A mountain is never the same. The looming form may remain but the trails, the ecosystem and the peak weather changes constantly. Call it moody but the micro-climate dictates whether the view from the top is cloudy or not. Such is the case when we climbed Mt Fato in Maligcong for the second time. The neighboring Mt Kupapey (Mt Kofafey) with its outstanding view of Maligcong Rice Terraces and nature trail may have grown popular to the visitors of the region but Mt Fato offers a different side of the terraces as well as the mountain peaks of Kalinga and Sagada. My first visit with Backpack Photography gave us a clear view, my return howevers was welcomed with a cold embrace from the clouds.
The mountain’s Hersheys chocolate kisses-like shape makes it an eye-catching roadside attraction when passing through the main highway of Pasadeña to Barotuan, about 12km north of El Nido from the town center. But it took a while before someone conquered the summit of Mt Mansilawit despite its low elevation as there were tales of giant snakes and notorious monkeys living on this mountain. Pasadeña Native couple, Sylvia and Alex were brave enough to explore and are now lead guides to share the wonders of this little mountain. I decided to bike here from town since I’ve been curious about this mountain and I thought biking would be the best way to see other places en route. It took me almost an hour to reach the signage pointing the way to the mountain.
I remember spending my first sunrise of the year 2014 on top of Mt Kofafey. Basking in the view of a sea of clouds unraveling before my eyes to reveal the Maligcong Rice Terraces below was just a magical moment that opened up the year. I knew someday I promise to be back. A few months later I kept my promise. This time I brought along my friends with me see this destination in Cordilleras I have been raving about. And also to see the Maligcong Rice Terraces in its evergreen state.
“He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary”
This week’s Nikon Shot is from my new favorite place in Sagada, the Kamanbaneng Peak or popularly known as the Marlboro Mountain. I like this mountain so much I returned here again for the 2nd time last week after my first visit just a couple of months ago. This time we found an awesome vantage point overlooking the valley and with the Alab-Sagada border peak showing its height. I call this Nikon Shot “Up High Staring at the Sun” with our friend Mike looking straight into the sun.
“Wow! How does one get there?” I asked my companion Norbs while pointing down on a parallel electric line post way down below. It seemed so far and unreachable from where we were at Kamanbaneng Peak or popularly named Marlboro Mountain. After enjoying a wonderful play of billowing clouds after the sunrise, we were set for a long trek southwards of Sagada. It was a beautiful day for a trek but the rains the day before had dampened the ground making it more sticky and on some parts muddy. But after a few hours, we found ourselves below the electric line I was pointing to earlier but standing on the curious hues of the Blue Soil Hills of Sagada.
I never get tired of Sagada. Even if go back to the same places I visited there again and again, even if there were hassles or inconveniences encountered going there, the allure never fades. On my recent trip to Sagada, I wanted to venture further and explore the “new” sites recently opened for exploration. My friends and I visited SAGGAS (Sagada Genuine Guides Association) office and was greeted by the jovial, Yaki. We were inquiring about a particular tour but curiosity led us to change plans seeing the map on their wall. We decided to head east then traverse southeast of Sagada going along the border of Alab down south. Our first stop is Kamanbaneng Peak, one of the alternative sunrise destination in Sagada.
While my first few travels revolved around the mountains, I must admit that I haven’t climbed a lot lately. When a good ol balikbayan (back to the country) climb buddy invited for a day-climb for the weekend at Mt Batolusong, I got curious. Where the heck is that mountain? I haven’t heard that before. A quick google search brought out some interesting photos of grasslands and a waterfall in the vicinity. Hey! Why not? It’s only in nearby Tanay and I get to catch up with a fellow alumni from my university. Saturday. 3am. I’m up for the climb.