Back to the Bosom of Mount Tagapo

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

January 4, 2015

There is much to be said when experiencing something for the first time. The emotions rush in, too many to even identify. And when everything has settled, a metaphoric light is shone upon a decision: whether or not you would do it again. Indeed, this is one of the rules I live by: do something once and decide if it's worth doing again. Mount Tagapo is definitely worth a second time.

This conical peak on the edge of the bay island of Talim in Binangonan, Rizal was the third of 10 Summits Before 25. And confession time: the view here is my favorite. Of the seven summits that I've insofar had, Mount Pulog in Sorsogon is my favorite mountain, but Mount Tagapo offers the best view.

Ferry boat across Laguna de Bay
All aboard the outrigger to Talim. Dennis doing the GoPro selfie while we wait.
Talim Island can be reached from mainland Binangonans' Pritil Port where you can take a direct ferry to Baranggay Janosa - the jump-off for Mount Tagapo.

The baranggay officials are really nice and are not insistent on the matter of guides. So obviously, this was the second time Dennis and I climbed a mountain relying only on our gut-feels and not-so-horrible sense of direction (the first time was in Mount Sembrano). This time, though, I did the navigating. And to my credit, we've only backpedaled twice. Once on the way up (and this was when we weren't on the actual trail yet, so I don't reckon this really counts), and once on the way down, when we, um, trespassed into someone's dwellings (not interesting, really).
Look at that blue sky. Forging through the rocky trail of Tagapo.
I don't know what it is about this mountain but I have a relatively clear recollection of its trail. "Just follow the river," is what I'll say to those asking for directions. Well, it's not really a river. There's hardly any water, but I'm pretty sure it used to be one.
Rizal Mountains
Me: admiring the blue sky; Dennis: rocking the GoPro
In any event, there are two markers one should look out for when hiking sans guide to Tagapo: the Mango Tree and the Sampaloc Tree. They are big and very distinct. You'll know it's them once you see them. If one is on the right path, one will come across the Mango Tree after 30-45 minutes of trekking. The Sampaloc Tree is further and shall indicate that one is near the peak.
Tree Trail Marker
Keeping it wild at the Sampaloc Tree.
Another feature of the Tagapo trail one should look forward to is the Bamboo Tunnel. Once here, it's a 10-20-minute trek to the peak.
Light at the end of the Bamboo Tunnel. I was half-expecting a panda to show up.
After two hours, give or take, the hill that is Mount Tagapo's peak will come into view. Now, the first time I saw this was in summer. The cogon were the color of parchment and the peak looked bare. So, forgive me if I tell you that I was surprised when I saw this:
Cogon grass mountain
It's so fluffly!
Tagapo was in all its green and lush glory! From the foothill, it looked so supple that I suddenly understood why it was also known as Susong Dalaga (Maiden's Breast).
All up in your face. The cogon were tall and thick.
Needless to say (but I'm going to say it anyway), wear pants and long sleeves to avoid being scratched and having an itch all over your arms and legs.

And oh, here's a"before and after" photo of Mount Tagapo:

The vegetation at the summit was also thick and green. The mountain clearly benefited from months of rain. But of course, the view remains as breathtaking as before.
Laguna de Bay view
So nice to be back!
Mount Tagapo
Amazing view of Talim Island's "arms" encroaching a portion of the Laguna de Bay
Laguna de Bay view
I love this mountain!

It's true that there is much to be said about the first time. But deciding to do it again says a whole a lot more. And with Tagapo's proximity and accessibility from where I live, I am sure this won't be the last time I'll be seeing that amazing view of Laguna de Bay.

Fare from Angono to Pritil surprisingly went down to Php15.00! How about that!
For budget, itinerary, and how to get there, check out this post.

Cheers to the next adventure!

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