Sunday, July 19

Weekday Warriors' Journey to Mt. Hapunang Banoi

If you love rocks and boulders and you have the adrenaline for heights and big drops, this is your mountain. 80% rock scrambling, 20% trail over forest and agricultural lands, no way for you  to run anymore except the few meters after the hanging bridge, the community  to the forested area before the ascend to Uling Wall.

At one of the view deck on the way to the peak of Mt. Hapunang Banoi. Photo credit to Coach Jon Las Bruce.

The 3rd peak after Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamitinan that has a close proximity within the area of Sitio Wawa, I can say this is the eldest among the 3.  Mt. Hapunang Banoi is the highest when it comes to elevation, the longest when it comes to distance, a longer ridge at the top  that one has to traverse over boulders and rocks with big drops in between at some parts before finally reaching the peak. Of the 3 mountain peaks, this is the most challenging and the most treacherous (at least for me). A total body work out.

Last week's adventure on the rainy day at Mt. Binacayan, Mt. Pamitinan and Sition Simano, it was just a right decision not to scale this mountain anymore. Aside from the fact that it took us almost 3 hours to go up this time, well of course that includes the many picture taking that we did and a little exploration that our Trail Master and Lead, Mountain Goat Sir Joseph Sibal, the rock scrambling part is just to treacherous to do on a rainy day. It will be too slippery. It was even sketchy on this day when it did not rain, the trail and boulders are dry, all the more when it is raining. 
Hold on tight. It's a little bit dangerous. Photo credit to Joseph Sibal.

This is an out and back route (for there is no trail yet after the peak that continue to the other side of the mountain). We left Sitio Wawa without our local friend, Prof. Eric. He has school work to finish. So with my two friends who are  local from Rizal too and this place has become their playground as well, we left bringing with us our experience in mountain climbing and trail running. The three of us new to this mountain, we will just follow the trail where ever it will lead us.  It has the same jump off that of Mt. Pamitinan, and will have the same trail up to the saddle that separates to two peaks. Reaching the saddle after the Uling Wall, one has to go to the left side, that trail starts the way going to Mt. Hapunang Banoi.

Can I get a ride? Photo credit to Coach JLB
We are blessed with perfect weather, a little overcast but no rain at all. From the covered area on a forested part, it slowly goes up to the short agricultural land then goes to the side of the mountain where a kaingin part starts then goes up until we started going through the rocks and boulders. Until we catch up with the first group of climbers who went ahead of us. They were at the first view deck. Thank goodness of their presence, we come to know as well were to stop and get a good spot of ourselves to enjoy too.

The first view deck was a vertical wall of around 4 meters high, our friend Sir Joseph finds it at home on this very wall, making it just very easy for him to reach the top, go to the other side of the rock formation and going down with so much ease as if his shoes has some mighty bond that sticks to the rock face while me and Coach JLB has difficulty clinging to the wall going up on the other side. We ended on one surface with big crack not even standing at the top most. Going down is another story.

Get a right hold. Photo credit to Sir Otep.
We continue on, really there were more rock scrambling, hopping from one boulder to the other and more parts where gaps in between rocks are even wider that at some point with our mountain goat friend Sir Joseph way ahead of us, me and Coach JLB just thought of staying at one spot as we are stucked at one part where a very big gap is un-passable to do until the other group catch up with us and showed us how it is being done. Funny, how easy it is to look at them how to cross it yet we find it challenging to do. Sir Joseph ended coming back for us and helping us cross that section by extending his hand to us.

We finally reach the summit where I thought  was impossible for me to reach, thanks to the encouragement of Sir Joseph the other hikers. The view on the top was fantastic. We went back on the same route we did going up, this time still with extra care not to injure ourselves. I thank the mountain gods for a safe passage and allowing us to see the beauty of the place. One fine day on this beautiful mountain peak. Amazing to know of my 15 years of climbing and trekking there are still peaks like this on this area.

These 3 mountain peaks as I mentioned on my previous report, is a very good mountain to practice if one is planning to climb Mt. Guiting Guiting. More so if you are a rock and boulder enthusiast who loves a life hanging on the cliff on more than 500MASL. Go for this mountain.

I am scared of heights, the very reason why I went into rock climbing. It is to overcome that fear. I may love the rock formations but do not put me high above it, it will take me a while to really convince myself to do it. On this very journey after a long time of not doing rock climbing, it brought me back to that fear again. But one thing I always put in my mind as I was in that situation, I have to focus, concentrate, overcome my fear, do not let my fear eat my self but rather just trust, enjoy the moment, and relax enjoy the beauty of nature. This very adventure is just like life, it is not a smooth journey but worth the experience. It is one adventure to be enjoyed. 

Another mileage covered, battle scars added. Happy feet with a healthy soul. Our journey to H1 continues. 

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