It all started when I found out that I had to work on a Saturday. I was supposed to join an outreach climb in Mt. Maaling-Aling in Aurora but circumstances happened that made it improbable and eventually impossible. So I settled for doing a Mt. Masungi dayhike with EMS instead. But as fate would have it, I found out a few days before that I had to come in to work that same Saturday which frustrated me to say the least. Having to cancel two climbs was so not me and needless to say I was already itching to climb (even though it has been less than a month since my last climb…yes my friends, that’s what the climb bug can do to you hahaha) It was turning out to be one of those “must-climb-or-else” moments that if no plans were going to fall through, I’ll take a shot at climbing solo on a Friday. But then I remembered Sir Cedric saying that he was planning to do the same since he wouldn’t be able to make it to the Masungi climb as well. Since I was the one who suggested that he go to Talamitam in the first place, I asked if I could tag along.
You see, it was a perfect opportunity to go back to Talamitam because the first time I went there, my camera just broke and my sister’s wasn’t available so I had to borrow from a climbing buddy instead. That was almost a year ago to the day. Cheng (yes, I’m calling you out in this! Hahaha) still has the memory stick but I still haven’t been able to get the pictures from her. Elle (another one of my coclimbers last year) brought her own camera but had trouble converting raw files into jpeg or something so up until today, my only photo from that climb was this:
The problem was that sir Cedric had an early morning meeting so he asked if we were still good to go even if we left around lunch time. I confidently said no problem and convinced Harold and May (Batch 11 of EMS) to come with us. I kept thinking that 2 hours would be allotted for travelling and at a fast pace, Mt. Talamitam could be covered in 1 ½ hours so no problem there. We would be climbing by 2 PM so entirely manageable right? Well, not exactly. We left at about 12:40 in the afternoon then got caught up in traffic around Bacoor and Imus. To add to the warning signs, the weather, which has been manageable and totally benign up until Dasma, suddenly went ballistic when we reached Tagaytay. I was actually thinking of scenarios where we would get off the bus, sulk, then just ride the bus back home because it was either too late or the rains too strong. It certainly looked that way as we were leaving Tagaytay. By Nasugbu however, the weather calmed down a great deal to just a little drizzle so the climb was back on track. It was already 4:10 when we started trekking but we still pushed through.
When we reached the river, we confirmed a recent development that has been circulating the mountaineering community, Talamitam climbers are required to hire a guide. At first, personally, I was irked but we had no choice and frankly we didn’t have time to argue any further as late as it was. I’ve climbed Talamitam before and so have sirs Cedric and Harold so we felt that we didn’t need a guide because the mountain trails were very straight forward. That may be true…if it was sunny, no fog was rolling in and there was enough sunlight left. In the end, I’m utterly grateful for Kuya Zaldy for climbing with us to the peak because I’m pretty sure that there was a big chance we’d get lost otherwise.
So began our dusk dayhike up to the summit of Mt. Talamitam. Unlike my first time there, the view was obstructed by the low clouds and the winds were stronger. Personally, I immensely enjoyed the climb because I felt like the clouds did not only obscure the view but rather accentuated a different angle of the Talamitam landscape.
At the base of the mountain, the summit was covered with clouds so halfway up the peak, only an eerie fog cover could be felt and seen. This continued all the way up to the peak. I told Kuya Zaldy to take us up to the steeper trail as opposed to the more gentle one to make the trek more worthwhile. Also, Harold and May haven’t tried that way yet (payback for sir Rojem taking us there last year? Hahahaha) . We arrived at the summit at about 5:40, just in time for sunset if the weather permitted it. So even if there was no clearing, we still enjoyed our respective little moments up at the peak. Sir Cedric dubbed it as the Presidential climb because it was almost the anniversary of his induction as EMS’s president.
After enjoying the summit as much as we could (picture! :D), it was time to head back down at about 6:10. Relatively, there was still light during the descent so it wasn’t that difficult and we brought headlamps as well just in case. I almost got attacked by a cow though; thank heavens it was tethered so it was yanked back before it reached me. I actually didn’t notice it until my companions were shouting and Kuya Zaldy grabbed my arm hahahaha. We arrived at the jumpoff at 7:00, tidied ourselves up then went to the hi-way. Frustratingly enough, the rain poured the hardest as we were heading for the hi-way so as a result, my clothes were once again drenched despite having just changed them. On the waiting shed, we looked out for Manila-bound buses passing by.
That’s when I feared that history was going to repeat itself. You see, when I climbed Talamitam last year, we did a twin dayhike which also covered Batulao. After the climb, we ate at a roadside restaurant then got a little carried away at eating I guess because by the time we were done, there were no more buses plying the area. This led to walking along the hi-way while still drenched by the way because it stormed then too then eventually finding a jeepney that we could ride from Tagaytay to Baclaran at midnight. It was daybreak when I finally got home.
Back to the present, we were getting nervous because only slow moving 10-16 wheeler trucks were passing by (if there are three green lights at the top, then it’s probably a truck). A guy told us that there would still be one more bus and we just had to wait for it but by 8:30, we were already getting desperate. We actually started hailing any public transportation that would pass by in an attempt to at least get to Tagaytay (major déjà vu hahaha). Honestly, we were beginning to lose all hope when at 9:00, a single Pasay bound bus appeared on the curve and we jumped up and down like monkeys as it stopped to pick us up. I can’t tell you how relieved I was at that moment. My clothes may have been damp and my legs were killing me but hey at least we were homebound Hahaha I was beginning to think Nasugbu had it in for me and was starting to vow never to climb its mountains again but t’was so nice of the universe to prove me wrong. 😀