I cant remember the exact year when I set my foot to Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas, perhaps it’s four or five years ago. All I can remember is that it was during my college days with my classmates who became my friends. They are the people I’ve been hanging out with since God-knows-when. We went there after Pong, a friend of mine, had their hike there and he decided to celebrate his birthday at the mountain. It was semester break so everyone had the chance to go. We were all excited back then. We gathered up at Robinsons, the famous mall that time in Lipa at around 3PM. He even brought his pet monkey, Mai Mai, who hates girls for whatever reason. I cant recall if we took a bus or jeepney going Cuenca. Upon arrival, we walk a long street, which I forgot the name. Upon asking some locals they direct us to the small store to register our names. Its a safety measure to easily track us just in case something happens. They gave us their contact number upon paying the registration fee of P5 per head. Since we do not have our tour guide, we only rely on Pong’s memory. As I’ve said, he was been there a week before our hike.
Its almost 4PM so we need to hurry before darkness cover our way up. After seeing the sign that says “To Mt. Maculot”, my feet started to walk fast. There is a small store that sells bottled water and snacks near the foothill. Before we start the walk, we uttered a prayer for a safe journey. On our way, Liza, accidentally slipped down in a slope after stepping a stone. The way is a little bit rocky so be careful with your every step. I thought that incident will gonna end our hike. She was hurt so bad. But she decided to continue bearing her aching chest. Some paths are tricky. Pong even got confused which way to go. Good thing there were children collecting firewood that time and pointed out the right way to go. Going up is a little bit tiring. Good thing there are wooden benches and dilapidated nipas to rest along the way. We stopped to catch our breath in every bench we see. We even took our chance to have some pictures, without noticing that we were running out of time and the sky was getting darker and darker.
As we were getting close to the top, we were amused with the fascinating view overlooking the town. After a few more step, it was around 6PM, we reached the campsite and there were campers from Manila with their tent. As for our group, we have none. We are not really mountaineers. We just brought whatever we pulled off from the closet. We have no enough water to drink. Some of us were not in the proper clothes. Our dinner was prepared by Pong since it was his birthday. That night we made a bonfire to protect ourselves from the cold weather while drinking lambanog (ORGY, grapes and bubblegum flavor). And unfortunately, the rain suddenly fell. Good thing I ask everyone to bring a sack. That’s what we used to cover ourselves from the drizzles. Thanks as well to that dilapidated nipa hut where we spent the whole night. We really had fun and thrill sharing scary stories.
The next morning, the boys went to Rockies, that’s how they call that part of the mountain, its a rocky cliff. The girls didn’t dare to join us because its quite hard for them to climb a dangerous trail. They preferred to stay in the viewing deck instead made by AFP. There’s even some words engrave in the stone which I cant recall. Jayson described the narrow trail as “one miss, you die!” because you might fall a deep ravine once you take a wrong step. I can even recall how I was able to go there, walking slowly in a half-stand or squatting position. After reaching the cliff, we were welcome by the sun rising up the sky. It was a great view up there. You can see Taal Lake and other nearby islands. Worth it every step we made. We can even see the girls waving their hands on the other part. Unfortunately only one of us had a camera that run out of battery after 2 shots. At least we had our souvenir photo taken.
We went home safely and complete. That hiking made our friendship even more stronger. And indeed, its another memory of friendship that will surely retain in my memory. Hopefully, next time we are prepared enough with the right mountaineering equipment. lol!