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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mt. Halcon

Mt. Halcon in Baco, Oriental Mindoro

On the way to Calapan Pier
Mt. Halcon is one of the dream hiking destinations among outdoor enthusiast, located in the Philippines, and serves as the natural boundary between two provinces - the Oriental and Occidental sections of Mindoro. It is considered as one of the toughest mountains to conquer in the Philippines, boasting of its 9/9 difficulty tagging (as rated by Pinoy Mountaineer site.) It has been closed for about 10 years for some unclear reasons - and being provided with a chance to climb this mountain is a certain a once in a lifetime opportunity. The most important thing before climbing this mountain is to secure a permit, and we're lucky enough to have it arranged by Ma'am Jane from Conquer Outdoor Equipment.
Touchdown Calapan Pier

Securing Permit
Day 0

0700 Assembly Jam Pasay
0800 ETD Manila-Batangas Pier
1100 ETA Batangas Pier
1200 ETD Batangas Pier-Calapan Mindoro
1430 ETA Calapan Mindoro
1500 Take Tricycle to Pure Gold (buy supplies)
1530 Take Jeep going to Mayabig
1630 ETA Mayabig (arrange guide and porters)
1700 Dinner, prepare breakfast and packed lunch
1900 Rest in Brgy. Hall

Day 1
0300 Wake-up Call, Breakfast
0500 Stretching (pray before climb)
Rest (gaining energy)
0530 Start Trek
0600 Fisrt water sourc
0700 ETA Mangyan Village
1200 Lunch on trail
1300 Resume trek
1500 ETA Aplaya campsite. pitch tent, prepare dinner
1800 Dinner, prepare breakfast and packed lunch
1930 Mini socials (get to know)
2030 Lights out

Day 2
0400 Wake-up call, breakfast, break camp
0530 Start Trek
0630 Dulangan River, River crossing
Municipal of Baco
1000 Early lunch on trail
1000 Resume trek
1100 Balugbog Baboy
1130 Mag asawang Ilog
1200 Big waterfalls (last water source)
1300 Durungawan Campsite, pitch tent, rest a bit. (lead pack)
1445 ETA of 2nd batch
1500 Lead pack summit assault
1600 Mini forest
1630 Knife edge
1700 Summit (diving board)
1730 Start descend
1900 ETA campsite, Dinner
2000 Lights out

Day 3
Start Trek
0400 Wake-up call, breakfast, break camp
0530 Start Trek 2nd batch
0900 Start descend
1000 Big waterfalls
1030 Mag asawang Ilog
1100 Balugbog Baboy Lunch on trail
1300 Dulangan Campsite, pitch tent, rest a bit (Siesta)
1400 Take a dip (dulangan river)
1600 Prepare dinner
1700 Dinner, prepare packed breakfast, lunch
1900 Lights out

Day 4
0400 Wake-up call, breakfast, break camp
Heading to Mangyan Village
0530 Start Trek
0600 Cross major river
0700 ETD Aplaya campsite (re-group)
0830 Resume trek
1100 Early lunch on trail
1200 ETA Mangyan Village
1300 ETA Mayabig, wash-up
1600 ETA Calapan Pier
1900 ETA Batangas Pier
2300 ETA Manila

Mangyan Village
Wild Boar
We saw a post regarding a Mt. Halcon event at Conquer shop, and we immediately secured our slots by paying for our reservation fees knowing that there will only be limited participants. This is our first time to join another group, as we usually climb mountains organized by me. We decided to join this adventure as it will definitely generate fame knowing that none of our friends were able to climb this mountain yet. (just joking), but seriously we wanted to climb this mountain to try something new, something different, something hardcore, hahaha!!! We just wanted to experience testing our limits, to level up, to conquer our thrill for more adventure, and to mingle with others. Months of preparation has never been so easy - we had three consecutive weeks of tune up climbs, badminton every free time, and endless jogging.
Bubbles - Dog Climber
embracing the leeches
Our day started at 7AM along Jam Liner Pasay, heading to Batangas Pier. After 2 hours of travelling. we transferred to RORO going to Calapan Pier. We took our packed lunch and rest a bit. We arrived at Calapan Pier around 4PM and transferred to a tricycle going to Puregold to replenish our food supply. Afterwards, we transferred again to a rented Jeep going to Sitio Mayabig. We dropped by at the Municipal of Baco to secure our permit, and then took a short briefing at Police Station. Afterwards, we headed to Mayabig and arrange our porter/guides for the next day's major activity.

Heading to Aplaya Campsite
Aplaya Campsite - Mt. Halcon as the background
panoramic view of Aplaya Campsite
Day 2 - Start a day with a prayer
Day 1 - We started trekking around 5:40 AM. The first hour was not that easy as the trail is starting to turn from mild to gradual. After the first water source, we were welcomed by aggressive leeches, making this climb more thrilling and exciting.

 We reached the Mangyan village around 7:00 AM and waited for the rest of the group. We resumed our trek around 8:00 AM. We encountered various groups along the trail, some who started their trail in Lantuyan. Some of them came from Cebu.

River Crossing - Dulangan River
Chilling time - Regroup
Lead pack - Summit assault

We reached the Aplaya Campsite around 2:00 PM as fog covered the mighty Halcon. We pitched our tents and rest for a bit while waiting for the rest of the group. Around 4:00 PM. Mt. Halcon welcomed us - from that point, it made me realize how difficult it is to reach the summit. The weather is good and the food was compensated with an astonishing view of the surroundings. We had a great "getting to know each other" activity - Mini Socials. Not long after, it's lights out, time to recharge for a Big day.

almost there
The "Knife Edge" of Mt. Halcon
Sea of Clouds
The Conquerors Batch 2 (pic credits to sir jerry)
Day 2 - Wake-up call 4:00 AM. We found it hard waking up, not to mention the cold weather. We ate our breakfast and immediately broke camp. The group was then divided into two batch. From the aplaya campsite we need to descent and cross Dulangan River. Amazed by its pristine crystal water, we had to stop for a quick photo ops and enjoy the scenery. Our group then continued the trek. The trail is more difficult, with the surrounding filled with slippery roots, steep assaults continuous uphills that elevates to up to 80-90 degree at some point. The terrain's certainly ain't getting any easier. We passed by several streams, rocky cliffs, and path that is almost muddy the whole time. There's water source everywhere, which makes the climb more lighter as we won't need to stock plenty of water in our bags. We reached Karawayan Campsite as early as we expected.
The Conquerors Batch 1
OT rocks!
One Love!
panoramic view from the summit
the Famous "Diving Board" of Halcon
To maximize our time, first batch decided to have a summit assault (sunset viewing) with permission from the Support team, while the 2nd batch will have their summit assault early morning. It is more convenient to trek "Knife Edge" without our heavy bags. As we entered the ridge, our excitement heightened when we saw a glimpse of scenery along the trail as we go higher. We were all captivated by the beauty in front of us. God really has His perfect timing, we're so glad He gave us more than we expected - a wonderful view at the summit. This kind of bulky clouds is something we hoped we would get in all our trips to Mt. Pulag, but never came, and here He showered it all - so much thankful and blessed. I'm so in love! Glad to end our second day with the superb view of the summit.
Siluet shot from the summit
favorable weather
panoramic view from knife edge
Day 3 - the 2nd batch pushed through with their summit assault, and we're happy to know they also have clearing the same as what we have yesterday. Overall, it was a successful climb for us. Camped near Dulangan River.

Day 4 - last day of expedition. We started our trek around 6:00 AM as we continued with our journey - endless walks, where from time to time we had to be more careful with our steps. There's no safe trail, and we thank God for a nice weather throughout our adventure. The sunset view that we had is breathtaking!

Sunset - superb view
knife edge

M' Lenie, & Joana with our porters/guide

This is what I've learned with the mountains - to keep moving forward, even if it's painful and as if the journey is endless. Just keep making little steps, and eventually you'll notice that you're slowly reaching your goal. No turning back, just pray and He will do His part. This is the climb that truly pushed us to our limits, at the same facing our fears and extending our experience of the outdoors. I enjoyed the magnificent view, the perfect weather and the relaxing ambiance.

Halcon - rich in water source
Mangyan Village
I would like to take this opportunity to say  Thank You to all the people behind this expedition - to my OT family and friends for their prayers, to our family who supported us, to our guide/porters who helped and assisted us, and to Conquer Outdoor Equipment for a well-organized, safe, wonderful and comfortable first time experience of conquering Mt. Halcon! 

What an exhausting but still very memorable adventure. New friends, awesome people! Until we meet again Conquerors! #kupalclimbthebest
It's a "Dream Climb True"! =)
Top Load
Sweet Success - Ended with a smile on their faces
The Conquerors - Group picture (pic credits to sir Jerry)

Mt. Halcon Video <------

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  1. Holy crap! Beautiful Mt. Halcon.
    Inggit ako sobra! totally amazing.
    congrats Sir :)

  2. "To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life." - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    Two thumbs up to you and your fellow "Conquerors" !!!

    Mt. Halcon is indeed a beauty.

  3. Nice article. Napakaganda ng Halcon. I congratulate you all guys for reaching the summit.
    I know the feelings. Its really rewarding. We travel for fulfillment.
    Kudos sa author.. Thank you for sharing your adventure.

  4. Congrats guys.. Hardcore! :)

  5. Thanks Mga Sir at Ma'am

    Keep exploring :)

  6. Awesome Mt. Halcon! Wonderful sea of clouds!

  7. the mighty Halcon

    ang ganda nya superb!!!