Even before this year started, I understood that I could not go to long expeditions, being a medical intern in PGH. But what I didn’t anticipate were the continued stream of opportunities that came, and I of course I more than seized them; I grabbed them, wrenched them with much gusto, and never let go. The result is six great travel and adventure trips, from Batanes to Palawan; from Bakun to Biliran. One of them is a non-hike (Coron); the rest are real mountaineering jewels and they comprise the latter 5 of my Top 10. The first five, on the other hand, are the mountains of the unforgettable ‘Visayan Voyage’.
1. The First Annual Charity Climb: Mt. Pulag via Ambangeg (Bokod, Benguet)
This first Charity Climb is a special event because it’s the first major activity I organized as PinoyMountaineer.com. Thank you to the 83 participants, organizers, and sponsors who have been part of this event…I hope to see you in the upcoming Second Annual Charity Climb!
2. Osmena Peak-Kawasan Falls Traverse: Dalaguete, Cebu (April 6)
To kick-off the Visayan Voyage we traversed Cebu’s highest peak, first beholding the pointed hills of Osmena Peak and then, after long hours of traverse, reaching the very beautiful Kawasan Falls. Acknowledgement: ONE Cebu Adventure Team
3. Mt. Kanlaon: Negros Occidental (April 7-8)
After my 2008 attempt to climb Kanlaon failed due to a phreatic eruption that took place while we were climbing, I was finally blessed with a successful ascent of Kanlaon, in perfect weather. The post-summit campout at Margaja Valley
4. Mt. Talinis-Casaroro Falls Traverse: Negros Oriental (April 9-10)
Right after Kanlaon came Talinis, the second-highest peak of Negros Island. We walked through its beautiful lakes, Yagumyum and Nailig, and ended the trek with the tallest waterfalls in the Visayas, the majestic Casaroro Falls. Acknowledgement: Cuernos de Negros Mountaineers Club, Inc.
5. Mt. Madjaas: Culasi, Antique (April 13-15)
One of the most difficult mountains in Visayas, and also one of the most inaccessible, we were fortunate enough to be assisted by the Mayor’s office who provided us with the necessary permits and arrangements. THis guide, Josue, proved to be a most unforgettable character who succeeded in bringing our team up the mountain.
6. Mt. Timarid-Simagaysay Traverse and First Ascent: Ilocos Norte (June 12-14)
This climb proved to be a most unforgettable experience for me as I was nearly swept by a raging stream! A three-day hardcore climb wit varying environments, the climb with ONE Degree Mountaineering Group was the first recorded ascent for both mountains, and is the precursor to the conquest of Mt. Sicapoo, the highest peak in the Ilocos Region. Acknowledgement: ONE Degree Mountaineering Group
7. Mts. Lubo-Kabunian-Tenglawan: Bakun, Benguet (Sept 16-19)
I joined the PALMC in their climb of the three mountains of Bakun right before the menace of Ondoy and Pepeng came. Bakun was beautiful in itself, but more so was the experience of climbing its three unique and challenging dayhikes. Acknowledgement: PALMC
8. Di’nem Island: Itbayat, Batanes (October 11)
In another crazy expedition I joined the Batanes Mountaineers in heading towards the very edge of the Philippines, in the northernmost municipality of Itbayat, to climb the hitherto unexplored Di’nem Island. Acknowledgement: Batanes Mountaineers
9. Mt. Tres Marias: Biliran, Eastern Visayas (November 1-2)
Adding to the Visayan Voyage is one special mountain, Mt. Tres Marias in Biliran. Virtually unknown outside of Visayan hiking circles, this mountain proved to be a hidden wonder, replete with waterfalls and unique fauna. Acknowledgment: Nalda Family
10. Mt. Isarog: Naga, Camarines Sur (Dec. 29-30)
Capping off the year was a yearender up Mt. Isarog via Panicuason. Aside from the view of Mayon hovering above the sea of clouds, we were treated to three nice waterfalls, and of course Bicolano cuisine was great bonus. Acknowledgment: Kadlagan Outdoors
To everyone who became part of these adventures, thank you very much! I look forward to more adventures together, even as I look forward to meeting new mountaineering friends this 2010. Happy New Year to all!