited the Fonte’s residence. Prior to our arrival, we knew that it was the birthday of Isabel’s father. As a good daughter, Isabel wanted to celebrate the day with her father. Upon arrival, Isabel introduced us to her family, who openly welcomed us to their humble abode. They are pop Teody, mads Celia, brother Anthony and nangskie Connie. Instead of us giving tatay something, it was us who received a sumptuous set of food. We couldn’t resist the shrimp even though we just recently had a heavy breakfast in the market.

With the birthday dad (wearing white shirt)
A feast of food
I was amazed by the location of Isabel’s house because it has the perfect view of G2, rice fields and the feeling of simplicity of life. I felt how simple the life of Isabel was when she was growing up.

Fonte's place
We bid thank you and goodbye to the Fonte family for welcoming us in their home but the day was short and we wanted to visit as much places as possible in the island of Sibuyan.



LAMBINGAN FALLS
  
A ten-minute ride from Fonte’s residence (11:40am), next on our itinerary is Lambingan Falls. Located in the town of Madiwang, this cascading falls was where I get to see one of the clearest waterfalls basin. But before getting to the falls itself, one must walk a minimum of 5 minutes (if you’re a fast walker). Sadly, we weren't able to plunge in the water due to time constraints even if I wanted to really soak myself in. Below are some pictures taken:

Trekking
Rates and Rules
The lowest basin
Vic of ISG 
the basin
Clean water
Lav modelling



LAST MINUTE SHOPPING

Continuing with the trip, we went first at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for our climb registration. One might wonder why we registered this early yet our climb was slated to be on the next day. It is because our starting point would not be at the DENR but at the house of Remy (more on this story shortly).

Registration
BP Nickson at DENR
Moving on with the activity, we decided first to unload our bags to Remy’s house before continuing. Be ready to have a rough, bumpy and long trip on this one. During the trip, I was just looking at G2 which is apparent during the whole trip. I am feeling nervous and at the same time excited that I’ll be conquering one if not the hardest mountain in the Philippines.

After unloading, we headed to our final activity of the day. We took a stopover at a local market in San Fernando and bought some food in preparation for our climb. We considered it as our last minute shopping. I, myself, only bought hand gloves and some trail foods. We registered in a local police station before going to our last activity and some of us took time to have a mug shot of them.

Mug shots



CANTINGAS RIVER (cliff jumping)

Our last activity of the day was at Cantingas River. Located in the town of San Fernando, this river is (for me) well-known for extremists who want to experience a whooping 40-feet cliff jump. Some years ago, on a documentary in GMA7, I saw celebrity Richard Gutierrez jumped from the highest platform measuring, as I said, 40 feet. For some extremist of the group, it was a perfect time to experience the fall.


Cantingas River

        The cliff has three levels. The lowest level measuring an estimate of 15 feet, the second level an estimate of 25 feet and the highest at 40 feet. While almost everyone had their jump on the lowest level, Vic who was the extremist of us all decided to jump on the highest level. It was pure amazement when Vic, without hesitation, jumped that high. As for mine, there is always a next time.


BP Isabel relaxing

Jumps of Fernan, Sean and BP Isabel
Jumps of Lav, Tito Mon and Vic



OUR DAY ENDS

Feeling a little bit relaxed, we ended our day with a grilled squid prepared by Sean. Somehow, I was still nervous on what awaits us in the climb proper itself. All I knew was, I had to rest my mind and body for the next coming days will be conquering Mt. Guiting Guiting not only on a traditional trail but on a TRAVERSE.

Last supper before G2

ACTUAL ITINERARY and EXPENSES

TIME
ACTIVITY
EXPENSES (PhP)
DAY 1


11:00 am
Meet up at Araneta Center Cubao Bus Station

12:00 pm
Departure from Cubao to Batangas Port
175.00
2:30 pm
Arrival at Batangas Port

5:00 pm
Departure from Batangas Port to Sibuyan Island, Romblon
1,000.00 (boat fare)
30.00 (terminal fee)
DAY 2


9:00 am
Arrival at Sibuyan Island

9:30 am
Breakfast
47.00
10:30 am
Fonte’s Residences

11:30 am
Depart to Lambingan Falls

11:40 am
Lambingan Falls
20.00
12:30 pm
Depart to DENR

1:00 pm
DENR
300.00 (registration fee)
1:30 pm
Depart to Remy’s house

3:00 pm
Remy’s house

3:15 pm
Depart to Catingas River
(Market and Registration)

4:30 pm
Catingas River

5:00 pm
Back to Remy’s house

6:00 pm
Remy’s house
400.00 (tricycle rental for the whole day)
10:00 pm
LIGHTS OFF






























On the next Article of Sibuyan, Island.

The group began with the much awaited Mt. Guiting Guiting (REVERSE) TRAVERSE climb. Who stumbled? Who gathered the most injury and scratches? How long did we hike? Are the enchanting stories on this mountain, true? Was the promise of one person to another fulfilled? All of these and more interesting stories on the upcoming Articles.


PHOTO CREDITS to myself and Lav Nazarrea











For complete Sibuyan Island and Mt. Guiting Guiting experience, please click below:

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