Every adventure has it’s own unique way of surprises. May it be good or bad, it’s up to your group how you’ll handle it. Our hike to Napulauan is a perfect example of such case but kudos to our Team we managed to handle it with pure awesomeness. 😉
Good News 1: We all arrived on time.Bad News 1: Our driver is late.
As this is a DIY of 2 or 3 groups of common friends we just kept on waiting for our driver to arrived. Funny part is when we finally met him, he wasn’t aware of where we’re heading. He expected us to go to Battad/Barlig or the Mt. Amuyao route. After some clarification our leader gave him an instruction en route to Hungduan, Ifugao. It was a 7 to 8 hour ride from Cubao going to Ifugao. We’re still on track but with a slight delay but still our team managed to keep up. We had our quick breakfast at Garden Snack Hauz and Restaurant in Banaue, then headed to Hungduan where the jump off is.
We met our Tour Guide contact and stayed at their house while preparing for the start trek. We left some of our clothes in the van to lessen the weight of our belongings then off we go.
Bad News 2: The Rainy weather
There are scattered rainshowers throughout our hike. But this doesn’t stop us from going. It made our hike more challenging but we’re still thankful because the air breeze isn’t strong and still tolerable, as long as we keep moving, we don’t feel any chill. Our trek going to summit I could say is similar to Akiki Trail. A never ending ascend on a Mossy Forest until you reach the summit camp site. Expect everything in green as thick mosses blanket the trail. You’ll notice a healthy ecosystem as I’ve seen a very huge earthworm like that I ever saw in my life. Not to mention the leeches along the way which you really had to prepare. The trek is so tiring to be honest. But thanks to the cold weather I didn’t bring too much water this time. In fact I only have 1.7L of water going to the summit.
Good News 2: We reached the summit at approximately 5hrs.
It’s really a test of patience going to the summit. There no distinction whether you’re on the summit or not because the summit itself is surrounded with bonsai-like trees. We continued our way until we finally reached the top and see the skies.
Bad News 3: No clearing, unknown campsite
As we’re the first to reach the summit while our tour guide is trailing behind, we’re kind of discussing whether we start to pitch our tent or not. I tried to as much enjoy the view and took some photos while rain continuously drizzle. It made us felt chill so we tried to quick setup our tent risking that we might be pitching at the wrong place. Then our friend Randy arrived and stopped us from setting it up which made our tent damped. To cut the story short, yes we’re on the right spot. So we retried to setup again until we find ourselves crammed in the tent in search for some slight heat.
Good News 3: Early to Pitch, early to sleepGood News 4: First time to prepare dinner on my own! At the Summit!Bad News 4: No Socials!
We arrived at the camp site at past 2PM so we got plenty of time to rest. Right after drying of ourselves on our tent we started to lie down and quickly take a nap. I had my power nap of more than 2 hours. Just in time I woke up around 5PM to prepare our dinner. I still don’t know how to open a stove on my own. Good I have my tent mates help me out on proper water level for rice; open the stove; I just did the actual cooking. As we don’t want any complicated preparation, I just stick with Corned Beef, Rice and Spam. HAHAHA judge me I know all are processed already. Hopefully next time I can cook a decent one like a simple Adobe. Although I still prefer Hosted Meals for less load. HAHAHA Right after dinner rain didn’t stopped, we decided to sleep again. But mind you I personally woke up at 6AM the next day. That’s the longest sleep I got when I’m hiking. Although it’s not one whole straight sleeping hours, I was awake in between because I felt cold, and my muscles are sore. When each one of us in the tent are awake, I decided to start prepping our breakfast, the easy to prepare of course! HAHAHA instant noodles, plus left over rice from last night and spam.
We officially began our trek around 10AM, and the rest are series of slip down. Our destination is to Balentimol. And getting there is quite hard because some of the trail are damaged. Added to that is the continuous rain which made the trail slippery because of the mud. Not to mention those were you have to use all your hands because you need to passed by the rock at the edge of the cliff to get to the other side. Still you’ll pass by the mossy forest on which limatik still made it’s presence. As get closer near the First water falls you’ll see them less. Still be mindful to remove anything that stick in your body. There are parts where the soils are loose which make it hard to balance. I had to hold on the trees/branches along side the trail to keep my balance. Better if you wear gloves to protect your hands. Also be mindful of protruding branches and rocks to avoid smashing your head. The trail near the first falls is quite hard because of steep and rocky trails. You just have to walk with caution. When I reached the first falls, we collected some water and took some quick photos then went straight ahead to the second falls. There’s one instance which almost rocked my inner self, that’s when I missed a step on an almost 90 degree trail. Good thing I stepped on thick mosses which prevented me from falling down the cliff. I felt some panic inside me but was able to redeem myself and started walking. Not long after, Kenneth had his own slipped event. Good thing a tree stopped him from falling down too. After all those incidents, we still managed to reach the end of the trail around 2PM. Less than the estimated hours of the tour guide.
Good News 5: After Hike Socials!
We rested on one house and waited for the rest to cleanup before heading back to Manila. We had more stop overs as most of the team were drinking while driving back home. My inner Tito kicks in because I don’t want to vomit on the way since the road down to Ifugao isn’t friendly to those who easily get dizzy. Instead, I tried to slept throughout the trip back home.
There are some good and bad circumstances in every adventure. I may have less photos taken or no picture perfect sunrise. What’s important is we enjoyed this trip a lot and was able to finally say that: YAHOOOO! I completed the Napulauan Traverse!!!!
To Team Napulauan: Carl, Ian, Marie, Kenneth M, Bonjo, Mark, Lory, EJ, Kenneth G, Randy, Jayb and Jeff
Thank you for the solid hike. I really appreciate the gesture especially on the descend when you all decided to sweep EJ and I which really push us to our limit and was able to finish the hike quicker than the estimated. I really look forward to my next hike with the Harkors!
To Sir Larry our van driver:
Thank you for a funny ride. I may be one of the silent majority but I appreciate you being sport despite all the teasing. Great driving skills which I almost had a heart attack as I felt like I’m in a Fast& Furious Movie. Keep it up Sir!
To our Tour Guides:
Thank you for being honest and for not giving false hope whether we’re almost there or not. For bringing us safe and sound, Thank you so much!
Here’s a glimpse of our video hike, sorry very limited photos.