Sunday, May 3, 2015

Misadventures in Mt. Puting Bato

To celebrate a year of dating and loving, Jan and I decided to climb Mt. Puting Bato - Samal Island's highest peak. Just so you know, Mt. Puting Bato is only 1,755 ft above sea level. It's not that high but this is where I was able to put into heart what other experienced mountaineers always remind me: Never underestimate a mountain.

Now let me tell you about a misadventure that took place on the first day of May that could've cost our lives. Okay, I am just exaggerating. But yes, it could have, if we aren't really prepared and smart enough to outwit trouble.

Our plan was to hike Mt. Puting Bato via Tayapoc trail because basing from our research, it is only a 30-minute hike but steeper compared to Guilon trail which is a 2-hour easy ascent. We, of course, chose the shorter trail to save time as we still have other places to go to.

We started hiking at 1:30pm and reached the peak by 2pm. Just in time. But when we got there, it is not the same Puting Bato that I have climbed about ten years ago. It looks totally different. But the view that was set before us is just the same. Beautiful. Breathtaking. And the feeling of freedom that comes from scaling heights, I think, is the the only thing that doesn't change over time.
Mt. Puting Bato, Samal Island 

Mt. Puting Bato, Samal Island
We had the mountain all to ourselves. While everyone was hitting the beach, we spent our time getting awed by the view around us. And the very highlight of this hike were the eagles soaring near us. We saw not just one, but three! It's not something you see everyday. Not in Davao, to say the least.
Mt. Puting Bato, Samal Island
Eagles. Pardon the quality. This is the best my humble phone can give.
By 3:30pm, we started to descend and decided to take the Guilon trail instead since it's nearer our next destination, which is Hagimit Waterfalls. And since we were able to descend a 5-hour climb at Mt. Parker in just a span of an hour and a half, this should be easy. Or so I thought.
Mt. Puting Bato, Samal Island
Taking a selfie while Jan contemplates what he has gotten himself into.
I thought I still know the trail going down. Turns out that the big change of the mountain's appearance since the first time I climbed it way back just made me as confused as Jan who's a first-timer there. In short, WE GOT LOST. We've been walking in circles, going back trail, ending up in dead ends, and getting more confused as trails started crossing one another the further we go. We thought of going back to where we ascended, but we've already gone too far and darkness started looming in.
Mt. Puting Bato, Samal Island

What do we do? Since GPS doesn't work in situations like this, we started looking for signs of life, in hopes to ask for directions. Unfortunately, we found no one. All we can do was to trust our instincts. We trekked further, and seeing a water source made my hopes up. You know what it means? Civilization must be near. We followed the water pipe and voila! A human! You should know how happy I was to see another human other than Jan. We're safe now. Or so I thought.

We asked for directions, graciously thanked the lady, and rushed down the trail. The descent was more difficult than I expected. Cogon grasses started to slash my legs. One thorny bush succeeded and left me with this:

All the more, the steep trail was slowing down our pace. And we're trying to beat time here. We needed to get out of the mountain before total darkness comes. The descent took us more or less 3 hours and all the while I was thinking, a trail like this can't be hiked in 2 hours as what other bloggers say about Guilon trail. Are we really on the right track? 

If I didn't know better, I'd say we're lost again. I mean, yes, I know for sure we're lost but the view of the sea below is already visible from the point we were standing on. That means, we're almost near the foot. We continued trekking, going up and down, and sometimes going through a trail less traveled as there are no visible signs of it getting trekked on, still following the direction of the sea. As the sight of the coastal road is getting clearer, I breathed a sigh of relief.

At about 6:30 pm, we finally made it!

But aren't we supposed to be in Guilon? Apparently, we are not.

Stay tuned for part 2. I'll be off to SM for now. Pacquiao-Mayweather bout is happening in a few hours. I'm not missing it for this. Haha. See you on my next post. :)


  1. Hi sar, nag addu nrsg ka? U look familiar =) may signal sa bundok? Need to bring fon kc may lpg delivery business. Balak ko damay asawa ko sa plano ko akyat puting bato, both of us no hiking experience. May trail nman pra d kmi mwala? Planning to take the 30min route

    1. Yes, addu nursing ko. Kinsa ni? And yes, may signal doon. If you will hike via the 30 minute trail, di ka mawawala as long as dun ka din bababa. :)


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