Before 2012 ended, we already had the date and the location on where is the best mountain that will be marked as the first Blogger's Climb. A lot of mountains were being suggested but Mt. Batulao was the crown bearer after the online meetings. When the places was already fixed, we proceeded with the complicated part - the date. Since the participants came from different locations and different business fields, getting the right date for this event was a tough decision until we came into January 19 or 20, 2013. We considered the availability of all the participants, so we've got the January 20, 2013 as the final date, so therefore MARKED!
When everything was fine, and the date was near, so we talked about some preparations that we should have before the climb; and the precautions that we should focus on during the climb. Good thing that Sir Pao was one of participants, at least he shared a lot in terms of preparations and what to expect.
After my Mt. Cristobal Climb, a week before this climb, I got sore throat and tonsillitis, maybe because of the bacteria and the weather. I met my Doctor, and he said: Iha, may tonsilitis at sore throat ka. And I answered: What does that mean? He said: Kung anu-ano kasi ang pinapasok mo sa bibig mo eh, Kulang ka lang . . . . . sa kagandahan. That really hurts! hahaha, I am just kidding. But doc gave me a lot of medicines worth 2,250 pesos. I informed my Doctor about my climb on Sunday and he advised me to cancel it if I am feeling the same thing, I don't need to force myself, remember Health is Wealth. After dinner I took 3 capsules. Early in the morning, I felt good, everything was fine.
January 20, 2013, 3:45AM - when my alarm rung and I got off my bed, I noticed that I have no fever, and I already have my voice but still my throat aces a bit. But I can handle myself well this time, Hooray!! I can still climb! So, I did my morning routine, prepared bread and coffee for my breakfast, then finalized my things inside my backpack. Inside my backpack are: 2 packs of jelly-ace as trail food, extra shirt and shorts, gloves, arm warmer, personal like sunblock, etc. While eating, my throat was not ready to swallow solid food, so I suffered pain while eating, I need to force myself to eat, I need energy for the climb. Good thing that my voice came back, after eating, I took a bath while rehearsing and stretching my vocal chords, so I was singing My All by Mariah and there were some high notes where I can't reach, so that means, my voice is really not in good condition.
When I arrived at McDo-Taft, Mike was already there and was waiting for me and the rest of the participants. While waiting for them, I bought 1.5 Liters distilled water as trail water at 7-11. Next one to arrive is Wewen then we had our breakfast and bought our packed lunch. As the time goes by, the participants just increased in numbers until we reached lucky 16 participants.
Since everything was properly set and everyone already knew each other, the 16 Participants ascended to the bus bound to Evercrest, Nasugbu, Batangas. Some of the bloggers and the special guests occupied the entrance part of the bus, at the back of the driver, and the 5 BHM (including me) occupied the 5-sitter couch at the end of the bus. Of course photo shoot will always be a part of any Filipino trip while waiting the bus to leave the terminal.
8:02AM - the bus left the terminal in Taft. Now, I can see all the passengers, some were standing, some were eating, some were talking to their plastic friends (sorry judgmental ako eh) and some were sleeping. But our group, BHM, were busy updating our twitter and facebook and the wireless internet connection was brought to us by @Whab. Thanks Whab! BHM is known to be the funniest, happiest and the beautifulest??? mountaineers in town, so as usual, we were so noisy while on the way going to Nasugbu. The sceneries going to Evercrest was pretty good, we saw different mountain ranges nearby plus the gorgeous hills of Tagaytay City was stunning. We arrived at Evercrest, Nasugbu, Batangas at 10:00AM and first thing that everyone did was finding the nearest comfort room. The weather here is really cool, the wind is quite strong resulting the dust to stick on my face. Another blogger Claire was already there before we descended the bus. So we were 17 participants joining this enjoying journey.
We reached the first store on the trail at 11:50AM, here they sell fresh coconuts for 25 pesos, halo-halo with melon flavor for 25 pesos and some chichiria. This place is perfect for lunch breaks and for the people to wants to re-energize their tired muscles. The store are run by a family, so expect for an old and young will serve you. The owners are really kind to strangers like us. After we fill our empty stomach, we decided to start following the trail again.
The Bloggers and the Guests ascended first to the peak because we (BHM) were waiting for another BHM member - Ginger and her son Ian. We need to see them first before going to the peak, then we'll be going to trek with them to the peak. We waited for few minutes, but Ginger and her son was still in the fork trail, so at 2: 13PM, we decided to start trekking going to Camp 5, then we will be going to wait for them in that camp.
the assault part - rock climbing
In this Camp 8 we met Gelai and Nil, they are from the 17 participants. Nil had a cramps in both legs, so they decided to go back. After letting them to take the trail first, we proceeded to the next challenge which is the steeper trail. We've used the rope tied on the top to balance, but we still used our skills in balancing. Good thing that we don't have any heavy things inside our backpacks. After exerting more efforts in the rope, we were creeping on the trail because of the wind. This time, the wind can blow my slim figure that might result to accident and can even result to death because of the ravine. We were really slow taking the trail of Camp 8, too dangerous!
At THE SUMMIT
After the horrifying trail on Camp 8, we are now reaching the Peak at 3:31PM. Wow! I was really amazed on the formation of Mt. Batulao. I can say, among the mountains that I've been with, this mountain is the perfect in terms of the formation its ranges and peaks. On the peak, you can see the other mountains nearby Nasugbu, Batangas. You can also feel the cold wind that blows my black, long and curly hair. Despite of the strong wind, we still had a time to do the jump shots, planking and the death defying poses.
When everything was properly set, at 7:29PM we took a jeep going to Crossing, Tagaytay, worth 25 pesos, so 25x17=425. We occupied the whole jeepney and as usual, we were so noisy. I don't know why we're so happy that time, I feel I was so energized that day. 7:46 PM, we reached Bulalo Point in Tagaytay City, the perfect place for our empty stomach.
Since we were17, if I am not mistaken, we ordered 7 Bulalo's, then we included plain rice, and many more. In our group, we were 5, we shared 220 pesos each for our dinner. It was a windy and cold night in Tagaytay, I wasn't happy on that because I was wearing just shorts. At 9:07PM we were done eating our sumptuous dinner.
After dinner, time to wait for the bus bound to Manila. According to some locals, their will be buses passing by until 10PM, so that's fine. But, it was so cold and I can't imagine that feeling will last for more than an hour. When we tried to ask some other locals to make sure, and they've said it''s until 11 PM, so which is which?
After more than 30 minutes of waiting for the bus, while we were freezing beside the highway, we did everything just to warm our feeling like putting our palm to our under arms. At last there was a bus going to Baclaran, but we need to stand up, because the sits can't accommodate our number. So 5 BHM and Mina remained on the same spot.
We again waited for more than an hour I think in the same location. Since I was wearing short, I decided to wear my trekking pants again, I really can't withstand the cold wind.
I think we need to take another option, so by 10:11 PM we took a jeep going to Pala-pala, Dasmarinas, Cavite with 40 pesos fare, then we arrived at Pala-pala around 11:00 PM. From Pala-pala, we took another jeep going to Bacoor, Cavite. Departure was 11:18 PM then arrival at around 11:50 PM with 27 pesos fare. And from Bacoor, Cavite, we took another jeep going to Baclaran for only 18 pesos fare. Departed at 11:53 PM and arived at 12:20 AM in Baclaran.
Baclaran is already part of Manila so I shouldn't worry about my travel, and I already knew how to go home from here. We first let Sharon and Mina to take a bus going to Novaliches then we took an air-con Bus B going to Cubao, since the Belason brothers will be descending there. It was 12:25 AM when we left Baclaran, taking an air-con bus. We-wen was the first one to get-off the bus in Estrella, then me at Ortigas then the Belason bros. at Cubao. I paid 25 pesos for that trip and arrived at 12:51 AM in Ortigas.
The whole trip was remarkable to everyone! We've met a lot of new people and friends and we developed a new tie and harmonious relationship. This Bloggers Climb will not be the last, it will be the start of the new journey for us bloggers and Mountaineer.