This hike happened 9 months ago. I was just able to realize lately how I love more trekking on forests than open fields, so I decided to write about it.
I was invited to go on a day hike at Mt. Sembrano in Pililia, Rizal on August 4, 2012. It had been raining for a few days before the hike so I had doubts if it would push through. Allan, who invited me, was so optimistic and said, the sun is going to shine that Saturday.
It was around 4 am while I was walking at San Rafael St. in Mandaluyong City when it rained so hard! The wind almost torn my small umbrella. It seemed that the rain just tested our determination. It stopped when I reached Boni MRT station. I took a bus going to our meeting place, McDonald’s Shaw. I arrived earlier than the rest, so I ate breakfast first. We went to the terminal of jeepney going to Tanay, Rizal at 6 a.m. already because not all of us knew one another at first, and each one was thinking we were waiting for more people to come. There was a little bit of sunshine peeping through the clouds, but it was drizzling lightly when we got to the jeepney.
Most of us were sleepy while waiting for the jeep to go, so took the opportunity to recharge before the hike.
It took about 2 hours to reach Tanay transportation terminal (I already forgot how much the fare was, but the range is something like P50-P60). We then took another 30-minute ride via tricycle (P50/pax; the best haggle we got) to reach Pililia, Rizal. Of course we passed by the barangay hall first to register before proceeding to the jump off site, which one will identify when the tricycle would reach a steep cemented road with cracks, and almost impossible for any land vehicle to pass.
We had an itinerary, prepared by Allan, but we got lost several times because of fork paths (we would choose the wrong way most of the time), so I’ll just tell how our hike went.
Everything around was damp due to previous rainfall. At the start of the hike, we were reminded by friendly locals we met along the way to be careful because the stones and the path are slippery. Our hike was going smoothly. p>
Until we were able to to reach a “catwalk” with tree roots to hold on to on our left, and a deep ravine to our right. There were two paths on both sides of a big mossy rock. There was an orange yellow nylon rope (the size of a pinkie finger in diameter) on the right side path of the rock, so we thought we did not take the wrong trail, but once you slip, you go so deep down.
While the path on the left looked more difficult because there seemed nothing to step into, although there were large tree roots to hold on to.
I was the third in line. When the two in front of me were able to successfully go up, I nervously held the thin rope. My both feet really slipped, And I felt at that moment I was going to fall into the ravine! Luckily, I got strong hands, and I managed to go back to safety with the helpful instructions of those behind me. And so, we took the left path. When we were all up, it was more difficult. There was no trail! Good thing Sir Ted was leader enough to create our own path by bending stems along the way. The steps were uneven, that we have to gain balance and look where we have to step next before moving. Otherwise, one could fall and so would the rest behind him. And guess what? It rained so hard! I was on the verge of crying, and thinking how are we going to go down on that same trail?
When we were able to go out of that difficult place into an obvious correct trail, we continued going up.
We passed by what seemed to be a staircase of rocks. We were in a rainforest.
When we reached this place:
we thought we were on top. But suddenly the fog cleared and there was still a trail. So we went on. There were two tents on a clearing, and the campers pointed to us the trail to a peak. We went there as fast as we could because we were already hungry and so eager to have lunch. It was so cold and windy.
Our group went up earlier than the others, and went down after lunch. We made the muddy trail more slippery because we slid our way down while holding on to the grass on both sides. It was the easier way we could do. We just warned other hikers who were only going up by then.
We knew that path going to that scary place, so we did not dare go back. We chose the correct trail. On we went and successfully found the waterfalls, which we should have seen on our way up. We took a dip and photo ops of course.
We reached again the house we passed by in the morning, and we bought from the owner pomelo for only P10 each.
When we reached the jump off, the tricycle that dropped us in the morning was already waiting for us. We cleaned ourselves up at the barangay hall. We paid P20 each.
Then somebody told us that the highest point we went to was not really the highest peak. We were just not able to see it because of the fog. So we had one more reason to go back to Sembrano.