It was a beginner’s trek, they said. It will be fun, they said.
Mount Makiling in Laguna stands at 1,090 meters above sea level, which I only found out in 2016, and we climbed this mountain in January 2014!
Now, let’s talk about that trail.
The first few parts of the trail was a thick foliage. Trees labeled with their scientific names, after all the trail to Mount Makiling’s starts near the Forestry area of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, flowers in colors I only see on the internet and moss on rocks and trees here and there.
The middle parts of the trail is where the guides ask you to wear your jackets. They asked us to bring light jackets since Mount Makiling is a rainforest, but they asked us to wear our jackets for a different reason: creatures which they call “limatik” were said to fall randomly from trees as they’re attracted to warm bodies! Vampires! I didn’t know what limatiks were, but I wore the jacket. I saw one fall on a fellow hiker’s arms and it was, in one simple word, icky. It’s a skinny little leech! When I saw it crawling, which looked more like standing on its mouth or sucker, and sort of began burrowing its body on his skin, I knew that this trail was no trail for beginners. What trickery?!
Anyhoot, the last parts of the trail was the forest which they fondly call “wilderness zone”, and that area really lives up to its name. Without a guide or expertise in climbing mountains, one can easily fall off a ravine or get lost in the undergrowth. Branches with thorns you can’t grab on to, ladders made of bamboo that you have to cling on to for dear life and mossy mud that sort of swallows your shoes and feet, not to mention the strain on your legs while climbing. The last parts of the trail were steeper than steep. My then-crush, now fiancé (kilig), slipped and grabbed one of those thorny branches. Ouch! Of course I helped him remove the thorns. Eep! *wink*
We got to Peak 2 at around 2pm, had our lunch, rested, took pictures, and started to re-think why we’re up there that day and if we can still walk back. The view from the peak was a little bit of Laguna Lake and some parts of Laguna, I think, but due to the thick shrubbery, the view was not all that grand for me but being on top of a mountain, for the first time, gave me the chills. I made it. I climbed a mountain. I knew that day that the Makiling trail will just be the first of the many trails I’ll tread.
Til the next mud covered trail,