Ooh la la! Haha! Following last week's throwback post about having my hair shaved off, I'm going back a day right after that trip to the barber in April 2004, when I joined a climb to Mt Natib in Bataan.
We boarded a ferry at 6:30am to the town of Orion (or-YON), from where we hired a jeepney to take us to Bgy. Tala. After a quick rest, we began our trek at 10:15am (Oh yes, I was the designated climb scribe, so I have all the notes.). Mt Natib (1,253 MASL) used to be a mining area, so a big part of our trail was an overgrown winding road with very little to no shade at all.
Because it used to be a mining road, this turned out to be one wide open trail for us.
We made a few brief stops to rest, take pictures, have lunch, and grab our last chance at refilling our water bottles. It was a gradual ascent but the punishing heat of the sun weighed down on us.
The gang. That's Mt Natib in the background, so obviously we still got a long way to go at this point.
The trek's last water source. This was where we stopped for lunch.
That wide open road soon ended and we found ourselves scaling shaded parts of the mountain. But despite all those trees, it was so humid. Eventually the foliage cleared and we began negotiating with walls of rock, which could be quite treacherous during the rainy season.
Appreciate the shade but not the humidity.
Notice that spray bottle on my backpack? It contained alcohol in case we encountered some limatik (small leeches). Spray it over the affected area and it's supposed to fall right off. Pry it by hand and you'll end up bleeding. Thankfully the mountain was so dry at the time so there were no such creatures lurking.
Some of the rocks we had to negotiate during our ascent.
We got to the summit at 3:45pm and the last batch arrived nearly an hour later. We set camp right there, enjoyed the surrounding views, had dinner, some alcohol, and then called it a night.
Gollum, is that you?
Quick, find me in the photo!
We woke up to a cold and foggy morning, had breakfast, broke camp, and then began our descent. Just like that.
Rise and shine, everyone!
Oh yes, we had pasta on the mountain! Contrary to what some non-climbers think, we don't really eat that much canned food during climbs. We cook real meals!
The perfunctory group shot before our descent.
We began our descent at 8:30am and got back to Bgy. Tala, our jump-off point, by noon. We took a refreshing dip in the nearby river, had lunch, and then headed back for the port at Orion to catch the 5pm ferry to Manila.
Simply refreshing. The water was so clean and clear.
And then it was over, but I sure brought home with me some wonderful memories.
(Assortment of photos from Jovanni Cid, Renz Ticsay, and Dennis Manzarate.)