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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mt. Tagapo Day Hike: Gauging the Peak of Bamboo Island

 I spent my sunday on mountain again since the last climb in Osmena Peak in Dalaguete, Cebu. This time, I climbed not with my mountaineering group SMB Mountaineers but with the new crowd. Organized by Ivan Cultura, a.k.a Batang Lakwatsero (name of his blog site featuring mountains here in the Philippines) we explored the mountain located in the verdant Island of Talim, Binangonan, Rizal Province, known as Mt. Tagapo.

Dated on 14th of July, we met up at 5AM in Chowking Restaurant nestled in a Shopping Mall along EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard. The group were composed of 16 mountaineers. Others were freelance outdoor enthusiast and some have their own group also like me. It feels good to meet new people with same passion as mine, thus, my network would extend and got new circle of outdoor buddies. (sigurado dadami na naman lakwatsa ko nito!!)

When everyone has arrived and confirmed the number of attendees, at 6AM we immediately rode jeepney routing to Binangonan Port (P39 for jeepney fare)  and arrived there at about 8AM.
 We were just on time and there was a boat waiting to fill passengers going to Talim Island. From the port area we still waited for others who would join also the climb. Those two, were just from Rizal that is why they have a separate trip. Then they arrived and we boarded on the boat. We waited for 15 minutes more before the boat left. (P30 for the fare)

The port area. This serve also as market and fish port too.


The Town of Binangonan Rizal showing their busy street during weekend. They have his old church seems like centuries old also. Belfry is shown on the photo on the far end of the road.

The picture above was the boat that brought us to Talim Island. It is the major mode of transport going to the island. It has approximate capacity of 50 passengers more or less. We sailed on Laguna Lake and witnessed its situation today. The lake that has been mentioned many times in the books of Jose Rizal, describing its beauty, was obviously now suffering from environmental obliteration.

Inside the passenger boat we sailed on.

The water of the lake is murky brown that you won't able to see any clearness. 

You can see uninhabited island on the lake.

The lake was sprawled with fish fences which become one of the source of fresh water fish of the metro. Once have faced overfishing problem and  now the lake was invaded with alien species of fishes that become dominant over the local specie (based on documentary I watched).

about 9:45 AM . After almost an hour and after numbers of stop overs to ports in each barangay in the island to unload other passengers, we finally reached Brgy. Janosa. That day, the grey sky covered the surrounding and Mr. Sun seem so shy that he didn't showed up early in the morning.


We proceeded right away to the Barangay Hall of Janosa to register (P20) and checked supplies we need to buy in the lowlands.

The framed photo showed the future development in the island. They have this proposed commercial buildings, hotels and accommodation. What surprised me was the zip line going to Mt. Tagapo. And that really scared me. Another development that would probably disturbed the environment.

Truly, that development project was ambitious. That would take prolong time to make it into reality. And if I were to choose, let Talim Island remain as it is, just do cleaning and more organized tourism facility.


Revert on the trip, before we proceeded to jump off. We took time to eat some street foods just beside the barangay hall.


The church on the island and there was on-going sunday mass when we passed by.
Before we reached the jump off,  we passed thru the way at the back of the church and went to walkway going to school. From there, we stopped for few minutes to introduce each and everyone and of course prayed for guidance. We walked along an alley beside the school then walked across the community until we reached the trail.

Start of the trail.
The trail was rocky and a bit slippery because of the moist and moss covering some of the rocks. At first, I noticed a dry river bed to my right, and to my thoughts, I imagined that clear water is flowing there during heavy rain. The trail is gradual ascent so we did not get tired easily. 

The pack while taking a rest. Take Five!!!

What makes Mt. Tagapo trail distinct was, it was mostly covered with bamboo forest. All the way through up to the grassland, bamboo plants are everywhere. I find it an advantage because bamboo are good agents to help avoid erosion and besides it grew and multiply faster. Bamboo can also be used in lots of industries to help the economy of the locality.

While waiting for panda to come out somewhere in the bamboo forest. (As if meron talaga??!!), we rested for few minutes and took photos for primary pictures in our social network account. We were acting like we're in a ninja chasing scenes.  

How about my trail food?? I bought this bread sticks in the lowlands just for P6.00 for 5 pieces. It is about a foot long. I remember the last time I ate this is when I was in high school in our province.

 And from the ninja chasing-bamboo forest scene, the assault part started. My sweat flowed all through out my body and I panted like a running horse. But I enjoyed this tiresome move. I felt like my cardiovascular system get stronger with this. And my blood flows normally plus the pure oxygen air I inhaled. Minutes passed, the grassland showed up. It was a relieve, this means we are very near to the summit. Few more steps at 11AM, we have witnessed the summit.

The Summit of Mt.Tagapo was as if we were in the Teletubbies Land. The whole area were covered with cogon grass. Scorching heat of sun drained our sweat on this.

Umbrellas were open and we covered our selves against the striking heat of the sun. Finally, the sun I was looking earlier has its guts to showed up. But this time sobrang init!!!! given that it is about 12 noon, tirik na tirik and araw!!

 The group at the summit of Mt. Tagapo. Photo credit to Denver Pascual.

The summit resembles the summit of Mt. Talamitam in Nasugbu, Batangas, open and grassy. We stayed at the summit for only about an hour. We took photos of view from the summit, group pictures and ate our lunch there (P94. for my lunch and breakfast). We descended after all those photo shoot because we cant resist the heat of the sun.

Descending from the summit was much faster. We took it just for about 45 minutes. But this time the group have gone separate trek because other have trekked faster while other remain on the average pace. For the first, I experienced to trekked all by myself because I was left behind by my companion. While trekking alone, a lot of thoughts have crossed in my mind. Yun pala pakiramdam ng mag hike ng mag-isa (Now I knew the feeling of hiking alone.) You have your sole time to reflect and think advance. Surely I would do that again to experience the real solo climbing. Along the trail, I got the opportunity to witness the fauna of the island. I saw flightless birds walking near the trail. In our place in the province of Marinduque, it is called a Tikling Bird.

It was 1PM when I reached the Barangay Hall and Church of Janosa. I rested for 15 minutes to cool down my body and prepare my self for wash up and waited for others to arrived.

At exact 3PM we were ready to board on the boat that brought us back in Binangonan Port Area.
Everyone was in silence because of exhaustion. Only the noise of the motor boat and oldies but goodies music prevailed inside the boat. It seems the voyage heading back is shorter because we got time to catch a nap while sailing.

We were in the port area at about 4PM. Our energy was drained by that climb so we have to regain it back. Therefore, we look for a place to dine and treated ourselves with hefty meal. We walked at the town's core and found ourselves craving for food serve by a  giant bee fast food.

I ordered a spaghetti meal and two piece chicken plus pineapple drinks (P125 for my meal). Galit galit muna kami (we didn't bother to talk anymore while dining). Everyone was seriously eating. That meal was really a relief. Though our body was still down, somehow, we have regained energy that we would use on our way going back in the metro.

Luckily, we have found a UV Express routing to EDSA-Robinson Galleria where most of us would ride off. Together with Sir Denver and Sir Ed, we bumped off in Taytay, Rizal only(P20. fare for van ride)  where we rode Greenliner bus with route going to Aurora-Magsaysay Boulevard. (P45. for Bus fare).

Overall, it was a nice climb. Again, I experienced the heat of open trail at the same time  tested my endurance especially my knee injury. It didn't ached anymore that means I could do and ready for a major climb soon. Moreover, what is valuable was the people that I have come to know. A new circle of peers whom I could travel with and climb mountains with. People with same interest as mine who love to mingle with nature into its purest and experience the beauty of mountains. (I also met other blogger, Robbie Bautista of The Travelling Dork.)

Thanks everyone especially to Ivan who allowed me to join and he who led this climb. Until next time.!!!

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