Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wild Boar Taking A Bus, Baguio, Philippines

23 January 2009

I was waiting for a bus to Ambangeg in the Slaughterhouse Terminal, Baguio blisfully having a doughnut and coffee when I heard a sharp maniacal sound. People turned their head into one direction and it piqued my interest. Behind a bus, I saw three men stooping over a large black body on the ground. I went nearer and I saw on the ground a huge wild boar! The men were tying its legs and later hauling it up onto the roof of the bus.

Only in Baguio!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mt Pulog (2922m), Luzon, Philippines, 24 January 2009

Mt Pulog at 2922m is the second highest mountain in the Philippines and the highest in Luzon island. I took the easy Ambangeg route and reached the summit at 5.30am on 24 January 2009.

From Baguio, the bus (P72) took 3 hours to reach Ambangeg (Am-bang-nge). I registered with Mt Pulog National Park and had to pay a registration fee of P780 and watch a 15 minutes orientation video. After the registration, climbers could hike the 10km uphill trail (3-4 hours) to the Ranger Station or hire a motorcycle to take you up in 40 minutes. I chose the later (P300 return).

The ranger greeted me and offered a room for P20. After making arrangement with a guide (P500) to start the hike at 2am, I proceeded to make myself comfortable, doing a short tour of the village and the farm. I saw a few jeepneys and found out that they were hired from Baguio by a group of climbers who were already in Camp 2. The Ranger Station had a ‘comfort room” and cooking area and they obliged me with a flask of hot water when I asked for it.

The hike to the summit wasn’t especially difficult. It was actually a gradual climb to the summit through mossy forest and grassland. At the beginning it was very warm (with my layers of clothing) but later it began to get very cold especially when the thick fog came in. We reached Camp 2 after 2 hours and after a 30 minutes rest, we started our climb again. Camp 2 was already inside the grassland area and the trail was narrow and muddy. The climb to the summit took 1.5 hours.

Reaching the summit was an anti-climax. The fog was thick and wet. Strangely, the summit had a cluster of dwarf bamboos with maze like openings that allow hikers to hide from the cold wind. I sat there waiting for the sun to rise and hopefully for a warmer weather. No such luck.

After snapping a few photographs, I started my hike back to the Ranger Station at 7am and reached there at 9.05am. My motorcycle driver came at around 10am to take me down to Ambangeg because the bus from Kebayan towards Baguio will arrive around 1pm. I did not want to miss that bus.

The next day I hired a taxi to take me to Mt Santo Thomas (2220m). It was a nice way to have a good view of Baguio and the surrounding mountains.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Gunung Datuk (884m), Rembau, Negri Sembilan, 11 January 2009

I was invited to present a paper in Sidang Warga Gunung on January 10-11 2009

Steep trail to the summit

Dr Najie and Ahmad Nadir

Climbing up the ladder to get to the top of the huge boulders

The group at the summit

I went to attend Sidang Warga Gunung, an event organised by Gunung Online internet forum on 10-11 January 2009 at the foothill of Gunung Datuk in Rembau, Negri Sembilan. After presenting a paper entitled " Ekspedisi Luar Negara : Impian atau Kenyataan", my fellow presenter Ahmad Nadir Askandar, Lt. Kol. Commander Kamal Arifin and 4 other participants took a bit of time away from the conference hall and climbed Mt Datuk.

It was my third time climbing Datuk and it had not changed one bit. It took roughly an hour to reach the summit. There were many people there and we had to practically queue to climb the huge boulders to be at the actual peak. It was windy and cloudy but it felt great looking out from the summit at the vast landscape below all the way into Malacca.

This is my first mountain summit for the year 2009.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mountain Adventure 2008

Here is the list of mountains I climbed in 2008

1. Kinabalu 4095.2m Sabah, Malaysia
2. Meru 4566m Arusha, Tanzania
3. Kilimanjaro 5895m Moshi, Tanzania
4. Merapi 2950m Central Java, Indonesia
5. Merbabu 3142m Central Java, Indonesia
6. Tebu 1037m Terengganu, Malaysia
7. Yong Yap 2168m Perak, Malaysia
8. Arjuno 3339m East Java, Indonesia
9. Welirang 3156m East Java, Indonesia
10.Fansipan 3143m Sapa, Vietnam
11.Bintang 1862m Kedah, Malaysia

I will try to add the log later.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First Time

This is my first posting. I'm thrilled!