Peeling Night
I watch as the Earth
happily peels the night sky,
revealing the sun.

                                                                 -FT Ledrew, 01/15/16

“The sunrise!” a  fellow camper exclaimed. I immediately threw back to the ground the three  empty one-liter plastic bottles that were supposedly to be refilled at the water tank of a nearby community. We ran as fast as we could to the nearest clearing to witness and hopefully to capture what the sunrise looked like on top of Gulugod-Baboy.

It was my second time at Mt. Pinagbanderahan, but this time was an overnight activity. A sign post at the jump off read that it was otherwise known as Gulugod-Baboy. I’ve read somewhere that it’s because the small peaks on top look like “gulugod ng baboy” (pig’s spine). However, a very informative and detailed article on Mt. Gulugod-Baboy in Pinoy Mountaineer website says of an angle that the first peak (∼470 masl) is the Gulugod-Baboy. The next peak is called the Gitna. The highest peak, with an ancient tree and an altitude of ∼525 masl, is Mt. Pinagbanderahan.

Gulugod Baboy trails
Gulugod-Baboy trails
Gulugod Baboy
Gulugod-Baboy

The jump off was easy to find because of the noticeable Philpan Resort signage right beside the road of Anilao coastline when coming from Bauan, Batangas. Anilao is known to be a prime diving destination.

Jump off: Philpan Resort
Jump off: Philpan Resort

Coming from an off peak season for climbs, this activity was considered to be a training for more difficult climbs in the following months this year. The difficulty level of Gulugod-Baboy was rated 2/9 by Pinoy Mountaineer. We climbed the relatively low mountain for about 2 hours without pressure and with ample rests along the trail to compliment exchange of interesting stories and carefree laughter.

There were at least five groups who stayed overnight to witness both the sunset and the sunrise. Gulugod-Baboy is a good day hike destination because of its height and fairly easy trail even for beginners. Easy does not mean no sweat at all. There was a steep cemented road at the beginning of the trail with sharp curves, and another one in the middle. The trail was almost purely assault, similar to Mt. Maculot (∼930 masl).

Almost there!
Almost there!

We were able to find a perfect camp spot in the eastern part of the mountain, where we could see mostly the lights of Batangas City and Batangas port at night. The other groups’ campsite were at least 100 meters away, thus we felt privacy in our spot. It was a flat portion of the mountain situated just below the peaks so the wind was not so disturbing, and provided a cozy place for socials after dinner. It was still so cold though. I’ve learned my lesson way before to really bring a jacket during overnight hikes no matter where the location is.

our campsite
our campsite; photo taken before breakfast on the 2nd day

Due to tiredness, I decided to stay, to look over our camp at sunset and to start preparing dinner. I just wanted to see the sunrise the next day. For some reasons, the sunset makes me feel sad. But I was able to take a picture of the Maricaban Strait where the famous Sombrero island (not in the picture) lies.

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Maricaban Strait at dusk

“Eeeek!,” “Woooow!” were the words I could make out from the voices that I heard from afar and that woke me up. My phone alarm clock did not sound yet. It was set at 6 a.m. of January 17, 2016 so we may see the sunset at 6:20 a.m. Oh, excited campers…morning people! Then I heard tent zippers open. I forced myself to move and get up. The fog was thick.  But with our headlamps, we proceeded to the highest peak nearby. The fog was moving fast  towards the west. Sometimes a clearing  gave us the opportunity to see nearby peaks with sea of clouds beneath. This somehow gave us hope that we will be able to witness the sun making its first peek in the morning behind the mountains from afar.

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When it was  already bright and the sun seemed to be hiding behind the clouds, I, along with two others, decided to go back to the camp and prepare coffee for the group. We had to refill first our water containers at the water tank of a nearby community.

Suddenly, someone exclaimed, “The sunrise!” I looked at the East and saw an orange sky! I immediately threw back to the ground the three  empty one-liter plastic bottles that I held with my both hands and ran as fast as we could to the nearest clearing to witness and hopefully to capture what the sunrise looked like on top of Gulugod-Baboy.

The sunrise at Gulugod Baboy
The sunrise at Gulugod Baboy

We served ourselves with scrumptious breakfast. Why is it that corned beef and salted egg with tomatoes and onions taste so much more delicious in the mountains?

Camp life lovers like to cook at the mountains
Camp life lovers like to cook at the mountains

It was time for descent at around 10:00 a.m. of the last day. It was such a wonderful time of being free from stress and just experience pure fun over the weekend.

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One may almost reach the peak of Gulugod Baboy using a powerful-engined vehicle because there was a cemented road all the way up when coming from Mabini, Batangas (other side of the mountain).  That’s an advantage for the community upstairs, and for those whose health and physical fitness are not that well, but want to experience the beauty and ambiance when on top of the mountain. But for me it made Gulugod-Baboy less adventurous. I like to hike where there are none to less communities or residents up. Anyhow, the houses were owned  by friendly and accommodating residents. They were generous to provide water source to hikers. Donation was accepted. The houses somewhere near the campsite made me imagine that I would be camping in our backyard. But it did not feel that way when we were actually there.

Gulugod Baboy Itinerary (01/16-17/16)

Day 1
0930H    Call time at Jollibee, beside Jam bus terminal
1015H    Departure to Batangas Grand Terminal via bus (Batangas Pier route)
1130H    Arrival: Batangas Grand Terminal.
(On my first hike to Gulugod Baboy 2 years ago, our group rented a jeepney at P100/person (we were six that time) going straight to jump off)
1145H    Depart Batangas Grand Terminal (we were fetched by our friend who had a private car)
1230H    Stop by Johanna’s Grille at Bauan, Batangas for lunch.
1330H    Head to Gulugod Baboy jump off (Philpan Resort)
1430H    Approx. time of arrival at jump off; repack/get ready for hike
1500H    Start trek
1700H    Reach campsite
1800H    Cook rice for dinner
1900H    Dinner, socials
2100H    Lights off

Day 2
0545H    Wake up call
0600H    Wait for sunset
0700H    Coffee time, cook breakfast
0800H    Breakfast
1000H    Start descent
1130H    Back to jump off
1200H    Swim, shower, tidy up
1400H    Late lunch at Jorjhane’s House of Special Bulalo, Bolbok Road, Bolbok Batangas
1530H    Back at Grand Terminal, departure for Manila
1800H    Buendia, Makati

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