A day out of the office and a trip into the mountains is surely nothing one should miss. You bet, we didn’t.
We arrived at the DLTB Co. terminal in Buendia-Taft at 3:00AM. We rode the bus going to Batangas City. As sleep-deprived as we were, we decided to sleep it off during the bus ride; except we didn’t.
Ate Pearl and I talked about candidates running for the high government positions this year for two straight hours; so much for sleeping. We could be politically curious at times. It’s a front, really. We just laugh at random stuff most of the times; profundity isn’t our strong suit.
Going back, we arrived at Grand Terminal in Batangas City at 5AM. From there, a jeepney is waiting for passengers going to Mabini. It will cost us 35 pesos going there but the driver offered to take us straight to the jump-off in Ligaya for 100 pesos so we took it.
The ride was very nice. The air has the most sleep-inducing, wonderful scent. Do you know how a sommelier smells the wine and she comes up with very specific flavors after? The air in Mabini smells of the sun, the ocean, and the leaves with water dews fresh from a concluded night. It fed my hollow soul.
Arriving at the foot of Mt. Gulugod, a woman who is manning the registration booth offered us a guide for 500 pesos and 2,500 pesos going to Sombrero Island. She spoke of how they are the official tour guide of the barangay, bla bla, her rant went on. We were very hungry so we decided to take a breakfast first and left the chatty woman.
We were sitting waiting for our food to arrive when a guy, Rommel, offered us a boat for our island hopping. He said there are 4 guys who camped at the summit of the mountain who also wanted to island hop. He said we could share the boat with them so we agreed. He said he’d join us on our hike so he could inform the aforementioned guys. Yes, we have a free guide!
We ate our food rather hastily so we could start our hike already. We went back to the registration booth to pay 35 pesos. The woman from awhile ago came to us and said, “Ayaw niyo ng guide pero kumuha naman kayo ng ibang guide?” “You said you didn’t want a guide yet you took another guide?” Since technically, Rommel isn’t our guide, I said, “Huh? Wala po kaming guide.” “Huh? We don’t have a guide.” She answered back with an angry tone, “Eh anong tawag mo sa kanya? Kaibigan niyo ba yan? Kasama niyo ba yan?” “What do you call him then? (referring to Kuya Rommel) Is he your friend? Did he come with you?”
I was so annoyed. I just left though. She isn’t worth any of our very precious time.
Working in an office, it is expected that our lifestyle is very sedentary. Thus, we haven’t even reached the start of the trail and we were already catching our breaths.
The trail was steep and quite slippery at some parts. It was quite a coup for us but we were very dedicated on finishing the trek so we went on, taking a couple of breaks at various stops.
Our guide, Kuya Rommel, lives at one of the houses we passed by going up (there were four houses). He said it only takes him 30 minutes going up to the summit. Dude, that’s uber fast. It took us two hours. Lol. I asked him if he comes and goes everyday and he said yes. What a huge feat.
Anyway, after sound-y breaths, umpteen gulps of water, and occasional laughs, we arrived!
It was very worth it. It’s a wondrous place to be at – you see the ocean meeting the sky, the clouds were picturesque, the grasses and trees followed what the wind bid, the ocean was so still racking different shades of blue. It was 12 noon, the sun is at a perpendicular angle yet it posed no grumbles from us. The heat didn’t bother us, it wouldn’t with the view like that.
Sadly, the guys Kuya mentioned were not present at the top so we were left to pay the whole boat. We tried to haggle it down to 2,000 but Kuya won’t budge. Well, he budged. We were able to haggle it down to 2,300.
We were already there. Experience over money. We could only come to the place one time so we allowed ourselves to spend some cash to be able to maximize our stay and agreed at the boat price.
We sat down for around 30-45 minutes, and took some selfies. We started our trek downwards at 12 noon. It was a longer trek since we hiked down to the sea shore. One minute we were on top of the world overlooking such vast expanse of the ocean, another minute our feet were being graced by the smooth feel of the waters!
We rode the boat, and I felt tranquil. There were mini-waves, and there was the roar of the boat yet I still felt peaceful and nice. It reminded me of my urban life in Ilocos a few years back – being around bodies of water all the time.
We arrived at the Fortalez Island after 30-45 minutes.
Upon dropping our bags at our table, we lied down wherever we felt comfortable and went to sleep in a snap. After over an hour, we all woke up and ate chichirias! The 1.5 liter coke was damn expensive but meh. We were thirsty for some cold carbonated drink.
We took a bath for about an hour and made our way back before sunset.
View from the boat:
It was a well-spent, wonderful day.
We took a bath, changed our clothes and made our way home. I don’t have the energy to narrate the 9 public transport vehicles we had to take before arriving in Manila. I suggest for everyone to depart earlier than 7PM from the Grand Terminal in Batangas City if you ever plan to go the place.