After x years of wanting to hike a mountain, I’ve been able to have my first ever trek in 2016 in Mt Mamara, Tanay, Rizal. It didn’t go well as planned because we were supposed to hike Mt. Daraitan. Nevertheless, this new experience was one of the book experience. I have read blogs about mountaineering being overrated for some are just doing it for Instagram. But I think it is more about the journey to the summit, when you realized your body is stronger than you think and when you have never felt healthier and better than that moment. The beautiful summit is your reward, and a photo is just a bonus.
I was NEVER THE ATHLETIC GIRL
First things first, I’ve wanted to hike since college, but I got discouraged of the UST Mountaineering Club for they do have various physical tests before you can able to join them. And I’m a softy-soft girl back then, I never jogged or lifted anything heavier than my bag. Then last year, I got to bring myself (with all my power and Paul’s) to the gym and yoga. In that, I gained confidence in my strength and body that I’ve wanted to put to the test. So when my officemate invited me to hike a mountain in our province, I instantly said yes.
MT MAMARA WAS NEVER THE PLAN
We started our day at 4:30 AM, and we arrived at Daraitan around 7 AM. It was a little late for a Saturday. Groups of people were already in the municipal hall and Mt. Daraitan was already closed for hikers for it’s jampacked. We were given Mt Mamara, which of course we got no choice but to take. As we are getting prepped up for the hike, it started to rain. (Thank you, daddy, for my raincoat!) We were advised to put plastic on our backpacks for it has a higher chance of rain up in the mountain. I did pray a lot before going up.
The hike begins
Mt Mamara was not a beginner’s mountain so for the first time hikers, here’s a little advice, Don’t do it when it’s raining heavily especially if you are all newbies. Yes, there were guides, but he/she can’t keep an eye on all of you. The path was muddy and slippery even though you’re in your hiking shoes and one wrong move can cause you an accident. On our line up, girls were positioned between two boys. So I got a mountaineer office mate in front of me, telling me where to hold and put my feet, and my dear boyfriend behind to catch me if I fall (Tho he already did #char). But despite this, I’ve never held on a rock or a branch for my dear life since this day.
The way up took a lot of strength and time for I have to fight gravity. BUT I DID IT! The view was beyond words despite the gloomy sky. Looking at the river down where we started, I can’t help but be proud of myself (esp. my legs and arms) for doing a good job and achieving to be on top (literally). And it was also there that I understood why people crave adrenaline because seriously it felt great.
The summit was freezing so we hurriedly ate our lunch and started our trek down. It may not require power compared to hiking up but was undoubtedly more dangerous. I slipped two times in my butt. So here’s a tip I learned, don’t climb down like you’re going down the stairs. If it’s steep and slippery, you can squat down and climb slowly or turn around facing the other way and climb down.
This trip had cost me no more than 400 pesos all in. It was very cheap for an experience with nature. Here are some tips if you decided to try Daraitan:
- The way to Daraitan is not cemented so better bring a big car.
- Try to bring hand gloves because the rocks are sharp.
- If it drizzles or rains, cover your backpacks with plastic to avoid the unnecessary weight.
- Mountaineers say hello to each other so smile despite you’re tired.
- Most important is to pack light, just bring what you need.
So yes, let me cross out hiking a mountain in my “out of my comfort zone to do list”.
**Some photos are from my officemate.