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Year-End Climb: Conquering Mt. Tagapo
Mt. Tagapo is one of the most popular hiking destinations because of its unique geography. You can enjoy the captivating scenery overlooking Laguna de Bay, the local's fishing villages as well as the skyline of Ortigas and Makati City plus the nearby mountains.
THE ONE-MONTH TREK EXPERIENCE (November 31 - December 1)
Nestled at the heart of Talim Island in the municipality of Binangonan Rizal is the fascinating beauty of Mt. Tagapo. It is one of the most popular hiking destinations because of its unique geography.
You have to ride a boat to reach the island and jumpsite, which is by the way the last stop before the boat will go back again to the main province.
Mountaineers and hikers alike enjoyed staying overnight at its camping site near its peak.
This mountain is also called by the locals as "Mt Susong Dalaga" because even from a distance, you can readily spot its peak, which has the form of a young woman's breast.
Here's a little info from PinoyMountaineer.com; for those who wished to visit the place:
Major jump-off: Brgy. Janosa (Talim Island) Binangonan, Rizal
LLA 14.32° N 121.23° E, 438 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2
Fare (vice versa): Budget of Php200.00 from EDSA Shaw (FX-Binangonan Terminal)
The Legend Behind the Mountain's Name
So how come this mountain was called Mt Tagapo?
We were told by the locals there that a long time ago, an American man was hiking on this mountain when he met a local man cutting shrubs and bamboos.
He asked, "What is the name of this mountain?" The local answered "Nagtataga po", meaning cutting shrubs and grass, since he doesn’t know and understand the foreign language and thinking that the man was only asking what was he doing.
So from that time on, the mountain was then called "Mt Tagapo".
The Legend also says that there was a hidden treasure on the peak of Mt Tagapo and that explains why there was an open pit in the summit of this mountain. Maybe that was also the reason why I am so curious to see what this pit looks like.
The trail was quite easy and within just one to two hours, you will reach the peak and enjoy the captivating scenery overlooking Laguna de Bay and the locals' fishing villages as well as the skyline of Ortigas and Makati City.
When standing on its peak, also visible on the SW side are Mt Makiling and the faint Mt Maculot; on the South are Mt Atimla and Mt Kalisungan and on the SE are Mt Banahaw and Mt Cristobal.
Stunningly breath-taking views
Halfway thru our climb, we reached a two-way trail. So it’s up to us which direction to choose since we have no local guide.
One member from our group already trekked Mt Tagapo a year ago but this time he was not sure which trail – stretching on opposite direction to follow. So he said that we'll follow the left trail since he's much more familiar with it.
We have gone a long way when we met one local by the name of Mang Ron and informed us that the trail we were following has long been "unused" and we have to go back and find the new trail leading to the right direction.
If we have to continue on the left trail, we might be challenged along the way because if we reach the top, all we can see was tall grasses and shrubs with no visible trail and we might get lost. The new trail was very easy though.
But since most of us were up for a challenge, we continue our journey to the other peak and decided we just traverse the mountain to reach the peak of Mt Tagapo.
Resting on a little 'shack' of Mang Ron, we urged him to guide us traversing the mountain.
Backpack's heavy now and I'm really, really exhausted and tired but after 5 minutes of walking 'upward', all the tiredness and all the whining instantly vanished.
It's the feeling of success that after a hard climb we finally reached the summit and it’s like the view was so amazing up there.
But hey, it's not yet Mt Tagapo's peak. We then traverse thru the grassy summit, praying that no open pit would swallow us since we don't have any visible trail. Thanks to Mang Ron, he went with us as our guide and clearing the way of shrubs and tall grasses.
It was not easy finding your own trail but hey, I finally made my first traverse trek!
The open pit on the summit
Honestly, it was the open pit I first want to find upon reaching the summit. It looks so scary black down there and who knows how deep this pit was?
It was also advised that climbers have to be very careful because there are people who accidentally slipped and fell into this pit. It was difficult to see at first because it was surrounded and covered by tall grasses and shrubs.
It's important that you also know the surroundings before going there.
At night, you can see the city lights glimmer like sparking starlights on the distance. It was cold and best for a campfire and socials. You don't really want to forget your jacket and pants because it was so cold up there!
It is really good to explore nature once in a while. It makes you feel refreshed and this is one of the effective ways of de-stressing after long hours of work.
The amazing part was watching the sun rise on Mt Tagapo's summit. We woke up way too early because of the noise of the newcomers who trekked the mountain at night. But it's okay since it was like we're pushing our eyelids to open so we could go up way there and enjoy watching the sun rise. It was cold and dark and absolutely breath-taking.
Watching the sun rise... so beautiful.
It was the first sunrise of December and I am glad to be a part of nature to welcome the new dawn of this Christmas month.
Nature is indeed stunning.
© 2012 Mycee. All Rights Reserved.
My Other Mountain Climbing Misadventures:
- Mt. Daguldol Adventures: Mountain + Falls + Beach
Mountain Climbing Take 2: @ Mt. Daguldol with side trip @ Naambon Falls and @ Laiya Beach. A whole weekend of adventure!
- Climbing Mt. Maculot: Quite an Adventure for an Acrophobiac
Climbing the top of the mountain was one great adventure for a person with acrophobia and a weak heart. For a journey towards everything must begin with one step.