18-time Halcon climber Cynthia Sy on how to avoid limatik


by Cynthia Sy

Blogger’s note: We are very honored to feature the thoughts of Ms. Cynthia Sy, an 18-time Halcon climber (from 1993-2004) and former AMCI member who was also part of the team of Sky Biscocho that attempted a traverse of the veritable mountain. 

The reason I prepare for limatiks is because I observed that I am an insect bite magnet, especially mosquitoes. Another thing, I am allergic to any kind of insect bites, including limatik bites. If I got biten in my leg, my whole legs gets swollen for a week, the actual bite develops a water capsule that slowly leaks in a week’s time. It eventually becomes an open wound. It’s also very itchy. Here are some of my tips on how to prevent limatik bites:

1. Be prepared: Know the mountain where there are limatiks. Reserach and read blogs how infested it is.

2. Always have a hiking buddy wherein you can check each other after passing a noted limatik area. Limatik areas are usually wet sections with many bushes and trails covered by plant. In Halcon, it’s usually in the lower portion of the trail before the first campsite.

3. Be aware of your surroundings but don’t be too obsessed with the limatiks. Enjoy nature by being aware of the creatures within its confines.

How to prepare:

1. Bandana so that your head will be tightly covered.

2. Any trekking shirt will do, just don’t let the limatiks reach your waistline area wherein they can penetrate.
3. Tight arm sleeves that limatiks cannot hold on.

4. Gloves so that you can hold the limatiks to remove them. Limatiks loves to go to tight places, like in between your fingers.

5. Leggings (thick ones that bites cannot penetrate). Limatiks are visible in leggings.

6. Long thick light-colored socks that you can fold just at the end your leggings. For Halcon, I usually wear 2 to 3 socks the whole trek (2 thin smooth socks and one trekking socks).

7. High cut trekking boots.

1. Off lotion all over the exposed skin (face, neck and hands)

2. Johnson’s baby oil on exposed skin again. You can use this also at night as Halcon summit is very cold at night.

3. Vicks vaporub – my tried and tested prevention. I usually apply it all over my shoes, tummy area, upper arms area where the arm sleeves ends, neck, hands, ears, and back of the ears.

4. Alcohol for the limatiks that doesn’t want to let go of your clothings.

Recovery for insect bites:

1. Stay inside a pool for 2 hours

2. Take a bath in a hot spring

I only apply once and don’t re-apply these repellants upon reaching the camsite and after river crossing as there are no more limatiks on those areas.

Today, I don’t have much memory of Halcon’s trail but, I can still remember those areas that are limatik-infested. I love Halcon as it’s in my home province and I got my first induction there in 1993 but sometimes it gets clouded with memories of limatik infestation.

Remembering all those now, I am kinda fascinated with those bloodsuckers because of their pretty appearance/colors and it’s way of adapting in its environs.

Proud to say, that limatiks were not able to penetrate those defenses that I enumerated above. The same thing goes whenever I climb Mt Makiling.

I hate all kinds of insect bites but I don’t hate the limatiks!

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