MT. MAKILING TRAVERSE IN LOS BANOS, LAGUNA (meters above sea level: 1,090+)
Days before the hike I got sick from an allergic reaction to a painkiller and my throat was sore & dry just because. On that account, I almost had the audacity to withdraw from this business trip of my dad which became more of a family trip to us.
5:00 am – We left the house and headed to Makati where the meeting place was. *Cue rant* God, this country looks so sleepless that traffic is still unbearable even at this hour.
8:30 am – By this time we were already inside UP Los Banos’ entry point to the Mariang
Makiling trail. My brother and I got to meet friends who were almost our age. All of us had to bear with how this place only spared their visitors with only one outdoor toilet… and how it was intolerably grimy. Final reminders were delivered, a prayer was heard and cameras clicked right before we tread on that seemingly friendly road with agog dispositions as to where the path will be taking us.
9:30 am – Walking for about an hour on a long and smooth road had me so disappointed that I yearned for more. I thought this was already where the ‘hiking’ started. To shrug off thoughts of disappointment, we entertained ourselves by enjoying the surrounding filled with well-preserved tall plants and trees. It was as if we were on an endless road to nowhere.
10:00 am – We reached the Agila base. With empty stomachs, one of the mountaineers
insisted all of us to head on to the summit already as it would only take 30 MINUTES from where we were. With all confidence and eagerness, they said that we could leave our bags (in other words, our LIVES) in the site. And so we did. No water. No food. At least I didn’t forget to bring my gloves – which came in very handy.
11:00 am – I’d like to believe that we were scammed. Jk. But hello, we were empty-handed and an hour had already passed. By this time, we were still hopeful of what was up there.
Faces all worn out, we reached station 22 and took a 5-minute break from all the climbing. Fortunately, one of the mountaineers brought packs of Ding Dong (a Filipino snack containing a variety of nuts) in his bag. Without any shame, we took some just to somehow refuel the engine within us. With an extreme outburst of sheer exhaustion all of us uttered almost the same lines, “Ayoko naaa”, “Sabi ni kuya kanina 30 minutes lang, anong nangyari?”, “WOOOOH, I’m tired.”
We were supposed to have our lunch in station 22, but only a few of us got it there first. Of course we didn’t want to wait all day so we proceeded with the hike. For this we STILL had 8 stations (because it had 30 stations all in all) left until the summit. 8 STATIONS.
As the trail got steeper, all of us became quieter as we had no energy to talk anymore. I even had my Spotify playlist on to kill the silence but turned it off after a few minutes because I still needed enough battery in case of any emergency. I kept my phone inside the pocket of my dri-fit pants in the hopes of not getting it all muddy because of the waterlogged soil we were stepping on.
We kept on coming across hikers who were already going down and the congenial personality of Filipinos somehow elevated my mood. We mastered to pull up our smiling faces, kept on greeting strangers (and vice versa) and asked them how far we still were to the summit. We came across this foreigner who was on her way down as she vented out that there was no view in the summit and she was disappointed.
We then reached the ladder part of the trail. But alas, the ladder was broken so cheers for a harder encounter.
12:30 pm – Before we finally reached the summit, I remember one of the mountaineers saying, “Kaya niyo ‘yan! Onting akyat nalang tapos ‘yong unang liko, summit na ‘yun.” THANK YOU KUYA. GOD BLESS YOU.
12:36 pm – STATION 30. THE SUMMIT. WOW, I DID NOT EXPECT. MY PAMILI. Although to our surprise and confirmation from what the foreigner said, there really was no view up there. The place was covered with tall plants. The only best place for a photo-op there was beside the “Stn. 30” sign carved with name vandalisms of the hikers who had been there. Two guys from our company shared their snacks and bottles of water which we needed the most. As seen in google images, the summit of the Sipit trail in Sto. Tomas (still a Makiling traverse), has an open and better view than where we were. Nonetheless, the level of difficulty was still the same for both trails. So we still deserve a recognition for this lol.
12:40 pm – We waited for another 10 minutes just in case our parents would be able to catch up on us in the summit but we couldn’t wait any longer. We were already hungry and thirsty.
1:00 pm – Going down. This was the start of the most dreading part of the hiking. For me, it was harder going down because of the high chances of falling or slipping from the steep steps of the trail. That’s why I had to touch the ground every time there was a 90 degree slope. Shout out to my ever handy gloves.
During this time, I felt something moving and approaching my left eye so I had to remove my glove. SHET. A WORM WENT INSIDE MY EYE. But luckily, thanks to my state of agitation, I managed to take it out with a dirty hand. Whatever. At least I’ll never get to have a worm laying eggs inside my eye. I was so shookt that I screamed my lungs out and thought it was a limatik leech. I asked one of our company to kindly check my eye and he said there was nothing inside but I had to put alcohol (but since it’s in the eye, someone advised to put water or just tear it out) because once limatiks cling on to something, it is said that they leave their teeth inside (if that made any sense). But after some pondering, I examined the thing that went inside my eye, and it looked more like a worm to me hopefully. What a disgusting experience.
2:50 pm – Tick tock. All throughout the journey going down, I only had my brother with me because some of them went ahead already while some were still way behind us. Thoughts like “Omg, nadaanan pala natin ‘to”, and “What if naligaw tayo?” crept up on us. We were dehydrated. I had to keep in motion to distract my dizziness.
3:15 pm – GOD IS MERCIFUL. FINALLY. LET THE ANGELS SING ALLELUIA. We were back in
Agila base. We could barely move our legs and feet. If only I took a picture of how our post-hiking shoes looked like. It was a disaster. We had lamb for lunch, God is good. After that well-deserved break, my mother and I started heading back to the bus to freshen up. Because we couldn’t walk for another 2 hours, we took the habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) on the way back.
We waited for the others for more than 2 hours inside the bus with complaints of painful joints and an anticipation of an upcoming fever. As the sun began to descend, we left UPLB and headed to Aviles, a bulalo restaurant in Calamba, Laguna.
I think the moral lesson of this trip is to always bring your things even if it’s only ‘30 minutes’ away. Loljk. =)) But overall, setting aside the tantrums, it was a memorable, adventurous and fun-filled day. What a great way to destress myself from all the drama (wow) and workload in school. ❤