Walk up a mountain

I went up a mountain yesterday then I ask myself what I've gotten myself into and before I knew it, it was time to go down.
but to be near the sky again made it all worth the trouble.

Marz Ren in Pakil, Laguna
We left for Pakil at quarter to 7 a.m. and got there at around 9 a.m. we were welcomed at a wood carving shop, whose name I forgot to ask. They looked liked they were well known around the town judging by the Anak TV trophies that they make. I personally liked their line of Plants VS Zombies carvings. They make great lawn plants and zombies.
With that, we started our walk up to the foot of the mountain of Ping-as.
From 9 to 11 a.m we walked up the mountain in variations of 45 degrees and 75 degrees inclination of nothing but mud and plants on a rocky- boulder filled path.
 It was pretty laborious trek till we got to the rest area where we had our lunch. It was like a picnic, having lunch with the folks from Pakil along with the red cross volunteers. (LtoR: Local guides, red cross volunteers)
We're made up of roughly 100+ students who were there for the tree planting activity. Yeah, it was a tree planting activity if I haven't mentioned that yet, I'll get to that in a little bit. In our pit stop we already had a beautiful view of Laguna Bay and a couple of interesting things like...

When I see things like this I think "this is better than poverty". I talked to our guide if there was any folk tales around the area and Kuya Dong (V.SJ) said it's usually the towns folks who live on the foot of the mountain who can tell me stories but as for the few (which you can count on your fingers) residents living on the mountains, there is only a tale about a Tikbalang, which he didn't bother sharing in detail.
Tikbalang / Tigbalang (Demon Horse) image from Wikipedia

After our breezy lunch we continued our walk towards the planting area. Every now and then me, Iya A. and Mojo J. would find something amusing along the trail. I particularly took note of how the horses there were small and thus names them "Kabayolets". Except for one which looked like a normal sized-wild horse, this one seemed restless so we continued the trait without bothering it.

At 1 o'clock we finally got to plant our seedlings in an open area which used to have elephant grass. No trees there.

After planting our seedlings our guides brought us to the view deck of Mt. Ping-as.

This is what 1,650 feet looks like *BOW*
I can't get over the fact that we walked 2 hours and this is all I can do to visualize how far the climb was from the view deck. (Check out our starting point!)
The view from the highway. This is where I took the picture (above) from

I sound like a brat, preaching HOW FAR of a walk it was but I enjoyed. If only I could write that in my resume - Walking skills "level 2". Who am I kidding? a real hiker could walk five times farther than that . From that experience I think I am among the few who wishes to come back here.

Some fun facts from Pakil I picked up a couple from Kuya Jay M.:
  • They're known for wood carving
  • The only woman to swim across Laguna Bay, Hyacinth Garcia (SP?) is from Pakil. (We bumped into her on our way down the mountain)
  • Kidlat Tahimik's short film Turumba (1983) features a religious practice of the same name
  • Arsenio Lacson's statue in Roxas Blvd. the man reading a newspaper was made a by a resident of Pakil
  • Their fiesta on May 28th or last Saturday of May if I researched correctly is called Ahunan sa Ping-as
The tree planting happened for a reason. Initially I had doubts about the area needing any more trees but on our way down Mt. Ping-as we saw a number of lumbered trees. These are the trees that we were replacing.
Mojo complaining about the illegally logged trees
I'm a bit torn over the fact that Pakil is a province known for wood-carvings and so as their neighboring town Paete.

So to not end on a bitter note I bought a couple of souvenirs for my buds.
Plants V.S. Zombies! Woot.

I would like to visit Pakil Laguna again. It is more than enough proof that the Philippines is beautiful.

Later Days, kids.

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