Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Climb Must Go On: A Rainy Dayhike Up Mts. Pamitinan and Binacayan

Location: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
Elevation: Pamitinan (426masl); Binacayan (424masl)
Difficulty: Minor/Short hike (but I don't recommend to newbies as rocky terrains are technical)

It's rainy season but the battle continues, i mean the climbing continues!.. hehehe. :D It's climbing season no more, or rather typhoon season to make it worse.  I guess it's really a battle trying to face all the muddy trails and endure the pouring of heavens. But to be honest, I enjoy a trek in the middle of the rain. I don't know but I appreciate the rain in a very special way. Sometimes, it's better for me to brave it than enduring a very sunny trek (so try to see the difference imagining doing an assault in a very bald mountain). Weather is a big factor that can change the difficulty of climbing a mountain. But you know what challenges me the most when climbing in rainy season? Ask me what. (What???) ---- it's the laundry portion! My goodness, it's so hard to wash that huge tent, the muddy trekking pants, the shoes with a consideration in your mind that you don't want to compromise the quality (especially the featured technology it has). And you could not soak it for a very long time to better remove the muds and all that. So an effort would all be coming from you alone. Isn't that more challenging? If I may add the volume, so it's like you're conquering a peak, that's a pile of laundry from your previous climb/trip.

So a very good friend of mine, Ate Candice, told me she missed climbing a mountain and that her shoes are stuck in their home for a very long time. She just suggested these mountains in Rodriguez, Rizal which are more likely to be done by many as twin dayhike. These are called Pamitinan and Binacayan dayhike.

Everything was organized well and the day itself has come. We hired a van for this so we didn't have to think about the commute. It's only takes around one hour from the metro.

To Pamitinan and Beyond

Upon arriving at the jump off point, I was surprised at the scenario at the barangay hall where registration is being done. I get it! This one is very well-patronized by many climbers nowadays. It's like the scenario in any other hiking destinations nearby Manila. Climbers including organizers/leaders are getting in line to register while the authority is assigning guides to them. And these climbers? They are so many of them. The mountains in Rizal are getting more and more popular and the number of people getting into climbing are growing as well.

Two guides were assigned to us being 14 in the group. Beginning our trek, the guides decided to climb Pamitinan first. The first part is residential areas passing through hanging bridge over the Wawa River.

This is the point where the towering and neighboring mountains can be seen well, Pamitinan and Binacayan can be viewed well. There was a belief that it was Bernardo Carpio who separated these two mountains.

Until we arrived at the junction between Mt. Hapunang Banoi and Pamitinan, where rocky terrains begin.

Not only that sharp rocks would be encountered but they are really a ascending type. That being said, you have to push harder. Simple but very important tips for those who are planning to climb this mountain: Bring appropriate gloves; a pair of shoes is better than sandals (if you plan to wear the latter, make sure that you wear socks as well); climb in a pair of trekking pants (leggings will do but being a kind of thin clothing, they could be torn easily) and; lastly, bring only a light pack. 

Reaching this point, we already saw the grandeur of Rizal province --- the residential part of the barangay, the Wawa river, the neighboring mountain, Binacayan which would be our next stop. We stopped here for quite so long for picture taking and thinking this is the peak itself. But there was a higher peak but would only take 5-10minutes.

This is Gil doing a "buwis-buhay" shot :-P
Ate Candice and me (after 3 years, we were able to be together again in a climb)

Scaling this huge rock signifying the summit is quite hard as again, you have to push harder. A 360-degree view will be seen around upon arriving at the peak --- so here I am, I have only identified the Hapunang Banoi at the back and Binacayan in my front. At that time, I wasn't aware yet that a 4-peak dayhike can be done (was already done by some) as after such climb did I come to know Mt. Ayaas. So that becomes Pamitinan + Binacayan + Hapunang Banoi + Ayaas. I believe there are other possibilities that be combined as there are other peaks in Rodriguez.

Starting at around 6:30am, we only got to finish Pamitinan trek by 12nn. Perhaps because of the number of us in the group. And also one of our companions, Annie, Ate Candice's friend had her shoes sort of reaching its retirement and seemingly given up in that rocky trails. Good thing another companion, Joon, has offered his sandals. She had to endure the descending trail with a pair her feet barely knew. To make it worse, she had sprained her ankle.

By the way, this part of the trail is a good venue for rock climbing and one of the groups that happened to go there was actually conducting it.

I recalled a desire to try a rock climbing activity way, way back. Yes I know I have to face what scares me, buuuut... as I remember the uneasiness and fear I get when trekking at an "all-rock" terrains and the discomfort I feel when handling a rope, I'm having a second thought. I remembered also the great difficulty I had climbing Guiting-guiting as well as the ferrata in Kinabalu. So passing this scenario, I just secretly smiled and continued to trek. Haha.

Off to the Second Leg, Binacayan

To go or not to go!?

During our lunch break in the barangay at the foot of the mountains, I was honestly tempted not to push through with the second peak. It was so hot and I could see some of my companions thinking also of staying and climb the second peak no more. 

I said to myself, I would never have this chance pass by without ascending the peak which was the original target, only because of the lazy feeling I had that time. No way!

Dragging my lazy body, majority of us agreed to resume by 1:30pm. Four in the group decided to stay including Annie and Ate Candice.

We were on the first 30mins of the trail passing through a concrete elevated road when upon reaching the start of forested  part, we encountered a rattle snake... and not only once but twice. Whew! I was the third one in the trail and it was adrenaline rush that I was able to run background enough to go away from it. We were actually four at the tail of the group and the two of us decided to go back and would no longer continue. Joon and I had to be cautious as we continued the trek. Really, my legs being covered by socks and trekking pants and the fact that I was using a high-cut hiking shoes has been a big advantage.

As our companions ahead was waiting for us, we told about this scary story and so everyone became paranoid. We were just confident that the guide is at the front and he should be the first one to encounter a snake if ever.

At this point is the beginning of the real rocks encounter and fairly ascending trail.

Scaling the now very rocky ridge, the sky has started to get gloomy and cloudy. While almost part of the day was terribly sunny, thunderstorm was anticipated (as seen in the accuweather shown above). 

Reaching the highest point, we were only given a very few minutes of taking photos and afterwards, thunderstorm and heavy rains began. 

yes? what are you saying? LOL!

We decided to stay under a very huge rock to shade us as we wait for the rain to subside.

Thankful for the positive vibes of my fellow climbers as we were able to enjoy our stay hiding in such cave-like rock perched at the summit. 

Around 4pm, we decided to descend as we would't want to have the trekking by nightfall. It was a descent full of obstacles as we had to make a great deal on the very muddy trails and a real pain on our knees.

By 5pm, we're back at the trailhead. According to the guide, camping in these two mountains are not allowed and given the fact that there is no good place for camping. Overnight can be done by pitching the tent at the barangay. Based on Kuya guide's story, monkeys can also be a threat when staying overnight. These are the reasons why it is dayhike that is preferred in scaling these mountains.

 I have to admit that during the climb proper I encountered an inner struggle --- a struggle composed of laziness, and the unending question "why am I doing this?" and yet I'm still doing it. I realised I have started this journey and I must keep on keeping. These thoughts and feelings are normal. Another realisation about life that sometimes when you keep on doing and doing what you are used to, there are moments that you lost interest (well, temporarily) yet if you remain on it keeping in mind that this is what you have desired and this is what you really want in the first place, eventually you get to finish what you have started. In the end you will thank yourself that you didn't give up.

I am more than happy I was able to experience this Twin Dayhike.

1 comment:

  1. I only had mountain trekking, that was in Malasag in Cagayan de Oro, yet in my life. Though I'm already used to walking rugged roads and rocky sides since our municipality is on highlands. I'd like to try that twin day-hike you did. And I will take your tip about wearing appropriate outfit when hiking, for safety and comfortability. Thanks!


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