The Energy Push at Mt. Tagapo, Binangonan, Rizal

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

May 12, 2014

I'm starting to think that I have a pathological obsession for centrifugalism. Stay with me, let me make things clear. At the moment, exploring other countries does not have as much appeal as exploring every island of the Philippines. I am keen on starting with my beloved country before I go adventuring into others'. This is because a) the Philippines is truly beautiful, and b) I'd have stories and bragging rights specifically targeted to other nationalities when I do get to travel abroad - I'm a veritable Filipino citizen and I like to be well-informed so that I can be thoroughly proud of what we have to offer. Another reason for this suspicion is that when it comes to conquering peaks, I like to start somewhere near. I mean, why go far when there is a mountain on the next town, waiting to be explored? See, I like to start from within - from the core, as they say. I think that says a great deal about me, wouldn't you agree?

Well anyway, Mt. Tagapo came to my line of sight via the no. 1 source for Pinoy mountaineers: And because of its proximity to my hometown, my self-diagnosis (reread preceding paragraph), and my unstable financial state, the otherwise-called Susong Dalaga turned from being a mere prospect into something I was adamant to explore.

Truth be told, I was planning to do this solo. But I am not ready yet. And so I enlisted Eli to be my climbing buddy. It's her first climb and Tagapo has a relatively easy trail.

This third date had been long overdue. It was perfect timing, though, because both of us wanted to unleash our inner Romy Garduce. So off we went for a conquest of mountainous proportions.

We met at Pritil Port at 8am. Here, we took a ferry up to Brgy. Janosa in Talim Island. A two-hour travel from mainland Binangonan, this baranggay is the jump-off point for Tagapo.

After getting off at the dock, we walked toward the Baranggay Hall where we looked for a guide. No one was there. Eli and I was starting our way to the sari-sari store across the street to investigate when an elderly man in a bicycle beckoned us and asked us if it was just the two of us who will climb. We said yes and he motioned for us to follow him. He went the way we came and led us to the base camp - a nipa hut located a few paces from the local wharf. The man in the bicycle introduced himself as Nick - our guide for this climb. He asked us to register and wait for him to get ready, and we did. He was gone long enough for us to prepare for the ascent.

After scribbling our names into the logbook, paying the twenty-peso registration fee, and prepping ourselves, we started our way to Tagapo.

We headed toward the baranggay hall, where Kuya Nick stopped by to get a radio transmitter. He then led us to an alley on the side of the church and turned right toward a school. We turned left into a barely noticeable  narrow path beside the school and inched our way out into a residential area. We took a right and the smell of swine took me by surprise. I shook off the smell, letting Eli go in front of me so she won't get left behind.

Later on, we were already plying the rocky and dusty trail beside what I assume is a dried river. We encountered a number of forked trails and we always took the one on the right. 

Then, twenty-five minutes out, we encountered a minor incline. This is where Eli broke down. She wanted to turn back; I told her no. I wasn't going to let her spoil my third summit. Yes, I am that selfish. And, ok, I didn't want her to give up that easily. I gave her an energy push and told Kuya Nick that we needed a break. I let Eli catch her breath and compose herself. I knew she could do it.

Moments later, she said she was fine and we could continue. Forty minutes passed and we arrived at the Mango Tree.

From here, it was mostly minor assaults and occasional steep inclines. 

Many times did Eli request for a breather, slackening our pace. But what's important is she forged ahead and we reached the camp on the base of the summit at around 1:30PM.

We took another break but with the summit within my reach, my feet was metaphorically itching. So after informing Eli that it was time to move, I dashed to the hill that was Tagapo's summit. I sprinted halfway through the assault because I was so excited. My legs unfortunately gave up on me so I just tread the rest of the way. I left Eli behind. She'll get there, I was sure.

The view was breathtaking. My eyes were threatening to unleash tears but I blinked them away, refusing to let anything get in the way of the beautiful image of the Laguna Lake and the many mountain ranges. Mts. Sembrano, Arayat, Makiling and Maculot can be outlined from this point, their looming silhouettes like the backs of giants.

Exhaustion faded; I was revitalized. We climb for this kind of view.

Several minutes passed before I saw the top of Eli's head finally emerging from the grassy path. Not long after, she joined me in the summit. Together, we took in the glorious scenery.

After a few moments of silence and several pictures, we headed back to the camp to get our things.
With Kuya Nick
I didn't want to go home yet
I refused to leave without doing this: 

After doing cartwheels in Mt. Tagapo's honor, we started our descent. Time was 2:35PM. We reached the base camp after an hour and forty-five minutes. We bought soda and halo-halo from the nearby stores while waiting for a ferry that would take us back to Pritil. We were back on mainland at 5:35PM.

Congratulations on your first summit, Eli!

Cheers to the next adventure!

How to Get There
From Angono, take a jeepney bound for Binangonan. Tell the driver you'll be getting off at Pritil Port. Ride a ferry boat to Talim Island and alight at Brgy. Janosa. Proceed to the Baranggay Hall, you'll pass by the base camp on your way there. It'll be on your right. If there's no one around, go back to the base camp and ask around.
0800 - Meet- up at Pritil
1015 - Arrival at jump-off, Janosa
1030 - Start Ascent
1110 - Mango Tree
1330 - Arrival at camp near Summit
1345 - Summit
1445 - Descent to Base Camp
1520 - Base Camp
1735 - Back to Pritil

Jeepney fare from Angono to Pritil - Php17.00 Php15.00 (as of January 4, 2015)/pax
Boat Ride from Pritil to Janosa - Php30.00/pax
Registration Fee - Php20.00/pax
Tour Guide - Php300.00 + Php200.00 tip
Boat Ride from Janosa to Pritil - Php30.00/pax
Jeepney fare Binangonan to Angono - Php17.00 Php15.00 (as of January 4, 2015)/pax

Boat trips, according to Kuya Nick, are only until 6PM. So keep that in mind if you're doing a day hike.
Grass growth and height are manageable
There were no presence of limatik
Bring sunscreen/block and anything that can shield you from the sun. Trees are sparse, you'd be exposed to the heat for most of the hike.
Bring lots of water too!
Camping is possible

Contact persons
Incumbent Brgy. Captain Arambulo - +639435440524
Guide, Kuya Nick - +639182127470

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  1. This was way too easy compared to Daraitan, though :D - Eli

    1. Hahaha. Let's see what you'll have to say when you get to climb Pulag. Better prepare yourself. :D

    2. Yeah. I need lots and lots of preparation before Pulag happen. Want to do another climb?:)

  2. Hello . madali lang po ba ang trail? mag dayhike kami this coming sunday. :) Tips please Thanks..

    1. Hi, ISOOLOVERONSKIE! Yes, madali lang po ang trail dito sa Tagapo. Recommended for beginners. First time niyo ba umakyat? I think, kayang-kaya ito kahit walang guide pero make sure to do your courtesy call sa base camp. Bibigyan nila kayo ng contact number if may emergency, at ung preferred niyong umakyat ng walang guide. Hindi naman sila ganung kastrict sa guide. Minor elevations lang ang maeencounter ninyo. Ang kalaban lang ay init at mga talahib. Pero dahil maulan ngayon, hindi ako sigurado kung ano na ang kalagayan dun. Just remember that boat trips are only until 6pm, so kung dayhike lang kayo, uwi na kayo before 6pm. Hehe. Malapit lang naman sa basecamp ang daungan ng bangka. Text niyo si Kuya Nick (number above) to check the condition of Tagapo, lalo na ngayong maulan. :)

      Thanks for dropping by. :)