September 3, 2016
This weekend, I was invited to a fun climb by my legit mountaineer friend and her legit mountaineering group. It was going to be a dayhike up one of the mountains in San Juan, Batangas followed by an overnight at the beach. Having no tent to call my own, I was having doubts if I can do an overnight escapade, but my friend assured that they will take good care of me. With no more doubts and because the mountains are calling, I confirmed my attendance to climb Mt. Hugom.
It’s been a while since I spent the night away from civilization so I was at a loss at what to pack. Then I just said bahala na and stuffed lots of clothes into my backpack. I also brought my virgin hammock with me, just in case I’m able to test it (no I wasn’t).
I met up with the group at McDonalds Buendia in the wee hours of the morning, where we took an Alps bus bound to San Juan, Batangas. The bus service was new and so were the buses. I had a comfy snooze until we reached the last stop. From there, we hired a jeepney to take us to the jumpoff at Brgy. Hugom.
After waiting for the other members, we registered and distributed the guides. A quick prayer and stretching was done and the hike officially started.
The trail of Mt. Hugom is actually very nice. It is established and passes through a covered forest with different flora and fauna all around. My hikemates were enthralled by the many colorful butterflies along the trail.
The views served as a distraction to the fact that it was mostly uphill. There were some parts that served as temporary resting places, carved by the locals, but there was a distinct lack of flat terrain. This was quite surprising because I know that Mt. Hugom isn’t that tall to start with.
After about an hour of hiking, we reached the so-called “Talahib Interlude.” This was the only part of the trail that was open. It was a bit of a climb as well, but it did show the beautiful view of the beach. This part also marked the halfway point of the climb. Our guide warned us that after this point, there would be fewer flat areas and that it’s going to be a steep final assault to the summit.
After taking a short break, we started the assault up the summit. And it’s true, there were hardly any flat areas and the steps marked on the trail were very high. I was thankful that it wasn’t raining or else it would be very difficult to climb the terrain. We had to take rests by leaning on some of the trees because if not, we would fall down the slope.
Personally, I really liked the trail of this mountain. There were some parts that reminded me of Mt. Apayang’s trail in terms of lushness of the trees and rocks, though not as deadly. There were also parts along the trail that opened up for us to be able to see the view.
Then, there was a steep bit of ascent followed by a roped segment where you can pull yourself up a rock face. At this point, I can already here some of my hikemates celebrating so I surmised that the summit must be near. After the rope segment, it was about 25 steps more to reach the summit.
Finally! We reached the top of Mt. Hugom. The area was actually very open, a stark contrast to its trail. There were some trees that provided cover though, as well as benches to sit on that were made by the locals. Here we waited for the rest of the group and had our packed lunch. Adobo, yum thanks Jen! The whole climb took us about 2 and a half hours.
After eating and having a quick rest, the group decided to start the descent. This part was waaay faster. I enjoyed running down and though there were some fallen trees and branches that served as obstacles, I was able to run through most of the trail. I think I was able to get to the jumpoff point and re-hydrate (no water source along the way and at the summit) in a little more than an hour. Again, the trail is well established, so hiking down alone is perfectly fine.
When everyone was accounted for at the jumpoff, we packed our things and got ready for the next part of the adventure, the BEACH!
We had a quick jeepney ride to a beach resort that was already reserved by the organizers. It was a nice, quiet place and we were the only people there! So after pitching our tents, my groupmates started making dinner as the sun set. In the meantime, I tried to help by cutting some beans(?) for the sinigang.
After dinner, we started with the socials. I didn’t know the people there so we started by introducing ourselves. Then the drinks started going around.
The socials lasted well into the night and early morning and I didn’t bother going into the tent. I slept under the stars. It was actually an amazing feeling; the weather was perfect for sleeping outside and at some points, I could see the stars through the coconut trees.
Early Sunday morning, I woke up as the others were starting to make breakfast. Since we were all parts of small groups, it was fun to see what the other groups were cooking up. Some had tapa, others had hotdogs, while we had macaroni, spam fries, sinangag, and some of the leftover sinigang.
Once we finished eating, the organizers had a small game where we had to find some Pokemon. At first I thought it was just a joke but then I found a Pikachu under a coconut tree. Luckily, I was one of the five people who captured the Pikachus.
After that, we had some free time and we spent it taking pictures, drinking Mountain Dew, and swimming near the dock.
Finally, it was time to bid the beach farewell. We all fixed up and packed our things (Leave no trace!). Then we proceeded to be picked up by our rented jeeps. We stopped for a bit to have some Batangas lomi, then went to the bus station in San Juan for our ride back to Manila.
- 05:00 ETD Buendia, ALPS Bus to San Juan, Batangas
- P192 per head
- 07:00 ETA San Juan, Rented Jeep to Brgy. Hugom
- 08:00 ETA Brgy. Hugom, Register and secure guides
- P35 per head, registration
- P400 per day, up to 7 people, minimum guide fee (required)
- 09:00 Start Trek
- 10:00 Talahib Interlude
- 11:45 ETA Summit, Lunch
- 13:30 ETD Summit, Start descent
- 15:00 ETA Brgy. Hugom
Safe Budget: P1,000
Thank you, United Trekkers Club, for the hospitality! It was fun hiking with you guys and you were very accommodating even to newbies like me. Plus, you taught me a lot about camping and cooking with a cookset. Amazing!
Thank you also to group 2, Pinunong Yel, Chef Jen, Jaime, Pritzy, Reg, and Nico for climbing with me. Haha I enjoyed the food and bonding a lot. Hoping to climb with everyone again.
And mostly, to the Big Guy, for the wonderful weather. No rain, no cloudy skies, just a perfect setting for a climb and beach overnight.
To be honest, I really like the trail of Mt. Hugom. It’s a mountain I can see myself climbing again and again and again. Too bad that it’s quite far from the metro. But if given the chance, I’ll surely return. Most especially if I get to climb its tougher neighbor, Mt. Daguldol.
And that’s the story of this chill and fun climb!
Most of the pictures here are from Pritzy‘s and Reg’s iPhones. Thank you for your service hahaha hike again soon!
I tested my new Salomons in this hike. I used them without socks because I’m lazy. No problems on the uphill and I really like the grip. On the downhill I got a bit of a blister but I know wearing socks will prevent that. All in all, good experience. Salomon never fails to impress. Plus it’s also the brand chosen by my legit mountaineer friend.