It was around May of 2016 when Francis told me that I should go with them to experience climbing, I asked “What mountain will we climb?” he responded: “Mt. Binacayan”. I immediately grabbed my phone to check reviews or blogs about the said mountain and to my surprise it was one of those mountains that aren’t for beginners like me due to the difficulty level, the curve edges and sharp rocks that you will encounter along the way to the summit. I was really hesitant at first and half-hearted because of what I read, but I really love to try climbing. And so, I did join them.
How did I prepare for it?
Do I have to? Really? Well I didn’t have any preparations. I did not work out or anything close to that. I even borrowed a dri- fit shirt from my mom and shoes from my sister, and not to mention a 3 hour sleep. How prepared can I get right?
Morning came and fortunately, it rained the night before our climb and we did not push through with Mt. Binacayan. Francis suggested we climb Mt. Sembrano instead, I didn’t know what to expect since I have not read anything about the mountain. I just hoped that it was a trail for beginners like me, us.
So let me tell you some logistics about the Mt. Sembrano (got these info. From pinoymountaineer.com)
Major jump-off: Brgy. Hall of Malaya, Pililla
LLA: 14°23’10″N; 121°21’57” E; 745 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 3-4 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3 ( Can’t believe that this is a minor climb!!!)
Features: Views of Laguna Lake and Southern Tagalog mountains
We brought a car with us and parked at the barangay hall of Malaya. As we walk towards the street going to Sembrano, I had mixed emotions, nervous and excited that time.
The first part of it was a wide uphill road that will lead you to a rocky path. You will encounter a lot of locals on your way uphill. The trek will last for 3-4 depending on how fast your phase is. Gradual ascents and occasional flats follow until you reach the “Manggahan Falls/ Campsite”. Here you can rest a bit and enjoy a fresh buko drink which costs Php 20.00/each. Now that trek made my legs and back warm up a bit in preparation for the main journey, which is the excruciating climb to the summit.
Thereupon, the trek is a solid 2 hour assault to the peak. This is the brutal section of the climb, since everything you step upon is an assault that you have to lift or carry yourself up just to go by.
The peak is covered by grassland, and even when it’s scorching hot it’s very slippery since the ground is very dry you can easily tip over so you have to hold on to some bushes to help you get up there.
Descending off the peak is another story, who have said that going down is much easier than trekking up is a chump! Sliding on slopes was hard, yes, I literally sled myself down and grabbed some bushes if I need to stop. It was scary for me because what if I sled down and no one will be able to help me out. I still need to get back to Frankie alive. Boy what was I thinking that time right? Haha!
The most challenging part for me was going down. I can feel my nails are about to pop out of its shell. I wanted to tell Francis to carry me because my toes badly hurt; since my nails are bumping to the edge of the shoe every time I take a step down. Lessons learned, wear your exact shoe size!
Here are some video’s of me going up and down the mountain haha! enjoy! 🙂 Credits to my personal videographer Francis 🙂
When we got back to the Manggahan, we then visited the falls. It was just a small one but it is indeed a gem to find. I submerged my aching toes and legs on iced cold water from the falls and ate our packed lunch there too. When I say packed, it means that it is packed in a plastic bag and eat the food with your bare hands. Filipino way!!! How awesome right! 🙂
Back to the hall of Malaya where we tidied up before we head back to manila, as I removed my shoes remembering it as one of the most satisfying feeling ever. I saw my dead toenails L Yes both of them died I tried to revive them but they gave up on me, can’t blame them. They’ve been through a rough battle with me haha!
I was in a state of coma when we head back to manila since I was dead tired. If you’d ask me if I wanted to climb again after all the hardships I have encountered. YES! Why? Because it gave me a different feeling of accomplishment. Through my way up there it somehow reminded me of the struggles I have faced in life and obstacles that still await me, that no matter how life gets you shouldn’t ever think of giving up. Just rest, for you never know the beauty that lies at the end of your trek.
Lessons learned on this climb:
- Start early so you can arrive at the jump-off point early.
On our case, we reached the peak at roughly around 12pm so imagine how hot our trek was. Since the sun is already up, it made our trail extra hard and causing the climber to tire and thirst easily.
- Join a group if you are a beginner.
In our case, we did not hire a tour guide since Francis’ brother (Kuya Erich) was already familiar with the place it was his nth time at Sembrano. It’s also a plus when you have support cheering you up on your way up there, having a good conversation helps out big time, trust me 🙂
- Bring enough water. At least 2 liters with you. You don’t want to faint on your way up due to hydration right?
- Wear the right kind of clothes.
Please do not wear maong pants. This will restrict your movements, and you need to wear something breathable. Like dri-fit clothes or the ones you use working out. Remember comfort first before fashion. Cover and protect your skin.
- Do not forget your sunscreen.
It can help big time, even when you are wearing a cap or visors, still you will need that extra protection.
- Know your body limit.
If you are a beginner like me, do not force yourself to have a fast phase compared to others. This is not a competition. You do want to make it to the summit healthily right? So if your body says rest then take a step back and rest. (But not too long) J Also, get enough rest this will help a lot.
- Enjoy the climb.
Whether you make it to the summit or not, what’s important is you tried. You gained experience, met new friends, shared a good laugh or conversation with new people. You gathered wonderful memories that will be part of you forever. 🙂
Last but not the least:
Til my next climb! 🙂