The Wanderess: Serenity in Mount Haruna

A week after my trip in the Kansai Prefecture, my aunt called on Tuesday night saying that we’re going out the next day leaving at 5 AM. I did not hesitate to say ‘yes’ because we might go somewhere exciting!

On The Road
Get ready to see more Autumn colors!

On the 11th of November 2015,  we had a three hour drive going to…

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Mount Haruna (榛名山) in Gunma

Mount Haruna (1,449 meters) is one of the “Three Mountains of Jōmō” (old name for Gunma), along with Mount Akagi and Mount Myōgi located in Maebashi City, the capital city of Gunma Prefecture.

The road up to the mountain is similar to the road going up to Baguio, Philippines. It follows the inconsistent folds of the mountain’s terrain with set of intricate turns. Drivers would love the road as they drive swiftly while passengers enjoy the countless numbers of irregular trees in autumn colors. The trip was also refreshing in 14° degrees Celsius.

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Photography (all photos marked with KC) by my cousin Karen. 🙂
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Autumn 2015
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Upon reaching the straight road, a ropeway awaits you to reach Mount Haruna’s summit.
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Round trip tickets costs 800 yen.
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Ropeway of Mount Haruna
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They only have two cable cars (painted in red) that transfer 16-20 passengers every 20 minutes. You don’t have to worry because it is in good condition and very efficient.
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At the summit, you will see a beautiful view of the mountain ranges and the crater lake. 
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Japan might be one of the busiest and modernized country but their love for nature will never fade.
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Most of the visitors that day were also Japanese from different cities.
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I love focusing one subject that makes the background a bit blurry. Photo taken using my three year old iPhone 4S.
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For 100 yen you can use this telescope.
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You can also buy these wooden tablets at the counter and write your wishes.

After the ropeway ride, there is another 100 meters hike going up…

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Unlike the mountains I’ve been before, the trail going to the highest point of Mount Haruna is paved.

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Thank you Ren! 📷

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Another huge white wooden torii upon entering the highest point of the mountain.
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Being on top of a mountain won’t hinder you from calling, texting or even surfing the net. 😀
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Messy hair, don’t care. Lels.

I wasn’t ready for this trip and my Go Pro buddy says “Memory FULL”. It was the worst notice ever.  Lesson learned. 😂👍

End
F O C U S
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After an hour, walking around the mountain, we decided to go down and visit Lake Haruna.

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We were trying a scene from 500 Days of Summer… But I just can’t. Haha!

Lake Haruna Top View
Lake Haruna as viewed inside the cable car.

 Across the mountain, you can rent a bike and roam around…

Biking

This place simply reminds me of Baguio, you can rent bicycles for as low as ¥600 for 30 minutes or ¥1000 for one hour.

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If you don’t want to exhaust yourself from biking, then you can simply…

Horse Ride
Try the horse carriage rides that can load 6-8 persons.
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You can also try boating and fishing around Lake Haruna.

If you have more time, you can try the famous Ikaho Onsen or hot spring (伊香保温泉) located at the eastern slopes of Mount Haruna at 700 meters elevation.

On the other side of the lake, you can view the symmetrical cone-shaped projection of Mount Haruna, also known as mini Mount Fuji.

Mini Fuji
The mountain’s ropeway is located at the shaved part of the mountain.

Haruna Mini Fuji

This mountain is categorizes dormant stratovolcano which has many peaks along with the crater lake at the top, wherein people enjoy fishing, camping and boating.

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I had to get off the bike when I saw momiji.

Momiji is the Japanese name for Acer Palmatum, the Japanese maple tree.

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After returning two rented bicycles, the store owner prepared hot mushroom tea for all of us, for FREE.
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Aside from bike rentals, she also sells mouth watering ice cream for 300 yen.

I am telling you that this is not your ordinary matcha ice cream! It’s homemade, creamy and authentic!

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The cold never bothered us anyway 🍦

 

Going down the mountain, you will see different souvenir shops like this one. You can buy authentic specialties of Gunma, Japan.They have udon, jams, mochi, biscuits, fruit candies and flavored meat. Aside from edible goods, they also sell keychains, magnets, Japanese dolls, purse and handbags. 👍🎌

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Aside from mochi, I also have Hello Kitty special candies from Gunma!

Lunch was served at one of their famous restaurants, as seen on television…

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There were only 15 – 16 seats available and most of them were willing to fall in line and try their food.
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This is the closest “isaw” or chicken intestines, that I can get here in Japan!

Complete meal costs ¥650-700. Serving was too many, but definitely the main course was tasty and a bit spicy. Perfect for the cold breeze on the mountains! 🍴 🌄 🎌


Since they don’t offer desserts…

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We visited an Apple Farm!
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All red and sweet!!!
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In different sizes…
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My uncle was so eager to try different apples from different cities of Japan.
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For 400 yen, you can enter the farm and eat apples as many as you can.

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Thousands of sweet apples 🍎🍎🍎

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I ate four apples in that farm, and I think I won’t eat apples until next year. 🍎

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Take home apples for Momma!

After visiting the farm, we decided to go for a walk at the park…

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SMILE is the best makeup I can wear, ALL THE TIME.
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Autumn in November
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My first autumn in Japan.

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We really had an awesome and fun filled day in Mount Haruna away from the busy and hustling city of Tokyo. The only noise I can hear was my giggles. 😂 My cousin and I were able to spend time together sharing the same passion for photography. Obviously I love to be the subject of my cousin’s photos. Haha! 🍦 🍴 🌄 🍎 🎌 

Most of the mountains in Japan are too much established, roads are paved and cable cars are made available to transport visitors (most specially the elderly). With these facts, it is easier for the Japanese to visit their own spots. Back then, they also have strong belief in deities so please expect that most of the mountains has shrines and torii.

My first mountain in Japan, which tends to be Japan’s tallest mountain – Mount Fuji, was overwhelming and full of hard work. I never thought that seeing my second mountain would be this fun and easy.

Read my birthday climb in Mount Fuji here. 🌟👌

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Thank you for reading!

 

Planning my third mountain in JP… 👣🌄

BLOG SERIES for November ’15

Blog Series Recap for November 2015!

It’s been an adventurous month since I’ve been to new cities here in Japan and I have a lot of things to share with everybody – from traveling, photography and even art journals/doodling.

Here are the links to my November 2015 #BlogSeries. ❤️

Feel free to click on the links and read my stories. 🙂

Lately, I’m also loving the idea of traveling and doodling places and food on my journal/planner. It’s a creative way of preserving a memory in the most traditional way, that requires a notebook and a pen. I don’t have the best talent on it, but I don’t want to miss the chance of TRYING. You can also give it a try and you might enjoy and learn in the process.

I also shared my stories, tips and guides in exploring Osaka & Kyoto on a budget friendly manner while enjoying the cities. (Food Trip included!) If you want to feel the real vibe and see traditional Japan, these two cities are the perfect place to start your tour.

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Osaka (Autumn) 2015
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Kyoto (Autumn) 2015

Last month, I also wrote about climbing Mount Pico de Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas and earlier of this month, I shared my experiences in climbing Mount Maculot for three consecutive years (from 2013 – 2014 -2015).

You can read it here: Mount Maculot, “The Rockies”

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Photo taken during my third climb in Mount Maculot last June 2015.

I am still updating my story about Mount Haruna, my second mountain in Japan! I will update this post as necessary.

For now, take a glimpse of Haruna-san.

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At 1,449 meters or 4,754 feet.

 

November has been sweet and refreshing for me, from traveling to trying new hobby is pretty exciting! It’s like a breath of fresh air from studying Japanese writing. I can’t wait for December and its lovely surprises!

I’ll see you next year Philippines, I will work hard to meet you again. ♥️ ✈️ 👣

As always, Thank you for reading!

Mt. Maculot, “The Rockies”

Life is pretty amazing and horrible at times, but with the right company of friends, you will learn to get by.

After sharing my Mt. Cristobal and Pico de Loro experiences, let’s take a glimpse of my narrative for Mt. Maculot “Rockies”, my third mountain.

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At first, I was hesitant to climb this mountain, due to some unexpected casualties, although, I can’t stop thinking about it so I tried,  THREE TIMES in THREE YEARS. You read that right, I always have time for Mt. Maculot since 2013.

If you are planning to visit Mt. Maculot in the future, allow me to share these important details:

TranspoYou can simply ride a bus from Cubao or Buendia, bound to Lemery with the earliest trip at 4 am. Alternatively, you can also take buses that are bound to Lipa, then take a jeepney to Cuenca. Kindly ask the driver to drop you off at Poblacion Town Center (along highway).

From there, you can take a tricycle to the jump-off.

Expenses

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TTB

OVERNIGHT

Overnight Maculot

DAY HIKE

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Reminder:

Always check the weather and always prioritize your safety. 🙂


Part1As I mentioned in my previous posts, I started climbing in 2013. I tried to be a ‘weekend warrior’, however working in a BPO company have some struggles which includes monthly changes of schedule and since I am under a sales account, December means gift shopping month.

Finally we were able to plan an overnight hiking with friends, this time in Mt. Maculot. This was actually the first time I brought a friend, it was her first climb, first overnight at the mountain and it was also her birthday. Celebrating at the top of the mountain with new friends wasn’t so bad after all.

IMG_7116Meet my college classmate in FEU – Manila, Jamee Jessica.

She’s one of the bubbliest and bulliest person, I know.

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After a 3 hours bus ride, we arrived at around 12 noon along the highway of Poblacion and decided to eat lunch before we begin the ascent.

 

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Liempo BBQ, 1 cup of rice and soup for P70.

Mt. Maculot is located in the town of Cuenca in Batangas. It is the major attraction in the municipality and the most popular mountain for mountaineers & campers. The mountain’s difficulty at 3/9 which makes it really a good choice for beginners as you enjoy the scenic views of Taal Lake.

On March 4, 2003 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer, says that Cuenca is also known as the “Home of the Bakers”. They even celebrate ‘Tinapayan Festival’ held every June. No wonder that when you visit the place, you will see a lot of bakery shops in every corner. Grab some for breakfast or snack during your climb.

In this photo, you will see tricycles that will bring you to the mountain’s jump off.

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These tricycles will drop you off first at the Barangay Outpost for registration, P20 per hiker. After which, you will be drop off at the mountain’s jump off at the Mountaineer’s Store at Barangay 7 “Siete”, Cuenca.

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It was Jamee Jessica‘s birthday and first climb, so let’s have the ‘obligatory shot’ before the ascent begins.

As I always say, Let the adventure begins.

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The start of our climb was quite easy and tolerable.

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(Photo from L – R) Meet Adah, John D, Jamee, Yours Truly in Pink, Mara, Jahzee, Jervin and Ivan

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I actually had tooth extraction (considered a minor surgery) a week before my climb, I am advised not to do extraneous activity to avoid bleeding. However, I already made a promise to Jamee Jessica and my dearest hiking buddy, John D., promised to lend his trekking pole  and carry my 2 liters of water.

Again, my gazillion thanks to this person.

IMG_7125As we ascent the mountain, the trail gets steeper. If you feel like you’re running out of breath, do not hesitate to take a rest and hydrate yourself every once in a while.

Hiking a mountain, no matter how high, is like achieving your goals using little steps. You tend to feel afraid, doubting yourself if you can make it, but in this journey, you will see helping hands along the way.

The question is, will you allow yourself to trust them?

IMG_7176Hiking with Jamee Jessica was a bit special because I always see her as my younger sister. I tried to look after her along the trail, but I let her enjoy walking in the forest.

IMG_7357Along the trail, you will also find numbers of resting spots, wherein some locals are selling buko juice for 10 pesos. During our climb, the weather was refreshing and I didn’t even apply sunblock since the trail is covered with trees.

IMG_7148One of the stops we made was really breathtaking, having a glimpse of the Crater Lake.

IMG_7133“Ladies of Mt. Maculot”

IMG_7142As we took some pictures, we had a little casualty, John D was asked to take some photos and he suddenly slipped and got some bruises. We apologize for giving you such remembrance.

Priority, Safety.

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You’ve got to learn how to smile after the pain.

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The higher we climb, the steeper it gets.

IMG_7164Hiking Buddies! We called our group, Triple A and Handsome JohnD, three ladies that has names starting with letter “A“, however Adelaine was busy during this time and she wasn’t able to join us.

IMG_7193Whenever I go on a hiking, I always look for something unusual, calling it #TrailFinds. It’s not everyday that you can find a leaf like the ones you see during Autumn. (I didn’t bring this home.)

Friendly Reminder

At the campsite, you can see a store labeled as “7/11”. They sell hard drinks, cigarettes, soft drinks, instant coffee, noodles, candies, chocolates, chips, and even ‘Halo- Halo’. Kindly expect a higher price since you are at the top of a mountain. You should also be aware that some people/hikers are also boisterous at night, drinking and chatting.

After pitching our tents, we took some rest and took all the time to get to know each other. I had to sleep early after dinner because I felt pain from my extracted tooth. I am so grateful they spend time with Jamee Jessica for the last few hours of her birthday, they let her experience “DO-FO”. Lights were off around 10 pm, and when my not so little sister slept beside me, she was shivering. I had to hug her and make sure she’s okay.

So if you’re planning to climb around December-January, make sure you have enough clothes to layer for cold weather.

IMG_7188 IMG_7182 IMG_7365Breakfast at the top of the mountain with your friends is always a good idea.

Mornings are also the best time to reach the summit.

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She made it on her first climb! 

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‘Cause we’re happy at the mountains. 

It was foggy that morning and we were reminded to be extra careful while reaching summit. It may take 10-15 minutes from the campsite to the ‘Rockies’. *FYI, it is very steep and you need to be extra cautious while scrambling up with rocks because it might hit you it in the head.

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Blurry Jump shot with big smiles! 🙂

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Are we happy or are we happier? :D

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Going down the mountain can be harder than ascending, but it is fulfilling, most specially when everyone in your group is safe and well.

After the descending the mountain, you can take a break and eat ‘Halo Halo’ for only 25 pesos. There are also available restrooms that you can use ranging from 15-25 pesos.  Water is sold separately.

You can also try Traverse wherein you can see the Grotto and stations of the cross. For more information, check it on Pinoy Mountaineer‘s website.

Before we head home, the three of us decided to visit Tagaytay, and unexpectedly get off the jeepney when we saw Sonya’s Garden signage. Spent 700 pesos for unlimited healthy and organic dinner. Must try!

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* Thank you Ivan for some of the photos I took from your photo gallery. 🙂


Part2After one year, we decided to spend our advanced Christmas celebration on this same mountain for a day hike. The weather wasn’t so friendly then, but we still push through since we have our guide for assistance. 8-)

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Meet the Maculot Crew version 2.0. ;)

(L-R) Doc Jay, Doc Adelaine ‘Ads’, Yours Truly, Teacher Adah, JohnD, Ma’am Hermi, Sir Ralph, Sir Dan and Sir Kim in front.

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As you can see, we have new faces for this climb. Teacher Adah, brought her friends Ma’am Hermi, Sir Ralph & Sir Dan (on the right side of this photo).

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Just like these flowers, you grow and bloom as time passes by. It may not be the way you planned it, but it always has a reason. You just have to open your eyes and see why…

Just like these flowers, we also fade.

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Meet John D. Dela Rosa, I met him during our Banahaw climb last March of 2013. He’s the quiet-observant hiker, but as you get to know him, you will feel safe and comfortable to share your thoughts and feeling, WHY? Simply because he never judge. I realized he is one of the truest guy friends I know in just a short period of time. We bullied him a lot of times, but when the tide is high and the road is rough, we know that we have each other.

IMG_0047As I mentioned earlier, the weather wasn’t friendly at the campsite up to the summit. You need to be EXTRA careful if you will push through with the activity.

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No clearing, all fog.

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Reunited with TRIPLE A and HANDSOME John D. Dela Rosa!!! We also had our exchange gift at the campsite. All of our gifts seems to be very useful.

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Before the rain pours, we were able to eat our lunch at the campsite. ‘7/11’ was closed during our climb, maybe they were preparing for Noche Buena.

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This was the trail going to the summit; it was still foggy and some stones were slippery. Please be cautious in every steps, if the weather is too bad kindly prioritize your safety. 

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Thank you, Ma’am Hermi!

We ended the night with hot Batangas Lomi, a type of noodle dish that make use of thick egg noodles with quail eggs and pork, kikiam, ham or meatballs, generously topped with chicharon. 


Part3As I post pictures of my adventures online, via Facebook & Instagram, my friends became interested and eager to try hiking. This was my first time to organize a climb with beginners, so I let them choose which mountain they want to try for a quick day hike. They were my classmates in college, so I decided to call the event “TAMARAWS UNITE”.

In the past two climbs, you will see that the weather was cold and a bit refreshing. Last month of June was scorching hot and I highly recommend that you should bring arm sleeves, 1 – 1.5 liters of water, sunblock and/or cap during the summer months.

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Meet my fellow ‘tamaraws‘ for Maculot version 3.0

(L-R) Allen, Paula, Aia, Issa, Romelyn, Daphne & Aaron

mactam1After reminding them about the few do’s and don’ts, we started ascending with constant breaks. They were really surprised how steep the trail was.

IMG_7810We also hiked with RK, my boyfriend, who assisted some of my friends while climbing up.

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The last time I spent a day with them was at the hospital, and now we’re at the mountain.

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Isn’t it a beauty?

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Stayed under a tree for a few hours, for lunch and nap time.

I once posted that no matter how painful  the sun touches my face, I still chose to stay.

Why stay if you are in pain?

Maybe because even it’s painful, this amazing sun shed me light and realizations in life.

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While everyone was busy taking their photos, we’re celebrating our 2nd mountain together.

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I am not a professional climber, but I learned to follow what’s necessary. At first, I was hesitant to bring them at the mountain, I might cause them bruises or risk their lives. Thank you ‘tams’ for trusting me on this one and I considered this climb very memorable since everyone made it to the summit and we all got home safe & sound. Most importantly, it made us happy & bonded.


Thanks for joining me on my last climb in the Philippines for 2015!

If you want something, have the guts to do it. 🙂

Amazing Pico and Friends

Throwback Story, again.

I started climbing in 2013, it was an on and off hobby because I always prefer to climb in groups back then. I am also used to overnight camping at the mountains. Yay!

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Pico de Loro was my 5th mountain at 664 MASL located in Nasugbu, BatangasIt is also famous because of the monolith or known as “Parrot’s Beak” that can be scaled from the summit. Truly, this is one of the best mountain I’ve been to, aside from the fact that it is near Manila, it also has the captivating view at the summit. As a beginner, you need not to worry about its trail because it is well established and highly recommended!

“You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.”

Lito Tejada-Flores

I have climbed this mountain twice, back in February 2014 and last January of this year. I always ended up bringing a friend, introducing hiking and sharing adventure. On my first visit to Pico de Loro, I invited one of my schoolmates in college, Lee Aganus, to join our group for an overnight hike. It was her first mountain climbing experience, so I understand the excitement in her eyes and jittery moments.

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Hi Lee Aganus!

While on my second visit, I am with my former trainer, John Placer. It was also his first time to try mountain climbing, however I did not worry too much since he’s a trained runner. He can definitely walk in long distances.

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Hi John Placer!

Before I begin sharing our adventures, let me share important details about the trip.

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Take a bus from Coastal Mall to Ternate terminal in Cavite.

Upon reaching Ternate, ride a tricycle to DENR Station, Magnetic Hill.

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Bus from Coastal Mall to Ternate (one way) –  ₱80-85

Tricycle to DENR Station (one way)                – ₱250/trike (Good for 4 people)

Registration at DENR                                          –  ₱25

Registration at Base Camp 1                             –  ₱25

Guide is available but NOT Required

Food & Water depends on the participant/hiker.

TTB

OVERNIGHT

things to bring

Those items with * are the things I do not have, however I joined my generous friends who were then capable of sharing. If you will notice, I also included jacket, gloves and bonnet, it’s because sleeping at the top of the mountain is cold, most specially during December – February. Please keep in mind that plastic bag is important for waterproofing and for keeping your own trash.

I missed adding it in the picture, however, do not forget your wet wipes.

DAY – HIKE

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Most of the time, I just have these in my bag for one day of adventure. As much as possible, I learned to pack light so I can enjoy climbing without hurting my back.

wear

Personally, I prefer leggings, t-shirt, arm sleeves and Tribu footwear.  I haven’t tried wearing or buying outdoor gears yet because I believe that as long as you’re comfortable in your own clothing preference then you’re good to go.

Please be reminded to choose clothes that easily dry and does not get too heavy in case of rain. This is one of the reasons why jeans is not appropriate.


Let the adventure begins!


part 1

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Looking fresh with our big smiles! 🙂

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(L-R) Ate Julia, Yours Truly, Lee and Mara at Base Camp 1

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Take a Pose, Smile & Snap. Thanks Ivan for these photos.

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Did you know that you can reach Pico’s summit in 3-4 hours?

Yes to water break. 😀

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Sometimes you have to fight your struggles, alone.

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My struggling extremities, lol.

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Happy girls are the prettiest, they say. ♥

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Girl Power!

I am very happy and grateful that since I started hiking, I gained new friends, experiences and memories to treasure in my journey. Something to look back when I grow old.

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Tents ‘four’ us! The color resembles the Philippine Flag. Yay! 🙂

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Million thanks to my generous friend named John D. Dela Rosa for sharing his new red tent to us. Our friendship started during our climb at Mt. Banahaw in 2013.

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While walking on our way to the camp site, I saw this writing in one of the big stones. On that day, I never thought that it was intended for me so I simply took a photo. However, one of my followers on Instagram commented that he saw me along the trail of Pico and leave a note. I appreciate it although this is a BIG NO – NO in mountain climbing.

Respect nature.

Take nothing but pictures.

Leave nothing but footprints.

Kill nothing but time”

I cannot barely remember what we had during our dinner, surely it was prepared by Kuya Varian & Ate Julia. It was indeed a great night of “chikahan” (conversation) with Lee Aganus, we were able to catch up with our lives after college and planned new adventures. She’s a year younger than me, but she’s one of the bravest lady I know, physically & emotionally.

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Good Morning, Pico! Just in time for sunrise. ☀

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Photobombed by Kuya Matthew. 😀

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That’s the summit and monolith on our background.

HAPPINESS in its exponential form.

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You are given the chance to live, make it worthwhile.

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Sunrise at Pico de Loro ☀

I walked in paved and rough roads. I experienced life in its kindest and toughest battle.  I tasted sweet and bitter memories. I gained some, I lose some.

After all, I still chose to wake up and see the sunrise. It’s not being pretentious because living is a matter of choice.

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Reaching for the summit was exciting yet nerve wracking. It was really steep and can you see the guy who’s trying to go down on the other side? I did the very same ‘technique’. ✓

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Pico de Loro’s Scenic Summit

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I love places that make you realize how tiny you and your problems actually are.

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Pico & Friends. ✓✓✓

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The Parrot’s Beak swallowed me whole, I don’t feel comfortable climbing it at all. As the saying goes, mountains never leave and I shall come back and try again.

If you’re in doubt, don’t do it. No one forced me to do it, no peer pressure. I just chose to prioritize my safety and be responsible enough to take a stand.

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It was Lee Aganus‘ first mountain and she was able to conquer the monolith, I told you, she’s brave and determined to try new things. Congrats Lee! ♥

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Thank you guys for a ‘chillax’ kind of climb!

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2 – 3 hours of descent, here at Base Camp 1.

Going back to the Ternate trail from the summit, there is one very confusing fork after Basecamp 1. After 10 minutes, the main path leads to Maragondon. The proper way to the Magnetic Hill is an elevated trail to the left; it is marked with a trail sign but it is concealed so watch out for it on your way back. The rough road, if you follow it through, ends in a landfill in Maragondon.

PINOY MOUNTAINEER –

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Yay! Going home safe and unharmed.


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My first mountain for 2015, and my second time in Pico de Loro for a quick escape from the busy crowd of Manila.

We arrived at the jump off around 8 am, ate some bananas, fill out registration and started our adventure with a big smile!

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Hi John Placer.

He was my trainer when I started working in a BPO company back in 2013, a professional runner, gym instructor and turned out to be one of my truest friend.

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According to some locals, dogs can be your guide in climbing Pico de Loro, they are harmless as long as you don’t provoke them. Throughout our ascent, this dog was following us. Eventually we lost him, either he reached the jump off or Maragondon.

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As you walk along the friendly trail of Pico de Loro, you can take a break in some of its forested areas.  As you can see in the picture above, John was very resourceful with his ‘trekking pole’.

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Our ascent was pretty fast, around two hours, my beloved friend didn’t want to take too much break because he was excited to reach the summit.

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Tuna in my tummy for lunch.

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We had brunch before 11 am, talked about everything and anything with this kind of view.

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That’s my one month old Go Pro Hero4 Silver.

It was a great day to revisit  the mountain; the cool breeze made the weather pleasant and inspire us to do a ‘photo session’.

Since it was his first climb, he tried to reach the summit.

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He conquered the summit, ALONE. Congrats John!

It was very windy that day, I tried to join him climb the summit but it wasn’t too safe for me. The wind was too strong, blowing my hoodie. That concludes the fact that we were not able to conquer the monolith. Get ready for part three in 2016. 😀

According to some locals, the wind was too strong for the past three days. Amihan, maybe.

On our descent, we were able to reach Base Camp 1 in two hours. Unfortunately, we got lost and took the ‘unknown’ route. When life is tough, I pray and something good always happen. We walked for another two hours with a stranger. He helped us reached the quarry and one of his friends gave us a ride to the bus terminal.

When the real adventure strikes, do not panic.

Trusting someone is really hard, how much more trusting your life to a stranger? However, I kept telling myself to look at the brighter side of things. Be grateful of what is already in front of you. Enjoy the ride of your journey.


THANK YOU for reading! ♥


24th Birthday in Japan’s Tallest Mountain, Mt. Fuji

I am finally turning one of my dreams into reality.

Few weeks ago, I shared my first climb in the Philippines way back 2013. Today, I will share my experience in Japan’s Tallest Mountain, Mt. Fuji, which also served as my first solo pre-birthday climb.

It was late July when I chatted Kuya Eric Muñoz, a good friend I met online. We were supposed to climb together last August however our schedules didn’t matched. He taught me everything I needed to know so I can still push through with the climb.

I started climbing since 2013 and I cannot hide the feeling of gratification whenever I reached the summit. From sunrise to sunset, you will see through your bare eyes, your very own lens, how amazing this world could be. I believe that climbing a mountain is like achieving your goals in life, you work hard and you certainly do your best while reaching the top but the road is steep and you will need people to help and guide you. You will realized that this journey is not just about yourself. However, you still have to be cautious with the people you work with. As you grow, you will learn how to find balance in everything you do.

Mt. Fuji Postcards, Photographed by T. Watanabe
Mt. Fuji Postcards by T. Watanabe

Mount Fuji, is a symbol of Japan and one of the most famous mountains in the world. This mountain contributes to Japan’s physical, cultural and spiritual geography. It is also their tallest mountain, standing at 3,776 meters (12, 380 feet). It is an active stratovolcano that is formed by violent eruptions. It has layers of rock, ash and lava.

– National Geographic

Fuji-san is the most popular tourist site in Japan, for both Japanese and foreign tourists. There are more than 200,000 hikers every year during summer season, from July to September, and I am not confident enough to plan my own itinerary so I decided to have my reservation via Willer Express in advance. There were only four dates available for September, so I chose the dates closer to my birthday and that was September 12th to 13th.

I highly recommend Willer Express because they made our tour climb very easy and well organized. I paid for ¥27,800, which includes our roundtrip bus transportation from Shinjuku to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, accommodation at 8th Station, dinner, breakfast, gear rentals optional) and an English speaking tour guide.

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No need for credit card, I paid my reservation

via Family Mart.

WHAT’S IN MY BAG?

I did not expect my parents to grant my request to climb Mt. Fuji on my own. They were worried because of its difficulty and I am not yet able to fully converse in Nihongo, however, Willer Express made it so easy for us. In line with this, I will write another article about how I got my reservation.

WILLER Express
WILLER Express

After making my reservation, it’s time to prepare the things needed for this major climb. Most of my things were bought by my mother, totally my first time to organize my stuff with Mama. Yes, when I was in the Philippines, I was used to doing things on my own. Please do not misinterpret the statement, I am really happy that I am now living with my family. Who wouldn’t want mother’s care? ♥

Mother knows best. ♥
                          Mother knows best. ♥

I brought the usual essentials for mountain climbing such as the following:

1.5L of water toothbrush and toothpaste bonnet
500ml of Pocari Sweat waterproof bag for my phone      (it might rain) small towel
trail food power bank gloves
wet wipes sunblock jacket
soap hat extra pair of clothes & socks

For capturing memories, I have my three years old iPhone4S, Instax Mini8 and Go Pro Hero 4S.

I wasn’t able to bring my hiking stuffs from the Philippines, so we took advantage of Willer Express Gear Rentals. It includes waterproof Berghaus hiking bag, hiking shoes, headlamp with extra set of batteries, two ski poles and rainwear.

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Gear Rentals 

As much as possible I plan to pack light during this climb to avoid too much exhaustion.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Aside from planning, it is also very important to know what to wear during hiking. Back then, as long as I am comfortable, it won’t matter. 

However, climbing a mountain as high as 3,776 meters or 12,380 feet is alarming. I am supposed to be ready but I still ended up wearing leggings, t-shirt, hoodie, gloves, bonnet, and an extra leggings and socks to wear for the night. Plus the rain wear I rented, in case of rain and strong wind.

Ideally, you should consider the following:

  1. Various layers of clothing since the temperature on the summit is close to the freezing point. 
  2. If rain occurs, I personally don’t advised umbrella. It’s useless. Rainwear is a lot better to keep you dry and warm too.
  3. To keep you warm, do not forget your gloves, bonnet and scarf.
  4. You can also bring head wear for safety due to falling rocks.
  5. Most importantly, please use a durable shoes. 

DAY 1 OF MT. FUJI CLIMB (September 12, 2015) 

Before I do something or go somewhere, I make sure I made my own research of what to expect. I have read few blogs narrating that they were not able to see the sunrise due to bad weather, and I am really good at overthinking. For one month, I prayed for good weather and strength to survive. I was so excited, I didn’t get much sleep. I am supposed to wake up at 4:30 am, and I was up an hour early.

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J A P A N by Fodor’s

I’ve got the most caring mother, and the sweetest father.

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He woke up early to take me to the meeting place in Shinjuku. We left the house around 5:15 am because we have to be in Sumitomo Building at 7 am. Good thing we left early, train schedules were messed up due to earthquake around 5:50 am. If you noticed, I didn’t mention any breakfast, I am really controlling my bowel movements.

From Shinjuku, it will take a ten minutes’ walk to Sumitomo Building.

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Finally, we arrived around 7:10 am.

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Sumitomo Building

As I checked – in, I was given a piece of paper indicating my bus number, which was 3. Before I proceed in getting my rentals, I said goodbye to Papa and ask him not to worry because I’ll be home tomorrow.

Let the adventure begins. 

On the other room, I was instructed to approach the marshals in yellow vest to claim my rentals. Even though there are a lot of guests, in a minute or two, I was attended already. They provided my gear rentals and asked me to check it. All of the items turned out to be in good quality and clean.

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While transferring my stuffs, I was already seated beside Hune Lin Liu. She’s a student from Taiwan, who is currently studying here in Tokyo. We looked for the assigned bus and was hoping to seat beside each other. However, we were the last to get inside, so I ended up sitting beside a guy from Germany. I hesitated to start a conversation, since I am so nervous about the whole trip. Seriously, I can’t imagine myself climbing with foreigners, but I know I can take advantage of the English language.

We left Shinjuku before 8 am and I can say that all seats for Bus #3 was taken. My eyes were too observant, I can see participants from different countries.

To start the trip, our bus tour guide introduced himself as Ritsu Orihara. He has been a tour guide for Mt. Fuji for two years, I cannot imagine how many times he climbed their tallest mountain. He has the capabilities of a professional mountaineer and he really can converse in English.

On our way to the 5th Station, he even talked to us one by one. He made rapport to everyone. As I made my turn, I told him that I am from the Philippines, however my family is here and my father is a Japanese so I am staying for good. He was very grateful and has a big smile on his face, saying “Thank you for staying.” I appreciate all his efforts, we all know how Japan needs to boost their young generation.

Moreover, we were given reminders such as the following:

  • bring at least 1.5L of water
  • upon reaching Mt. Fuji all trashes must be kept on our own since there are no garbage bins at the mountain
  • commodes are available in every station but make sure to keep ¥100 coins handy for tip
  • food and drinks are available in every station however it will be pricey

Welcome to Mt. Fuji, A World Heritage Site!

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Our initial view.

It took us three hours to reach the 5th Station, including a 20 minutes stop over. We were still inside the bus, and the view was totally breathtaking! At first I hesitated to take pictures but I can’t contain the urge, so I made a few shots. And that’s when Mr. Germany and I, started a small talk. I’m sorry I forgot his name. He asked what my camera was, and I told him it was Go Pro, an action camera you can use for outdoor activities. He told me that this was his first climb, and he mentioned we were both lucky for a good weather. I totally agree.

Finally at the 5th Station (2,305m) by 11 am. It was a special holiday weekend for the Japanese, and I can say that Mt. Fuji was jam-packed.

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5th Station (2,305m)

We were given an hour to eat lunch, go to the rest room and rent a locker if we need to leave some stuff. We were dropped off at Komitake Building. First floor served as the souvenir shop, diner at the second floor and lockers available at the third floor for only ¥300. I leave my backpack and shoes, making my bag lighter. One of Hune Lin Lius friend approached me if she can leave her shoes and I said yes, since I got more space. She handed ¥150 in exchange. I guess we both want to save some bucks.

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Hashtag Selfie. Hashtag Half Face.

At 12 noon, we all meet at the center of 5th Station (Bay D). All along I thought it was only Ritsu who will guide us, however we have additional tour guides and they were Ishida Motoyuki and Yasuko Kitahara. We had some stretching and short briefing of what to expect, do’s and don’ts.

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All of them were speaking English, it wouldn’t be so hard to communicate if needed.

Since there were a lot of guests, we were given a badge attached to our shoes and a green fish bag tag indicating we were from Willer Express. In that case, it will be easy for us to acknowledge our group. Instructions were made very clear. They mentioned that the climb usually take 6 hours to 8th station, however guests that weekend were tripled so it might take a little longer.

They assured us that food and drinks were available in some parts of the trail. Same situation applies with restrooms. On the other hand, the higher we climb, the pricier it gets. For example, restrooms in 5th Station costs ¥100, while in 6th to 8th station it will costs ¥200, and at the summit it will be ¥300.

While discerning my environment, I can see participants from all walks of life – there were group of exchange students, couples, families and surprisingly, there were some adult in their late 50’s/60’s.

For safety purposes, they informed us that we should not hesitate to inform them how we are feeling. Climbing Mt. Fuji can still be dangerous because of the weather condition. The weather can be different in every station, simply expect the worst but stay cautious. If in case someone cannot pursue the climb, they can stay at one of the lodgings in 7th Station and meet us the next day at the 5th Station. Trails are properly identified, no need to worry of getting lost.

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Shoe Selfie, my best friend during climb.

We all know that listening to instructions is very important. It’s not just about my safety, but for everyone I am with during this climb. We have to be responsible enough to follow the rules and respect their culture.

Mt. Fuji is named for the Buddhist fire goddess Fuchi and is sacred to the Shinto goddess Sengen-Sama, whose shrine is found at the summit.

It is the holiest of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains.”

Although especially important to Shintoists, Fuji is also sacred to Japanese Buddhists,

who revere the mountain is a gateway to another world.

Deep inside, I am excited and fidgety at the same time.

Inhale, Exhale.

I can do this with Him. 

In this journey I learned that we all need sometime alone to think and reflect on our own.

We were asked to fall in line. All tour guides were dispersed, Yasuko was in front of the line, Ritsu was at the middle & always does his headcount from time to time and lastly, Ishida or “Gen” at the tail of the line.

We started climbing around 12:35 pm.

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Yellow for Yoshida Trail. Go #TeamRitsu!

There are 4 different trails that lead you up to the summit of Mt. Fuji.

  • Yoshida Trail (Yamanashi Prefecture) – most popular; best route to take for climbers with zero experience
  • Fujinomiya Trail (Shizuoka Prefecture) – shortest distance to the summit.
  • Subashiri Trail (Shizuoka Prefecture) – suited for more experienced hikers
  • Gotemba Trail (Shizuoka Prefecture) – most difficult route

At first, the weather was quite tolerable. I remembered applying sunblock as advised by Kuya Eric, and since I am buddy with Hune Lin Liu, I offered the lotion. My hoodie didn’t have any closed pockets so I asked her to keep it, so we can reapply easily. Yay! Big thanks, Darling! ♥

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w/ Hune Lin Liu

After almost an hour of walking, we reached the 6th Station, where the ascending and descending trail meets. It was foggy and cold, but I can still manage.

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However, we were told that we might reach 7th Station in 2 – 3 hours and there will be no restrooms available along the trail.

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Portable restrooms costs ¥200. Please be reminded that no one will collect fees from using the restrooms. You have to drop the coins at the tip box. As I go inside, it was totally smelly but no litters around. I guess everyone was disciplined enough to follow rules.

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As we continue hiking, trail gets steeper and busier.

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The mighty sun says “Hi” to everyone.

It was getting hotter and I don’t want my usage of Koji soap into waste! So, I didn’t removed my hoodie. If you noticed, I didn’t eat much but I drink a lot. Along the trail, I already finished 500 ml of Pocari Sweat.

Here are some photos showing how ‘konderu’ it was during that day. 

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konderu (混んでいる) means crowded

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As we walked along the sides of Mt. Fuji, we were in awe of the sea of clouds

on our way to the 7th Station.

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It was beautiful and breathtaking.

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Hiking Buddies!

Since it was the last week of hiking season for September, they were expecting thousands of hikers that weekend. Everyone had a smile on their faces, I think we were all excited to reach the 8th station and take a rest.

We walked continuously and I took a drink once in awhile. The water was cold and refreshing. I noticed I am having dried lips, good thing I have my lip balm. 

We reached 7th Station (2,700m) around 4 pm and I was already gasping of air. I made some deep breathing exercisesThe higher we climb, the air becomes thinner. 

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Meet Ishida Motoyuki and  Yasuko Kitahara.

I kept on telling myself “I can do this”. I am thankful I found a good company. They were really nice, including the tour guides who constantly checked on our condition.

Be reminded to replenish with water and few snacks to have enough strength. I was indeed challenged with this climb, aside from the altitude, I was struggling with the cold temperature.

“Gambarimasu” Team Ritsu!

I saw Mr. Germany, and I did not hesitate to take the available seat beside him. We made a small talk. He told me that the pace was too slow, due to traffic jam of climbers. Oh snap! It was absolutely all right for me, on the other hand, it will take us longer hours to reach the top.

Since I drink a lot, goodbye ¥200.

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This restroom was way better than the portable ones in 6th Station, it has flush available and supply of tissue. As advised, we can flush after a few use, since the water supply is limited at the mountain.

At the  7th Station, around 2,900m, you will see the red Torii-gate as the land mark of Torii-So.

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Torii-So at 2,900m

Before we continue walking, our tour guides reminded us that the trail to 8th Station will be harder, steeper and more challenging. Again, I told my inner self to stay calm and be cautious.

Aja! I can do this.

We resumed walking and I bumped into some Malaysian folks. We had a good small talk about mountains and my previous visit in Kuala Lumpur. As much as I would like to join them walking, I needed some rest, so I let them get ahead of me. I found Hune Lin Liu and we walked side by side. She was so kind, and I am very grateful.

I did not noticed I was already walking with Gen and the lady from India. Again, I forgot her name. My bad.

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4 Asians in 1 Photo

Gen from Japan, Lady from India, Hune from Taiwan and yours truly from the

beautiful island of the Philippines.

This photo was taken at 6 pm and we were half way through the 8th Station. 

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My legs were already tired from walking. I remember the lady from India sharing her jacket because I was already shaking. It was a cold, windy night. Participants from Team Ritsu continue their hike, while six of us took a 10-15 minutes rest while waiting for Gen, he was assisting last few hikers from the group.

Aside from my short legs, I am not used to cold weather.

I told myself, ‘Challenge Accepted’.

As soon as he arrived, we continue walking. Gen kept on telling us to walk slowly and perform deep breathing. I saw his heavy hiking bag, but he can still smile and cheer for everyone. He was very kind and considerate. I walked with him so I can push myself to continue.

I had no pictures for the night. Priority: Safety.

We reached the 8th Station First Aid area around 7 pm. Unfortunately, we have to leave some of the members of #TeamRitsu.

7 hours of walking amidst the moody weather, was no joke at all. 

We were just 300 meters away from our mountain lodge. I walked hand in hand with Gen and it was like hiking with your personal coach. He taught of deep breathing and lend me another jacket. We had few small talks, I am not sure if he had been or he wanted to visit Cebu. Little did I know, we were already at Hon-Hachigome Tomoe-kan (本八合目トモエ館). Without his help, I couldn’t make it. I was also grateful, I did not experience altitude sickness.

If you are planning to hike Mt. Fuji next season, you should make your reservation ahead of time. Most of the mountain huts turned out to be full during the crowded season.

For the list of mountain huts, please click here.

We arrived at Tomoe-kan (3,400m) at 8:15 pm. We took some rest until we were called for dinner. I had no picture of the food, but it was hamburger-topped curry and rice. I wasn’t able to finish everything but it was delicious.

They can accommodate up to 250 guests with their bunk beds, with Japanese futon or sleeping bags. If you are hungry, you need not to worry because they are also serving dinner and breakfast for hikers. At the entrance of their hut, you will also see that they are selling noodles, water, energy drink, chocolates, chips, souvenirs and post cards.

These photos from Official Travel Guide Yamanashi were the exact place were I slept with international strangers turned new friends.

Tomoe-kan 2 Tomoe-kan

Hon-Hachigome Tomoe-kan (本八合目トモエ館)

I forgot to mention that you can buy Mt. Fuji stick that will serve as your pole. In each station, you can have stamps on it for ¥300-600. 

fs stick

I am lying comfortably on my Japanese futon at 9:30 pm, while charging my gadgets. FYI, WiFi signal was excellent at Mt. Fuji. I wanted to sleep but my head can’t stop thinking of the sunrise.

DAY 2 OF MT. FUJI CLIMB (September 13, 2015) 

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I woke up around 1 am, it was very cold and immediately went to the restroom. Goodbye ¥200. 

We were supposed to climb the summit at 2:30 am to witness the sunrise at 5 am, but they rescheduled it to 3:30 am due to strong winds. I got cough and colds already.

The long wait is over, sunrise at 5:20 am.

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It was indeed one of the best Sunday Morning I had.

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Meet the Sun and Moon in one picture.

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Goraiko (ご来光) means Sunrise.

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Go has the meaning of politeness and respect. Rai means coming. Ko means light.

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Words are not enough to describe how beautiful you are. 

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My 8th Mountain for my 24th Year of Existence. 

Despite the challenges of this climb, I am still grateful for the opportunity and the people around me. I felt like I am a new person facing a new world and starting a new beginning. My decision to live away from the things and people I am used to will be hard and entails a lot of adjustments, but to live with my family is the greatest.

Last night, our tour guide informed us that we can walk around the crater of Fuji-san for an additional ¥500. 

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However, the weather wasn’t that good after the sunrise contradicting the forecast above. There was strong winds and mild rain.

Before we begin the descent, we had a sumptuous breakfast.

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Gomoku Rice. Salmon. Tamago. All for Mt. Fuji Breakfast.

According to Ed Viesturs, “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory”. I guess no matter how great things turned out to be, we still have to go down and face our own mountain.

We left 8th Station at 8 am. If you think you were strong enough to ascend this mountain, going down was a lot more challenging! It was slippery with pebbles, wind gets colder and stronger with rain. Honestly, this was the the worst part.

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One and Only Photo while descending Mt. Fuji.

I descended the mountain from 8 am to 12:50 pm. I heard myself praying a lot of times, praying for the strong winds to stop. It didn’t stop, even the rain continues to fall and I have to continue despite these challenges. Just like in reality, you don’t let your problems stop you.

We were supposed to meet at Komitake Building at 12 noon. During that time, the Indian lady and I, were still at the 6th Station. I am already exhausted and crying of pain, it was very cold and my body was shaking. Gen and Yasuko, tried their best to assist me while walking. While holding my legs, Gen performed few massage and I can’t help but cry. He knew I am in pain. I saw him talking to some security officials and that’s when he told us that someone will take us to the 5th Station. I don’t know what to say, I am so thankful for this man. I couldn’t make it without him. 

We were late for an hour and felt so sorry for the inconvenience. Again, I am seated beside Mr. Germany, he asked me where I had been and I told him what happened. They arrived at the 5th Station at 11 am and took all the time to rest while waiting for us. This time I did not hesitate to thank everyone.

We left 5th Station at 1 pm and arrived at the Kawaguchiko Lake at 2 pm. We have our option to try ‘onsen’ or rest inside the bus. I chose the latter. I took some rest and arrange my stuffs. No worries, I got my things from the rented locker. We returned the gear rentals at 3:15 pm.

Finally! We reached Shinjuku at 8 pm, it was traffic at the expressway.

That was long, but hey if you reached this part,

THANK YOU FOR READING, I APPRECIATE IT! ♥

Learning doesn’t stop inside the four walls of your classroom, it is a continuous process. I am already 24, and I am still learning a lot in various aspects. Once in a while, you have to do something new, something that will challenge yourself. We all have our own mountain to conquer, each path might be different but it will be worth it. I don’t pray for an easy climb or life, I pray for the strength to carry on no matter how hard, how high it will be.

We’re not cats, we have one life to live, so make it worthwhile.

Reach what you aim to be and I wish you the best. 

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Post Climb Selfie

It was indeed a very memorable weekend and birthday, at

Japan’s Tallest mountain, Mt. Fuji.

“24 Hours in Mt. Fuji for my 24th Year of Existence”

Again, I am forever grateful for the gift of life. 

The Devil’s Mountain

Throwback Story. 

As I finished my temporary job in my alma mater, Far Eastern University – Manila, I was invited by Kevine Billedo to join their “weekend trip” or mountain climbing on January 26 – 27, 2013 at Mt. Cristobal. I can vividly remember how excited I am to do something “new” after graduating from college. For four years, I am my own slave to receive my diploma. I am part of the band MYPP,Make Your Parents Proud. 

Mountain climbing never crossed my mind until the day I was invited. I made my own research like how does the mountain looks like, how to get there, do’s and dont’s and most specially the expenses. I’ve got what I needed in the Pinoy Mountaineer website. I also learned that Mt. Cristobal is also known as the “Devil’s Mountain”. It sounds creepy and since then I had butterflies in my tummy, so many what if’s but I still said YES. I really don’t mind who joins the climb because I am looking forward to a new experience.Fresh start. 

Let’s get started. First, what’s in my bag? I have 2 liters of water, 2 bars of snickers, emergency medicine, flashlight, whistle, packed lunch, jacket, malong/blanket, extra set of clothes and toiletries. I did not worry about the transportation since we’re going to use Chong Exoems L300 van. My friend has a tent good for five persons, so I’m IN! We were only expected to spend 650-700php which includes (transportation, registration fee, dinner and breakfast).

I met my friend in Green Park, Cainta at 3:30 AM. Now I am beginning to see new faces, I met Benok, Cholo, Sir Bren and Sir Migs. It was never hard to tag along since they were very funny and friendly. We immediately head to Victory Liner – Cubao, to meet other participants. I’m with people I only met but it didn’t feel strange. I am happy inside.

We traveled three to four hours to reach Dolores, Quezon. They used to eat in one of the carinderias along the main road, from there we ate breakfast and bought ingredients for our dinner.

This was my initial view upon reaching the jump off at Brgy. Kinabuhayan.

       Before we begin the climb, we were introduced briefly to one another and since some of us were beginners, including me, Sir Chong had to give us few reminders, mostly from BMC, Basic Mountaineering Course. 

 “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but foot prints, kill nothing but time.“

  1. Be respectful to the locals and their tradition. 
  2. Greet other people when you meet them in the trails or in towns.     “Good Morning Ma’am/Sir”, and the famous “Ingat po.”
  3. Do not throw your trash anywhere. You may keep it in your bag, bring it down the mountain and dispose accordingly.
  4. Do not vandalize on trees and rock formations. 
  5. Minimize your noise. 
  6. Do not bring home anything you find along the trail. Just leave it. 

Headcount, 19.

Take five’ means to have a short break.

 Pristine Mossy Forest

       This climb was no joke at all. Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3. It was cold and I am barely sweating. It has intertwining roots served as the stairs and the tall trees became our cover from the sun. Trails were really steep and it will surely test the strength of your extremities. Physically, I didn’t have any preparation for this. At some point, we really need to catch our breath and we were given ‘take five’. There was also part of the climb that we need to literally “kiss the wall” to pass through. I can’t imagine how I look while carrying my 4 years old Jansport backpack. The climb was never boring, it was full of action. We started to talk about anything and everything. Since I am wearing my college jogging pants, they kept on teasing me by chanting my school’s UAAP yell, “Let’s go tamaraw, Let’s go”. Indeed, my heart was happy and motivated to finish this climb.

Upon reaching the campsite, gentlemen started to build our tent. 

 My first overnight on a mountain. 

               While waiting for dinner, I stayed in our tent and took out my notepad to write some thoughts of mine.

Reaching a mountain’s summit is like reaching your life goal. Your path isn’t always smooth and easy, it has its own ups and downs. People around can help you go up or will just simply pass by. Trust, or never. It’s your call. It’s your choice.

Dinner and Socials

       I never thought I will have a happy tummy on the top of the mountain. Everyone chipped in for our dinner and we had hot sinigang and sizzling sisig on that cold night. It was perfect! Thank you Sir Kim, Sir Chong and SirMigs for the delightful dinner.

They also brought some alcoholic drinks for our “getting to know” activity. You can ask or share anything, or simply answer what was asked. I am not drinking such but everyone did so I tried one shot. Just one. They say “tamang pakikisama”. 

Finally, lights off. It’s time to rest and I am sleeping with Kevine, Benok and Cholo. Relax, they were harmless. Kidding aside, it was very cold and my jacket and malong saved me. I forgot about the creepy stories, and slept soundly.

Out of the woods.

Sea of Clouds in Mt. Cristobal (1470 MASL)

       We woke up early to climb summit, approximately an hour and a half to reach the highest point of this trail also known as Jones’ Peak. It was breathtaking, and I can feel the cold wind touches my face. 

Finally, we made it. 

I made it. 

        Mt. Cristobal “Devil’s Mountain”, helped me to realized things and enlighten my  ideas about the devil. The devil wasn’t real. We create the devil inside us. It was the reflection of our own darkness that we nurtured in our hearts – fear, selfishness, malice, ignorance, doubts and hesitation.

Just like the other mountaineers, I faced and buried my own devil at the Devil’s Mountain.

 Face your fears. Acknowledge them. 

Accept them and take a POSITIVE STAND against them. 

        I am forever grateful on this climbing experience. Thank You, Almighty Father. We gained a lot, we had fun, we built new friendship and we conquered the  “Devil’s Mountain”.

If you reached this part, I hoped you learned something. Some details are too vague because I am barely recalling a memory two years ago. Thank you for reading! ♥ 

How was your first hike?