March 25, 2016
I stood on the campsite of my mother mountain and looked up at the summit, still barely visible as the moon shone against it at around 04:30 in the morning. I can faintly make out the parrot’s beak beside it and a thought entered my head: After summiting this mountain, I have three more to go for today.
This crazy notion of climbing 4 mountains in one day started when my friend linked me to the event on Facebook. The organizer was also my new trail-running friend, so I was confident in the logistics of the event. But back then, I didn’t give it much thought because my schedule for March was still hectic. As the day of the event loomed nearer, I found a slot on my Holy weekend for the hike and with much reservation, I told the organizer that I was interested in her event. I was blessed to be given the last slot for the climb.
I had spent the previous day on a pilgrimage for Holy Thursday so I slept the whole time until we reached the DENR Station at the foot of Mt. Palay-palay. It was still dark but we started our trek, using our headlamps and torches. Being a bit familiar with the trail, we reached the campsite, then the summit in no time.
The traverse to the Nasugbu firing range was a bit difficult in the dark, but it was straightforward and the sun started to rise along the trail. Once we reached the firing range, we had to somehow go back to the DENR Station in Ternate because we left our transportation there. Seeing that the tricycles were too expensive (P400 per trike, 3 people per trike), we didn’t have any choice but to run back to the station!
We passed scenic views of the coast and also went through Kaybiang tunnel that went through a mountain to connect Nasugbu to Ternate.
After more kilometers of rolling up and downhills along the highway, we finally reached the DENR Station. We refueled, got into the car and picked up the rest of the group along the way. Then we went back to Kaybiang for an actual group picture.
Once done, it was another roadtrip to Sitio Bayabasan, the jump-off of Mt. Talamitam. Unsurprisingly, I spent most of the trip asleep, only waking up at certain times to verify if we have arrived. At the jump-off, we had early lunch before starting the trek. I have an event next month for Mt. Talamitam, so this was a good chance to scout the situation of the mountain as well.
Mt. Talamitam was still hot as always, I didn’t know why I expected anything else. But the buko juice at the summit was always welcome. Plus, Kuya Randy, our Talamitam and Apayang guide, was there selling refreshments. I talked to him about my event and we agreed to contact each other about it. After resting for a bit, we took our pictures again and started the traverse to Mt. Apayang.
I was glad to know that the traverse trail between the two mountains were already well established. Back then, we couldn’t even see our feet! Now, the single-track trail is very hiker-friendly.
Upon reaching the summit of Mt. Apayang, we quickly took pictures and found some shade. The hut that used to mark the summit was moved a bit further on into the trail, and what was left was a quaint bench, right under the afternoon sun. We quickly began our descent.
The Apayang descent was still a challenge. This was the most stressful part of the day. Steep trails with vines and sharp bamboo jutting out of the ground, it was as if this trail was made to kill. There were also lots of low-lying branches and bamboo spears so you really had to be alert and watch both your head and your footing. It was impossible to go too fast in this trail so slowly but surely, I made my way down.
Once we got out of the forest and into the farmlands, the trail became more runnable despite of the heat. Wanting to finish the trail quickly and escape the sun, we quickened our pace and even ran a few times.
Finally, we reached the sari-sari store at the end of the trail where we commandeered a couple of tricycles to bring us back to the highway. From there, a couple of our teammates took a jeep back to Sitio Bayabasan to get our ride while the rest of us waited with an ice-cold cup of halo-halo. When our ride arrived, it was a short drive to Evercrest (Hillcrest) for our last mountain.
Fresh from my Batulao climb last week, the trail was a familiar friend, but I was glad to once again be seeing the curves of this beautiful mountain. We took the Old trail up the summit this time, racing against the setting sun. The ascent was full of dust and loose rocks and dirt, so I advise everyone to climb with caution. After a few more huffing and puffing, we reached the summit. 4 peaks in a day! Picture-taking commenced.
As we left the summit and descended through the New trail, we ran out of sunlight. Turning to our headlamps and torches, we passed through all the campers along the trail and exchanged pleasantries. They were already prepping dinner and having their socials while we were on our way back to our car. Once we got back to the jump-off, we cleaned ourselves up and headed to the organizer’s residence for a post-hike dinner! Yum!
After that, it was the standard long ride back to Manila. Of course I fell asleep along the way. Be it 1 peak, 2 peaks, or 4 peaks, you can always count on me to fall asleep on the way home.
Thank you, Mulatto Mountain Chef, for the successful event, and to all who participated, team Nasugbu Quadrilogy, for the fun moments (#BadingSiGL and other hastags) and never-ending motivation to keep on going. I never thought I’d be able to achieve this feat, but the tired legs are worth it!
It’s always good to test your limits, because as you break more barriers, more possibilities open up for you to strive for. Just make sure that the risks you take are calculated. There’s a fine line between rashness and determination.
Hike safe, have fun.
Here’s the hike data from Strava: