This is one of my exciting climbs.
Planned for a dayhike on a weekend at Malarayat range in Lipa, Batangas. It happened that Mang Mario is already booked to guide Packers Mountaineering, so we’ll just join them. Packers are a happy bunch especially Charlie Delos Santos, Ace Panuncio, Jonathan Fausto, Dhie Cacdac, Jun Tacut, Neg dela Cruz, Kelly Tacut, et al.
The climb started with lots of laughter sharing the Lipa infested trails with them was a relief. Here is where I learned that “Gabi” is the remedy for Lipa itch- the local Poison Ivy.
We started with the Malipunyo peak, which the highest peak in the Malarayat range, standing at 1,005 MASL. The summit marker is the distinct tree branch and a remnant of a wooden cross- the head of crucified Jesus. The summit is not that big to accommodate the Packers since there are quite a lot of them; I think there are 14 of them. Mang Mario suggested that they use the Bundok na Tapias instead. We did not climb the “Susong Dalaga” since it is riddled with hunters traps, so it wont be safe.
Packers planned their climb with a camping. It was good thing that they were happy to share their guide Mario with us since the three of us, Me, my wife and Julius Estrada, only planned for dayhike.
The Packers are really fast climbers even with heavy loads, but the uneasy trails, mostly explo trails of Malipunyo going to “Bundok na Tapias” is not easy. There was a time that we had a big gap in the line, I think there where two who was confused with the trail and got lost in between, trying to find the switch going to “Bundok na Tapias”. Midway, the rest was waiting until Mario could find the two- I already forgot who were they actually.
What made this climb even more difficult was the rains. Which made the trails slippery.
We were not alone in this climb. AMCI who started earlier was ahead of us and we caught up with their tail who was clearing out their trail signs at the water source area. They had a different itinerary, their climb is much longer than us and knowing Sky Biscocho who pioneered most of the trails of Malarayat, he was leading them here. Their trail signs were works of art!
Upon reaching the “Bundok na Tapyas”, we stayed awhile, waited for the rest of the group. The view here is breath taking, it’s drizzling a bit, the clouds are kissing this area and we can see the other peaks from here, including “Susong Dalaga” and “Manabu” peaks.
When the Packers settled in the camping grounds of “Bundok na Tapyas”, we resumed our trek going to Manabu peak, this is the most difficult part of the dayhike as it was already dark, and this is the part where the trail is not yet established, the recent rains have grown the vegetation covering the trails.
We have to go through tall grasses, wet as we are already, my wife is being on foot. She was not comfortable because it is really slippery, and sho got blisters already, being on foot was much easier. According to her (check her out kscdrbedural.wordpress.com). She do this often a lot in our climbs. Beats me!
Mang Mario doesn’t have a good eyesight especially at night. We have to stop a lot especially on inclined unstable soil areas clinging on thorny bushes, while waiting for him to negotiate the trail- apparently this was new trail. We did not worry much, we gave Mario our full trust. Julius was a happy companion in this climb, he’s into these things. Exploration types. After some time we reached the point of the trail of Manabu at the slippery ascent near the summit camping area.
Reaching the Manabu peak (760 MASL), was a relief. The strong winds are kissing our wet outfits cooling us big time to feel our tiredness. Took some pictures and descended right away. Mang Mario will be returning to the camped Packers in the morning and so he left us with a smile, happy to have assisted us on our adventure.
Special thanks to Neg Dela Cruz for some photos.