MT. GUITING-GUITING 2004: The Jagged Peak

Mt. Guiting-guiting or G2 is one of the most fulfilling major climb in the country, if not the most technical. G2 lies on Sibuyan Island, one of the three major islands of Romblon. We had a long way getting to the island.

See details of our trip here --> G2 Climb Part 1 - Islands of Romblon

Sibuyan island has three towns - Magdiwang, Cajidiocan and San Fernando. Mt. Guiting-guiting's jump-off is in the town of Magdiwang. Our arrival in Sibuyan marks Day 1. We paid due homage to the town mayor, registered and coordinated the group at the tourism office, then rode a tricycle to Angkol (Uncle) Lee's house. 

Mt. Guiting-guiting view from Angkol Lee's house


Five climbers boarded this tricycle.
When we arrived at Angkol Lee's house, he made us stay at a new kubo (Bamboo and Nipa house) they built so that climbers would always have a place to stay. It has a long bamboo table and a built in chair attached to the walls. It has an attic where 2 to 3 person can sleep. Drinking session 2 started early and ended soon, saving our energy for the the climb proper of Day 2 - an eight to ten hours Climb to Mayo's Peak.

Day 2 trek starts slow with a casual hike along wide trails and small stream crossings. 

The long journey began.

The trail changed when we reached the forest line and we found ourselves deep within the G2 forest. Whenever we rest, we make sure there were no scorpions at where we would be sitting. Because though they are of the small species of scorpions,  their sting can still be nasty and uncomfortable especially when you're climbing. We also saw fat blue worms.


My big and heavy backpack didn't made it easy.

Of course, our successful climb was made possible by our climb guides - Toto and Cocoy.  Toto was more outgoing and would smile and silently laugh at our jokes. Cocoy was more serious and was quite shy. If I am going to climb G2 again, I wouldn't think twice of having them as guides again. 

Our guides - Toto and Cocoy

I don't know why I would hang on this tree branch and have my photo taken. Haha! I know this was a view deck overlooking the perfectly jagged peaks of Mt. Guiting-guiting. So I probably wanted to have my best photo at this site, but ended up looking like a monkey.

Hang on tree hugger.

Jagged peaks that made G2 famous.

After the view deck photo ops, we resumed trekking. But whenever you are nearer your destination, it rather feels farther, and your steps always gets heavier. I often say to myself that if I can see the horizon or at least where I am heading then you know you are getting closer. It was close to 5 P.M. when this photo was taken. I know cause I kept asking Didzey for the time because we have to be at camp before dark. We arrived shortly at Mayo's peak before 6 P.M., right on schedule.

Almost near the camp.

We were the first group at Mayo's Peak, and we were expecting 50 to 100 more climbers to arrive the following day. In anticipation of the climbing season (holy week) in G2, we purposely made our itinerary 2 days earlier than the usual long holiday weekend. It was a good plan.

Mayo's Peak

We ate a hearty meal that night, shared a drink of half filled 1.5L Gin to keep our body warm and then retired early for the real climb of Day 3 - the summit climb. 

A certain level of experience is the best way to arm a climber in climbing G2. It is not advisable to climb Mt. Guiting-guiting without any climbing experience. A good sense of balance and basic rock climbing (or hanging) skill is also a must. The terrain for the summit assault is volcanic in origin which through time developed enough soil to sustain grass, bushes and some trees. The trail itself is not defined, one will just have to feel the safer (sometimes longer) route to walk through. 

Front to back: Perz, Dawe, Me, Didzey, Allan & Peter

Rocks are slippery so a good trek shoes can prove to be a good investment. Unintentionally, most in our climb group were wearing a common (and quite a fad) brand of shoes during that time. I personally liked the no-tie lace system of my baby-blue shoes. Wearing the shoe was convenient and saves the hassle of lace knots disassembling during a hike.

Unofficially endorsing Salomon.
Below is one of my favorite photo on this climb trip. It humbles me to see that I was just a tiny speck making my way on G2's magnificent landscape.

Look closer, we were but a tiny speck on the terrain.

We reached the Peak of Deception before 12 noon. It was called that, because by the trail to the summit, the Peak of Deception looks higher than the actual peak, thus often mistaken as the highest point in G2. The Peak of Deception is approximately four hours of moderate trekking away from Mayo's Peak. While the real peak is a at least 30 minutes away from this peak. 

Peak of Deception


This is as far as we can go. This is the highest point that we can get to as far as I can remember. It was a foggy and cloudy day so visibility of the mountain range is minimal. Usual G2 itineraries suggests a turn-back time of 1 P.M. whether or not the team has reached this location. This ensures a safe return to the Mayo's Peak via the same treacherous route before nightfall. Climbers are also advised to bring food, water, headlamp and jacket (or emergency blanket) to prepare themselves of any untoward incident which might happen during the assault.

Fog cleared and Dj managed to take this shot.

We trekked back to Mayo's Peak, delighted with our G2 climb experience. 

Got to be back in camp before dark.

When we arrived at Mayo's peak after the assault, the camp was so crowded with tents, and climbers were everywhere. My school-based mountaineering organization arrived also. It rained hard that night. Good thing we arrived there first, we were able to save the best camp spot - an elevated and flat area. When we woke up from our good nights' sleep, the entire  Mayo's Peak, us the only exception, was in a state of unrest. The camp was flooded and so was the inside of their tent.

Day 4, friends from my school-based org were assembling for their summit climb. They were running a bit late on the preferred departure time to reach the summit before 1P.M. I watched them as they left for their summit attempt, and it was enjoyable to watch them scale the jagged peaks. At that moment, I remember what I felt hiking that same path the day before. But I could not watch them all day, and see if they reach the summit. It was time to unpitch our tents and pack our backpacks. It was time to descent G2.

Mapua Climbers before their summit climb.

After our safe descent, the group passed by a mini dam, and we decided to clean ourselves up before heading to Angkol Lee's house.  Stayed another night at Angkol Lee's lawn and there was yet another drinking session. This time member's of the Tantiongco family joined us and we felt like a part of the family already.

We bid our farewell to Angkol Lee and his family the next morning.

In memory of Uncle Lee

A lot of things happened after this photo was taken. We were supposed to be on our way to the port to catch our return boat trip to Lucena.  Instead, we took a detour to a small kubo at someone's backyard near the port where the group had another round of alcohol. 

More redhorse.

Since it was already an Easter Sunday, the chances of getting tickets for the return trip was close to zero especially without reservations (which we failed to do). But we went to the port, to be chance passengers. They wrapped up the drinking session and we finally went to the port. My companions rode the tricycle, while I was offered a ride by Angkol Lee's relative on his motorcycle. They got to the port first, and found out that the coast guard won't let us be on the only ship ride out of that island because the vessel was already overloaded. I accepted defeat, so on the same motorcycle that brought me there, we went back to Angkol Lee's house to have another night of socials with the boys.  

But oh boy, I was so wrong...

Moments later, the tricycle arrived at the house, but my co-climbers was nowhere in sight. The driver told me that they were able to get into the boat because one of our co-climber  - Dawe sneaked inside, found himself a corner and then slept (he was drunk already). So the coast guard had no choice but to let all of his companions in. 

But where was I? Back at the house remember. The driver came to fetch me and took me back to the port. When we got there, the ship was at least 500 meters away from its former dock. As if that was not bad enough, I realized I don't have my backpack. They have my backpack, on that ship, on its way to Lucena! Wtf! I was fortunate enough that I have enough money on my pocket, which I collected from the group to buy boat tickets. So it was just me, the clothes I'm wearing, and the money I collected. I've no doubt I'll be alright.

Angkol Lee and his family graciously took me in, Nono's wife lent me clothes, and spared me a bed to sleep that night. 

The next ship sailing is three days away, and there were lots of climbers on the island still. Climbers from different organizations regrouped, to take an alternative boat ride to get back home.  We rented a big enough wooden boat which will take us to the Town of Bongabong in Mindoro. From there, we took the local bus to Calapan, Mindoro. Transferred again to a fastcraft going to Batangas. And finally boarded the bus to Buendia, Pasay. 

Civilization at last!

That's about the misadventures of my Mt. Guiting-guiting climb.

4 comments:

  1. we'll written piece!
    eagerly waiting to climb G2..
    i envy you m'am!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks!! Goodluck on your climb!

    ReplyDelete
  3. kainggit! maaakyat ko rin ang G2. haha!
    looking forward:)) sama ka ate Jonie.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, I'm looking forward to climb G2 again...

    ReplyDelete

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