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mountaineering

MarinduqueMay 29 - June 1, 2009

Marinduque with UPM's Rumble Reggae

From Here to Eternity
This would have been UP Mountaineers' last Talikasan (mountaineering introduction climb, open to non-members) before the application starts for this coming semester. I didn't want to miss this last chance. I read the IT but Marinduque's distance didn't really register until I was already on the bus, then boat, then coaster...total one-way time was 13 hours from Manila until we got to the jump-off in Sihi, Buenavista, Marinduque. That was FAR! (but worth it!)

Malindig Volcano
First order of the day was a climb to Malindig Volcano at 1,157 meters. This climb was very similar to Sagada's Mt. Ampacao. First was a moderate climb to a grassy saddle. Along the way, the local Poison Ivy or Lipa makes its presence felt (literally!). This is where the radio towers are. From that point is the more formidable and steeper climb to the summit. The climb consisted of closed canopy trail inside a mossy forest - quite a sharp departure from the ecosystem before the tower. The vegetation was dense and the summit was thick it didn't afford a view. It rained and the challenge came coming down. It was so slippery you'd think the entire trail system was littered with banana peels. I lost count of how many bum-plants I had, it went beyond embarrassment - I just wanted to reach the main road.

Poctoy White Beach in Torrijos
When everybody was accounted for after the climb, we all headed to Poctoy White Beach in Torrijos. It was already dark. We pitched our tents and convened at a large hut for our socials. The following day afforded us the wonderful beach scenery.

Stolen Laundry
I made a makeshift laundry line for my muddied/wet climbing clothes. When I awoke the following day, it was gone. Quick on his toes, GQ texted a few people and it wasn't long before the mayor and the chief of police arrived, apologizing for the embarrassing occurence. He assured me Torrijos is a safe and drug-free place. Crime simply does not exist in Torrijos! I was impressed. When was the last time the town mayor showed up at a petty crime scene? I told them I was grateful for the concern they displayed...indeed a rare thing in this time and age.

Church Cave
We packed up at 1pm and headed towards Church Cave, one of 7 caves comprising the network of caves called Bathala Caves. This has a cathedral-like expanse at the opening, and used through its history as a place of worship and revolutionary headquarters. During the turn of the century (1900), the Pulajan Movement headed by a peasant, Faustino Ablen, would gather here to invigorate their amulets against the colonizing Americans. Next, during the early 1900s, the Samahang Tatlong Persona Solo Dios, with close ties to the Mt. Banahaw cult, stayed long in this cave.

Python Caves
A short hike from Church Cave is the Python Cave. Much folklore stem from this cave. According to a town local, the pythons guarding the cave entrance are enchanted...people assuming the form of pythons. Everyone is saying the same thing - that they are gentle and have never attacked any human. Sometimes, they move out of the cave and are seen along people's backyard fences. Locals are not spooked by them. Given that story, I sort of imagined coming face-to-face with a giant python that would come close for petting!

Down the Deep Gorge
It was an Indiana Jones-type of descent into the deep gorge just to get to the mouth of the cave. We were on all fours as we hung tight on rocks and gripped makeshift bamboo stairs. However, it would have made great adventure if we made our descent by rapelling down the gorge and into the mouth of the python-guarded cave!

Cockroaches
Indeed, the cave entrance was guarded by 2 pythons. Well, not exactly the thigh-diameter size python I imagined, but it may still have measured a good 10 feet? (it was coiled). It lay motionless while we got as close to 18 inches! It wasn't enough. With our guide, we ventured deeper into the cave. What I found scarier were the cockroaches. Because it's pitch black inside, I could only see what's in front of me. If I turn my head and I'm close to a wall, I'd just see a wall carpet of cockroaches!

Ending Thoughts
Because of good organization by Team Leader Dada Macusi and Asst. Team Leader Mark Calunsod of the Rumble Reggae batch, and UPM member GQ, who was a local resident, things went smoothly like clockwork. These guys are da men! With local connection and know-how, we got good guides, good directions...and hey, even got the mayor and the chief of police involved when my clothing disappeared overnight. Just like good coffee, you don't notice the coffee - you just know the ensuing conversation was pleasant and you walk away with a lingering good feeling.

Marinduque was a throw back to a more innocent era when crime was rare, when local folks still believe in enchanted caves and mischievous elementals, when air was still pure and life was simple. Even with their natural resources, monkeys still abound and pythons are left to sleep in their caves - they don't end up on the dinner table. I love this place!

--- TheLoneRider

Caving Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. The Return to Hinagdanan Cave Nov 5, 2017
  2. Exploring Hinagdanan Cave Oct 24, 2017
  3. Exploring Guimba and Sog-ong Caves of Loboc Oct 22, 2017
  4. Exploring Combento Cave Pool June 29, 2017
  5. Visiting Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda Jun 28, 2017
  6. Exploring Bukilat Cave, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  7. Exploring Timubo Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  8. Exploring Holy Crystal Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  9. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
  10. Visting Pangihan Cave of Malay Dec 14, 2016
  11. Exploring Maanghit Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  12. Visiting Ati Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  13. Visiting the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) July 9, 2016
  14. Visiting the Nam Lot and the Pha Khong Caves of Phan District May 18, 2016
  15. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  16. Exploring Silop Cave of Surigao City Jun 22, 2013
  17. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Tuburan, Surigao del Sur May 25, 2013
  18. Exploring Campamento Cave of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur May 17, 2013
  19. Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur May 12, 2013
  20. Exploring Sumalsag Cave of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon Apr 21, 2013
  21. The Fabulous People of Roxas City (Igang Cave) Nov 25-27, 2012
  22. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  23. Marinduque with UPM's Rumble Reggae (Sawa Cave) May 29 - June 1, 2009
  24. Backpacking Cagayan de Oro (Macahambus Cave) Mar 7-9, 2009
  25. Sagada Cave Connection - Lumiang Cave to Sumaging Cave September 12, 2008
  26. Mountaineering with Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers (Kalinawan Cave) November 25, 2007
  27. Sabang, Palawan (Underground River) November 14-21, 2007
  28. Sagada (Sumaging Cave) October 18, 2005
  29. The Cordillera - Day 5: Sagada (Sumaging Cave) May 3, 2005
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Reader Comments:

Tope
(Jun 5, 2009) ...astig blog as always....mas ramdam ko tuloy na andami ko namimiss.


Jeng
(Jun 3, 2009) ...love the Marinduque article, by the way. :D

Els
(Jun 3, 2009) Thanks for the link. I copied some of the pix, ha? =D

Princess Que
(Jun 3, 2009) oh yeah! another great trip with Gigit! cheers to that! mountaineering, beachineering and spelunking, all put together in one trip... Sulit na Sulit! Gigit Sulit! hihi...

Jaymz
(Jun 3, 2009) thank you for visiting my home province!

Dunia
(May 31, 2009) ha-ha...the places you've been!



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