The sound of the pouring rain and the coolness of the surroundings at three o’clock in the morning of October 4, 2015 made it cozier to curl up in bed under a warm blanket and sleep soundly. But that was our wake time for a hike at Mt. Binacayan in Rodruguez, Rizal. We decided to push through, with our rain gears and waterproofed things, despite the discouraging weather. Fortunately, the rain stopped after an hour.
Mt. Binacayan, with an altitude of about 425 meters above sea level, is one of the mountains included in Pentology challenge (all members of a group should finish climbing the five mountains in a day) at Barangays San Rafael and Mascap areas. It was actually the first time that I heard of Mt. Binacayan when I was invited for the hike.
The first part of the trek was a short, inclined cemented road (which I did not like), then a combination of muddy and rocky path going up. The rest was negotiation with sharp and rough-textured rocks that I believed were once part of a coral reef. A few elongated, spiral, white shells were found along the trail. It was a good thing that I was able to bring a pair of garden gloves so I could hold on to the sharp rocks with almost no discomfort and without getting wounded. It is recommended to bring a head lamp even for a day hike if you should start when it will still be dark (6 a.m. or earlier).
We expected to see some sea of clouds along the trail and especially at the summit since it rained and thus the clouds would be low. We were not disappointed. The views were breathtaking. Extra care was necessary in finding great spots for photo ops.
The rain before dawn left the ground and the rocks wet and slippery. I may have just not expected the challenge that Mt. Binacayan trail would give me. But after we have passed most of the difficult portions in going down, I was covered with sweat and was shaky tired. I thought at the moment that it was the most challenging hike I had ever done so far.
We were done at around 11:30 a.m. and so we headed to a small waterfalls past Wawa dam and a river that had to be crossed via a long and narrow wooden boat. Our guide prepared for us lunch: eat-all-you-can rice and savory Tinolang Manok. We spent the rest of the day at a cottage beside the waterfalls sharing stories, laughing our hearts out, eating, swimming. What a wonderful day spent!
Special thanks to Junar Serilo and Gary Octaviano for the beautiful photos.