Climbing a mountain allows a person to reap multiple benefits in probably all aspects one’s being: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Our team went on a not-really-well-planned expedition to Mt. Maculot – Rockies in Cuenca. We only had a day hike last April 4 (the recent Holy Wednesday) but for four of us who were Mt. Maculot first timers, the day hike was more than enough experience.
The team was headed by our resident mountaineer, Alva. Due to lack of concrete plan, we embraced spontaneity! Haha.
Minsan naman talaga, mas nagiging okay pa ang mga hindi sobrang planadong lakad. Less expectation, less disappointment. Just like this Rockies expedition of ours.
This trip was both a penitence and a summer special. Who says you summer is just meant to be enjoyed on the beach? Climbing Mt. Maculot – Rockies is just one of the many activities you can take pleasure in here in Batangas.
Things you SHOULD NOT forget in climbing Mt. Maculot
Alva said the first climb would bring you realizations for you next climb. What we (Gerlie, Jackie, Edison, and myself) have brought that day were stuffs to protect us from the sun and other essentials — face/hand towel, cap, sunblock, bottled water.
What we forgot to bring: eating utensils and LUNCH. Haha. From Banay-Banay (kanto ng Mataasnakahoy), the jeepney fare going to Cuenca town proper is P15.00. There are mini-marts upon reaching Cuenca so we stopped to buy food.
You don’t need to spend huge amount especially for a day hike. For the five of us, we spent P400 all in. We bought energy drink, our favorite Nagaraya BBQ flavor (nuts and sweets fuel your energy), and a pack of cracker. Upon reaching the foothill, we dropped by on the Mountaineer’s Store (jumpoff) to buy salted egg, tomatoes, and canned tuna which served as our lunch.
Good thing Alva is acquainted with the store owner so they lent us spoons. Another good thing, Alva brought cooked rice and plastic plates. He just saved the day. Haha.
What to do before starting the climb
We took the trail to the Rockies and not on most pilgrims’ destination which is on the other side leading to the grotto. Whew! Ang haba ng warm-up ah! We visited the Saint Isidore the Farmer Church first before heading to the foothill. And from there, the warming up of our feet, legs, thighs, and lungs (haha) began.
You have to register first and pay a fee of P10 per person before proceeding. The authorities should have a record of climbers so if anything unfortunate happens, they know who to find. The fee yata was for environmental purposes.
Up, up we climb!
According to Alva, Mt. Maculot is known for its steepness. Puro ahon. The hike will take you 1 to 2 hours depending on your pace. Experienced hikers can reach the Rockies in an hour but if you take too long in resting in every stop, the climb might last up to 3 hours.
Because it’s peak season, more so because we hiked on a Holy Week, there were local vendors (most of which are young ones) in each stop, selling either buko juice or halo-halo. Nakakagulat lang na parang sobrang dali na para sa kanila na umakyat with all the products they have to bring. At isa pa, ang tindi nila kasi whole day silang andun, eh yung iba sa kanila mag-isa lang, wala man lang kausap.
We reached the campsite at lunchtime. There were several other hikers from other towns of Batangas, a lone hiker from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, a family from Sariaya, Quezon, and some campers who were already there from the previous day.
On the campsite, there’s what they call “7-11″ a store that offers practically what you need when you reach the site — food and beverages. Pati panggatong, alak, at iba pa. The store is open during Holy Week and on weekends when campers usually flock the mountain.
Conquering the Rockies
After lunch, we rested for a while then as the sun shone so scorching hot, Alva said it’s time we go to the Rockies. We thought (or at least Gerlie and I) we could never make it there. But the view was undoubtedly attractive, we craved for a better view which can be seen better on the Rockies.
We climbed. We were like Spiderman and friends ascending towards the top. Goodness gracious! Ang sakit sa extremities! Sa mga braso, sa mga hita at binti. Tapos ang tindi pa ng sikat ng araw. Parang galit na galit. Nakakapaso. Buti na lang naka-Aromacology sun spray ang girls. Galing ng segue noh?
When we reached the top, we were at lost for words. Sobrang ganda lang talaga. Our pictures would attest to that.
Realizations from our Mt. Maculot – Rockies expedition
Physically, of course, without a doubt, it’s challenging. You have to be physically fit or else, don’t dare try to climb.
Emotionally, it’s overwhelming. A climb, no matter how easy or how difficult the trail is, is still an achievement. And with the breathtaking (literally and figuratively) view up there, tears of joy might slide down your cheeks any minute.
Spiritually, it’s a journey. We climb Mt. Maculot for experience, for outdoor summer recreation, and for spiritual re-connection. We are extremely thankful deep inside. God is with us and within us along the trail.
Personally, I like outdoor adventures like this. Although hindi halata, dig ko yung mga ganitong challenges. Let’s see what my other teammates have to say.
I had second thoughts on climbing the Rockies. It seemed like a rock climbing wall at parang delikadong akyatin for a novice like me. Inisip ko lang na kinaya syang akyatin ng marami, bakit ako mag-woworry? And so there, we reached the top. The picture-perfect view was priceless. I saw the Napayong Island of Tanauan, the Taal Volcano Island, the blue green lake, the top views of Cuenca, Alitagtag, Balete (at hindi ko mawari yung ibang bayan) the view of Tagaytay highlands and more. It was really exhilarating. After several minutes, I was able to shake off the fear at yun na nga, the team did some fearless jump shots. It was another wonderful first time with WOWBatangas team. I hope you would also consider climbing the Rockies for your bucket list. – GERLIE
That was my first time to trek Mt. Maculot. I can say that it was hard but when we reached the campsite, the mountain top’s view will surely vanish away your tiredness. Yes, nakakapagod ng bongga, medyo nakakatakot din kasi isang maling galaw mo eh pwede kang madulas o kaya mahulog pa. Mabuti na lang kasama ang aming resident mountaineer na Sir Alva to guide us. After trekking Mt. Maculot, just one thing came into my mind, “see you again next year Mt. Maculot”. — JACKIE
For more of this trip’s photos, click this link to WOWBatangas Team on Mt. Maculot album.