Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Generosity and Vigor Combined (Mt. Irid/Tukduan-Banoi Outreach Climb)

I’ve always wanted to join a mission climb. I’ve always wanted to be a part of an outreach event apart from doing a mountain climbing activity. I am used to outreach activities in urban places but it’s also my desire to do likewise in my hiking getaway. What a worthwhile activity to do it with a dual intention --- climb new peaks and enjoy the beauty of nature and at the same time, extend a helping hand to our fellow countrymen in the remote places like those who are residing in high mountains--- where there’s a limit of supplies, less quality of education and where a number of households are experiencing poverty. Incidentally, I’ve intended to do a generous deed to celebrate my birthday last month (but there was an original schedule of celebration)..  And so I planned to do a post birthday climb, and “that should be a mission climb,” I told myself.

When I first saw the event hosted by The Noble Blue Falcons International and Meow Outdoor Group, I got interested. It would be my first outreach/mission climb.  It was set as Tree Planting,  Twin Climb ( Mt. Irid and Tukduan-Banoi) and Gift-giving for Christmas.

Assembly was set in Jollibee Cubao on the night of Dec 16, Friday . According to Ma’am Aisa Serencio, one of the hosts, we’re around 60 or 70 participants in this event, excluding those who backed out. (Dennis Hisanan, my climbing buddy, by the way, also participated. He was my companion throughout the climb). We were taken by a hired jeep until Cogeo and then transferred to another jeep going to the jump –off point which is in Brgy. Sta. Ines, Tanay, Rizal. I was so sleepy then, and found out that it was raining hard when we were approaching the jump off point. They said, it’s normal in that place as it’s near the rainforest. We spent a few hours until breakfast in Ynares Covered Court of the said barangay, listened to the organizers’ briefings and reminders and then started the trek. But hey, the rain continued. Really the tropical depression Sendong was approaching and developed into a typhoon. We got no accurate updates while on the trek. I just enjoyed the trail. And I was amazed. It made me reminisced the trek in the river side of Ambaguio (a trail in Nueva Vizcaya goin’ to Mt. Pulag). The hike going to the venue of the outreach was a rainy one and yet the views along the trail are relaxing-- mountains, locals, rocks, and the rivers. We actually did nine river crossings on our way up to the school where the outreach program would be held at. It was my first river crossing experience and I was prepared for the current, although during that time the water flows were just calm.

We arrived at the school past lunch already. The organizers facilitated the program. Since this was my first time to join an outreach in the mountain, I was just observing and did a little assistance like sorting the items to be distributed. I was delighted as I witness how the locals or participating households to be fed up were full of joy in this simple yet meaningful program. I learned that majority of the locals are Dumagat natives ( I think they have own dialect aside from Tagalog). Their appearances and features are close to that of Itas-- curly hair and black complexion. After the presentations and games, feeding followed and distribution of school items/books and old clothes. These are courtesy of various generous sponsors. 

By the way, I represented our group, BUSOG Mountaineers along with other climbers from their respective groups on this Reunited outreach climb.

Around 3pm when the program ended and it was still raining hard. I think, only the staff and organizers did the tree planting. We started the trek going to the base camp. It was almost a two-hour ascent and limatiks are everywhere (I understand that it’s a wild forest/mountain).  We arrived there and set our camp. Some of us preferred to stay at the kubo of Tatay (I forgot his name), an old man living alone in that base camp area with a dog and 4 geese. ( I remember tatay Perying of Manabu Peak. Tatay was living alone and away from his family and sometimes acts as guide). Morning came and ‘twas still raining. Obviously, scaling the summit is not possible. The participants were supposed to be divided between Mt. Irid and the other peak, Tukduan-Banoi. They said it would take 5 hours more from base camp to the summit. This original plan was cancelled. We had to descend before the heavier rains continue.

Our dilemma was the river crossing as the water started to rise and flow heavily. I heard that if it was not possible to cross, we’ll be taking another trail with less dangerous river crossings (with the help of Tatay Gapang, the popular guide of this mountain). However, thankfully, all of us were able to manage to cross and we still took the back trail. The staff and organizers were prepared as they brought enough and reliable ropes.

Nine rivers to cross from jump-off point to the school plus three more rivers on way up to the base camp-- a total of twelve. As to the water level, some are knee-level and others are of waist or above the waist. These were not the levels on our way up. As mentioned, the water was just calm the day before. Nonstop heavy rains were really the reason for the rise.  We crossed all of these again on our way back. Majority of them are really with great current and kind of  difficult to cross particularly for a first timer/girl climber like me. You just have to hold on and never miss holding on to the rope no matter how strong the current is to be able to cross the river.

We all arrived back at the covered court of Sta. Ines wet and tired, yet thankful to God for His protection. We’re all safe. We listened to the closing remarks of the Chieftain. He extended his gratitude especially for such successful outreach. He also mentioned that with any climbing events there, their place is at least visited and many would know that there’s a beautiful place like Irid and that Dumagat natives exist.

I am planning to go back and summit such a wonderful mountain, Mt. Irid, maybe summer next year.

Posting our Original Itinerary and other details:

THE RE-UNITED CLIMB 2011: AKYAT, TANIM, LINIS BIGAY PARA SA PASKO AT KALIKASAN (Twin Climb: Tree Planting, Clean-up and Outreach + Gift-Giving for the Christmas and Nature)
(Sitio Sadlak, Tanay Rizal)
December 17-18, 2011

FREE: T-SHIRT/with Cert.
BUDGET: 500-550php/pax

AGENDA: Tree Planting & Outreach Program + Gift Giving

December 16, 2011 (Day 0) Friday Night

09:30 pm to 10:00 pm Assembly@jollibee Farmers Cubao
10:00pm to 11:00 pm Take-Off to Cogeo Gate 2
11:00 pm – 12:00 am Pick-up take off to Sitio Sadlac (Brgy. Sta. Ines)

December 17, 2011 (Day 1) Saturday

02:00 am ETD Brgy. Sta. Ines
04:00 am Stay at Covered Court at Brgy Sta Ines (coutesy call @ Brgy Hall and
Military Detachement)
05:00 am Breakfast / Prepare pack Lunch
06:00 am Register to log book
07:00 am Start Trek to Sitio Kinabuan (Prepare for 8th river crossings)
09:00 am Sitio Kinabuan Elementary School
Start Program of the main event
Eat lunch
02:00 pm start descent to Base camp / falls (optional) / prepare 3 river crossings
06:00 pm ETA Base camp
Set Camp
07:00 pm Prepare Dinner
08:00 pm Eat Dinner
08:30 pm Socials
10:00 pm ----------Lights out---------------

December 18, 2011 (Day 2) Sunday WITH 2 PEAKS / 2 groups


04:30 am Wake up call / Breakfast / Prepare pack Lunch while break camp
06:00 am Start trekking to Irid Peak)
09:30 am Summit of Irid Peak ,Explore (bring foods / pack lunch / trail water)
01:00 pm ETA Basecamp/Break Camp
02:00 pm Start to descend to Sitio Sadlak Bunkhouse / Prepare to trek back to
Brgy. Sta. Inez
05:00 pm Brgy. Sta. Inez / Wash-Up
6:00 pm Ride rented Jeep going to Cogeo Jeep Terminal
8:00 pm Cogeo Jeep Terminal


04:30 am Wake up call / Breakfast / Prepare pack Lunch while break camp
06:00 am Start trekking to Tukduan-Banoi Peak)
09:30 am Summit of Tukduan-banoi Peak ,Explore (bring foods / pack lunch / trail
01:00 pm ETA Basecamp/Break Camp
02:00 pm Start to descend to Sitio Sadlak Bunkhouse / Prepare to trek back to
Brgy. Sta. Inez
05:00 pm Brgy. Sta. Inez / Wash-Up
6:00 pm Ride rented Jeep going to Cogeo Jeep Terminal
8:00 pm Cogeo Jeep Terminal


1. Prepare for 11 river crossings bring rope from Sitio Sadlak to Sta. Inez to
2. Wear sandals or other river crossing footwear and trek shoes for the summit
3. Bring trekking poles if available.
4. Bring rain gear, gloves, headlamps or flashlights.
5. Bring Hydration pack or Water Bottle for the summit assault.
6. BEWARE of Leeches or “Limatik” please bring Alcohol.
7. Budget 500 transportation except fare from Cubao to Cogeo Gate 2...

*FOODS: Self Contain or buddy system (prepare foods good for 2 -2.5 days supplies)


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