Mount Banahaw, 1995: Into the Eye of the Storm

With faulty intelligence, we climbed Mountain, Banahaw, in Quezon Province. Mount Banahaw in known throughout the Philippines as a mystic mountain, with many cults climbing to gain access to its secrets. They say that there are many spirits in that mountain, and I am inclined to believe so, as our experiences cannot be easily explained logically.

Mount Banahaw Photograph c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer, Delfin T. Mallari
Mount Banahaw
Photograph c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer, Delfin T. Mallari

Little did we know that we were in the direct path of Super Typhoon Rosing (international code name: Angela). Rosing was a category 5 typhoon that would turn this 3 day ascent and descent into five days of many strange occurrences.

The ascent of Mount Banahaw
The ascent of Mount Banahaw

The first day was relatively easy, with the cool mountain breeze making the climb very easily paced. Here we are resting the Tatlong Tanke, before climbing to the first camp site. The next day, the winds picked up in middle of our ascent, and we had to take shelter. The winds were so powerful that it would lift me up almost 30 cm off the ground, when I went out of the tents wearing a poncho.

Cooling off at the springs of Tatlong Tanke, Mount Banahaw
Cooling off at the springs of Tatlong Tanke, Mount Banahaw

Night 2:

We are huddling and cooking dinner in the middle of the storm. A few hours later, one tent is nearly flooded, so we move. By the morning, our former camp area has a 2 meter thick tree fallen on it. Still we survived after all of that, with our wits and humor intact.

Cooking dinner in the middle of the storm
Cooking dinner in the middle of the storm

By the 3rd night, everything we had was drenched, except the clothes on our backs. If we had to go out, we had to strip down naked, and to sleep we resorted to stuffing our bodies inside the large garbage bags that we brought along.

On day 4 and 5, the descent was very arduous, because all trails were erased by the storm. Luckily, we were able to encounter a local farmer, who guided us back to a more recognizable terrain.

Upon returning to the town of Dolores, a local official was so surprised that none of us perished that he bought us a drink.

1996, the return to Mount Banahaw
1996, the return to Mount Banahaw

In 1996 we return to Banahaw, this time during the Lenten Good Friday. We ended up helping the Sagip Banahaw volunteers, in aiding the many first time climbers who got into accidents

Suprema de la Iglesia del Ciudad Mistica de Dios, Inc photograph c/o my_sarisari_store.typepad.com
Suprema de la Iglesia del Ciudad Mistica de Dios, Inc
photograph c/o my_sarisari_store.typepad.com
Suprema de la Iglesia del Ciudad Mistica de Dios, Inc photograph c/o my_sarisari_store.typepad.com
Suprema de la Iglesia del Ciudad Mistica de Dios, Inc
photograph c/o my_sarisari_store.typepad.com

Years later, I returned to Mount Banahaw with my girlfriend (now my wife), as she introduced to me the sacred caves of the local cults, while we were helping in a local Earth Day celebration.

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