Day 1 – 12mn
Finally, after more than eight hours of trekking, we reached the summit of Mt. Amuyao in Barlig, Mt. Province. That was my longest first day of climb ever. We could not find our fellow members who got there two hours earlier. Feeling very exhausted and sleepy, I couldn’t wait any longer. Though I could barely feel my hands, we had to find a place to pitch our tent. I was already inside the tent, fixing my things, when one of our companions went out to check on us. Incidentally, our friends were inside this ” house” (yes, there’s this structure at the summit) that’s why we couldn’t find them. He said we should stay inside instead. I had a warm sleep that night.
Day 1 – around 10pm
Aside from the fact that it was a night trek, I truly didn’t have the energy to take photos while trekking, either I was too lazy or too tired. I looked up and the trail seemed endless.
An insect that looks like a dandelion that twinkles like a firefly came near me.I noticed that the fern leaves glow, too. I took comfort in these things.
My friend was told that there’s a satellite at the summit. The red blinking light was our guide. It looked so near. Little did we know that it would take us two more hours to get there.
Day 2 Mt. Amuyao Summit – 6am
Waking up to the sight of this made me forget my body was still sore due to last night’s trek.
It was worth it.
Day 2 – 10am
First stop at a waiting shed an hour after we started our descent. We had to walk (climb down) for five hours more to reach our next campsite. The plan was to have late lunch at the campsite, so I just stuffed myself with cookies, jelly sticks and water along the way. I had a few rests. I stopped whenever I slip as we go down. I endured a few cuts, held on to trees, branches and roots, lost my balance, bumped my forehead on a rock, fell a number of times, I lost count.
Our late lunch was at 4pm in this makeshift shed in the middle of paddy (or vegetation?). It was getting dark and we had to decide where we would stay for the night. Our next campsite was supposed to be at a nearby community, but we need to walk for another hour or so to get there. At the rate I was going, I’d make that two hours. Good thing there was another waiting shed and a hut 15 minutes from where we were. We opted to spend the night there instead.
Warning: No one is actually allowed to stay and sleep there.
Day 3 – 11am
Five men were resting at a waiting shed and chewing “moma”, also known as “nganga”. We sat with them for a few minutes, also offered them some of our trail food. One of them just came from town carrying a sack of 40-kg of cement. It took him three hours. They said it would take us six. They were right.
A few times we had to climb down concrete stairs. My knees would shake more and more as I took each step. But if I had not moved forward, not that I have any other choice, I would not have seen this.
We stopped here for lunch. My friends took a dip in the cold water; I rested my feet on top of a rock, as the water run through it. The feel of the cold water soothed, or rather numbed, my sore feet. Nature does have a way of healing us.
Day 3 – 7pm
It was a night filled with “finally’s”. Finally, I could take a bath, change clothes, hang my socks to dry and rest my feet. We stayed at Milcah Lodge in the town of Mayoyao. After a whole day trek, we all deserved a good dinner, a few drinks and a comfortable sleep.
Day 4 – 9am
An early bus ride back to the lowlands was our cue. We were on our way back to our busy lives, in the city. It was my first time to ride on top of a mini bus, from Mayoyao, Ifugao to Santiago City, Isabela. From there my friend and I took a bus going to Manila. Our fellow mountaineers rode a separate bus to Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, before they head back to Baguio City. It was the end of a long weekend. We didn’t have tickets when we arrived at the terminal. We agreed to sit (not on a chair) on the floor in the center aisle of the bus just so we could reach our target to get back to Manila before midnight. We got our own seats after almost three hours when we got to Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya. I thought it was the longest bus ride I’ve ever taken.
I will again miss the mountains. I will again think of training, running, so that next time I’ll be stronger and faster. Then, I’ll forget about it because I’d be too busy. But even if I had to crawl my way up, I know, I will keep coming back.
We all travel everyday. We set our target destination. We plan how we’re supposed to get somewhere, how much time we need. We seem to always be in a hurry. We chase the time, the day, the night, the sun. We hope to get somewhere, everyday.