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Mt. Cristobal | The Devil's Mountain

Mt. Cristobal
 It's almost a month ago, when someone added me to a Mountaineering group called "Sabit-Sabit Mountaineers" on facebook.  At first, I was hesitant to join this group, of course, I am a Filipina and I need to take care on that image - arte mode lang

After confirming that group, Reyna invited me to the event "WADAPAK sa Mt. Cristobal," since my planner has a vacant space for January 12-13, 2013 and I want an extra amazing experience, I joined them.  According to my research, Mt. Cristobal has hundred stories about ghosts, spirits, mumubells, multo and that's the reason why it's called the Devil's Mountain.  The Devil's Mountain is just beside the Holy Mountain, Mt. Banahaw, which is also situated in the Province of Quezon.  A lot of mountaineers and locals said that the main reason about those creepy stories, because all the negative energy from the holy mountain transferred to the devil's mountain, I don't know if Albert Einstein can explain this occurrence according to science.

Lola Helen Panciteria

Here's my detailed preparation for January 12, 2013 - 2:45AM - my BlackBerry rung, so that means I need to wake up, stand up and prepare myself for a huge physical activity for that day.  So, same routine: I prepared hot coffee and bread for breakfast; double checked my backpack; prepared my trekking attire; took a bath and personal hygiene; wore my attire; fixed my long, shiny, curly hair; applied face powder in front of the electric fan; opened my facebook to get updates about our trip and the weather.  Since everything was okay, NO TYPHOON SIGNAL - NO CANCELLATION OF CLASSES ooopps sorry, I mean, NO CANCELLATION OF THE ACTIVITY.  4:30AM - packing up time, but when I opened the door, I felt 5 droplets of rain, so it will not be a good trip for us, I think. 

5:35AM - there was this guy; he's Short, Dark and Never Mind descended from Toyota Hi-Ace.  He's wearing TNF -trekking shoes, black leggings with blue printed boxer short; black shirt and a neon green TNF Electron Backpack.  He was holding 2 paper bags, and a bottle of red wine in the bag's side pocket - it was him.

From St. Francis, we walked few meters crossing EDSA-MegaMall foot bridge. Rode in an ordinary bus, going to McDonalds beside Jam Liner Bus Terminal - Taft.  We arrived late, all the participants were there and having their breakfast.  Of course, since it was my first time to see some of those pipz, I introduced myself as: " Hi! I am Dharzie, 24, Philippines " No! I am just kidding. 

Mt. Cristobal Trail
After introducing ourselves, time to take my breakfast, I ordered burger and soda plus 1pc. chicken with rice - for take out, that's for my lunch. Total Attendance: 9 Sabiteers; 1 female - original, 1 female - fake and 7 gentlemen.

Next, rode in a bus bound for Jolibee Sam Pablo. Our backpacks were put in the compartment. Wait! while on the road, the scene wasn't good, heavy rains were there, there were a certain parts of Laguna with zero visibility on the road.  It's not a good vibes, but still I was hoping that in the jump-off, the weather will be fine.  Bus departure was 6:49AM and 8:30AM arrival in Jollibee - San Pablo, with 127 pesos bus fare.

Upon arrival we (with John) went to 7-11 convenience store nearby and bought bottled water.  There were a lot of mountaineers that time in Jollibee from a different group and company.  They were fixing  their things inside the backpacks.  9:00AM - left Jollibee going to the jump off.

We alighted the jeep at the jump off called the "Basurahan," the weather wasn't really good.  After few minutes, the heavy rain just fell into my long, curly hair and it's getting harder and harder, so we wore our raining gears.  At 9:55AM we ascended the wet and muddy trail guided by Mang Lito.  Just to give you a heads up, Mang Lito ascended Mt. Cristobal more than my age, so basically he really knew the right path to take and we simply followed him.

Trail Mt. Cristobal
This time, the trail is composed of wet and muddy terrain, so I can say "slipery when wet"  with some flowering plants (like gumamela) on the side, banana stalks, grass and some unfamiliar shrubs.  I also noticed the insects flying around my eyes and 5 mosquitoes - best in counting.  Some parts have sayote and gabi  plantation.  Before taking our lunch, we encountered the assault which I've used my hands to hold on the roots just to reach our goal - the Peak.

12:14NN - we took our lunch, while eating, cameras were rolling to get some stolen photos while our mouth were wide and open. 12:41PM we started ascent, and everyone were energetic and energized.

Mt. Cristobal trail
It was still raining and the wind breeze was really cold, the trail was still wet and muddy, and was getting harder and harder.  There were parts of the trail which we climbed creepingly the 90 degrees steep trail, good thing that the roots were there and helped us.  As the time goes by, before reaching the Jones Peak,  it was a long-slippery trail, and this time, no roots to depend to, just the cogon-like plant, so what I did?? I managed my pacing, my weight, and my beauty.  That part is the most challenging and the hardest trail I've ever been.

4:50PM we finally reached our goal - the Jones Peak of Mt. Cristobal.  The fog was really thick and I can't see the towns nearby.  The wind was strong and was really cold, thus I wore my poncho.

We waited for the last three, Sir Frank, Joanne and Marlon, then rest galore on the peak.  After few minutes, when everyone gained their energy, we started walking to the Saddle Camp.  The way going to the camp is another challenge, since I stands 5 feet 7 inches, and measures 36"23"36," I was getting a hard time walking with my knees bending, my body was leaning forward, because the cogon-like plants are taller than me, so we were just passing under the plant sharp-leaves (just think of a rat crawling under the tall grass) that's the reason why Sir Frank's bag rain cover and my poncho were cut.

Saddle Camp
The Saddle Camp was already filled with campers from the other teams. We were planning to camp at the Crater, it's few minutes from the Saddle Camp.  But, since there was a small available space in lower part of the camp, we decided to stay there.  The weather was still not good, it was still raining while everyone was settling the tents.  There were six tents occupying that small area, and the bad thing, the ground was uneven, so every time that we sit or lay down on the tent's ground sheet, we were sliding.

Chef Gen cooked our food for dinner while I was inside the tent having a cup of coffee to lessen the coldness that we felt.  Take note, we were 6 sharing that cup of coffee sponsored by Allan.  We have plain rice, and fried canned goods, now, define lazy?

After that sumptuous dinner by Chef Gen, it's time to warm ourselves.  We have 1 liter Brandy by Allan and 1 bottle of red wine by Gen.  That night was full of stories, a lot of stories, and full of stories so what is short stories?  Anyways, we talked about everything, from human anatomy, relationship and the lives of other people.

I think it was 11:30PM when I cleaned up the mess inside my tent - the tent of sin, to take a rest.  I was not alone that night, so I am secured about anything that might happen according to ghost stories.  Sorry guys, I can't elaborate more on what happened while sleeping, it's private. Oops wait! as usual, while sleeping, we were sliding downward because the ground was uneven.

Mt. Cristobal Saddle Camp
" Gising na! gising na! Alas sa-is na! " that's what I've heard from the other campers, which are just few steps from us.  I know that it was unintentional, but still it was bad, because there are other people who were still sleeping, right?  Unfortunately, I awoke and I can't sleep anymore.  I saw the sun shine penetrated on my tent's fly-sheet, so I went out and do my morning routine - follow me: stand up and inhale, exhale, that simple!  While others were still sleeping.

6:55AM, Chef Gen started cooking our breakfast, we were watching him and while drinking a cup of coffee.  So, same thing, horror story telling - Part 2.  For our breakfast: plain rice and fried canned goods, so again: define lazy?

7:18AM, we had our breakfast, while talking about other people's lives.  Of course, we were thinking about the other group.  9:15AM broke the camp.  As expected, everything are wet. Right after folding our stuff, time for photo shoot on the Saddle Camp.

Saddle Camp Mt. Cristobal
Camp site Mt. Cristobal
I was waiting for the other - photo by Gen

Camp site Mt. Cristobal
The 9 Participants

9:55AM, the weather was fine, we descended the Saddle Camp following the trail to the Crater.  So the trail is still the same, mossy and wet, but the good thing here, the trail don't have the slippery mud, so it was really easy and 10:04AM we final reached the carter.  The Crater is actually a typical swamp area with water and grasses on the side.

 Crater Mt. Cristobal
at the Crater

At 10:14AM we left the crater and we just followed our guide.  The trail was really simple, no sticky mud, but it has some part where I bended my body due to some trees fell into the ground.  We reached the Montelibano House at 12:19PM, so there, I was able to clean myself, rest for few minutes and took some photos.  In that area, you can actually see the gorgeous Mt. Banahaw known as the Holy Mountain

We left the house at 12:28PM, and walked few kilometers on the cemented road going to Brgy. Kinabuhayan.  Along the way, you can see the beautiful mountain formation of Mt. Cristobal and Mt. Banahaw.  The wind was cold, the clouds were playing with the sun shine at the peak of the two gorgeous mountains.

Since, we had an agreement with the driver that he'll be the one to cook our lunch, so everything was okay. 1:28PM we took our lunch in the cottage beside the house of the driver.  For  our lunch: plain rice, ginatang native chicken served with soda.  Our stomach were full, so time to rest for 10 minutes then proceeded to the Mt. Banahaw Cave entrance - I don't know if it's the real name.

Kinabuhayan Quezon

Holy River Mt. Banahaw

2:08PM we've reached the Religious Zone of Mt. Banahaw river.  There were people who were getting water in that area.  As you can notice, their is  a mark on the stone, which I don't know what it symbolizes, but for the pilgrims, it's holy.  The river is covered with large boulders which serves as the bridge, that connects the two sides of the river. The boulders are covered with slippery moss which is dangerous to anyone who don't have experience in river crossing.

Holy Water Falls
Our plan was to visit the Holy Falls in that river but I tried to explore the river, the falls wasn't there.  According to our research, the way going to the falls has a different route, and we need to take the road instead of following the river.  When I heard that, my tears just fell on the ground, I tried to explore the river for more than 30 minutes, and he'll say, it's a different path??  Sorry I was just so dramatic!

I just want to thank the owner of the store in the entrance, beside the church, she was so kind and she let me change my outfit.  She opened her door to a beautiful stranger like me.  4:37PM we left the holy river and we walked few meters going back to the driver's house.  We took our few minutes break time in his store, drinking soda and eating the bread - as in plain bread.  5PM we left his store and we get on his jeep and he drove us going to Dolores, Quezon.  By 5:37PM we reached Dolores, Quezon and there we waited for 30 minutes for a bus bound to Manila. 

We took a bus bound to Cubao, but since I'll be going to descend in Ortigas Ilalim, and it's not their route, so I decided to descend in Mega Mall.  Together with Gen, we took a taxi . . . . . and their  . . .

Mt. Cristobal is really good, I can suggest this mountain to all the mountaineers around the globe.  There were stories about something creepy there, but, it's up to you, you need to get a proof, you need to experience the nature.  But, again don't forget " love the earth, love the nature "

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