We woke up at the cool situation we were in. It’s just like the day I attempted Visayas’ highest peak, Mt.Kanlaon with Joseph, Edwin and Johnny.
“It’s only 4:30am,” Alvin muttered.
As dawn broke, the Philippine national anthem played in their community plaza.
Their plaza is just infront of their house of worship which is adorned by flags of different countries. It’s very much like United Nations. Well, that’s what they are trying to convey here. Every nation should be united. No divisions should exist between humans of different race and color. For we are one with the Lord.
They sing the Lupang Hinirang everyday at six in the morning. They sing it with passion. Everyone tried to make their way into the plaza. Some stop in their tracks to sing.
As we made our way into the crowd after greeting the famous Philippine macaques (they actually tried riding Alvin’s back for seeing the dangling eco-bag with some banana), we met Sir Sammy and one of his councilors attentively listening to a neighbor expressing her gratitude for the help extended to his ailing father. Of course, the photo ops wouldn’t be forgotten.
Target lunch destination: Makalangit Plains
Start time: past six
We passed kids going to school and farmers going the same way we’re heading. Makalangit is located above the ridge of Makilala and Malumpini (another community). According to our guide, it’s a four-hour walk for locals. I bet faster, for Kuya Jojo is just trying to be humble. 🙂 There are ten stations to Mt.Zion and Makalangit is Station # 8. And Station #7 would be the start of the ridge itself. We haven’t started yet but I’m already sweating profusely.
The trail is well established all the way until you enter the second leg from Makalangit to Zion to PNOC bunkhouse.
The trail begins to be muddy at best. At one point, half my leg got swallowed near Lake Venado. It’s coal black, adds about half more weight on your sole and slippery. Will really slow you down, wear your spirits below.
The view of mountain ranges of Bukidnon just serves me up with more will. It instantly gives you that lift. Whenever we stop, I look afar and would just immerse myself into a world of beauty.
From the flowers along the trail (literally, somehow it’s a mini garden of sorts), the annoying siren of a mating bird, and the wild orchids. Everything was fantastic. It’s a blessing.
It even became more profound when we reached Makalangit.
A piece of land cultivated to feed their community, Makalangit also has banana, raw rubber and flowers as major crops to offer their quaint municipality.
Makalangit has a pad built purposely for their visitors just like where we took the night upon reaching New Israel. Its a two-storey house with built-in beds, hammock, running water, utensils to spare, kitchen, clean restroom. Isn’t that amazing? I even thought of staying here for the night.
After having longganisa, sayote soup, and fried pork we hurriedly went on with our way. Two more mountains to Zion.
Steep start. I’m still full from our late lunch. Flowers would lead us into thick foliage. Dark clouds approach us into the horizon. I already prepared my mind to do night trek.
Nearing five in the afternoon, we reached Alabama where we saw a distant waterfall. No one’s been there according to Sir Jojo.
From that point, we’re now transported into a different world. Way different!
It’s grass. But nothing compared to Mt.Pulag’s grassland of dwarf bamboo. This one is taller than you’d expect. It’s sturdy. So sturdy, it could work its way as a spear for hunting and leave bruise mark on your skin when slapped with one.
They would bend their way on some parts of the trail. If they bend, you bend as well. And bend we did. I sometimes have to crawl my way. Almost fell back when my pack got caught.
Fog caught us nearing six. Woods are scattered all over. We hop on one. We tiptoe on another.
They are fallen trees. Lightning might have caught them. I didn’t see any saw marks. But they act as bridges over thorny flowering plants and some puddles.
Standing atop one log, we saw the top half of Zion’s cross. We’re still 45minutes away.
And soon enough, darkness settles in. And I’m pooped already.
And so I slept along the trail which I never did in any past climbs.
I told ya!
I regained my footing and believe it or not, we were just 15minutes away from Zion. I DON’T BELIEVE IT!
I swear to God, we were still that far. It’s still about a 30minute trek with 200-300mtrs of elevation to cover. Winds blowing, rain continuously dropping. Our will was there to carry us. I know we will not fail. But to easily reach a hand in the darkness of the night was something else.
His light shone upon the thickness of the fog surrounding us. We were relieved. It didn’t sink at first. We were able to chat about it in Davao City already.
Behind the experience, I only thank HIM.
Fast forward, we found them.
Inside this huge pyramid block was where we took refuge against the blasting winds. They can freeze you to a still.
We cooked some hot noodles to keep us warm. We’re a good hour way still. We took snaps, shared stories and some hearty laughs because the structure can actually accommodate the four of us. 🙂
But we failed to see Mt.Apo’s summit but good Dennis caught it.
After finishing the soup, it’s all downhill form there. The renowned fire lane is waiting for us.
After descending we took left. And soon enough, even in darkness, the lane manifests its size.
About four to five meters wide, the lane was conjured to act as a barrier incase fire breaks loose again. That gap leaves the fire with no other fuel and so it won’t continue further.
The rain stopped. No more winds. We’re now confined in a wide space with walls of land enveloping us. Finally, we’re almost there.
A little to the left. Some more to the right then straight ahead. And there it was. All to ourselves.
It has a functioning restroom, fireplace, three bedrooms, a veranda and some firewood. Cozy!
So I immediately slept.