Standing on Mayo’s Peak, I took one look at the ridge we were supposed to cross to reach the summit of Mt. Guiting-Guiting and I thought “Holy crap, I did not come here to die.”
You should probably know that I’m a huge scaredy-cat. I may try to pass myself off as a fearless, adventurous maniac but who am I kidding. I scream, run and hide whenever I see a flying cockroach or a scurrying mouse.
We started the trek at 8am with a descent into a forested trail. We then emerged into what’s known as the Knife Edge. I’d have to agree with Sir Joey, it really wasn’t as scary as it looks. The vegetation was high enough to cover the view of the cliffs and the trail was fairly established.
The tricky part started when we got to the rock formations. I may have mentioned before that my rock climbing skill is somewhere between pathetic and nonexistent. I had to crawl and scramble my way up, down and sideways while my companions practically hopped and skipped on the rocky trail with relative ease.
Then we got to the infamous Kiss the Wall, a short section where you’re literally face to face with a wall of rock. The only available foothold is about four inches wide and below that is a precipitous drop I’d rather not think about. In my case, I did not kiss the wall; I gave it a good head butt and damn, it was painful. My climbing buddy made a joke to lighten the mood and I snapped at him because my head was still throbbing and I wasn’t feeling very humorous. He became quiet after that, which made me feel terrible for snapping at him. I was one cranky jerk of a climber.
We got to the Peak of Deception at a few minutes past 10am and by then my grouchiness has subsided. We were so close now to the coveted summit. After a good rest, we pushed on into more rocky terrain. The final hurdle before the summit was a vertical section that I just couldn’t scale on my own. My climbing buddy anchored my right foot with his hand and Sir Joey pulled me up to safety.
A few more steps on a trail of shrubs and dwarf trees and Hallelujah, we were on the highest peak of Mt. Guiting-Guiting. Total trekking time: 3 hours and 40 minutes.
We sat around and waited, hoping for a clearing but the mountain was determined to hide itself and the thick clouds were adamant on staying. We had lunch in the summit campsite, which we learned became the subject of a case in the local DENR office. Apparently, the cutting of trees to make room for the campsite was done without the approval of the DENR. As a result, the traverse route was closed and the area can’t be used be for camping at this time (as of May 2012).
After lunch, we hung around for a few more minutes but there was still no luck of a clearing. Guiting-Guiting was generous enough to allow us to reach its summit safely but it wasn’t too keen on giving us a view. Still, the experience of setting foot on G2’s highest peak was more than enough of a reward in itself. For someone who grew up with weak lungs and wobbly knees, who spent her childhood being sickly and battling asthma attacks, the accomplishment of climbing a mountain, any mountain, will always be something special. For someone like me to actually climb Guiting-Guiting all the way to the summit was nothing short of mind-blowing and it’s something I’ll always be thankful for.
At a few minutes past noon, we started our way back to Mayo’s Peak. The descent was just as tough as climbing up and took just as long. We got lucky though; Mabel’s Spring, a seasonal water source on the summit trail, blessed us with sufficient water supply to fill all our containers.
We reached Mayo’s Peak at 4pm and got another unexpected water source while having dinner: a moderate rainfall that lasted well into the night. Sir Joey laid out our pots and pans to collect rainwater and by morning, we had enough water for breakfast and for the trek back down.
While the two guys capped off dinner with another round of gin, I adhered to my self-imposed liquor ban. Guiting-Guiting was making a teetotaler out of me but I didn’t mind. For a mountain this beautiful, I’d give up all the alcohol in the world (although maybe I could still have a beer, please?).
- Maladies and Malaise on Mt. Kanlaon (Part 2) (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day Two (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day Four (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Epilogue, Lessons Learned and a Million Other Things I Want to Say (misadventuresoftintin.com)