Friday, September 14, 2012

Beacheneering Mt. Daguldol & Laiya

Climbing Mt. Daguldol generally starts with a beach-walk along the coast of Laiya Beach in San Juan Batangas. Online write ups suggest that one has to register in Barangay Hall of Hugom just few walks away from the resort of La Luz but I suggest one must go directly to Sitio Biga where a woman administers the registration of climbers and local mountain guides can be hired for 350 pesos. From the foot of the mountain, one can reach the summit in two hours and can descend from there in one hour (depends on your pacing). You may opt to side-trip to Naambon Falls by following a branching trail that goes downwards few minutes away from the jump off point or just go directly to the beautiful beach of Laiya where one can explore the rocky shore of La Luz Beach resort or enjoy the sand by beach-walking in front of several resorts like Palm Beach resort, Blue Coral, Virgin Beach resort etc. The seashore is a long stretch of very light brown sands and it may take you three hours or more to walk the whole stretch of Laiya beach. Sightseeing is not as grand as one might expect but the experience of hiking around a seascape as beautiful as this is much different compared to other hiking destinations in Batangas.

Here’s how I did my solo hike to summit of Mt. Daguldol. It all started with a beach getaway planned by my officemates. At first, I wasn’t interested about it because swimming and snorkeling are not my favorite activities in the outdoors until I found out thru browsing the internet that at the end part of Laiya is a barangay named Hugom which is also documented to be the jump off point in climbing the low elevated mountain. Considered as a minor climb destination, I thought I could just run up and down this mountain while my officemates do their snorkeling. So there, our hired van brought us to Laiya and we stayed at a cheap resort named Moonlight Beach resort. At around 8000 pesos, the three air-conditioned rooms accommodated more or less 17 people. It included cottage where groups can do their drinking and karaoke session, a fridge, kitchen and grill. We checked-in in the afternoon and checked out before 1 PM on the following day. Given this time restraints, I knew I had to rush my so-called solo beacheneering.
Mt. Daguldol seen from Laiya
First day, I did my solo beach walk going to the direction of La Luz beach resort. There are crowded and music-filled parts of the beach like in front of Blue Coral and La Luz while some parts are peaceful and quiet particularly those in front of the private properties and expensive resorts. At the back of the beaches are the towering land forms of Mt. Daguldol. Believe it or not, walking on the beach is harder than climbing the mountain. Every footstep on the sand digs deep and that makes it difficult to move faster. Every step I did was like trudging on ankle-deep mud.
Laiya, San Juan Batangas
I spent like two hours walking along this beach. At the rocks of the La Luz beach resort I had a short talk with a soya drink seller who informed me that no one except customers is allowed to walk in front of the expensive resorts. I wonder why – I was just walking and not swimming. The sunset was missing and I believe that is because we’re on the east side of Batangas. Good thing the blue sky showed up despite being cloudy. The sky always has something to do with the way I feel about outdoors. A good weather on an outdoor weekend always puts a big smile in my heart.
Laiya, San Juan Batangas
On the following day, I woke up like 5AM and had a quick breakfast. Knowing that no one wanted to join me in this quick hike, I knew every thing will happen the way I planned it – which is to hike as quickly as possible. I went to the street and waited for a tricycle. For 30 pesos, I took the ride to Barangay Hugom. The barangay hall was still closed and I couldn’t wait any longer so I decided to go ahead on my own. I passed by inside La Luz resort; walked on the coastal trail going to Palm Beach and Naambon resort; asked the campers on the beach where to get a local mountain guide but the one I asked didn’t know. She told me they had to abort their hike due to rain the night before. I went inside the sitio; I didn't fine anyone to ask so I chanced upon a foot path that seems like a mountain trail. I went through it and I went upward and upward until I thought I found a landslide that blocked the trail. I didn’t want to abort the hike so I pursued climbing the landslide and found out that it isn’t a landslide.
There’s an ongoing destruction on top of the landslide I thought! Thank God! I finally found a local whom I asked about Mt. Daguldol. He directed me to a house where I can register my name and get a guide. It was already 7:20 AM when I actually started trekking Mt. Daguldol. I asked my guide to set the pace and make it as fast as possible because I need to get back before 10AM.
Jump off point in climbing Mt. Daguldol
At first, I didn’t find anything that grabbed my attention except the many bottles of mineral water and alcoholic beverages in the resting stations. My paranoia tells me some climbers will ask why I didn’t pick the trashes instead of talking and blogging about it. I’d say I didn’t collect the trashes simply because why would I suffer my own time and itinerary just because some irresponsible people are leaving their trashes on the mountain. I plead to the self-righteous readers to understand that I climbed up Mt. Daguldol because I’m not a beach bum and please don’t expect me to do a solo clean up climb.

Halfway on the trail, Michael, my mountain guide (pronounced as May-kol)  borrowed my pole. We encountered an aggressive small snake that was about to attack. Luckily, I was doing solo-but-guided hike. He saw the small black snake exactly on the foot trail. He killed it using my trekking pole before I knew it. I asked him why. He told me there are unaggressive snakes which you can just shoo away but when a snake is about to attack on you, you must kill it then. That’s the sad part about climbing. Sometimes your aim to successfully reach the summit of a mountain may lead to killing a wild animal. This is just an example of the impact a climber can cause to a mountain. Think about it, I was climbing solo and my guide had to kill a snake. What more if you’re climbing together with a massive number of participants? How much impact can that cause? I plead to you not to just think about it but please do something about it. I hope by blogging I can tell people that the mountaineering community is not happy about high impact climbing and they do not condone it even if you make it look like a good-deed climb like tree planting and clean up climbs. Massive climbing will indeed leave an equally massive impact.

They said karma is a bitch and that just happened right after a snake got killed. I had three cramps on my left leg and one cramp on my right. It was painful. Not everybody believes in karma but I do. Once a negative deed is thrown out into the universe, it will return at you in the same negative way. Despite the pain I had in my legs, I continued my desire to reach the summit and I successfully did after two hours.
The Quixotic Hiker at the campsite of Mt. Daguldol
First, I saw the swine-spine campsite. It was like a grazing land. After more walking in the summit, I was rewarded with a more beautiful view – a sea of mountains. I was told to go up further to witness the view of the sea from above and then I did. The campsites are really huge and I remember how my guide described to me how crowded it became the week before (due to long weekend). I was running up and down. I sit at one rock and had myself pictured. My inner monologues were telling me – Laiya & Daguldol that were once part of my ambitious adventures can now be stated the other way around – these are now part of my adventurous ambitions that were brought to an end.

I descended the mountain without stopping (I only had a minute of rest after I got my fourth and final leg cramp) and reached the jump off point in roughly one hour.

When I asked my guide about the fastest way I can go back to our resort, he said ride a boat and without hesitation I said yes please give me a boat ride. While consuming my halo-halo refreshment, he was already looking for a boatman. After 10 minutes of eating halo-halo, I went to the beach to wash my muddied leg and shoes with seawater. Then, I got in the boat and then headed back to Moonlight Beach Resort. Another not-so-solo adventure has been completed. Shown below is a picture of La Luz Beach taken while sailing back to our resort. 
La Luz Beach Resort
My Timeline – Sept 2
Since we headed to Laiya via rented van, I cannot tell the instructions on how to go to Mt. Daguldol via public transportation. I’d rather redirect you to a co-blogger who hiked here in Mt. Daguldol and had his first climb. Please find his post in www.ivanlakwatsero.com

Below is my own hike timeline (Sept 1 – not included)

0500 – 0530 – Woke up, had breakfast at Moonlight Beach resort
0530 – 0600 – Trike to Brgy. Hugom, sadly waited for no one.
0600 – 0645 – Trek to Palm Beach resort, Sitio Biga
0645 – 0720 – Lost
0720 – 0920 – Register at Sitio Biga, trek to summit
0920 – 0920 – Reach summit of Mt. Daguldol, quick sightseeing
0920 – 1025 – Descent
1025 – 1035 – Halo-halo break
1035 – 1050 – Boat ride to Moonlight Beach resort
1050 – 1130 – Tidy up
1130 – 1200 – Lunch
1200 - 1200 – Checked out
1200 - 1400 – Proceed to San Pablo Laguna
1400 –1420 – Visited a church
1420 – 1520 – Ross & Grace Restaurant

Expenses

30 – Tricycle ride to Barangay Hugom from Moonlight Beach Resort
35 – Registration fee at Sitio Biga
350 – Mountain Guide fee
40 – Two fresh buko for me and my guide
30 – Two halo-halo for me and my guide
300 – Boat ride from Sitio Biga to Moonlight Beach resort
Little crab found in the beach of Laiya

5 comments:

Manong Unyol said...

NICE SIDETRIP SIR :)

Dee Quixotic said...

ahahaha... baligtad nga eh... yung bundok ang ginawa kong side trip.

lovemindanao said...

Id been to Laiya but not in Daguldol ... gamitin ko IT mo pag nakadalawa ako jan ... :)

trailblazingrunner said...

..nice article sir.. i'm planning to do a solo hike as well before the year ends & would like to borrow your itinerary..

mil said...

Nyc 1 sir! :)