Gulugod Baboy pertains to the ridges formed by this particular mountain which resembles those of a pig’s spine. There are three main summits, each one having a unique view of surrounding islands and bodies of water. Located at Mabini in Batangas, this place is a rather popular overnight camping destination regardless of the season, as one local resident would like to claim. It takes more than three hours to reach from Metro Manila if you would be using public transportation, which would most likely be a combination of bus, jeep, and tricycle, on top of the one hour and a half hike you are bound to make.
10:00. Going Up.
10:30. Wow, this is an awesome exercise. I can feel the energy surging from my legs. The rush of endorphins is giving me a really happy vibe. Oh, what a hot weather. It would be better if I use the only extra shirt I have as shade from the sun. A cow! Picture! Video!
11:00. This is getting tiring. Is there an SM in here? I want to have a quick snack at the food court. Damn sun blinding my vision. What! My Macau Bungy souvenir shirt? Where is my Macau Bungy souvenir shirt? Shit! Where are you, souvenir shirt? Where are my companions? Shit!
11:30. I. Am. Dying. Is there a St Luke’s at the top? Ask them to prepare some dextrose bottles. I am checking in. Legs. Cramps. Have. To. Sit. Down. My companions are missing again. Shit. Have. To. Walk. 2 1/2 minute hike. Cramps. 5 minute rest. Yeah. 2 1/2 minute hike. Cramps. 5 minute rest. Damn. At this rate I would be on time at the peak by sunrise tomorrow.
11:45. Huh! Breeze! I see a lot of green! No more trails! We are here? We are here! Rejoice!
I guess that is what makes a successful mountain climb so fulfilling. The ascent is like going through hell. I know that a lot of mountaineers consider this mountain to be an easy climb. Newsflash: Not a mountaineer. Besides, with this Jollibee diet and allergy to exercise that characterize my daily life, this was bound to happen. What makes me wonder is why the hamstrings were the ones getting the cramps? Should it be not the calves first, at least? However, after that fatal climb which makes you feel like a total sissy, you eventually discover the peace you are looking for at the peak. With a collage of green vegetation and blue waters coupled with the howling of the cool breeze, you just know that it is heaven up there. Like Kylie would say, you’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high, which really has not much of a bearing in this case. I just felt like quoting a song. Bawal?
Having survived the climb, you feel that it has made you stronger somehow. You are alive and enjoying the scenery while eating a slice of pizza and forcing gallons of water down your throat. How I wish though that the ones who did that before us cleaned up at least. The place is not a giant trash can, people. Be responsible for your own garbage!
Going down is a breeze, of course. With gravity on your side it is bound to be a lot easier, except that you have to avoid rolling down even if it seems to be the cooler alternative. You really do not want to roll down those rocks lest you end up looking like road kill afterwards, if you insist. My companions taught me how to walk in zigzag to make the descent easier. The soles of my feet were already burning from the friction trying in vain to counter the steepness of those hills. I guess rubber shoes with socks are better than bare feet on sandals in this case.
I never retrieved my shirt. At first I was a bit sad because it was a souvenir shirt and I really loved the material, although that preoccupation was overcome by the thought of going back to Manila on an air-con bus with a sweat drenched t-shirt, which is like pneumonia waiting to happen. Luckily, there is a free drying service on any of the summits of that mountain. Once you hear the wind howling crazily like a hippie on crack, you would know that it is time to use that t-shirt as a cape as you play around on top. I can guarantee that it would be dry by the time you decide to finally go downhill. I guess what I was not able to avoid was the sticky feeling, which is why I really recommend that you dive somewhere after that climb. What with all the resorts lining up that main road, you will never run out of diving spots to try.
What now? I climbed my first mountain. All I have ever climbed before were hills, which would probably make me a laughingstock in the mountaineering community for being such a wuss because I consider those hills to be challenging. Well, this mountain was challenging but more than the physical aspect, I guess the real challenge would be my lack of discipline. How many times have I done long treks, albeit on flatter terrain, and promised myself afterwards that I would eat more, exercise more, and be stronger? I never do so, until I end up in another trek and faced with the same scenario. We’ll see.