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?