Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Weekend Getaway: Mt Pundaquit

"Mr. Humpty Dumpty is the Ultimate Survivor!"

What's the story behind these eggs?! Hmmm...
These are miracle eggs...and i admire them. They climbed a mountain, crossed rivers, survived a life-threatening challenge and still, they stayed intact! would you believe?!

29th of August 2009, 8 days before my birthday, i, together with some friends went to Mt Pundaquit, Zambales with 'Lakbay' Mountaineers. We're 29. To reach Anawangin Cove, we have to trek the 400+ MASL (Meters Above Sea Level) high Mountain and cross a number of shallow rivers.

ready to climb!
overlooking the Anawangin Beach

It took us almost 3hrs to reach the top because most of us were first-timers and junior climbers. The scenery on top was breathtaking and we can't believe we just reached a mountain peak! Going down is a bit faster but as dangerous as climbing. one bad step..you'll die. We still have to follow the trail and cross 2 more rivers to reach Anawangin's camp site but just a few minutes away from the river we have rested, the rain started to pour down real hard and the trail marks were washed off. 19 of us got stuck in an islet surrounded with swollen river (from 5pm to 9pm). Thunders rumbling, lightning's flashes with fury as it exposes the brownish water around us and to make it worst, the river starts rising beneath our feet! We began looking for higher grounds until we have nowhere to go. The pine trees were our last resort and i told my friends to climb those trees when the water reach our knees. Its the dead end and there's no phone signal. We're not just worried about ourselves, we also have thought about our groupmates, the two we're left on the other side waiting for the 8 people, who we believe, were still in the mountain.

We turned on our flashlights and desperately called for help... 1,2,3 TULONG!!! (1,2,3 HELP!). While freezing under the rain, we silently prayed for God's miracle. And there is! 2 locals who were roaming around that night had heard and saw us. They came to rescue us while the water was subsiding. What a relief!
But we have yet to face another challenge, we have to cross a river with a strong under current. one by one, our guys helped the girls cross first. The 2nd river was more dangerous as it is a 3 1/2 ft high rushing water. We needed a rope to help each of us cross. Thank God we all made it!

there's always a rainbow after the rain!

This trip is all but challenging. We slept in wet clothes because it rained again at 3am (Our tent was filled with water!). In the morning, we decided not to go to Capones island and just go home.

We chose to take the boat instead. We don't even want the thought of going back to Mt Pundaquit to trek again (I have blisters all over my feet!) Just about our boat took off, a smaller boat turned upside down and threw its 5 passengers including the boatman and a young kid into the furious waves. They have their life-jackets on but its a traumatic experience for sure. Luckily, they were all washed off to the shore safely.

@ 11am we're on the safer place. We all gathered together and start celebrating our 2nd life!
but unfortunately, the eggs that have survived the 5hr-trek and after the would-have-been-a-tragic-end-for-all-of-us survival test... we just ate them. But Its the most delicious scrambled eggs ever! =D

As Mang Toto says, you will learn a lot from mountain climbing. Its true! We have tons of realizations when we got home, while internalizing what just happened to us. The near-death experience! Its scary to think the "what ifs", it is somehow traumatic but it feels like we've lived to share this experience to others. To teach the lessons that we have learned to those who doesn't have faith and hope and to those who doesn't respect nature as well.
mountain view with the calm river

Sadly, we received a bad news from the locals that two mountaineers were missing and were feared dead. We're glad there were no casualties from our group and nobody suffered hypothermia.

Just a precaution to all climbers out there especially to beginners, as much as possible don't climb on bad weather and don't attempt to cross swollen rivers. It's not just safe!

Have faith and ask for God's guidance and He will protect you all the way. On every situation like this, it always has a purpose why it happens.
In behalf of MSI climbers, we would like to Thank: Mommy Su, F4, Teletubbies, Je, Mang Toto and Budz. Til we climb again! =)

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