Mount Tapulao Insanity

If we are to define what insanity means, it would probably be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results for every time that you do a certain thing. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity and some people just want to erase that line and be defined as something more than that – the crazy ones.

Last year, month of June 2016, we did an overnight hike to Mount Tapulao with some of my friends at the Green Panther. It was such a challenging and daunting hike since it was our first time, and we never anticipated such kind of terrain. All went well with that adventure, but I wasn’t able to take good pictures at the time since I am focused on reaching the summit and getting back unscatched.

Having said that, welcome to my part two at Mount Tapulao. This is my revenge climb, not for the summit or the lack of clearing, but just for the pictures. You can simply say I came back just for the pictures, well partly because of that but the things is, I love what I do, and things like this are a treasure to keep and to write home about. May you enjoy each photograph as much as I do on the trail.

Fast forward to kilometer 6, you might probably be laughing at me for bragging of being able to take good pictures at this hike compared to my previous visit at Tapulao, but mind you that, it is too dark when we started and it’s almost impossible to take a decent shot and we also need to pace up and reach our target kilometer before the sun appears and torched us to death.

Kilometer 6 onwards, we proceeded as usual with the same trail, same rocks, and same part of the trail that I hate. The stretch of kilometer 6 to 9 is where there a lot of tall grassess and trees, chirping birds who seem to get a lot closer to you whenever you stop alone at the trail.

While it’s not actually scary being alone on this stretch, but it is sometimes the noises that you are not used to, are things that makes you feel like you should be worried. That at any moment someone or something would appear in front of you, or drag you to the bushes.

We’ll never know what’s behind them, like in a relationship – you’ll never know what your partner’s true color is if you never tried leaving them alone for a while with a lot of bushes around them. Do you see the connection? I don’t either, but when I say bushes, it’s the other ladies or guys. Widen your imagination.

Reaching kilometer 10 is an achievement by itself. The trail going up is purely assault with a lot of big rocks on the trail, the kind of rocks that your feet will hate you. There’s a water source right in front of the kilometer sign where you can refill your bottles and drinking bladders.

We were actually behind the clock upon reaching kilometer 10 since the group that we are in, the supposedly sweepers was at the middle of the pack. I have no issue with that, and I understand that we all have different pacing and capacity.

Can’t actually remember what kilometer these views are but it is where you’ll know that you are almost near the summit. It’s the first opening and a break from never ending trees and tall grass of the previous kilometers, but there’s still the rocks and they got a lot bigger here. You’ll later feel all the pain upon reaching the campsite. Makes you think to just go back and sleep at the jump off, which is actually my first thought upon arriving at Palauig.

My friend, Ian and Bheng with their trademark pose. Just kidding, not actually but they look fantastic with their pose and it’s definitely badass and attractive. You go guys. Do more things like this and you’ll definitely break the internet.

Upon reaching the first pine trees, the temperature suddenly drops and the trail starts to descend.  I’m not sure if it is a pine tree but let’s settle with that. From there, it’s pure descent with a gradual increase until you finally reached the rocky trail again, this time it’s a long trek going up to the last leg of assault.

Finally reached a flat surface and the trail from here is straightforward and just over half an hour or less walk until your reach Camp 1 of Mount Tapulao. The trail is less rocky this time and the temperature is a lot lower than the first pine trees we encountered.

The Camp 1 at the time was already occupied by other mountaineers who are probably going to stay for the night until next day so we continued our little journey to Camp 2 where most of our team are already having their lunch.

The long hours and insane trail of Mount Tapulao has taken its toll on me, completely knocking me down after we had our lunch and cleaned all our mess. It looks sunny but it’s really cold up there, that the cold wind gust makes you want to grab your jacket and blanket.

The Campsite 1 and 2 is at Kilometer 16 of Mount Tapulao trail. Since I have already made it at the summit on my previous hike, I didn’t bother joining the group and just used the time to take some rest and refill our water bottles at the bunker area.

Starting the descent, here again, are some of the not so friendly rocks. I really hate it, Malyn hates it too, everyone hates it. While Nash on the other hand, doesn’t just hate it, he got injured on his right knee and left ankle, if I can recall correctly. He hates it to the point that he’s not looking forward on coming back or doing any hike anytime soon.

Green, everywhere you look is green, comparable to some people’s mind too. Look at Ian, he looks like he’s walking out of an explosion ala James Bond except that he’s still smiling while doing it. A true badass man. Way to go brother.

There were some motocross riders that we shared the trail with on our descent. Some of them were also with us upon reaching the campsite of Mount Tapulao. According to the locals or for what I heard, there’s no need to request permission if you want to do some trail ride so anyone can just roll into action.

While it’s not actually a death defying and unsafe to day hike Mount Tapulao, it is definitely an insane idea since most people do it over the course of two days. But it is something much more than that; it’s the excitement and adrenaline rush that pushes you to do such things, to beat your old record, be the best that you can be, and measure your strength and see how far your body and mind can go looking beyond your limits. But as for me, it has always been the view and the disconnection with the society below that gives me a peace of mind and a place to enjoy and appreciate the little things I have in life, and to share it with anyone who is wondering what is life above the clouds.

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