Climbing Mount Danglay in Samar

Mount Danglay in Samar
Mount Danglay as seen from Sitio Calbang

Largely unknown to the mountaineering community in the country, Mount Danglay is a reverberating call to summit for mountaineers and hikers within the nearby localities of Tacloban and Basey, Samar. She is a sight to behold; filling a panoramic frame of a busy city port in stark contrast to the still waters of Cancabato Bay which divides the provinces of Leyte and Samar, the multitude of sea birds over outrigger canoes, and the vibrant municipality of Basey right across.

Being born and raised in Tacloban, my fascination with climbing her is grounded on reason more personal than the common one. This time, it is a gesture of respect for a mountain evident in the lives of anyone coming from Tacloban. A mountain I could have called home had I started early in this pursuit of mountains.

A Long Overdue Climb

With a free week and another during the Christmas Holidays, I eventually found myself at the foot of the mountain looking for a local guide. I invited Sheila, Mei-Mei, Lara and my high-school classmate Renato who all willingly accepted my invitation. Climb date was set for January 4, 2015.

Climbing Mount Danglay. This was before the Rockface Wall section.
This was before the Rockface Wall section.

 The Climb

The initial plan was to take the trail with Basey as the jump-off as this was considered to be the easier path towards the summit. The trail however was made impassable by a recent landslide so we opted to start the climb from Sitio Calbang where our guide was from.

I estimated the trek to take around 3 hours while our guide gave it it 4. In total it took us 2 hours to the top which we could have done faster would it not have been for the overgrown vegetation. The mountain does not get that much visitors and as a matter of fact, we were the first climbers after Typhoon Yolanda hit which was already more than a year over.

And yet you can never judge a mountain by how long it takes to climb her to make a determination if she is an easy climb or not. The last section of the climb is an assault on 90 degrees, locally known as the Palanas, translated literally as The Rock. The Rockwall Face if you will. From here on then, it’s a tedious ascent requiring you to grab onto roots and steady your stance by holding onto the trees when one is within reach. The tricky part is because of the absence of a set trail, there are a lot of dead branches which can snap in the instant where you can then lose your footing. The safest way to climb is to first grab a plant in the absence of a tree, take one step up and use the strength of your leg to take the next step. At that point, the presence of black ants or hantik in your arms is the least of your worries.

At the summit in Mt. Danglay
At the summit!

I can’t quite compare that section to any other mountain I’ve climbed in terms of its difficulty. Bringing a backpack would definitely need the use of ropes as it’s highly unlikely to climb properly with a pack on your back. The entire section takes around 45 minutes, an effort worth well enough in return for the summit scenery. At the top, the City of Tacloban comes into full view, the rest of the Samar Island and the picturesque San Juanico Bridge.

The summit is covered with talahib grass which when cleared would easily accommodate 3-4 tents for camping. Trees line up at one corner seemingly as to form a barrier but none at the edges of the mountain which is a deep fall down should one be careless in their step. I cannot imagine having socials at night without fearing for a companions’ safety when he has had one too many drink!

Mt. Danglay falls sidetrip
Frolicking at Mount Danglay Falls

 Mount Danglay Falls

A fitting sidetrip after the climb depends on which route you take. Should one make an exit via Basey, then a dip at one of the local beaches is a fitting respite from the mountain heat. Via Calbang, the route we took, we enjoyed the cool waters of a nearby unnamed falls, which we aptly christened Mount Danglay Falls.

Mt APO, the End of an Expedition

This is part 2 of 2 of our Mt. APO climb expedition climb log. Read part 1 here, Climbing Mt APO, Our Turn

Morning at the Summit

Morning wasn’t any better and waking up to the cold weather seemed as if time had stood still to when we first arrived. Absent was the soothing warmth of morning; instead the earth was damp, the air cold and misty with a drizzle to complement a morning we would all rather sleep to. I thought about holding off the descent but reconsidered since our guides knew better.

Princess in high spirits after Day 1.
Princess in high spirits after Day 1.
mylene mabaga
Mei2 shares a warm smile.

So after breakfast over hot coffee, dried fish, noodles and rice we broke camp and went on our way. The descent is easier compared to other mountains but only because it’s more “straight forward” i.e., you don’t have to sit too much on your bum to carefully take the next step down.

Lake Venado of Mt. APO

One of the more intriguing section of the climb was the one right before Lake Venado. Around an hour the descent, the trek takes you through a section entirely covered by foliage with faint light breaking though just enough to light your path. It’s a pleasant, almost eerie feeling akin to walking through a tunnel, fashioned by nature, with nothing more than the canopy of leaves. You won’t miss it as it fully blocks the sky from your view. Although lasting only for a few meters, this was one of the more memorable experience for me aside from finishing the tiring boulder section. How I truly wish to see this again should I ever climb Mt. APO again.

We arrived at Lake Venado with our lunch readily prepared by our porter. Here, it was back to near zero visibility because of the thick fog. An iconic camp ground turns to nothing more than flat ground which buries your feet in water on every step.

After Lake Venado, we were now back in the forest where crossing the streams is both an exhilarating and scary feat. I remember doing so on merely two planks of bamboo attached together. Balance was key. There was also a roped and bamboo ladder section which jolted us out from mindless walking.

ladder section in mt apo
The ladder section. Must have been around 80 feet high.

From this point on was the dragging long walk to the exit point. We finished at around past 5 in the afternoon, thankfully, well within our climb itinerary. Save for Carlo losing the strength on both his feet, we all finished the climb safe and sound.

Finally the exit point.
Finally the exit point.

The plan after was to grab a hearty meal and end it with bottles of beer to soothe every bit of muscle. At least that was the plan. But we were still hours away from Davao City so the beer never happened, and everyone was obviously tired.

malakat_outdoors_at_penongs
Waiting for the food to be served was torture.
climb_picture
The Climb Party
Team Mt APO group picture
At Bentoy’s place. Took a picture before the group split up.
Awesome guides they are.
Awesome guides they are.

We arrived at Davao City almost around midnight but sleep had to wait as we had to refit, clean ourselves and Mei2 had to finish collecting the finances. Kudos to her as it never is an easy job.

Sa bisaya pa, gubota oe.
Sa bisaya pa gubota oe.

In Retrospect

Mt. APO was a successful climb in many ways because this was our first climb outside the Visayas, not to mention the highest peak in the country. Mt. APO, although a common climb destination, still maintains her allure as a true mountain – a test more than enough to challenge those willing to take her summit.

It wasn’t a perfect climb, but the entire expedition was almost how we hoped it to be – a successful summit bid. From getting there to getting back, we brought home memories to live by and stories to tell.

Till the next adventure.
Till the next adventure.
Cebu / Homebound
Cebu / Homebound
A dead toenail and a story to tell.
A dead toe and a story to tell.

A few months later a much bigger climb party would summit Mt. Pulag on a beautiful summit clearing. While some of us missed out on this climb, the adventure never ends, not just yet.

Typhoon Yolanda: A 100 days after

Last week I visited Tacloban to help out with the communal garden project of Bayanihan Tayo and to celebrate the birthday of my mother without any idea that it has been a 100 days since the typhoon.

And while the city has been cleaned up to some extent, everything else has been slowly picking up withstanding the politicking and more of it.

Typhoon Yolanda Update

You cannot help but notice that everything revolves around the aftermath of the typhoon. It has consumed every aspect of the every resident’s life. From the debate on when the relief goods are to stop, where to get money for today’s expenses, the inescapable reality of the long lines just to buy medicine, the distinct absence of air-conditioning, that the word supermarket does not apply in Tacloban, as do the word Mall, getting home before night falls and dealing with the unforgiving mosquitoes at night.

Life is still hard.

A 100 days after

100 photos for the last 100 days. These are not extensive, being limited within Marasbaras, Magsaysay, the downtown area, Apitong, Caibaan and V&G,  this however should be enough to give anyone an overview on how things are within the city.

tindog tacloban signages after typhoon yolanda
One of the many Tindog Tacloban Signages
warning sign in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Warning signs are common due to the extensive lootings days after the storm hit.
damage in in burgos street tacloban city
The junction between P. Burgos St and the road towards Bombo Radyo. I believe this was a cafeteria of some sort.
tindog tacloban
Tindog Tacloban!
road in holy infant college after typhoon yolanda
This is the road right after Holy Infant College toward Apitong.
damaged house in v&g aftermath of typhoon haiyan
Damaged house in V&G.
solar panels being recharged after typhoon yolanda
Solar Panels being recharged.
cold drinks for sale in v&g subdivision after typhoon yolanda
Yes, there are cold drinks in V&G.
brgy office in v&g after typhoon yolanda
This is the brgy hall right before the church.
carenderia in v&g subdivsion after typhoon yolanda
Carenderia in V&G subdivsion.
mlhuillier in v&g subdivision after typhoon yolanda
MLhuillier in V&G talipapa.
hardware store in v&g tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
A hardware store in V&G is open.
farmacia ni doc in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
One of the more lucky pharmacies.
generator for rent in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Generators and trucks for rent.
traffic in mid afternoon tacloban after typhoon yolanda
Traffic in mid afternoon Tacloban City
wrecked ship in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda 2
One of the 5 ships marooned inland.
wrecked ship in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Eva Jocelyn will probably serve as a tribute to those who perished in the storm.
garden plots in palo leyte after typhoon yolanda
Garden plots in Palo Leyte.
leyeco linemen fixing electrical posts in tacloban city after typhoon  yolanda
Shouldn’t you be in V&G as you promised?
Leyte National high school in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
I bet many students felt relieved they still had their school building. Unfortunately for them, this means school classes has to go on.
Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City after typhoon Haiyan
Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City
wreckage of Leyte Park Gym in Tacloban City after tyhoon yolanda aftermath
This was a gym, pre-Haiyan. Now it’s just an ugly myriad of twisted, contorted metal.
Liceo Del Verbo in Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
Liceo Del Verbo, erstwhile known as Divine Word University many years ago. Why did people have to be so greedy?
lions den in tacloban city yolanda damage
Lions Den, or at least what it used to be. One of the more shocking images for me.
madonna of japan in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Madonna of Japan
mitsubishi motors office in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Mitsubishi Motors is open for business.
no build zone markers in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
One of the many No Build Zone markers throughout the city. Towards the sea are what remains of the many houses that stood pre-Yolanda.
Ocho restaurant in Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
The, without a doubt, best ever restaurant in Tacloban City!
opportunity kauswagan bank in tacloban city reopens after typhoon yolanda
Most of the banks are open.
damage in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda 4
This is somewhere in Phase 4, V&G.
damage in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda 3
Carpenters are in high demand, at least for the next couple of years.
damage in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda 2
Another damaged house remains in ruins after 3 months.
in v&g subdivision after typhoon yolanda
In V&G Subdivision.
destruction in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
They say the remaining posts that are not fixed are those of the telecom companies.
charging station in v&g subdivision after typhoon yolanda
Charging business.
posts in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
I think people are now used to sights like these.
wreck in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
And this.
wreckage in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
And more of the same.
damage in V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
While the coco lumber business is booming. They buy felled coconut trees for as low as Php100 and make a profit of Php1,500.
Phase4 V&G tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
More of V&G.
Leyte Provincial Gym in Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
Leyte Provincial Gym in Tacloban City
Ritz tower de leyte in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Ritz Tower de Leyte
robinsons hotel after typhoon haiyan 3
Damaged Robinsons Hotel. Does anyone know if they were looted too ?
robinsons hotel after typhoon haiyan 2
Robinsons Mall being repaired.
salong in tacloban city
I know this establishment to be Salong. Lots of memories here during my elementary years.
San pedro Bay Tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
The single, most shocking image during my last visit. The San Pedro Bay Restaurant has been totally wiped out.
stereo sushi in tacloban city damage after typhoon yolanda
Stereo Sushi.
st therese christian development center in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
I think classes has resumed already.
superior tacloban memoral garden now open after typhoon yolanda
I think they are in the funeral business.
tacloban city Doctors building damage after typhoon yolanda
Tacloban Doctors comes off as a ragtag hospital.
lions statue in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
They lost their building in Magsaysay Boulevard.
leyte provincial gym damage after typhoon yolanda aftermath
Leyte Provincial Gym in a different view.
Torobay Street in V&G Subdivision Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
Torobay Street in V&G Subdivision
Trio Salon now open in tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
They’re back in business.
ultra steel now open for business in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Nice
wrecked UPVTC Botanical Garden in Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
The wrecked UPVTC Botanical Garden.
damage in V&G Church in Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
The roof has yet to be repaired.
v&g talipapa palengke central after typhoon yolanda
V&G talipapa palengke central building
Zara Compound VandG Subdivision in Tacloban City after typhoon yolanda
Zara Compound in V&G Subdivision
2go shipping office in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
2G
an waray office in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
I think this was the An Waray office.
tacloban city astrodome after typhoon yolanda
The Astrodome has been converted to a temporary relocation site.
balyuan ampitheatre in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
The Balyuan Ampitheatre
barangay 52 magallanes in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
In Magallanes,one of the hardest hit areas.
bunk houses in caibaan tacloban city built after typhoon haiyan
Bunkhouses in Caibaan.
bunk houses in caibaan tacloban city built after typhoon yolanda
Have yet to open.
botica estanislao in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Botica Estanislao has been around for years already,
coca cola area in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
This is in the Coca-Cola Junction
Duptours Tacloban city after typhoon Yolanda
Duptours Office in Tacloban City
dyvl aksyon radyo in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
and the DYVL Office
Eastwest Bank Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
EastWest Bank is already open too.
Filipino Store Tacloban City after typhoon haiyan Yolanda
They’ve been around for some time too.
Fil Products Sagkahan Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
The Fil-Products building is totally wrecked.
Gabrino tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
While the Gabrino Store has been rented off to become a tiangge.
Gaisano Capital Central Tacloban City after typhoon haiyan
While Gaisano Capital Central has yet to be totally cleaned off.
Gaisano Capital Central Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda
Debris pile the frontage.
gaisano tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
The Old Gaisano, probably will never reopen.
mitsubishi motors in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Mitsubishi Motors.
wreckage in tacloban city due to typhoon yolanda
This was probably Cafe Lucia.
motel in sagkahan after the storm surge after typhoon yolanda
Motel across Cafe Lucia. Lots of people died here too.
along the road to the city astrodome after typhoon haiyan
And here.
fishing boat thrust inland due to the storm surge after typhoon yolanda
In Magallanes Street.
houses being built in the no build zone in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Houses being built in the No Build Zone perimeter.
houses near the no build zone in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Maybe it’s because they have nowhere else to go.
storm surge aftermath after typhoon yolanda
Storm surge aftermath in Magallanes.
tents in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Tent City
wrecked houses after the storm surge in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
and more.
destroyed radio station in magsaysay highway in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Storm surge aftermath.
destroyed radio station in magsaysay highway in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
I don’t believe this radio station is still operating. This is still in Magallanes Street.
Philippine Flag in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
I saw alot of Philippine Flags around too.
thank you messages in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
No thanks for the National Government. Well, I can’t blame them.
typhoon yolanda emergency response team in tacloban city typhoon yolanda
We’re on the rebuilding process now.
building that survived the storm surge in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
No Entry Warnings for thieves/looters.
hotel along tacloban city astrodome after typhoon yolanda
The building right after St Therese. This was used as a dormitory years back.
lions den in magsaysay boulevard tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
What remains of the Freedom Park.
freedom park in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
One of the few structures that survived the storm surge.
destroyed houses in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Building beside the entrance to Leyte Park hotel.
buildings near leyte park hotel tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
Leyte Park Hotel has been temporarilly converted to the Haiyan People’s Home.
bulldozer trucks in tacloban city after typhoon yolanda
A Red Cross Bulldozer.

Disclaimer:

I might have missed something out, probably a wrong reference or another. Please let me know.

Thank you

Typhoon Haiyan – An Appeal for Help

Hi,

Over a month ago Typhoon Haiyan hit the Tacloban City, Philippines the town and country I grew up in. The destruction was catastrophic to say the least affecting an entire region in over 300 kilometers. People lost family members, homes, jobs and livelihood among other things.

Aid has been overwhelming and we are ever so grateful. Relief in the form of food, water, medicines and temporary shelter has been provided and we can start from there.

The aim to be able to fully rebuild and rehabilitate our region will however take months and this is where I would like to appeal to you for your help.

http://www.gofundme.com/HelpUsHelp4HaiyanRelief

Donating is not required but I would appreciate it so much if you share the link through your social media accounts.

Thank you.

Bohol Earthquake Relief Goods Campaign

Last October 15, 2013 at 8:12 A.M, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Bohol and affected even the Cebu Province which is hundreds of kilometres away. 222 were reported dead, 8 were missing, and 976 people were injured. In all, nearly 69 thousand structures were damaged or destroyed. It was the deadliest earthquake in the Philippines in 23 years.

The Relief Operation

Dyan was our rallying cry, initiating the move for a relief operation within the soonest time possible. Everything from there on was a combined effort by everyone.

Every little change helps.
donations for bohol earthquake relief drive
Kudos to Mai2 for taking on an exemplary job of gathering the donations. Cheers to those who donated!
repacking goods for bohol relief drive.
Repacking the goods at Dyan’s place. Thank you for the generous donation Mabaga family. Mylene Mabaga at leftmost.
repacking the rice for bohol relief good.
Everyone helps out to make things easier. Rain and Coleen with the arduous task of repacking the rice.
repacked goods so far.
100 pieces repacked so far. Yay
These goods were sure heavy.
repacked goods for bohol earthquake relief drive.
Repacked goods transferred to our company office at JY square for easy logistics. 1&1 even made more donations then. Thank you 1&1!

Tubigon Port

A frustrating scene at Pier 3 with Lite Jet notwithstanding, we arrived at the port of Tubigon safe and sound. It was then a 30 minute ride to our home for the weekend, the Gudes residence but not before Mai2 unfailingly referred to Dyan as Janine Guadez. Somehow her facepalm moments keep adding up. The trip was a scene straight out of what the newspapers and television stations reported. Devastation was everywhere, some just too hard to rationalize. Multitude of houses laid in ruin and some churches were even worse. Families camped out in open fields fearful of the onslaught of aftershocks.

Everyone boarded save the goods! #litejet #fail
in pier 3
Team Malakat at Pier 3. Melvin takes a brief respite with a photo op. Multicab for logistics courtesy of 1&1. Our most kind driver in white.
Part of Tubigon Port damaged by the earthquake.
Yes they needed those badly.
Everyone: *too shocked to comment*
Mai2: wow
Even the bangko goes top load. On our way from Tubigon Port to the Gudes Residence.
(L-R) Venyljoy, Rain & Ciano

We were determined to reach those in the far flung areas and on our list was Barangay Mabuhay. The distribution went without difficulty as we had the assistance of the barangay officials who prepared a list of their residents. Dyan and Mai2 handed out the goods while the rest of us were contented enough to watch from the sidelines. Our entire effort of grit and spirit was finally completed. We were happy, and so were the residents of Barangay Mabuhay.

 

Helping a Colleague

With the day about to end, we headed to Barangay Bugang to distribute the last of the goods. One of the affected was our collegaue from work, Gerissa, making the trip more personal for us. The quake tore right through the earth where their house stood, just short of swallowing it whole. The house though still standing was now leaning on a side. The opposite wall to it was now gone and you could see the interior of broken cement, mangled furniture and other debris strewn over. Nearby the surroundings, water which seeped from underneath and emitted fumes was now cooled down and solidified to black coarse sand. If there was anything that the catastrophe could’t put down however, it would be their tenacity to assert their will to live throughout the entire calamity.

Relief Operations in Bohol
(L-R) Arn, Dyan, Mai (looking down), Lara, Gerissa and her mum.

 

Dinner Feast

Finally done with our outreach we were in for a feast for dinner. Dyan promised us seafoods the week earlier and on seafoods did we feast. After filling ourselves to our satisfaction, those who couldn’t hold it slept while those who didn’t celebrated the night further with a treat from Nikko who was celebrating his birthday that day. We also picked up the Saridon tagline which left everyone on a last song syndrome mood.

talaba in bohol
Delicious talaba.
Kinsay nghurot, tingog palihug…

 

Sunday, Day 2

Come morning, we were greeted by a sumptuous breakfast of more seafoods! Rain, Jepoy, Arn and Nikko left shortly while the rest of us geared up to visit the relatives of Lara who lived nearby. Lara reacquainted herself with the scenic playground of her youth while we enjoyed the brief trek which was highlighted with butong overload! On a personal note, I hail from Leyte where we have lots of coconut trees so it fascinates me when everyone in Cebu is all up and about for butong.

Seafoods for breakfast!

DSC_1827-Exposure

Mai2 of Malakat Outdoors
Butong makes a happy kid out of Mai2
She just can’t get enough of butong.
Butong in Bohol
The whole gang, thanks for the treat Lara!

And just when we thought that we had the most sumptous dinner and breakfast of seafoods, we had even more seafoods for lunch! A full day of delicious seafood treat. I feel hungry writing this. We spent the rest of the afternoon with everyone busy idling over PVZ2 games and whatnot. The mobile internet slash hotspot of Princess was to our total convenience.

 

Plaza Tubigon & Cebu

By 4:00PM we prepared to breakcamp only to find out that 4:00PM something trip was already full and that we had 2 hours to kill. We spent that 2 hours at the Tubigon Plaza which I find to be rustic clean and orderly. I honestly slept through it while everyone was yet again, in PVZ2 mode and all. Ruby and Jedward spent the afternoon as new lovers would, cute couple as they are.

Lara and Dyan of  MALAKAT at Tubigon Plaza
Idling the time away at Tubigon Plaza.
Princess in the swings.
Like any child would do it, Princess enjoying the swings.
Jedward and Ruby
Ah, the cute couple right there

We arrived in Cebu in the early evening. What an eventful weekend it has been – one for the memories.

You’re welcome Bohol!
MALAKAT volunteers for Bohol.
(L-R) Melvin, Rain, Jedward, Ruby, Lara, Jun, Venyljoy, Mai2, Ciano, Arn, Nikko, Jepoy in front of the Gudes Residence in Bohol. Not in the picture is Dyan.
10-26-13