March 4, 2017
Mt. Tapulao 2,037 masl – Palauig, Zambales
Mt. Tapulao was my second major hike. Although the masl a bit scared me, upon seeing the trail online made me think that maybe this would just be an easy kindly hard climb.
It was still dark when we arrived at the jump off point. One thing that made me excited about it was the stars in the sky. It was such a beauty that I just wanted to stare at them for long. But we had a mountain to climb so we went on.
The first few kilometers were easy considering that the slope was still flat, maybe it’s rocky but easy enough to maneuver around.
Our guide informed us that it would be really hot when the sun rose up so we got to be at least halfway through before the harsh ray of the sun which was I think around ten am. UV was not healthy starting that time already.
We stopped for a while when we reached kilometer six. I doubt it was just six kilometers though. I’d joined marathons before so I at least knew how far a kilometer was and by the distance that we walked on, it’s more than that. Regardless, the kilometer monitor they had which was this post with the numbers in it and the kilometer symbol (km).
This was also one of the places where the hikers could camp because it had a clear view of the sky, which was best for stargazing at night.
This was almost the end of the shady part of the trail. We were about to get toasted!
And the start of the rocky trail.
We took a quick break at one of the curve of the trail. Our guide said that we’re going to pass at least three similar trails that we might get confused. It’s also an elevated slope so we had to put much effort with our every step. Just look at how big those rocks were! There were bigger rocks than that somewhere.
Somewhere in kilometer eleven (?), we stopped for this view. We were on top of the world! It was even more beautiful with our own eyes.
I couldn’t see the camera because the sun was just too hot. My eyes were almost close.
Our guide set five minutes for us to take photos of this view. Five minutes wasn’t enough but we’re tight on schedule so we had to carry on.
Since we’d passed kilometer thirteen, the weather started to change. It was getting colder and I wasn’t prepared for the cold. Pine trees were everywhere, like we were somewhere in Benguet. I had a quick comparison with it to Mt. Ulap. It’s my first time to experience that kind of change. From hot to cold? What the, right?
There were thick fogs around us and we even thought it’s going to rain hard!
We were the first eight in the group that got to kilometer seventeen so we had all the time to take more pictures.
It was a bit windy and taking a “buwis buhay” shot was not in my plan because I was afraid of heights after all. I know! I climbed mountains but I was afraid of heights. I was getting there, baby steps of course.
We carried on because it was almost twelve noon and we actually had to be at the summit already.
When we got to the campsite, it started to rain again. Just a little bit. Since we’ve had the time to slow down, we decided to push through without stop so we could hit summit fast.
The last of the trail was the mossy forest, which was really unusual! But considering that we’re 2,000+ masl already, it’s not that unusual at all, yes?
It took me and Amor at least fifteen minutes to the mossy forest before finally seeing the ’18 km’ post, which indicated that we had reached summit.
The downside of this was, there’s no clearing. It was fog all around. The cold doubled as well that I had to wear all the clothes available.
Since we’re the first in the group and the other groups were about to descend, we looked for a descent area to take a rest and sleep while waiting for the others.
I managed to get few minutes of sleep but because it was cold, I couldn’t stay long. The others arrived at least thirty minutes after us. They said that they decided to eat lunch at the campsite, so that’s why they took long.
At around two pm, we finally descend. To be able to reach jump off with still clear sky, we had to trek down for four hours. That’s like suicide because we got to the summit for at least eight hours.
Although I had doubts that we’d not make it, we managed to reached the end in almost six hours. We’re at least two hours faster. We’ve had halo halo to ease up our tired body and after that, we freshened up and just waited for the others.
This was the first mountain that I didn’t get to enjoy the summit view. So it was really true that there were mountains that had a beautiful trail view but not a summit view. Would I go back to Mt. Tapulao? Yes, but not to reach the summit anymore but to stargaze. It offered such beauty that I knew I had to go back for them.