|Mt. Agung in Bali, Indonesia (May 2014)
Following my tradition for the past seven years, I have selected the top 10 hiking trips that made my 2014 a very memorable year of adventure. My year pretty much turned out to be divided into a “overture” of two exciting traverse dayhikes: Pantingan-Tarak and Guiting-Guiting, followed by a first movement of international climbs from Switzerland to Sydney, and from Taiwan to Indonesia. The second movement covers a fruitful time in Palawan, where I managed to do four major climbs. And finally, as an encore, visits to Apo and Pulag – again as dayhikes!
Note that these hikes are in chronological order and I make no attempt to further rank these hikes:
1. Pantingan-Tarak Traverse
– To start off the year my good friends Coby, Koi, Jeshua, Daryl and I went on a “dayhike” of Pantingan to Tarak, going up and down – and up and down again – the caldera rim of the great Mt. Mariveles in Bataan. We started at 0400H from the jumpoff of Pantingan and we saw the sun setting in Tarak Ridge. Injury and rest time included, the hike took 20 hours – a very long dayhike indeed. Narrated in Hiking matters #386: Up to Pantingan Peak and the crater rim and
2. Guiting-Guiting Traverse
– It’s been several years since my first G2 and since I hadn’t done the traverse yet, I decided to do it in February, also as a dayhike. Sadly, I failed to see Mt. Mayon from the summit as we were hiking at the tailend of storm. Still it was a great hike, and I relished every moment of the Knife Edge crossing. Thanks Dandan, Martin, and of course Tatay Remy for this adventure! Narrated in Hiking matters #388: Olango to G2 summit and Hiking matters #389: Knife Edge to Mayo’s Peak and down.
3. Mont Noble, Switzerland
– I spent a month in Europe for my studies and one weekend I returned to the Swiss mountains, hosted once again by my good friend and mountain mentor Leo Oracion. We snowshoed our way up the worthy Mont Noble. Despite the biting cold, we managed quite well and had a great French dinner after, courtesy of Leo’s wife Vanessa. Narrated in Hiking matters #393
8. Mt. Victoria
– After climbing Mantalingajan, we decided that we still have enough time and energy to do another mountain and fortunately Jehson Cervancia helped us decide a guide for Mt. Victoria, the second highest in Palawan. An additional two days in Palawan jungle – and two dozen river crossings to boot! Narrated in Hiking matters #412: To the high camp and Hiking matters #413:To the summit and back.
10. Sultan Peak
– A few years ago, I thought all I needed to hike were Mantalingajan, Victoria, and Cleopatra. But Palawan continues to amaze, and Sultan Peak. The grandness of the hike is comparable to a Kanlaon traverse and the biodiversity is stunning. Sultan Falls was the first reward, and at the summit, three giant pitcher plants were waiting for us! And after that, mystical Atong Lake where I swam to my heart’s content. Narrated in Hiking matters #437, Hiking matters #438, and Hiking matters #439.
Honorable mention: Mt. Apo (Kapatagan) dayhike
and Mt. Pulag (Akiki-Ambangeg) dayhike
. It was great to revisit the highest peaks of the country’s two biggest islands one month apart from each other- with the latter turning out to be my yearend major hike. Reminds me that you can’t really climb a mountain twice, there are many ways to experience a mountain!