Posted by: freeclimbers | September 24, 2010

Makiling – Learning the Hard Way

September 20-21, 2010
Makiling/UPLB Trail
Mt. Makiling

Fresh from our Tagaytay journey, I finally took a step to climb a mountain – Mt. Makiling pursued by JM,a friend who has prior mountaineering experience, carrying only our bikes and bags! Yes you heard it right 🙂 We started by about 5AM and reached the College of Forestry by 11AM. We left our bikes and started walking.

The first 15 stations were long and tiring where vehicles can pass. Disappointed from what a mountain trail should look like and eager to experience more, we decided to enter the now narrow woodland to continue our ascent. Besides, we are pretty sure we can finish it the whole day.

The trail was something I’m expecting for a mountain. Lots of trees, ferns that I don’t regularly see in our backyard, and not-so-common insects and animals. We got really excited but this time became unsure if we should aim for the top. Still, we went for it and by 4:30PM we reached it. We stayed there until 5PM when we started our ascent.

Knowing we only have little time left to reach jump-off and having only cellphone and camera lights with us, we hurriedly (and nervously) descent. The trail was steep and cliff was just beside us while we walk-run our way down. We have to hurry because its getting darker for the trees’ canopy blocks the sun’s slowly vanishing light.

Its dark. We opened our almost low-batt cellphones & cameras to see the trail. Everyone was silent that time. I can even hear my heart beat. I said to myself,”It’s alright, the trail is straightforward so it won’t be hard for us to go down even with this small light” to calm myself.

Suddenly, I came across a deep pit with rocks below it. I never remembered we reached it but it was the only visible trail so I went down while they looked for other trails. I reached an area with lots of vines and trembled, I decided to go back. We searched and searched until we saw a trail hidden by grasses and everybody had a big sigh and hope.

I couldn’t see the station signs from the trees so I’m a little bit worried if we’re still on the right track. But i have hopes since the trail was starting to clear now. We turned right and after few steps, we reached the same tree. We’re lost…again. I know every one of us was freakingly nervous at that time but nobody showed it. Instead, we made a plan to search for other opening. Until we saw a clear downward trail just hiding behind these vines. We’re in doubt if its the right trail but we have no choice.

We went down but the soil was so fine that it’s easy to slip. To my surprise, it was leading to a deep rocky pit! I immediately stopped and warned them to go up. More than going down, going up was even harder. Suddenly, Jhonel (middle) slipped and came rushing down on me that caught me off guard! The scene was so fast that I don’t have time to avoid it! Good thing JM made a grab of him before we both fall to those rocks! We were forced to hold on to those vines to not fill. We were all very dirty and almost lying in the ground just not to fall. I can feel my hands bleed from those thorns but I have to hold on tight. We carefully climbed up again and to our luck, we made it. We thanked God for that wonderful save.

At that time, we have to decide what to do next. Do we have to keep searching for the trail where the danger lurks? Go back to the summit and spend the night there? Or spend the night at that spot? When suddenly, whether miracle or what, a group of fireflies showed on us in the middle of a dense area. Then we noticed another hidden trail. Wait, is it the real one or just another trap? We have no choice but to go on.

For a couple of minutes, we were in doubt if we’re still on the right track until we saw flower petals along the trail. Hey, we remember it! Finally, we’re out of the maze! We walked fast and upon seeing the ‘Wilderness Zone’ sign, we all shouted for joy for everybody’s relief!

But the ordeal was not yet over. It’s 7PM and we can’t move any further for our lights won’t last anymore. But for God’s mercy, the area was open and the moon was full enough to give light. Before our cellphones run out, we called our now worried families and told them we’re just fine. That time we can feel everybody’s concern. It was also the very first time I told them that I love them (via text).

We’re all dead tired and dirty but we have to move on. We gathered the wooden bed and set it up with leaves for our shelter. Our only food that time were just 15 pieces of rambutans we bought below. I feel like I’m Bear Grylls that moment.

8PM when we rested. But nothing seems wants to let us. Our clothes were dirty and wet with our sweat. Insects biting from anywhere. Weird, creepy sounds howling all over the place. That was truly a very long and uncomfortable night.

No one got a sleep until morning came. We packed our things and continued our descent. Going down seems harder than up. We were dead hungry and our feet badly hurt that we just wanted to roll all the way down. We reached the jump-off by almost lunch.

But it was not yet over. We have to bike our way from Los Baños to our homes (Sta. Rosa). We biked underneath the scorching heat of sun. It seems like I lost half my weight that time. I already got home by almost 5PM and immediately took a whole day rest waiting for a sermon the next day.

That experience was truly memorable and life-taking. I learned a lot of things from it. On the time of our ordeal, that was the time we felt God and our loved ones’ presence. We know we could all lose our lives that time but we managed to hold on. That was also the time where teamwork and calmness prevailed. We all know that if we lose focus and don’t help each other, then it would be our end. And finally, the last thing I learned? I learned that I have loved this sport — mountaineering.

By the way, after that day, I got very itchy rashes all over my body for almost a week. Maybe the slogan “Take nothing but pictures…” really works because I took a flower petal and put it in a mini bottle filled with water from the mountain as a souvenir. 🙂

Our Pictures


  1. […] 7. Take a bath at Mt. Makiling’s Flatrocks […]

  2. More mountains to conquer …

    • i’m willing to do so,hope my schedule feels the way too. 😀

  3. […] I have, so far, experienced one survival event during my first climb in Mt. Makiling. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  4. freeclimbers my answer is here i coundn’t reply in our thread .. now i’m thinking to climb Mt. Makiling but i’ll try MakTrav 😀 …. and be aware of limatiks lol .. BTW, Pansol Laguna is a nice place too. Sorry if ask you if your from San Juan Batangas!

    • no problem,its ok 🙂
      where can i find your answer sorry? hmm,better if you dont do the Maktrav immediately. The Sto. Tomas trail is much challenging from what I’ve read. Beware not only from limatiks but from centipedes (na mas mahaba pa sa isang dangkal) and snakes too. BTW, why did you ask if im from San Juan?

      • sorry my mistakes .. ur from laguna! 😀

        HUWOOW .. centepeded and snakes .. too scary .. (wag na lang kaya ako mag Makiling .. 😀 )

      • yeah,we happen to pass by a huge centipede and a black-brown colored snake that time. But they’re harmless not unless you harm them 🙂

      • ohhhh .. jesus lord! really dont know what i’m gonna do … but you are right .. they will not harm unless you do something for them ;D but even (nakakatakot)

      • as far as i know, mas limatik-infested ang sto tomas trail..when are you going to climb it?

      • it might be July … when i get back to Manila 😀 Kaso nakakatakot na .. 😦

      • hmm,July is rainy season,,better read articles about it before you climb,,makiling is prone to flashflood..ah you’re in the Middle East nga pala

      • ohh yeah it’s a rainy season now in manila while in here in middle east like your in a Sauna Bath .. lol 😀

        Ang init as in 😦

      • haha,that’s really annoying when your sweat pours more than the rain 🙂

      • hahaha .. plus humid .. or else anlabas mo heat stroke …

      • hehe,better stay here in the Philippines 🙂 at least there;s rain here

      • Perefectly right 😀

        But my job is here .. I don’t have a choice .. 😀 Kaya sabik ako sa Ulan at bakasyon!

      • ah,kaya pala,gano katagal ka na jan? bet you miss this place already

      • 9 years .. almost decade na po ;D

      • sad walang bundok jan 🙂 dont worry hindi naman aalis ang mga bundok dio e,

      • meron bundok dito .. mga bato nga lang .. check my article Sultanate of Oman .. meron akong shot dun Rocky MOuntain so ganun din dito samen sa United Arab Emirates … masakit magalusan sa batuhang bundok .. lol 😀

      • ah oo,meron nga pala jan,kaso ganun din mas mainit pa yung bundok sa city,better stay indoor or do something new while enjoying the heat

  5. this is what your talking about … hahahaha ! Totally extreme adventure! 😀

    • haha,that’s it! see the bike and the wooden bed? that’s a proof we really had a very hard hike

      • i saw everything .. can’t imagine you guyz! buti di kayo na limatik jan 🙂

      • haha, i really suffered the most there. Sabi nga take nothing but pictures..i took a flower there and as result, na-limatik ako sa buong katawan ko that lasted almost a week!

      • My enemy limatikz kahet di pako naka encounter nyan i hate that.. how’s the circulation of your blood after the limatikz making fiesta? lol ;D

      • ayos naman ang circulation,that night was so scary..the moon was full, we’re surrounded by huge trees, howling owls, creepy sounds..i even heard a fading guitar sound nearby

      • headlamps d’yu have that night? … fading guitar sounds? meaning .. community nearby to u.

      • only cellphone lights 🙂 what i mean is seems like there’s a person playing guitar while walking just near us..we’re at the campsite that time, almost 1000MASL…

      • cellphone lights? OMG ur kidding me .. we have same experience but mine in Mt. Batulao – night trek. my headlamps and my friends headlamp battery is down … the only source we have is from her cellphone i cound’t believe and anlakas pa ng hangin … TOO SCARY .. a person playing guitar while ur walking ..kinilabutan ako jan hahaha!

      • yeah cellphone lights + lights from our cameras…that Makiling climb was truly one of the most thrilling climb I had. Maybe I’ll write a post about it when I got time. I also read your year-end climb in batulao. delikado nga dun kasi open field at bangin ang magkabilang dulo

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