Before the year ends, I thought I’d finally sit down and write about my adventures earlier this year. Last February, out of the blue, I decided to join a beginner’s day hike with Malaya International Outdoor Group. I found the group from Couchsurfing and joined their Facebook page. I wanted to travel more and experience backpacking. Joining an outdoor group seemed like a great first step to achieving that.
Around January, they posted an invite to an event for a beginner’s day hike to Mt. Tagapo. I was never attracted to mountain climbing because I’m more of a water activity person, but the word beginner caught my attention and after finding out you don’t need actual hiking gear for a day hike, I said to myself, “What the heck. I might as well try”.
Signing up for the hike was a spontaneous act on my part. I wanted to do something different and experience an adventure. At that time, my day job was working in an office two hours away from where I lived. Before that, I worked 6 days a week and my single day off wasn’t even enough time to recuperate. I was craving for a change in scenery and after being cooped up in our house for years and years, I finally decided it was time to explore.
One thing that held me back from going out is my lack of finances. I was earning minimum wage and could barely afford nice things, let alone travel. After finding out the day hike would barely cost Php500, I had to grab that chance. Take note that I haven’t had any physical activity for the longest time.
I was excited at the idea of climbing an actual mountain and meeting new people. I prepared a few days before the event and took the “things to bring” seriously. I bought things from the list I didn’t own yet. And when advised to bring 2 liters of water, I brought 3 because I drink more liquids than a normal person.
There was a bit of hesitation on my part because I have knee problems and hiking wasn’t ideal for me but I kept thinking it’s a small mountain anyway. Based on the itinerary it would only take us about two hours to reach the top. Easy peasy, right? Wrong!
When we started trekking the base of the mountain, I thought “Oh. This isn’t bad. I should pace myself. Breathe in, breathe out, and everything will be okay.” From what I was told was 1/4 of the way, my legs were already starting to hurt. My bag was also heavy with 3 liters of water, among other things. Fortunately for me, one of the participants decided she couldn’t take it any longer and wanted to go back to town. A guide was going with her and our leader Dan asked if he could take my bag down with him. I was asked to take only what I need for the duration of the hike — water, food for lunch.
Safe to say I underestimated this “day hike” and wanted to quit about maybe 5 times. I had to stop frequently to take a breather and pace myself but I endured. Side note: yes, I was wearing a sweatshirt/hoodie because I didn’t have any long sleeve shirt. Not the best idea really, but helped with covering my arms from the harsh heat of the sun.
I was glad we had a big break before we climbed from the “camp” to the summit. I had time to catch up with the others and time to breathe. Climbing to the summit was harder because it was steep and there’s nothing to hold on to except for tall wild grasses, which aren’t helpful at all. The hardship and body pain I felt while climbing to the top was soooo worth it. The view was amazing! It felt great to be up there and to achieve something I never thought I would ever do in my life.
I thought the trip down was going to be easier but it was not. I slipped going down the summit back to the camp. It wasn’t that bad. I almost lost balance a couple of times too. I had to be extra careful on my way down because I was feeling the stress on my knees. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT! This was an achievement and I levelled up in a way.
If you want to take the same trip we did, I included the information which I got from the event page.
Mt Tagapo Day Hike Itinerary
05:30 AM Call Time/Assembly Time
06:00 AM ETD from the Meeting Location
08:00 AM ETA Binangonan Port. Board the boat going to Brgy. Janosa.
08:30 AM ETD to Brgy. Janosa, Binangonan, Rizal
09:30 AM ETA in Brgy. Janosa Port. Arrange guide. Prepare to hike.
10:00 AM Start Trek
12:00 NN ETA in Mt. Tagapo’s Summit. Lunch.
01:00 PM Start Descent
03:00 PM ETA back in Brgy. Janosa. Wash-up.
04:00 PM ETD back to Binangonan Port
04:30 PM ETD back to Manila
07:00 PM Touchdown in Manila. Event ends.
Mt. Tagapo Administration Climbing Registration Fee: P20.00
Mt. Tagapo Local Guide Fee: 40.00 Pesos (800.00 / 20 Hikers = 40.00 Pesos)
Transportation: 210.00 Pesos (4200.00 Jeepney Rental / 20 Hikers = 210.00 Pesos) Jeepney Rental Fee from Manila to Binangonan, Rizal back and forth.
210.00 Pesos (4200.00 Jeepney Rental / 20 Hikers = 210.00 Pesos) Jeepney Rental Fee from Manila to Binangonan, Rizal back and forth.
100.00 Pesos (*2,000 (TENTATIVE) / 20 Hikers = 100.00 Pesos) Boat Rental Fee from Binangonan Port to Brgy. Janosa back and forth.
Food: Bring your own food.
Malaya IOG Group Fund: 50.00 Pesos
Additional Expenses: 20.00 Pesos – Event Miscellaneous Expenses. Will be saved to Malaya Group Fund if would not be used.
Grand Total: 440.00 Pesos per Person
*The expenses computation was based on the 20/pax projection for the event. The expenses may differ depending on the number of participants.
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Malaya IOG is a non-profit outdoor group. The funds raised are used for purchasing equipment which can be used during major climbs. There’s no registration fee required for joining the group, everyone is free to participate in any event. You only pay a small fee when you’re joining an event. The great thing is, you become an automatic member when you join an event.
We were supposed to have a side trip to the Angono Petroglyphs Museum, unfortunately it was closed when we arrived. 🙁
Have you ever been to My. Tagapo? Please tell me about your experience in the comments below. If you haven’t, are you planning to go any time soon? I can answer any question about it, if you have any.