sobota, 18. januar 2014

Hiking In The Philippines

Born to be baka. Even if it's not my fault I still feel pretty much stupid. Just after I started my Cordilleras - Sierra Madre trekking (I wanted to call it Coast-To-Coast hike, but unfortunately I didn't start it on the west coast), I was on the road for maybe two hours, I wanted to snap a shot of Baguio, the city I was leaving. The camera was unresponsive. Batteries OK but nothing working. Crap. I know the drill, pictures or it didn't happen! Ah well, so it didn't happen that on the first day I made 27km and I didn't sleep near a river. Also, I didn't meet an old guy who wasn't curious about me and I didn't tell him that I'm going to Mt. Pulag. He was nice enough to not point to me exactly the mountain and he didn't give some more details about the hike. At the end he didn't want to know where I'll be going next and he wasn't horrified when I didn't tell him that probably I'll be going north. "Sir, on the north is territory of the Ifugao! They are still head hunters!"
Uh, hard to write like this. Let's pretend that it all happened. The guy kept warning me about the Ifugao and finally gave up, wishing me luck. Lucky for me I soon figured out - after a peek on the map - that I really don't have to go north, even my original plan was to go east. Trust me, it's not easy to plan a hike with only a 1:1 200 000 road map!
I stopped after finding a nice spot near a river, took a bath and did my laundry when I got visits. Two cute ten years old girls, Eleanor and Marguerita, came slowly across the river, started playing some 50 meters away from me, then slowly came closer and closer, until they crouched behind the nearest bush. Practically one meter away. After the initial "What's your name?" and "Where are you from?" I was pretty amazed at their knowledge of English. We went on for some time - ah yes, here I finally started lying as to where I'm from, to cut it really short I just say I'm from Italy - do I speak Tagalog, which languages I speak and so on, until something in Tagalog came from the other side of the bush. "Sorry girls, I really don't understand a word!" "She asked if you can give us some money." "No way girls. I'm not giving you a single peso."
To my surprise they didn't simply left. I was a bit sorry for being so sharp with them so I fished a bag of cookies from my food supplies and gave it to them. Which started a discussion about food. What do I eat, how do I eat? "Mostly cans" I told them. "What is cans?" So I showed them what a can is and explained that  cans is not a kind of food. And they wanted to be fed. "Are you girls hungry?" They looked each other and simply said "Not now. But for dinner we will be hungry." They may have been the best actresses on the world or they were simply being truthful. I didn't care. I gave them some tuna and squids, watching to give only cans without hot chilli peppers inside. Then they left. When they crossed the river they stopped on the opposite bank and turned to wave me a long good-bye. I slept well.
The second day I did only 21km, once missed a road, at noon in the middle of nowhere without a single drop of water, but it was a nice day, too. Could again sleep near a river. The third day I finally reached Mt. Pulag National Park Visitor's Center, payed the entrance and camping fees and had a cold shower. "You will need a guide." The fuck I need a guide? "You will need a guide." Just like that. The hell, I will think about it tomorrow, today I can't even reach the Ranger's House. "And they will tell you that you need a guide." "Aw just fuck off, if they will turn me away after I walked 50km to come here what do you think, that i will cry? That I will give up? As easy as I came as easy I can go." With this rude good-bye I left the Visitor's Center and headed toward the peak of Mt. Pulag. It was getting dark around 5PM when I passed the line of clouds and it was raining inside the clouds. With a strong wind. Freaking cold, too. I stopped at the altitude of about 2200 meters and found a sort of shelter under some pine trees. Again did only 21 km. Slept with clothes on, a blanket and the sleeping bag and I was uncomfortable. Not exactly cold but I woke up way more tired than I went to sleep. Before 7AM I passed through the last village on the route and there was hidden the Ranger's House. I tried to sneak by but I was seen (they were waiting for me, not joking). A guy came out running after me and shouting - what else? - You need a guide! "I don't need any guide, dude!" "If you have no guide you turn back!" Well, this far I came, here I give up. So I just turned and started walking back to the valley. But the little sucker was persistent. "You need a guide!" "What for?" "You get lost!" "No dude, you get lost and shut your trap!" "You need a guide! There are some nasty guys up there, very dangerous!" He was really annoying and on top of that he started talking nonsense. I stopped and turned to face him. "Are you only an idiot or are you also fucking blind? What the fuck do I need a guide? Don't you see where I'm going? I'm going BACK DOWN YOU IDIOT!" Luckily my shouting stopped him. In the end I didn't reach the peak of Mt. Pulag, but I consider it a technical defeat and not like I gave up. And back down, yes, about 1500 meters down, it took me six hours back to the valley and my knees were crying for the last five hours and half. In the afternoon? Back to almost 2000. All the time I was regretting not having a camera, but that day I was really depressed for not being able to take a picture of a big big sign saying: MT. PURGATORY JUMP-OFF POINT. What jump-off? It was in the middle of a pine forest, not a place for base jumping o paragliding! 33km done.
In the last two days I was wandering across the Cagayan Valley and made 75km - this is when you don't have to climb a freaking mountain every day - and mind me, I'm only following roads so I'm sure not to get lost. Today I will stay in Solano and tomorrow south east, I should reach some cave systems in three days.

Ni komentarjev:

Objavite komentar