Two days after the very nice Maktrav dayhike that I did with my American friend Chris (Hiking matters #235), I found myself repeating that very same climb, this time with Leo Oracion, the first Filipino to climb Everest, who had also joined my last major climb in the Philippines – the beautiful Kibungan Circuit last December (Hiking matters #218-219).
Leo and I met up at the Jolibee at Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and took the tricycle to San Bartolome, and I followed the same trail that I took two days ago, which passes by what we now know (thanks to Tito Robby Cereno, whom we met after the climb) as a private plantation. This time, it was very hot when we started the trek at 0835H.
Up at Palanggana Ridge (Another trivia from Tito Robby: the palanggana, “saucer” actually describes, and refers to the caldera that one can see beneath the ridge!), I could see at least two Batangas mountains: Maculot, which is almost directly south; and a little bit to the east lay the Malipunyo Range. More proximaly, also to the east, was the Mak-Ban Geothermal Plant. Kalisungan, which I included in the collage above, can be seen from the LB side of Makiling.
By 1100H, we had arrived at Melkas Ridge (Sky Biscocho tells me that the name ‘Melkas’ comes from Mel, Kat, and Sky – the three explorers who pioneered the trail). It was still very nice and refreshing to be up there.
Past Melkas came Peak 3, and then the “Wild Boar Trail” that connects this peak with Peak 2, the summit of Makiling at 1090 MASL. Amazingly, we could actually see Peak 2 as we approached it – something that I consider to be a rare occurrence considering the almost-perpetual inclemency of the weather up in Makiling!
By 1245H, or after 4 hours 10 minutes of trekking, we arrived at the summit of Mt. Makiling. I am sure Leo could have gone much faster; like I told him during the trek, three weeks with minimal exercise in Europe, and a lack of climbs in January (except for a minor trek in Germany) have caused me to be in sub-optimal form…although these two consecutive Maktravs are sure to take me back on track!
We just had a few snacks at the summit, and immediately started descent in the very muddy trail down to UPLB. After realizing that we still got plenty of time, we sidetripped to the famous Mudspring, which is accessible by turning left 100 meters before the Nursery, or where there are some sari-sari stores. At the Mudspring, we saw the mudsprings in action!
We ended the day with a visit, and a postclimb lunch-cum-dinner at no less than my own house! Special thanks to my Mom for preparing a nice meal for us! It was truly a great day, and excellent workout, and a good opportunity to catch up with Leo…we already have a plan for a next climb that promises to be a very exciting and challenging climb, for which I better get ready!