January 16, 2012

mts maculot and macatmon day hike


Jump-off point: Brgy. Poblaction, Cuenca
LLA: 13°55'15"N; 121°2'30"E; 706 MASL
Days required / Hours to Rockies: Half day / 1-2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-3


mt maculot is one of the mountaineering destinations in the philippines where you can survive with less than a hundred pesos in your pocket. despite of the low cost, i am not encouraging everyone to bring a tight sum but i highly advice bringing extra cash if shit happens.

124.00 = bus ride to lipa via tanauan
35.00 = bus ride to cuenca (bus flat rate)
20.00 = tricycle ride per head to jump off
10.00 = police registration fee per head
15.00 = quick bath at mountaineer's store
50.00 = refreshments (softdrinks and crackers)
20.00 = tricycle ride per head to wet market
20.00 = jeep ride to lipa per head
65.00 = chicken lomi
350.00 = 100 proof lambanog 
154.00 = bus to manila via the express way 


it's been my 5th time in maculot and this has what i have followed most often. i drafted a different itinerary going to lipa instead of lemery since we're picking up an office mate who has been staying at lipa every weekend.

0500  assembly at lrt buendia
0600  etd for cuenca; ride bus to lemery 
0800  eta cuenca wet market; ride tricycle to jump off and register at police mini station en route
0830  eta mountaineer's store; repack; do last minute preps
0900  start trek
1000  eta campsite
1100  eta summit; lunch
1200  descend to campsite (or go to traverse route.. this is a different post)
1300  eta campsite; ascend to mt macatmon aka "rockies"
1330  eta mt macatmon summit
1400  descend to campsite
1430  start trek back to mountaineer's store
1530  eta mountaineer's store; prep up for home
1630  ride tricycle to cuenca wet market;
1700  ride bus to manila
1900  eta manila


from manila, ride a bus going to lemery, batangas. the bus stations where these buses are located ar at lrt buendia and kamuning. from lemery, ride a tricycle going to jump off. all the motorists there know where the jump off is.


last 2010 was the last climb i organized for the entire department and later 2011, i discovered that a lot of new hires are outdoor people. i risked sending an invite to the whole department in hopes of attracting people to join my climbs and was happy that i got quite a handful. we pegged january 15, 2012 as our first climb and have chosen mt maculot as the first mountain. a lot of people asked if they can bring their so's and other friends but handling more than 10 people is a stress for me. i could organize 20 maximum but most of the people who i trust for assistance (those i have trained last 2010 or were mountaineers ever since) had to attend to family duties so i have decided to limit the trip only to people within our company. since most of the people who will be joining are still aspiring mountaineers, i drafted a chillax-paced itinerary with more time for rests, cam whoring and bonding.

they agreed that we meet at 04:00 during our pre-climb; thus, i arrived 04:00. ram first came and joined me for a quick breakfast at jollibee where we also bought our packed lunch. i had the fastfood crew put my food in my biokips lunch box. it was amazing for me to look at the crew and the branch manager figuring out how to put one hotdog, one sunny side up egg and one cup of rice in such a small container. then i was later informed that they try to keep pieces of their food whole when serving them to customers. the branch manager and the serving crew chuckled when i told them that cutting the hotdog in half won't be a hindrance for me in eating their food since i'll be hungry by lunch time and won't care how it looks like. thirty minutes later, joey came and ate with us. since this is our first climb, i didn't mind extending for another hour as i have drafted my itinerary with one to two hours allowance. we have been waiting for isau to arrive but we have received no correspondences from him via phone call or sms so we left at 06:00 to arrive lipa at 08:00 to pick up eva. since most of us came from saturday office over time, we just rode the batangas bus that parked right in front of the fastfood. the bus would still pass tanauan but we needed time to sleep and the long ride will help us rest a bit.

we arrived lipa at 08:20 due to the traffic jam at tanauan. eva wasn't there yet so we had our second breakfast at red ribbon (didn't i mention that this was a chillax climb?) to wait for her. as expected, we got a message from isau. he told us that he turned off the phone and forgot to set the alarm. with a lot of exclamation points in his sms, he was definitely frustrated. joey told me that he even bought a pair of hiking shoes just for the climb which aggravated his frustration. eva came at 08:45 with her duffel bag of clothes for another week in manila. she is a local in batangas and has to go home every weekend to visit her home. in fact, the next barangay to mt maculot's jump off is where her family lives! she knows the place pretty well so i gave her the task to help us explore the place for good food after the climb. at 09:00, we rode a bus to cuenca. we could have rode a jeepney instead but we have already waited too long for one going to cuenca.

we arrived at cuenca wet market at 09:30 and took a tricycle ride to the jump off. we left our homeward bound clothes and most of eva's stuff at the store near the jump off. the locals there are honest and trustworthy that most mountaineers can leave almost anything there. but just for safety's sake, i had everyone bring all their valuables. at 10:00 we started trekking. we were blessed with a fair weather so it was easy for us to gain back our stamina in just a few minutes of rest. nonetheless, i still gave the team a 15-minute break as requested in the nearest flatland to enjoy the greenery only to find out that the nearest coconut juice pit stop is just a few steps away. we talked about office stuff -- how stressful work is and how we wish to bring the fresh air back to manila. most of us had call center backgrounds so we talked about the highs and lows of being an agent but mostly the happy ones.

we arrived at the campsite at 11:45 just in time for lunch at 12:00. in spite of the long rest, we had a good pacing with eva as the fastest climber not because she didn't bring anything with her but she grew up going to school and back at home crossing rivers and mountains. ram is a seasoned mountaineer and gets to climb almost every month while joey runs at roxas boulevard with her dad every weekend. while at rest, i gave them the option to go to the summit or just climb the rockies. ram suggested not to push for the summit because there's nothing to see there... and i agree. we ate our lunch, had a good snooze at the campsite, then resumed trekking towards the rockies at 13:00. coincidentally, the climb against cancer group also had their climb at maculot and there i met sir gerry, the ass behind the cancer kissed my ass foundation, in real life. we have been chatting mostly about our projects in facebook but never get to set up meetings due to our conflicting schedules.

we arrived at the rockies at 14:17 where we enjoyed the view overlooking taal lake. sacrificing the summit for the rockies was a good choice because eva and joey enjoyed it. while at the rockies, joey was chatting with her korean boyfriend via iphone facetime and showed him a picture of her at the rockies. we only spent a few minutes there due to the heat of the sun. we left the campsite at 15:00 and arrived at the mountaineer's store at 15:45. we had a few snacks, a quick bath and a quick snooze, and repacked our stuff for home. we left for cuenca wet market at 17:00, rode the jeep for lipa and arrived at the bus station at 17:30. for dinner, eva took us at the nearest lomi stall were we ate lomi for less than 100 pesos. i got myself a chicken lomi which kept me full for the entire night. the stall has big servings that there were still enough leftovers to give to the begging kids at the streets. we left for manila at 19:00 via the expressway and arrived at 20:15. before parting ways, we agreed on starting training climbs on february in preparation for our department's first pulag climb this april.

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