HOLY WEEK (2014) IN SIBUYAN ISLAND
(the descend from Mt. GUITING GUITING TRAVERSE climb)
G2 399 woke up at around 6:00am. It was a rainy night but we felt blessed that it did not happened during our ascend. We have an hour to prepare because according to our itinerary, we should be starting by 7:00am. Due to last night’s hard rain, my trekking shorts were all wet and what was left with me is the one I wore during sleep. I know I would not be comfortable with it but I have no choice but to wear it. I also wore my raincoat for my leg protection. After a prayer, led by yours truly, our journey to descend Mt. Guiting Guiting (G2) began.
The first landmark we had encountered was the 90 Degrees Wall. We were very cautious climbing down and we even had to pass our bags to the porters to make the descend easier.The landmark stands almost 15 feet high and we had to secure our grip before stepping to another rock. It was scary but it was a good warm up for a series of rock climbing there still to encounter, according to our guide and porters.
"ONE WRONG MOVE AND...GOODBYE"
Due to the last night’s rain, the trails became slippery. I really hate wet trails and I guess everyone hates it too. It slows our walk because you became careful about not sliding, falling or injuring yourself. We arrived at Peak of Deception, 45 minutes from the summit. There was no clearing that is why we cannot see the view of the summit from this landmark.
|At the Peak of Deception|
|At the Peak of Deception, pointing at the summit|
|Lav and BP Isabel|
Again, I was last in the group together with my porter named Elias. The trail was a difficult, dangerous and death defying. It would require a person to rock climb most of the first half of the descend. I never felt safe in most of the rock climb. I (and I assume everyone) had difficulty securing their grip on the rocks. Adding the fact that we were rock climbing at the side of the rocks and boulders making it more scary. I remember telling Elias, “hindi ba pwede sa gitna ung daanan para safe bat puro sa gilid ng bato?”
It was a death defying climb and it may lead a person tumbling down the cliff to death. I was very slow and careful on that matter. There were times when we needed to stretch our legs and arms just to get from one point to another. Luckily for us, the clouds were blocking our view from below so we cannot actually see how high we were. The rocks must not be underestimated, it was sharp and can cause scratches and injury when miscalculated.
That was not only the danger we encountered during the first half. The trails were also dangerous due to hidden holes. I myself was a victim of such. When I was walking, my right leg fell into a hole but I was instantly grabbed by Elias.
"I NEED SOME HELP"
I reached Mabel’s Spring and there was Fernan and Tito Mon waiting for me for a trail food break. I was not carrying any trail food because I believed that it would increase my load and I know that Elias would have one. Mabel’s Spring is a water source station and you can see how clean the water is. To reiterate, G2 has the cleanest (and the coldest) water source I have been with in my entire climbing career.
After a short break, we continued with the descend. The Kiss The Wall was the landmark we encountered. Just like our previous trails, we again experienced rock climbing. It felt like the same with other rock climbed we had but the difference with this, is that you are fully embracing the wall. Tito Mon even kissed the wall on Kiss The Wall. The funny thing is, the lead pack never experienced it. They passed underneath the Kiss The Wall and their guide and porter told them only after they had passed the landmark.
After which, we arrived at Knife Edge. As far as I remember, I think we passed by two (2) knife edges (correct me if I’m wrong). By this time, the clouds began to clear up and we can see from behind the trails we passed and not just that, we can see how high we were. On the lead pack group, they again were not aware that they were already at the Knife Edge until after they have asked their location.
I was having a hard time walking and I felt discomfort on the lower part of my body. There I saw my raincoat ruined and my legs barely exposed. I asked Elias whether my other shorts were with him but he had not. We were able to catch up with Tito Mon, Fernan and their porter but he also had not have my other shorts. Fernan was very kind for letting me borrow his extra shorts. It was a relief because not only was my raincoat ruined but also the shorts I’m wearing.
The sun was clearly up and we can see Grin Perlas way ahead of us. Actually, from our point of view, he looks like he is an hour ahead of us but the Porter said that it is still a two (2) hour trek from our position to Grin’s position. Elias pointed on a certain mountain and said that it is Mayo’s Peak. It was a relief on my part because I saw Sean and the others from that mountain. When we arrived on that mountain, I was shocked to know that what Elias was pointing as the Mayo’s Peak was not the one we were standing but the one were Grin Perlas was. From there, I understand that what was Elias referring to was a two (2) hour hike from that point to Mayo’s Peak and not from the point where I asked him.
It was an assault to reach the Mayo’s Peak but before reaching to the assault portion, we passed by another set of rocks and boulders. This was the point where I had the most difficulty due to the clearing and windy weather. I was having a hard time standing and crossing from one boulder to another. There was also numerous instances where my knee hit the rocks while crossing. On the assault, I already felt the effects of my falls and bumps on my knee from earlier trails we passed. With the little help from the tree branches, it served as my support to lift myself up in the assault. We reached Mayo’s Peak behind our prescribed time and this was where we had our lunch, in the absence of the lead pack who already continued with their descend.
"IS IT TRUE OR NOT?"
After a quick lunch, we continued with the descend from Mayo’s Peak. Tito Mon and Fernan informed me that they will walk in a fast pace and that would leave me behind with Elias.
G2 is known (to the locales) as a spiritually enchanted mountain. There were stories of abduction by the spirits and mountaineers lost in the trails. I was a victim of such. From Mayo’s Peak to Camp 3 would take about an hour to hour an half, depending on you pacing. While I was walking, I told Elias “O may river pala tayong dadaanan”, From a distance, I saw a river and I thought that we would be crossing but as we approach that point, there was no river. I told Elias “Ay wala pala”.
We did not take rest upon reaching Camp 3 and continued to reach Camp 2. It was a two (2) hour hike, depending on your pace, from Camp 3 to Camp 2. While walking, for a distance I saw a “Bahay Kubo”. I told Elias that we should take a rest first on the “Bahay Kubo” but upon reaching that point, there was none. We continued walking and after a few minutes, I saw another image from a distance, it was a camp site full of tents of different colors. This time, I did not informed Elias on what I am seeing until after we reached that point. Upon reaching the point, again, there were no tents. I don’t know if I just hallucinated or tired but whatever it is that I experienced on that mountain will forever be remembered by myself.
I’m not the only one who experienced some unpleasant event at G2. Lav, on the other hand, was left alone on the trail and kept on shouting for the others but no one could hear her. After a few minutes, Isabel and Grin arrived to be with her. It goes to show that a mountaineer should never be left alone specially on a enchanted mountain such as G2.
"IS THERE A MOTOR VEHICLE AROUND?"
The reason why I was walking slowly from Mayo’s Peak was because of I was injured due to the bumps and falls I encountered on the assault to Mayo’s Peak. I was struggling the whole time and I can’t even walk straight, my right leg was hurting.
I was pushed to the limit on this climb. I wanted to stop and rest but it won’t do no good and I really want to finish to climb. My body was already giving up but my mind was telling me to just continue. I don’t know what my inspiration was but I never took a rest. To my determination, I was drinking my water while walking so I never had to rest.
I’m not the only one who was injured, almost all of us had bruises and scratches on their legs but Sean, according to the lead pack was the most injured and was literally crawling backwards. He even asked if there is an available vehicle to just bring him down.
The end was near and I was thinking, at last I could shout “I survived G2 Traverse”. It was already dark and I assume that the other were already at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) site and resting. I really thought that was it when we reached the Tampayan River but from there to DENR would take at least an hour. I was burned and ready to have myself be carried by Elias. Then suddenly, the rest of the guide and porters went back to us. I regained strength and finished the adventure.
After 8:30 pm or after at least 14hours of hiking, I finally arrived at DENR and no one was there. The rest of the group went ahead at the beach resort because we cannot ride the tricycle at the same time. I laid down on the floor and kept shouting “I SURVIVED G2 TRAVERSE” and yes, with the word TRAVERSE.
|Pete's beach resort|
"LETS CONTINUE THE KNIFE EDGE TRILOGY NEXY HOLY WEEK"
With this being said, I would like to personally thank each and everyone I was with on this one of a kind adventure:
Guide and Porters namely REYNALD RAPOL, IAN RAPOL, ARNEL TOLENTINO and ELIAS BANTIGIG (who stayed with me through out the adventure)
GRIN PERLAS – Hopefully, someday I'll be able to walk as fast as you did.
VICTOR DEL ROSARIO – Sorry for unintentionally dropping you mug to the cliff. I learned so much of the important of breakfast in the mountains and thank you for introducing ENERGEN.
SEAN ROA – Thank you for creating the event and I know that next year or sooner you will be arranging another event to complete the Knife Edge series.
MON FAJARDO – I was laughing on your jokes and stories. Thank you for being the grandfather and assisting me in this climb.
FERNAN LAPIE – Without you I would be hiking with a torn shorts. Thank you for all the inspiring stories and jokes. We will see you next year.
LAV NAZARREA - A true definition of unexpected hardcore. I never really thought you would that be a climber. Thank you for your life story and I know you will find your special someone someday or maybe soon.
ISABEL FONTE – You never left me, always remember that. I know that even you're ahead of the pack you still manage to ask how am I. Thank you for sharing this experience with me as a BP.
To summarize our adventure, BP Isabel Fonte (in her debut) wrote a poem based on her experience on G2 entitled “G2 FRIENDSHIP CLIMB”.
G2 Friendship Climb
I grew up looking at your magnificent beauty
How proud you are standing near my house
And when I decided to climb mountains years back
I promise myself that one day, just one day, you’ll wait.
And when that faithful day came
Me with my team nervous but more excited
No training at all but yes were ready for you
Prayers, courage and trust, our weapon to survive.
Adventure seeker yes we are,
Nature, fresh air and the hidden beauty that you have
Sunset on top of the mountain, breeze of the cold wind
Perfect for a romantic gateaway.
Mt. Guiting Guiting indeed a mountain to behold
A one in a kind, a forever to remember
Friendship build and a promise made
That we never stop climbing because this is the beginning of many to conquer.
Thank you for we’ve been able to witnessed
Your beauty amidst the hardship we take,
We’ve been able to see how beauty you are that hiding there on top.
Thank you for the memories, that forever to keep
And we treasure this for the rest of our life.
Till we meet again, we know we will.
And that was how our Holy Week in Sibuyan (2014) ended.
Arrival at Pete’s Beach Resort
200.00/ person (accomodation)
2,400 or 300/ person
5,400 or 675/ person
Depart to Cajidiocan Port
120/ person (jeepney fare)
Depart to Batangas Port
*For previous expenses, please see Part 1 of this series.
PHOTO CREDITS to myself and Lav Nazarrea
For complete Sibuyan Island and Mt. Guiting Guiting experience, please click below: