It’s been three years since I wanted to complete the 3 Great Cordillera Traverse for the second time and last June 7-9, 2013, I had the chance to complete it once again by climbing Mount Napulauan the second time around!!!
I was supposed to be part of the first SMB Mount Napulauan Team but luck was not on my side. I had the measles on climb week and my fever was up to 39 degrees. My doctor and Wifey would not let me join the climb. I was persistent but the doctor told me that measles sometimes have complications and if I was in the mountain who would treat me??? I was discouraged and contacted Sir Leo to take charge of the first group. They did a successful climb and from the news I gathered they had a difficult but fun climb.
Due to my persistence I organized another Mount Napulauan Climb and some of my smberks were willing to join since they failed to join the first group like me with the exception of Albert who was with the first group and again wanted to join. So with Dottie, Dee-wee, Gabby, (April – unable to join due to a sudden conflict in schedule), Rheign, AC, Albert and Rommel, we set our sights on Mount Napulauan for June 7-9, 2013.
DAY 0 – Travel and Leisure Day
The bus peeps (Rommel, Deewee, AC and Gabby) took the 10:00 PM Ohayami bus to Banaue while the pickup peeps (Dottie, Rheign, Albert and Me the driver) left Robinsons Pioneer around 9:00 PM. Pickup peeps arrived in Banaue around 5:30 AM while the bus peeps were behind a full hour and a half. We settled in Las Vegas Inn and Restaurant, freshened-up, ate breakfast and prepared for our very own Banaue Tour (the perks of bringing your own vehicle). We had lunch in Banaue Proper. After lunch we went back to Las Vegas where our rented jeep was waiting for us. We proceeded to Hapao where the first-timers and Albert took a short trek to the terraces. We reached Hungduan Village around 5:00 PM and we settled-in for the night in our comfy “kubo”.
DAY 1 – What a Climb Day!!!
The last time I climbed Napulauan I had a great time but it was a difficult climb. This time it was really very hard. I had the measles a few weeks back. I did not have the proper training and I was still recovering. I was worried and my worries became reality that day. We left the village around 8:30AM and started our ascent around 9:00 AM. The cardiac trail welcomed us with sunny weather, so far, so good. Our pace was great and upon reaching the steepest parts of the trail we started to slow down then both of my legs started to cramp!!!! Oh boy this will be a long climb I told myself.
Upon entering the mossy forest it started to rain hard. For some reason my legs became relaxed and for some reason the whole team were quicker in climbing. Even our guide was surprised to see that we were up to it. We had our lunch while it was raining hard and decided to continue climbing after 30 minutes. We did not want to lose precious time. Two hours before reaching our goal, my legs again started to cramp and my pace was that of a vehicle having engine trouble. I really thought I would reach the summit at night time but I was able to catch up to my smberks who also took time to rest before descending and going up the trail going to the summit. Around 5PM we reached the summit campsite. After 30 minutes it started to drizzle. After an hour lightning and thunder filled the site and rain fell down. We ended up resting early that night, but for some they had a difficult time getting sleep for it was cold around 11 degrees when I measured inside my tent vestibule. I was thankful I made it to the summit despite cramped legs. As our guide put it, I was a veteran and I knew how to adjust myself to those kinds of situations. I guess he was right 🙂
DAY 2 – The long way back to Hapao
If climbing Mount Napulauan was difficult, going down to Hapao was a challenge, specially for those who are new to mossy, muddy and slippy trails not to mention “limatik” infested.
We woke up around 5:00 AM and we prepared ourselves for the descent ahead. Of course we took a lot of photos in the summit. We had a clear view of Mount Pulag and Mount Amuyao along the neighboring mountains of the Cordillera region. Temperature that morning was around 12 degrees but from the graph stored in my watch, temperature dropped to 9 degrees in the night.
I was eager to go down. I felt better that than the previous day. Having slept, my cramped legs felt good. Around 8:20 AM we started our descent to Hapao. The weather was cool and sunny. It was perfect!!! Every stop we had in the clearings, we took the opportunity to soak up sunshine. Most of us had our time, slipped and skidded on the steep trail. I had several slide moments on the trail, once I needed to do a 180 degree turn to grab hold of a root to stop my slide hahaha. Upon entering the mossy forest, the “limatiks” greeted us but I did not mind. I was in awe with how the mossy forest looked like. During my first Napulauan experience, the mossy forest was not that mossy at all. This time, the forest was all in its glory. You could say that I had my fill of moss during the decent hahaha.
After 6 hours of trekking, we reached the great clearing and the Hapao rice terraces was in sight. We stopped for a moment to immerse ourselves with the view but after 30 minutes it began to drizzle and then it rained hard. Rain was unfavorable to us this time because we were at the steepest part and arguably the hardest part of the whole descent. Our pace was slow and sure. We cannot afford to have an accident when we were already so near the jump-off. Nice and slow we went down the muddy trail, the slippery concrete stairs passing-by raging water in the irrigation canals. We counted the stair steps. There were 241 steps…… then…….at last around 4 PM we reached our goal!!!
I was happy. I praised and thanked the Lord that despite everything we were safe and sound. I fulfilled my wish to complete the 3 Cordillera Great Traverse for the second time despite cramped legs during the climb. It was not easy, so many challenges off and on the mountain but everything went great and well………..
I then realized my journey was still unfinished!! I still have to drive 8 hours from Banaue back to Manila hahahaha. Anyway I’m a veteran right? My legs were up to the challenge, besides, I LOVE DOING LONG DRIVES!!! 🙂
Back in Las Vegas, we congratulated each other. It was a great experience and the team was asking when will the Mount Amuyao Traverse be??? Anerew??? Inanaykopooooooo hahahaha. Outside a rainbow greeted us and we smiled…………
Thanks to Dottie (my sassy girl hahaha), Gabby (my anak daw hahaha), Deewee (the girl that has poise even in climbing mountains), Rommel (twas a challenge sir right?), AC (how many slides sir?? haha), Rheign (only Amuyao left sir) and Albert my man who did 2 consecutive Mount Napulauan Traverse in less than a month and has completed the 3 Great Traverse (congrats also to Ryan, Jann and Sir MB from the first team).
For Photos please click HERE