Japan, Day 6: Gozaisho Ropeway

Quite an early start for my Day 6 in Japan to be able to explore Mount Gozaisho in the morning. I was so excited to reach the summit but at the same time, a bit scared on how cold that morning will be. Problems of a tropical country citizen. Haha!

Quite an early start for my Day 6 in Japan to be able to explore MOUNT GOZAISHO in the morning. I was so excited to reach the summit but at the same time, a bit scared on how cold that morning will be. Problems of a tropical country citizen. Haha!

NOVEMBER 26, 2018

From Kintetsu-Nagoya Station, I rode a train to Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station then from there, transferred to a train that would take me to Yunoyama-Onsen Station. If I had more time during this autumn trip, I would have stayed overnight in the place to try the onsen in the area. Anyway, as soon as I got off the train, I already felt that the temperature was colder than in the city. When the bus going to GOZAISHO ROPEWAY STATION arrived, I noticed two other old women who were in their hiking gear. I wondered if they were going to climb Mount Gozaisho without the help of a cable car…

When we reached the ropeway station, I immediately took a picture of the bus schedule going back to the train station so that I can time my activities in the mountain area. Near the ticket area, there was a board showing the temperature at the base vs the summit – it was 12C at the base then 4C at the summit. I was praying that I could endure the cold up there.

The cable car ride to the summit did not bore me because of the autumn scenery surrounding the mountains.

I was so excited with the scenery that I even walked from one side of the cable car to the other to take in all the sights that Gozaisho has to offer.

The whole ride to the summit lasted 15 minutes and it was good that they did not force people to group together when ascending the mountain. Leaving these few more pictures from the cable car ride. Next post will be about the experience at Mount Gozaisho. 😉

Mount Pulag

DIFFICULTY LEVEL (according to TA site): 4/10

Last December, Tin and I spontaneously booked a hike in Mt. Pulag (via Ambangeg) with Trail Adventours. It was scheduled in late January, which meant that we would be there in one of its coldest days (a lot of people say Jan-Feb are the coldest months).

JANUARY 21-22, 2017

DIFFICULTY LEVEL (according to TA site): 4/10

Last December, Tin and I spontaneously booked a hike in Mt. Pulag (via Ambangeg) with Trail Adventours. It was scheduled in late January, which meant that we would be there in one of its coldest days (a lot of people say Jan-Feb are the coldest months).

Our main guide was Jeric, who happened to be one of our main guides in the Gulugod-Baboy hike so it was nice to see a familiar face. We had a pre-climb briefing a few days before the hike but those who were unable to attend did not have to worry since the deck was forwarded to them.

We left Manila on January 20 (around 10PM), and we arrived in Baguio the next day (before 4AM). From Baguio, we rode a monster jeepney where our end destination is the homestay. But before heading to the homestay, we had a few stops first.

Our first side trip was the AMBUKLAO DAM. Near the dam, there was a body of water where a few locals were fishing in the early hours of the morning. It was really cold even if we were wearing thick jackets. I checked my phone and the temperature was estimated to be 15C.

We headed to JANG JANG HANGING BRIDGE afterwards and while the bridge seemed sturdy, it was still quite scary to see how high we were from the ground. According to Jeric, the walk from one side of the bridge to the other would take 10 minutes so he advised us to just walk until the middle portion. True enough, it felt like we had walked far enough from one side of the bridge but the other side still looked far. A word of caution though that according to the locals, only max of 10 people should ideally be walking along the bridge.

Our last side trip was the DACLAN SULFUR SPRING — nothing much to see except for, well, sulfur. Do NOT go too near the bubbling pools of water as it can corrode your footwear or worse, damage your skin. Also a warning that the place smells like rotten eggs.

 

Before having lunch, we went to the DENR OFFICE to attend the mandatory orientation where do’s and don’ts were discussed. They also mentioned that they are only accommodating max of 200 hikers per day, which is good because this move helps take care of mountains and prevent theme from being bugbog. Another important thing discussed there was how DENR assigns which point in Pulag will be your last stop. We were lucky enough to be assigned to the summit. Other points are labeled as Point 2, Point 3, etc.

We had our lunch in a local eatery, as part of the TA package we availed, then headed to BABAN’S HOMESTAY. I was surprised with how nice and clean the homestay looked like, plus it was just a few minutes away from the Ranger Station so the location is very convenient. We had the afternoon as free time and by dinner time, TA team distributed the TA Mount Pulag shirts and discussed the reminders for our early hike the next day.

 

We slept early and woke up around 11:30PM to prepare for our 1AM hike. We rode the monster jeepney going to RANGER STATION, where we met with our local guides. From there, we started the long and chilly hike to the summit of Mount Pulag. Our first stop was CAMP 1 and part of the trail going there was quite steep so I had to stop and catch my breath every now and then. From Camp 1 to Camp 2, the trail was easier since most of it was just flat. CAMP 2 to the summit was quite challenging again since there were portions of the trail that were steep — and it was a bit at the beginning of this trail when my head lamp fell off from my forehead and died. Good thing my phone was fully charged so I used its flashlight instead (but less powerful light and smaller area covered!).

It was still quite dark when we reached the SUMMIT, as the hike from the Ranger’s Station was about 4 hours; hence, we were there at around 5AM. We looked for a good spot to watch the sun rise slowly from the horizon, and all I can say is that the scenery was just purely amazing. What I thought back then was how lucky we were to witness such spectacle, and how blessed this country is with the wonders of nature.

 

Here comes the sun(rise)

 

TA team provided sandwiches, apples, and coffee for our breakfast in the summit. Of course, as responsible hikers, we cleaned up our mess — although this should be already ingrained in every hiker or aspiring hiker, sadly, a lot of people still leave their trash in the mountains.

The hike going back to Ranger’s Station still took about 4 hours but it was easier especially the trail from Camp 1 since we were heading the opposite direction already.

Upon reaching the homestay, we freshened up ourselves and packed our things since we will be heading back to Baguio after lunch. We arrived back in Baguio around 4PM and we were given free time to do whatever we wanted as our bus is scheduled to leave at 9PM. Tin and I bought pasalubong in Good Shepherd then we ate early dinner in CANTO, which is one of the restaurants in KETCHUP FOOD COMMUNITY. There was a loooong line when we got there (which was the reason why I wasn’t able to eat here despite visiting K.F.C. back in 2014 and 2015). We were lucky because two of our fellow hikers were next in line to enter and they invited us to join their table.

Tin and I were supposed to head to Chocolate de Batirol but since we were both too tired from the very early hike, we went back to the bus station instead. Our bus left on time and we were back in Manila before 3AM.

So far, this is the best hike I did and this just further reinforces my passion to hike mountains.


 

THINGS I BROUGHT (30+5L Brown Trekker backpack):

  • 3 Uniqlo Heattech tops (2 normal, 1 extra warm)
  • 3 Uniqlo Heattech leggings (2 notmal, 1 ultra warm)
  • Lakambini cargo pants
  • Baubax travel jacket and thick Dr. Martens socks — borrowed from my sister
  • Pair of gloves
  • Bonnet
  • Hiking rubber shoes
  • Hiking sandals
  • Trail food (nuts, energy bar, dark chocolate, energy gel)
  • 3L of water (but only brought 1.5L in Mt. Pulag)
  • Trekking pole
  • Head lamp
  • Disposable rain coat (in case it rains)
  • Emergency blanket
  • Waterproof cell phone case
  • Small bag (This is what I brought during the hike – for trail food, blanket, rain coat. Our TA guide was kind enough to bring my 1.5L bottle of water)

Mount Gulugod-Baboy + Sombrero Island

DIFFICULTY LEVEL (according to TA site): 2/10

Just like the previous hike, I booked this trip via Trail Adventours and was accompanied by Tin. Our main guides this time were Jeric and JP, who were both funny and easy to talk to. We were blessed that we had a good weather that day so we did not worry about muddy trails and getting wet in the middle of the hike.

MAY 21, 2016

DIFFICULTY LEVEL (according to TA site): 2/10

I became lazy again to update my site — it’s always an on-and-off relationship with blogging, or more of documenting travels as I always tell (or correct) my friends since I rarely write here.

So, after exactly 9 months, I have decided to finally write about my 2nd hike last 2016, which happened in Mount Gulugod-Baboy.

Just like the previous hike, I booked this trip via Trail Adventours and was accompanied by Tin. Our main guides this time were Jeric and JP, who were both funny and easy to talk to.

We were blessed that we had a good weather that day so we did not worry about muddy trails and getting wet in the middle of the hike. We had 2 main rest points, wherein we spent about 15 minutes in each point to catch up our breath and eat our trail food. It was also the place where we got to know fellow hikers in the group — plus shared our food (and be on the receiving end too – yay for free snacks!).

We reached the summit in about 2 hours and the view was absolutely stunning! We spent almost an hour there before starting our hike back to the parking lot for lunch time.

 

 

After lunch time, we changed into our swimming attire since TA package included a trip to Sombrero Island (called as such because the island is hat-shaped). We hopped on the rented boat and according to the guides, the island was once a free-for-all place. However, it has been declared as a “private property” hence there are fees to be paid, including renting a cottage. The island was just small but it looked quite difficult to go around the whole island since there were areas which were too rocky.

Swimming in the sea was more than welcome because we were there at past 1PM and the sun was shining bright (so much that it was awfully hot). We had to wear our slippers though while swimming since the bottom was full of small rocks instead of purely sand. Nevertheless, the sea was crystal clear and had different shades of blue.

Hello Sombrero Island!

 

We left Batangas mid-afternoon and while the traffic going back to Manila was quite heavy, the exhilarating hike and swim were more than enough to maintain a really happy mood. Another great hike from TA and we will surely be booking another hike with them soon!

Mount Palay-Palay (Pico de Loro)

DIFFICULTY LEVEL (according to TA site): 4/10

Tin and I spontaneously decided last March to hike a mountain. I was curious of the popular monolith in Mount Palay-Palay (more popularly known as Pico de Loro) so I decided to book a trip with Trail Adventours.

APRIL 24, 2016

DIFFICULTY LEVEL (according to TA site): 4/10

Tin and I spontaneously decided last March to hike a mountain. I was curious of the popular monolith in Mount Palay-Palay (more popularly known as Pico de Loro) so I decided to book a trip with Trail Adventours.

Had a bad experience with TA’s Mount Pinatubo team last May 2015 but I decided to give them another shot since the Pico de Loro team would be led by a different set of guides. Well, turned out I made a good decision to give TA a second shot. Our guides (Sir Eugene, Agnes, Brent, and Desiree) were all awesome! They kept on encouraging the team throughout the hike and they interacted with everyone — qualities which I did not see from our Mount Pinatubo guides.

We saw that the level of trail difficulty so we thought that such score would be okay for beginners… we missed out the part that the overall difficulty was intermediate. We eventually got left behind (but not the very last) but we were able to make new friends because of that. Sandy and (another) Tin!

The hike to the campsite took us about an hour and a half. There were a lot of steep slopes and rocky trails so we took a rest every chance we get. Nakakapagod paakyat! LOL.

 

 

 

 

When we reached the campsite, we were reunited with the team who went ahead of the pack. Yay! We replenished our energy by resting, eating, and drinking lots of water as we need to prepare for our short hike to the summit.

When everyone was ready to start the hike to the summit, we left the campsite and the locals told us that it was the best time to do so since there was no big crowd yet. Apparently, the summit can get so crowded to the point that there will be a long line of people waiting for their chance to be at the summit.

The hike to the summit was no joke. It was quite steep and the path was just dry soil and a few big rocks. One of our guides told me not to be afraid since I had good shoes. He said that what I needed to avoid were the small rocks because those do not have a strong hold on the soil. His words gave me the courage to move faster and the next thing I know, I was already at the top of the summit. Yay!

The famous monolith (restricted access to anyone during our visit but a lot were pasaway)

We spent about half an hour or so at the summit to marvel at the view around us. Sir Eugene even told stories from years ago when there was no developed trail yet and how their hike in the area would take more than a day.

After taking in the sights + taking pictures at the summit, we started our descent back to the campsite.

Near the campsite, there were a few more areas we could explore so Tin and I used the opportunity to roam around those areas.

The hike back to the parking lot was much shorter. While we took almost 2 hours to hike up to the campsite, it took us less than an hour from the campsite back to the parking lot.

It was tiring but every sweat was worth it! While Tin and I questioned our decision to take on a hike with intermediate difficulty, we did not regret doing this hike with TA. Cheers to more hikes this year! 🙂