Hiking Mt. Tagapo was my first time to organize a climb. With the help of my sister, we had invited our friends and co-workers after preparing a day hike tour in Mt. Tagapo located in Talim Island, Binangonan Rizal during a not so fair weather last July 2013. It is indeed a minor climb but since this is our first time to organize a hike like I’ve said, we prepared our itinerary two (2) weeks ahead of time. (Good thing there are some useful write-ups and blogs that gives us complete itinerary and contact person to guide us during our hike).
The sun is still not set when all the members assembled in Jollibee Taytay Market around six o’clock (06:00) in the morning. We ride a jeep and asked the driver to drop us in Binangonan Ferry Terminal. Stayed there for about one (1) hour while waiting for other passengers who will occupy the boat which is the main transportation of Binangonan locals to reach nearby islands and barangay.The moment we reached Barangay Janosa, our hired guide, which we contacted two days before are schedule, welcome us in the port and lead us to Barangay Hall where we completed our registration before heading to jump-off point. Our climb, though considered as a minor hike, was never an easy one because half of our members are first time climbers. Recent heavy rainfall the other day literally took are breathes away during our hike. Since I am the organizer, it is my responsibility to make sure that no one is falling behind the group so I assigned myself to be the “sweeper” for the day and mind you, it is not an easy task to do. I really hate constant “stop-overs” during a climb for it makes me feel more tired but I don’t have a choice but to wait for the last member until they completely catch their breath and start to move forward again. But I guess it is a good opportunity to savor the moment and appreciate mother nature, so I just enjoy everything Mt. Tagapo has to offer.
Almost two (2) hours of walking, photo ops and constant “stop-overs”, cogon grass taller than me started to brush my face and scratch my arms (Bad thing I forgot to bring my arm warmers that I can literally feel the itch all over me. Better to don’t make same mistake as I did!). Despite the burden with those tall grass, I felt relieved knowing that we are now approaching the base camp and that the summit is just within are reach. At last!
Eventually, we reached the base camp and decided to have our lunch to regain our energy before our summit assault. We pitched our tent and secured our backpacks just in case shower rains start to fill the earth’s ground again as reported in the weather forecast of the day. Filled with new energy after having our lunch, we left our tent in the custody of my little brother which is too tired to move again, taking only our valuables and bottled water with us, and started our way to the summit.
Fifteen (15) minutes from base camp and we already reached the summit which is just a small space for a group of ten people. View of Mt. Sembrano and other nearby mountain surrounded by Laguna Bay is a wonderful masterpiece for all of us. BEWARE! There is a pit on the left part of the summit, which is approximately a hundred meters deep, which is covered with tall grass that first timers will surely not notice. Glad that our guide point that out!
Take more couple of shot while enjoying the scenic view until dark clouds remind us that we should hurry and start our descent. I guess it only takes five (5) minutes for us to run-slide-jog down to campsite. Though we make sure that we should have a fast pace going down, heavy rain fall started to cover the ground with mud which makes us slip from time to time. Really not helpful when it rains! More push and a number of slip before we finally reached the barangay hall. Quickly take a short bath while our guide waits in the port for our boat. By three o’clock (03:00pm) boat arrives and we bid goodbye to our guide and barangay officials promising that we will be back in the near future.
Indeed a one tiring-dirty but surely fun hike for all of us at Mt. Tagapo.