Mountaineers in black sagala regalia, videoke, endless bottles of booze, and friends-for-the night, that summed-up the rained-out Tayak climb over the weekend. It was the 31st Official Climb of Guys4Mountains and no rain could dampen our spirits.
The thought of making camp under the rain, of bringing home wet tents and clothes, was enough to make us want to do a day hike and stay at the Tala Resort. After all, it was the Sagala Climb and those who brought gowns thought it wouldn’t be too much fun to sashay down a muddy campsite. So after settling down in one of the 16-people door rooms , we started the hike to that knob of a hill behind which Mt. Cristobal and its cloud covered peak loomed over.
The 5km cemented road was more taxing than the muddy trail that lead to the peak. We started the hike at past 2pm and about a thousand meters later, I was bored with the pavement and my shins were acting-up. Noey, Hilda, and Edwin had gone one ahead on a tricycle and they waited for us a hundred meters up on the dirt track. The rain had let-up a bit but there was no chance of any sunshine peering through the clouds. Up on the trail, we met a lot of locals on their way down bringing with them firewood and pako. We passed by a lot of quiet houses with nary a soul in sight, maybe they were still up in the hills farming. It was muddy and the trail was a little overgrown on some parts. My jacket was wrapped around my waist as it was quite hot hiking with it. We stopped by a small community of houses where some kids were playing bingo inside a small chapel. They had neatly-made bingo cards cut from pad paper with the markings made in pencil. Smaller pieces were cut and folded containing the letters that were to be called out. Kelly “donated” some chocolates as part of the prize.
We missed the small trail on the right that led to the peak. Instead, we just went straight through until we got to the clearing where the peak stood out like a thumb on the right side of the plain. With Bench and Rowell leading the way, we made our own trail. It was quite steep but the cogon that covered the hill gave us enough handholds albeight slightly painful ones. “I should have brought my gloves, ” I said to myself. Thankfully, my right knee was cooperating despite not using my trekking pole which was broken (the lower part wouldn’t lock) and which I had lent to Bench to flatten the cogon. Finally, we broke through the top. A dilapidated wooden shed stood alone on the small clearing. I left my camera back at the resort as it wasn’t water proof. The view was nice enough especially with Cristobal looming behind.
The cute suman guy
We made our way down this time using the established trail which was so much easier as it gradually descended the hill. The cemented road was slippier than ever and I slipped twice fortunately managing to keep my balance especially with the second one that almost landed me in a side split. We passed by a hut selling buko and freshly-made suman made from gabi and poured with a sweet sauce. It tasted really great and the guy selling it had a cute face. Just don’t make him smile as he had really bad teeth. Lack of minerals I guess which was too bad because he had a really nice face.
Videoke and black gowns
As the rain started-up and wore on through the night, we were really glad we decided to stay at the resort. There was nothing better than taking-off your mud-soiled and wet-soaked boots and socks and just letting your feet dry out. We were the only ones on the floor so we used the corridor to dry out our stuff. Dinner was at the cabanas that surrounded the pool where we brought-out our cooksets and baon. If only for the very very convenient way to camp, I would have pronounced it the “best climb ever.”
One of the best climbs
Loads of drinks later plus renditions of “I Will Survive,” “Halik,” “On the Wings of Love,” and “Closer You and I,” it was time to pronounce it as “one of the best climbs…… EVER!” Close to midnight, I took a dip in the pool where Hilda was teaching Markiko how to swim. Shut-eye was about past 1am after hanging-out with someone I met from another group occupying one of the cabanas.
The sun finally came-out Sunday morning. I had a slight head ache due to lack of sleep. Breakfast was a pack of chocolate-covered marhsmallows as I was saving my can of pork and beans for lunch. I had to rouse the rest who were still asleep by 10:30 as check-out was at 11. We ordered lunch from the resort. It took some time for our food to arrive (mine was a plate of mostly-wrappers lumpiang shanghai) as some of the orders were cooked at the resort while most were coming from somewhere else (probably from one of the houses lining the road to the resort, heheheheh). While the others were planning a trip te nearby Nagcarlan to visit the underground cemetery, I opted to just go home together with Beachboy and Dan as I didn’t want to get into rush-hour traffic at the expressway. I do have a hazy memory of visting the cemetery in one of our field strip back when I was still teaching Humanities at UE.
Tayak, being a hill and not a mountain, wasn’t much of a climb. The weekend was more of an excursion rather than a climb. But get a bunch of queer mountaineers, throw in a videoke, loads of drinks, spice it up with some gowns, and you’d get the grandest sagala.