October 19, 2013 at 4:00 am. I texted Mikee that I'm not sure I could make it to our trip today because I just got home from our gig. I told him at exactly 4:11 am, "Mikee, I just got home and I'm not sure I can make it. Sana magising ako." I am pretty sure the trip is not happening, since it was just us 3 who's coming and I am so bangag. I still alarmed my fone 6 am and dozed off.
At 7:12 am later, I woke up from a call from Mikee. I literally jumped off to bed and left the phone unanswered. I took a half-bath and I think that's the fastest bath I took in my life. I packed my stuffs and I'm about to leave at 7:30. I texted Mikee that I'll be there in 15 minutes! As I browsed through the unread messages while walking towards the jeepney loading area, I realized Carlo texted at 6:50 am saying "Janine where are you na?" Turned out he was already there that early. Sorry Carlo! HAHA!
I arrived at 7:55 am. Mikee is still not there. Carlo, always enthusiastic, don't mind us being late. (I'm not sure hahaha!) We just chat and chat while we waited for Mikee to arrive. At 8:40 am, Mikee finally came and he told us he rode the wrong bus! We left Victory liner and headed to look for 5 star bus terminal, where we would be riding the Cabanatuan bound bus (130 pesos), which would unload us to San Miguel Bulacan. When we got off, we rode the tricycle (250 pesos one way - 85 pesos each for us) that brought us to the base camp.
The tricycle dropped us here and we started walking towards the registration area.
Stunning view welcomed us!
We're not even starting the trek yet. :)
Before we reach the registration area, we have to cross a river. There are originally 2 options in crossing the river: the "monkey bars" or what I call "hanging ropes" because it's like a hanging bridge just made of ropes, and the floating balsa which you pay 5 pesos one way. That time, only the balsa is available because the monkey bars were ruined by the typhoon Santi. :( It was really heart-breaking because a lot of families were affected, and we're happy to be of help just by visiting the place.
We're so excited as we rode the balsa!! It was the most relaxing 20 seconds of my life.
When we reached the registration area, we availed a tour guide for 300 pesos (100 pesos each), and 150 pesos fee for spelunking (50 pesos each). Our guide is Kuya Lean, who happens to be a cool and very accommodating guide. :)
We started walking down the trails going to the base of Mt. Manalmon.
Beautiful rock formation :)
This is a glimpse of the effect of the Typhoon Santi. Too many plants and trees were destructed. </3 But still the place is beautiful.
We also came across a raging river.
Carlo fighting the waters!
We also passed by this pink pineapple. It's a native pineapple.
An unusual specie of a cockroach also welcomed us. It's big and scary. Carlo even joked that if you would attempt killing it with a slipper, your slipper will break.
This is what I call Authentic Natural Foot Spa. Carlo and Mikee said it's not really a fun hike if you didn't experience this.
Leave on foot mask until reaching the river and rinse. :)
Happy walk of the year!
We also passed by the Madlum Cave.
We started trekking towards the peak of Mt. Manalmon. We figured out that we were surrounded by many other mountains. Mt. Manalmon and Mt. Gola are the two peaks that are facing each other.
Mt. Manalmon. On the left part is Mt. Gola. (not on the picture)
We're almost at the peak! This rock formation. <3
The view from the top!
Mikee is a happy man now haha.
When you get to the top, you'll see that you're surrounded by different mountains that belonged to the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges.
There's something about being on the top of a mountain. Any mountain. Reaching the peak is so relaxing, the wind is so clean and it touches you differently, makes you realize and appreciate the little things and good stuff about life. It makes you think that life is soooo beautiful and the Lord is just within reach, and you feel so strong and fearless because you know that everything about life is wonderful, even the ugly parts. :) <3
A panorama shot of Carlo as we trek back to the cliff diving area.
This is where the cliff diving happens!
As we climb to the top of the huge rocks.
This is so scary! It was a low jump but it was scarier than the cliff I jumped off in Hundred Islands (which was a way higher jump). I don't know. Maybe it was from the exhaustion from the hike and the cold wind that my knees began to tremble.
Mikee and Carlo after the jump!
They're off for another jump! :)
After 2 rounds of jumping and a few minutes of relaxation in the river, we started heading to Bayukbok Cave where we will go spelunking. Head lamps are available for renting for only 30 pesos. I recommend you rent one for a more fun experience!
Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho hi-ho hi-ho! :)
Kuya Lean explained to us that Bayukbok Cave has 1-6 levels. The difficulty doesn't really depend on the level though.
This is more than 12 feet high and we have to be very careful with our steps and follow kuya Lean's instruction, or we fall down. That tree trunk over there is our only way to survive in this part.
We rappel downwards. It's so much fun!
Bats watching us. :)
When you do spelunking, always expect that there are a lot of crawling to be done.
This is called the Body Language. :)
Kuya Lean: This is called the Finish Line. Guess why?
Carlo: Hmm, Because it looked like penises?
Kuya Lean: That's right. It's Penis Line. *Laugh*
Janine: Hahaha.*laugh* Seriously. Why is it called Finish line?
Finally we finished it! We feel so strong! Bragging rights for us invincible spirits!
It was just starting to get dark when we got back to the base camp. We were so exhausted and happy and fearless. We group hugged feeling accomplished and strong!
When we got back, we took a bath at the river while the moon and stars shone above us. What a bliss. It was veeeery beautiful. It was dark and it was just us three at the balsa and we were just savoring the moment of peace. :) After that we started changing and packing our stuff. It was just one of the most unforgettable experiences of our lives. :) We again rode the tricycle and rode the bus heading to Cubao.
All in all:
130 + 85 + 100 + 50 + 50 + 85 + 130 = 630 pesos only!
For 630 pesos, you get to hike a beautiful mountain, go spelunking, cliff dive, night swim and star gaze!
Invite your friends now for a fun and budget-friendly adventure!