Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mt. Calavite (1,521 +)

Paluan, Occidental Mindoro
Jump-off: Sitio Ulasan, Brgy. Harrison, Paluan
LLA: 13°29'N,120°24'E, 1521 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 5-6 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-3

Perched at the northwestern edge of Occidental Mindoro, overlooking South China Sea, is Mt. Calavite. Known as one of the two remaining areas where tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) could be found in the wild (the other being Mts. Iglit-Baco), this mountain is a haven of biodiversity - one of the few places in the Philippines where hikers have a good chance of seeing animals such as wild boar, deer, and yes, even the tamaraw, roaming on its grassy slopes. The name 'Calavite' is said to mean 'giant clam' - and this is derived from an old Mangyan tale that tells of ships being seen at the mouth of Calavite.

The trek to Mt. Calavite usually starts at the Mangyan village called Sitio Ulasan in Brgy. Harrison, Paluan town. To reach this jump-off, you have to take a ro-ro vessel from Batangas Pier to Abra de Ilog, from which Paluan is still 2.5 hours away. The road is long and rough - with the views attesting to the pristine quality of the town. As you approach Paluan, Mt. Calavite would be a towering presence. At the town hall, one has to do a courtesy registration at the municipal hall, and a 30-minute trike ride will take you finally tot he jump-off.

After passing by a few hundred meters of chestnut trees near the village, the trail becomes quite steep as the forested areas are entered. The altitude gain is astounding, around 300m/hour. An
intermission of level trails will take you again to a steep portion, but as you go higher, the forest thins out, giving way to a woodland with shrubs and wild strawberries (sampinit). Finally, beyond 700 MASL or about 2 hours of trekking, the grassland is reached. At this point, if you look to your back you can already see the town of Paluan as it faces South China Sea. From here until the summit, it is an open country - the grazing-place of horses, carabao, and occasional tamaraw. According to the Mangyans, the carabao are friends of the male tamaraw, who hangs out with his bovine cousins and even mates with the females! A place dubbed by the AMCI as 'Sam's viewdeck' (745 MASL) is a major rest area - this is around 2.5 hours away from jumpoff. Another hour leads to the water source which is also the basecamp for doing the summit assault.

The assault requires 1.5 hours if one wishes to reach the very summit of Calavite, called 'Tower' because of an old transmitter still standing there. However, climbers usually just explore he summit area - choosing to assault the first peak instead (according to the Mangyans there are twelve peaks). The trail is grassy and steep, but the trek is pleasant. Sometimes the trail would disappear but just have to follow the peak, walking through the grass. Near the end of the trek, the grass abruptly turns over to bamboo-like shrubs, which populate the far side of the mountain.

At the summit area (1400~1521 MASL), the views become a full 360-degree panorama, opening up Batangas (NNE) particularly Calatagan; Maricaban island (ENE), the high peaks of Oriental Mindoro including Mt. Halcon on a very clear day (E), the mountains of Occidental Mindoro including those near Mamburao (SSE). The entire west view is South China Sea, with, finally the Lubang islands WNW.

Hiking activity at Mt. Calavite virtually came to a halt in 2007, when insurgency-related conflicts were reported. However, as of May 2008, there is no armed presence in the mountain, and Calavite is now open to climbing again.

after old AMCI itinerary and blogger's climb in May 2008

Day 1
0000 Take bus to Batangas Pier (P146)
0400 ETD ferry to Abra de Ilog (P156)
0630 ETA Abra de Ilog; take van to Paluan (P150)
0900 ETA Paluan; register and head to jumpoff
1000 Start trek at Sitio Ulasan
1300 Sam's viewdeck (745 MASL); Lunch
1400 ETA basecamp.
1430 Proceed to summit assault
1600 ETA
1800 Back at basecamp
1830 Dinner / socials

Day 2
0600 Wake up call / Breakfast
0700 Break camp
0800 Start descent
1030 Back at village; head to Calawagan resort
1100 At resort; bathe at river/pool; tidy up
1200 Take van to Abra de Ilog
1600 At Abra de Ilog; ETD ferry to Batangas
1830 ETA Batangas Pier; take bus to manila
2100 Back in Manila

Logistics. For permission and arrangements to climb Mt. Calavite, contact Sir Celso, the PASU, at +639215869271. Cellphone signal is present throughout the trail for Globe and for most parts for Smart.

Transportation. Montenegro Lines ply the Batangas-Abra de Ilog route and vice-versa. Trips from Batangas are as follows: 0400H, 0600H, 1200H, 1400H, 2000H, and 0000H. Trips from Abra de Ilog: 0000H, 0200H, 0800H, 1000H, 1600H, and 1800H. The stated travel time is 2 hours but allot 3 hours for delays. Fare is P156 as of May 2008. Student discounts are available.

From the port of Abra, you will be swarmed with people who will ask you where you're headed. If you have not arranged for a jeepney or van rental and need to take the van to Paluan, ask for the vans to go to Paluan directly. Some will promote their van even though it passes Mamburao and therefore eats up an additional hour.

From Palauan, you have to rent a trike to the jumpoff which costs P150/trip (up to 5 persons). Ask for your tricycle driver's cellphone number so you may text him to pick you up also. A reasonable fee for return trip including the visit to Calawagan is P250

A small hill at Calavite is called 'Suklay' by the Mangyans; a giant millipede is said to have lived there, with a comb-like structure on its head.

The blogger daytripped Mt. Calavite on May 9, 2008 - this is another possible itinerary. With light packs, one can reach the summit in four hours and back in two hours. By 1700H we were already back the village, and we even managed to take a dip in Calawagan before taking the 2000 van trip and 0000 ferry trip back to Batangas City!

PinoyMountaineer thanks Kuya Celso, PASU of Mt. Calavite, and Kon. Demos ViaƱo of Paluan for accommodating the blogger on his climb in May 2008


sailgar72 said...

that was a nice climb.
i have also climb mount calavite way back in 1997. this is via barangay itbu close to calavite was also a nice trek but we are not able to reached the summit as we are hindered by thick vegetation near the summit. something like "dwarf bamboo" trees.

gideon said...

hi sir, thanks for sharing this tidbit. we also encountered the "dwarf bamboo" trees -- it sems to cover the entire northwest slope of the summit.

although the locals say people still climb calavite, nowadays i rarely hear of groups climbing, maybe because of the recent (2007) conflict. but now its okay to climb calavite again.

Lionheart : Richard the Adventurer said...

next time pala sana isama mo ako..

Taga-Paluan po ako at pinsan ako ni Kuya Demos... Sad to say hindi ko namalayan ito.. Well, Let's adventure next time!

gideon said...

hi richard, nice to hear from you. send my regards to demos. hope to climb in mindoro again soon!

gideon said...

hi richard, nice to hear from you. send my regards to demos. hope to climb in mindoro again soon!

jaexaya said...

hi po. taga paluan ako. pero im studying here in Manila. napakaganda talaga ng Paluan at Calawagan, thank you sa pagpunta sa bayan namin..:)

Anonymous said...

hi sir gid!jz askin lng po kung my guide to rent s mt.calavite?tnx sir gid!more power to us!!!

southside mountaineering club...


Anonymous said...

sir tanong ko lang kung til now eh open pa rin iclimb yung mt calavite taga mindoro kasi ako kasi someone told me infested area daw sya npa thats true?yun eh base lang sa mga taga dun?from mindoro mountaineers

edge said...

Hi Gid,

Any updated news here in calavite? Tried contacting the PASU but no response..
Sana I suggest this place to conduct some outreach typo to our company and explore Calavite too..Hoping on this..

TIA, edge

gideon said...

hi edge i haven't heard of/from any group who climbed calavite recently. nakakapanghinayang. calavite used to be a favored hike destination, hope to the tamaraw and other fauna/flora and it has very nice views but it is being forgotten.

edge said...

much thanks to ur quick response Gid,

and yes,narinig ko nga na me mga sightings ng tamaraw (bubalus mindorensis) dyan..pati mga bird extinct species...nakakatuwa kung ganun.

anyway,we'll try to contact authorities from National Park instead...

I heard PNMS will be climbing this also,2nd or 3rd wk heads-up to all,check their site if open climb.

We'd rather proceed by Oct for long prep of this project..We had scheduled this month for timbak-tabeyoc-tawangan-ambangeg.An attack for next yr Halcon trav.:)

Might thinking of ur Apo-sembreak too..hmmm

Thanks Gid! We support ur site!

Anonymous said...

sir update nyo nman ako para sa mga aakyat dito just txt me taga mindoro kasi ako!09162697079

Anonymous said...

mga sir update ko lang kayong lahat na mt. calavite is open po i climb nakatext ko kasi si sir celso he told me na kung my climb daw inform natin sya para mainform nya si kuya demos,sa mga nagbabalak umakyat text nyo ko sir sama ako jan thanks 09162697079

Anonymous said...

Mt Calavite open na po para ma akyat we successfully climb Mt Calavite last Dec 05-06 2009
and wla ng trail papakyat sa peak na may tower
sobrang masukal na. for more info
just contact this number: 09183973145 - jade

al del barrio said...

invite ko po kayo... our group is planning to hold our 2nd year anniversary sa Mt. Calavite. Hike then at the same time giving out goods to our mangyans there.... Sa April 24 po... details po dito sa link na ito...

thank you and more power!!!

Anonymous said...

parang kami pa rin yung last na nakaakyat sa calavite ah, ang layo kc eh.. hehehe but worthit , ganda ng campsite... winner!! tama?...


Anonymous said...

how much na po ung fare papuntang calavite? any updates po? thanks!

Anonymous said...

2k is enough budget na for calavite mayaman ka na akyat ako dito this april 20 dayhike lang!

Anonymous said...

meron poh ba aakyat ngayong weekend dito sa mt. calavite.. kung meron poh pasabay ako...thanks 09236009602


Chill Aey said...

hi meron po bang aakyat ng mt. calavite this coming december. pupunta po kc kmi ng mindoro at gusto sana nmin mag hike, sana may mkasabay kami. thanks

Anonymous said...

We will try this 2nd week of Dec to set our foot to this so called "forgotten" mountain...with the help of three local guides and two from DENR, we will establish the old trail of Calavite and hope to reach the summit. Wish us luck fellow boondokers...

yodi insigne said...

I'm a resident of Paluan but working now in Manila. Gusto ko sana umakyat dito. Any group planning a climb, please contact me, (contact details on my blog I can offer accommodation and food sa town namin.
Hope meron mag plan ng climb!

Smaijer05 said...

Hi!...resident ako ng Paluan...aakyat ang group ko ngaung holiweek...anyone one are welcome to join...

Princess Cristina said...

hi everyone and Sir Gideon, open po ba as of now ang Mt. Calavite? I tried to contact Sir Celso thru the number posted, kaso no reply po. Thanks :)

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