Knowing that this mountain is standing tall in Compostela Valley, I think of it as ” Ah, it’s part of the mountain ranges.” It’s also the place of waterfalls, hot and cold springs, and folktales. The home of the corpse flower, Rafflesia mira, named after its decaying smell.
We’re all six on this journey. The tourism officer told us to dropped by a certain store, and from there we will meet our trail guide. When we got there, no guide showed up. So we took a hot and long hike to the foot of the mountain, hoping that we could find our new guy. We passed by on the rice fields and an old little hut surrounded by the greenery. I would love to sip my morning coffee in one of those hut on its balcony.
Then we stopped by a house with a carabao. There we met Jeli, our new guy. He said that it’s late, we’ll never reach the first camp in time, not even the emergency campsite. to go, our job was on the line if we we’ll not follow the schedule. We told him that we’re good to go and we’re ready to do night trek. So, we went on.
We make way through a bushy trail, then we got out to a river. We stopped for lunch at Marangig falls, the first waterfall to welcome us. We saw a group of local kids basking in the sun by the river. According to folktales…
“Nearby residents sometimes heard the horn of Doña Marangig ship, the rocks would move and the river overflows. On the ship were white people”
Kids ravishing the beauty of Marangig Falls. Having them added more beauty to the sight.
We used a roped ladder as an entry to the forest.
Did this only in Mt. Candalaga. hehe. The emotion of having fun and being scared were mixed. The ladder was very shifty, slanted and slippery that you can’t get a gold hold on it. Some of the steps were broken and some steps were too high to stepped on. So I was not really relying my 100% fate on it. And my load was pulling me down because I can’t just lean towards the mountainside If I wanted to rest my arms. The crevices and roots was a great help to me.
We finished the course, then we had to pass on the side of the slippery wall of stone. Waters were dripping on its sides. Had to be careful or fall right straight to the rocks below.
Then we did a lot of river trekking and river crawling and I had to make my crawling faster to get up because leeches were coming excitedly to taste my blood. The abundance of the plant called alingatong added the twist of the trail. We had no idea what it was until we started scratching. Any part of the skin that touches the plant will be irritated and it gets really itchy that you want to scratch it like crazy. The most affected parts were the arms and legs. It lasted for two to three weeks.
We enter the forest again and another rope course awaits in going down. We used the rope that was lent to us by the Tourism office. In getting down with rope, gloves were useful. It protects the hands from getting hurt by friction. When I went down, I went down fast, My load was pulling me down. The ground was loose and dry. Remember that we were soaked and wet by the river. Ha ha, imagine what we might look like. We just laugh at our faces.
We went back to river trekking again, then another roped ladder beside the falls.
Another steep assault in front of us and It’s getting dark so we stopped to ready the lights. We made it to the emergency camp by the river before 6 pm. Just in time. We still managed to cook hot and spicy pork stew and chop suey for the night.
The campsite is a little piece of flat area encircled with river. One of the nice thing on this mountain is that you’ll never run out of water. There’s water source everywhere, potable and cold.
Moving on, we crossed rivers and forests.We stopped by a catch basin of water because Leo and Kevin couldn’t resist to dip on it. “The water is refreshing and very cold. ” , they said. We just watched them enjoying the water. After a while, we found out that lots of leeches were bathing with them too. Ha ha! oh how they jumped out of the water so quickly.
The path led us to the mountainside again. Must be watchful with the steps because the grounds were not stable. It’s dry, loose and easily eroded.
Another rope course awaits on the trail beside the falling water…
Looking for a way up, the water from cascades were blocking the sight and piercing the eyes and getting in the nose. The rope was just up to the middle then must rely holding on to the crevices of the slippery rocks.
The rest of the trail was in the forest and it’s raining hard. I thought were done with leeches. But there were more leeches on the way, from the grounds, leaves and trees. I’ve never seen leeches that many in my life and they were moving so fast. I don’t want to rest and sit on the ground. I just wanted to keep moving. This was the scariest trail of my life. I felt like were in a big bowl filled with leeches and nowhere to run. We hit the second camp before dark and summit is just an hour away.
I checked on the sides of our tent and the leeches were like nailed on it and they point on directions in a synchronized way where they sensed movement but they’re gone when the night came.
A good meal and a good sleep sufficed the beaten self.
In the morning, we explored the area and enjoyed its beauty and richness, had our breakfast, then we descent. Going down was not bad at all.
Back to civilization.