Anak ng putek!: The Mt Gulugod-Baboy climb

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Comrades, it’s been a while.

So let me tell you something about my second climb. Yes, my SECOND climb! I told you there’ll still be something after that killer but enjoyable Batulao adventure. This time it’ll be a trip to Teletubby land…

…or so they say.

Located in Mabini, Batangas, the mountain is—quite amusingly—called Mt Gulugod Baboy (translated: Pig’s Spine). From the name of the place you can quickly assume there are a lot of pigs there. Are there really? We’ll find out.

LET’S. FREAKIN’. GO!

However, we were faced with a challenge even before we start our trip. A typhoon named Karen (yep, ironically we share the same moniker) is being quite a b*tch and it was raining hard in Metro Manila hours before we left the office. My mountaineer friend Kris said, “Umuulan sa Metro Manila, kaya nga lalabas tayo!” And yes, Batangas is outside Metro Manila. Talk about being adamant. Yay!

Some of the major streets in Makati were flooded, but f*ck the weather, we’re still pushing through!

Mother Nature smiled a little at us and decided to let the sun shine as we reached the jumpoff. The first part of the trail is concrete (you can decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing). Challenge to the knees I say… but it’s good.

The actual trail up to Gulugod-Baboy was easier than Mt Batulao’s—it doesn’t have the ups and downs and huge boulders and cliffs that Batulao has. What made it harder for me was because it was muddy when we got up (damn that whatshername typhoon!!!) and I even had cramps, making the climb quite slow and painful.

Cramps: Attack!

But hey, we’ll all get there. The only difference is when!

The campsite actually looks like Teletubby land. I was just waiting for a gay purple mascot with a telly on the belly appear from nowhere and start dancing with us!

And the question whether there are lots of pigs? Well the answer is no, there are no pigs but there’s a hell lot of cows, even in the summit!

We had dinner, of course the home-style meals by the Master Chef Jaycee (Sinigang and Mexican Salad on a rainy night 500 meters above sea level spells AWESOME in every way!). The night sky is beautiful and resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it. And (one of) the best part of climbing a mountain: Socials! I met new people: Tonet and Jaime (Nestor’s friends), and kuya Irvin, Iggy, and Angel (Kris and Jaycee’s friends). We played games, went on a soundtrip, had a dance battle, and tried guessing everyone’s age while drinking and eating mojos. All is well. Until… IT RAINED HARD AGAIN!!!

This time it was so hard that we had to retreat to our respective tents and call it a night. Well, for the others it still isn’t… They stayed up until around 3AM, drinking and having fun even while surrounded by flood! (can anyone be more hardcore than that?)

The morning came and we had another breakfast like a sir.

Then we made the summit assault (we thought it would be a tough one… apparently it takes more or less ten minutes to get there) wherein we had a marvelous 360-degree view (I got it this time!)

It was a good thing that we already got to the summit and took photos, because as we were preparing for our descent, it started raining again.

Well thank God, my friend Nestor for the umbrella-turned-trekking pole, and especially to my good friend and “dama” Jaycee—I got through the descent with minimum hassle (only a few mudslides and slips here and there but all good).

We were able to see the trail as it changed overnight. The heavy rain that lasted through the night left a permanent mark to the residents at the foot of the mountain. Hope nothing worse happens to them.

“Someday you will find me caught beneath the landslide in a Champagne Supernova in the sky…”

And by the end of the day, I have to say goodbye to a friend.

Rest in pieces, my friend. From being an umbrella to being a trekking pole, you have served well.

But we had the chance to wash all the mud and dirt away by taking a dip at the beach afterwards!

Before we go, group photo!

The mountain, the sand, and the sea. This is life.

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