That Day in Mount Sembrano

mount sembrano, tanay, rizal, mt sembrano tanay

I like getting sidetracked. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it don’t.

Last week I decided that I should climb a mountain. Nothing high or difficult but challenging. Anyway, if you’re not fit, even climbing a steep stair is a challenge.

One of my buddy’s in the office, a seasoned mountaineer, Fausto, told me that we should go to Pulag this November. I thought it would be nice if I could try out some of the mountains nearby first.

I went home, then I saw this twit from someone I don’t know personally but I added on my twitter page, he was inviting people to climb Mt. Sembrano, in Tanay.

I remember Fausto telling me that nearby Sembrano and Tagapo are climbable even for an inexperience climber. So, I decided to sign up to that twitter invite.

The last hike I did was New Zealand’s Mt. Victoria, just this year. It’s actually a small hill, more like an over sized mound, even elderly people hikes there in good weather. Obviously, I’m no mountaineer. While I scaled Makiling and the Osmena peak in Cebu, these exploits was years ago, when I was still in my strong 20’s.

I’m in my mid 30’s now, growing fat and acquiring a bulging gut. I think this impulse to do unplanned things could be signs of an age crisis!

Nothing could have primed me for the task of climbing a mountain in exacting conditions. Forget being out of shape—what about heavy rain, turning ground and stone into a mud pile!

The mountaineers, all of them active, were young and equipped. I was neither young nor equipped. I came in with my chic sandals that became a liability as I had to take it off and descend barefooted. I probably fell hard on my butt six times. So, lesson here, invest on good hiking shoes—

Worst is that the night before the climb, my friends and I feasted on pizzas, chicken and pastas in Makati. That diner was worthy of a man’s meal before his execution. It was that heavy of a meal. I only slept for four hours then I was out of the house to meet with Jayvee and his gang.

Another thing I learned was to go light. Believe it or not, I have a freakin’ book in my bag, thinking that I’ll get to read on top of the mountain with my feet raised! Twice did the leader of the pack, Jayvee, helped me carry my bag. And believe me, there’s nothing more emasculating than having someone ask you to carry your load for you!

This Javee fella, is an interesting dude. Turns out that he has been doing these climbing events for some time now. He doesn’t get anything from it other than the gratification of introducing people to the art of mountain climbing. He was nice enough to pep talk me through some of the stages of the climb. Just when you needed that extra push, the guy’s there, giving you instructions. I told him to blog about his experiences. Could you imagine the wealth of experience this guy have in mountain climbing.

We reached the summit around 12 noon. A few minutes later it rained. We ate lunch while being pelted by fat raindrops. I never got to see the surrounding area because of the clouds. “Walang clearing,” I heard them say. I think that means that visibility is poor.

The guys decided to go down after they scaled the second summit. The push going down was a hellish experience—at least for me. I was tumbling and losing my balance, there were portions that were not only steep and abrupt but extremely slippery. I spent a lot of time scooping on my butt to go down. It was difficult for me personally because nothing could have prepared for me this. I was muddied like a carabao on a rice field and was just dog tired that both my legs were in pain.

But you know, the best thing about these experiences is that it reminds you of what life really is all about— and that there’s a tough struggle before you get to enjoy any of its rewards. I tell you, the feeling was beyond happiness after surviving the whole thing.

Again, I could be the one soul that was challenged this way. So ordinary was the climb to some of the guys that one of them was hurrying up to go home because he had a flight to catch!

“Baka isumpa mo ko ser ha?” Javee said in jest.

“No, man, I had a blast! and I thank you and the guys!”

Going up from the ground. The group headed towards Sembrano.

It started sunny

This lil’ goat must be lost. Wolves would have devoured these stragglers but we don’t have such predators, only buwayas, and they’re all in politics.

What beauty nature gives us!

Ominous clouds obscuring the view

At the summit’s camping area

That hat I’m wearing have more mountaineering experience than me. Given to me by my brother who’s a lover of the outdoors.

What a view. If climbing up was hard, wait til you go down after a heavy rain.

We spent most of the time going down either in this position, almost parallel to the ground, crouching or in our butts!


There were 7 of us — there’s Jayvee, the event organizer, Dennis, Ardie, Bryan, Norman and PJ. They’re all fun, cool guys.


26 October 2014


One response to “That Day in Mount Sembrano

  • princess

    nice blog sir, im even out of shape right now and the post seems to invite me to climb even more. at least im not the only one, lol! goodluck to me this nov 15 hahaha~~~~

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