Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

C22 – Talamitam Birthday Climb (Cholesterol-Rich Climb)

March 25, 2012

On my 31st birthday, I decided to celebrate it on a mountain (the first time I’ll be celebrating it this way).  We climbed Mt. Talamitam in Nasugbu, Batangas.

For this climb, several of my mountaineering friends were able to join me – Ella, Oyet, Mumai, Marc, Jem, Badz, Eman, Erickson, Felix and Ni Hao (aka Jann Cris).

Me and my cake.

Most of us met in Baclaran and rode a bus bound for Nasugbu.  Ni Hao joined us in Cavite while Felix, Marc and Mumai joined us in the jumpoff.

Felix arrived first in the jumpoff, then most of us.  We waited in the baranggay waiting area for Mumai and Marc.

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Felix while waiting (one of the few instances he is smiling for a photo) * The rest of the gang in the waiting area.

Erickson, Oyet and Ni Hao – waiting.

While waiting, we ate the chocolate Oyet brought.  When Mumai and Marc arrived, we started on our way up the mountain.  I was playing my “Sunday Special” playlist (old Tagalog songs) and one of the locals commented that the song doesn’t suit us (us, being young or young-looking).  We were stopped by someone who introduced himself as the leader of the caretaker of the mountain and he said we are required to have a guide, yada yada yada, blah blah blah.

We secured a guide and commenced climbing.  It was hot, very hot.  And since this was my first time climbing after quite sometime (my last climb before this was February), I was not in a very good condition for climbing.  Same thing with my companions, lots of rest and a slow pace in an otherwise easy mountain.

Ella, resting her body and her lungs.

Cows grazing, waiting for their time before becoming beef.

We came to an open area that is part farm (and grazing area for cows) and part reforestation area.  There, dark clouds ominously formed but the didn’t dissipate the heat.  Several minutes rest before pushing forward.

Clouds forming (of course this was edited to bring out the clouds’ details).

The mountain (especially near the top) has no tree cover and the vegetation are mostly grass, shrubs, some bamboo and a few young trees.

The original plan was to have lunch in the summit but due to our slow pace, we were much delayed and decided to have lunch on an open space before the final push for the summit.  I brought three crispy pata (fried pork legs) and everyone had a hearty meal.  We also ate the cake that my good friend Felix brought for me.

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While waiting for lunch * Reheating our lunch.

 

Me and mini- me (shot by Felix)* Our food

The cake before being eaten (left) * After (right) where mini-me was decapitated, arms torn, and foot cut off.

After lunch and rest, we continued our push for the summit.  And if began to rain!  Having lunch before pushing for the summit was a good and fortunate call for us.  Otherwise, we would be reheating the food in the rain.

The rain continued pouring down but we have to continue going up.  Seems like all birthday climbs I’ve been to are rained upon.  I just look on this as blessings from above.

We were all very very wet but we all manage to get to the summit.  The rain was still pouring but we were still smiling.  The feeling of being drenched in the rain is refreshing, a feeling I haven’t felt for a very long time.  I think the last time it happened was when I was still in school, probably elementary school.

Mac and Mumai on our final push for the summit.

Our group at the summit – wet and cold but all smiles.

Badz and Jem, after the rain.

When the rain let up a little, we decided to start descending and the sky opened up.  The wind blew the clouds away and the summit became free from clouds and fog.  We could see the mountain, farmlands and the nearby Mt. Batulao, such a sight!

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.Our ascent was very very hot and humid but the trail was good.  On our descent, the temperature was quite good but trail became very muddy.  On reaching the end of the farm/reforestation area, some of us (including me) got a little lost and descended via different trail which still led to the jumpoff but on a longer route.

Descent from the summit.

A water spillway connected to the river.

On reaching the jumpoff, we looked for a place to clean ourselves.  We also had some buko (young coconut) while resting.  While waiting for everyone to finish (there was only two area for showering and the water had to be brought in from another house), Ella had a conversation with a storekeeper she just met where here marriage life was the topic.  As a result of such openness to the storekeeper, she was able to have her dress (yes a dress!) ironed for free.

Eman, fresh and clean after all the dust and mud of the mountain.

Resting while Bro. Something (forgot his name) was talking.

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It was dark when we left the area to go to Tagaytay for dinner.  Tagaytay is famous for bulalo so we went to a place overlooking the Taal lake to have dinner (the overlooking place of course is wasted since it was already dark and what can be seen is just darkness).

We had bulalo in three forms – original, sinigang and bulalo steak plus crispy tawilis and perhaps other food.  Everyone was full with the food and with the cholesterol from lunch and dinner.

Dinner time (Me, Eman and Jem). * Dinner conversation.

We were all supposed to wear something formal for dinner but only Ella, Mumai and Oyet brought their dress while the rest of us had casual clothes on.

Lovely ladies (Oyet, Ella and Mumai).

All of us were tired and sleepy after a full day and we also needed time to digest the cholesterol from the crispy pata and bulalo.

It was around 8 or so when we finally rode a bus home (with Eman immediately falling asleep and snoring loudly on sitting in the bus).

Such a wonderful birthday celebration but probably next year, I’ll have my celebration on the beach for a change.

Me and mini-me (shot by Felix).

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