Day2 – 09/20/2015: Climb to the Summit of Mount Kapayas and Coastal CleanUp
Mount Kapayas is located in the Northern part of Cebu. It is situated in Sitio Kampanya, Barangay Cabangkaya, Catmon Cebu. The lone summit of Mount Kapayas (dubbed as “Torre” or Lantawan for some bloggers) stands at an elavation of 2487 feet above sea level (758 masl) making it as the highest peak in Northern Cebu and second highest summit in Cebu Island next to Osmena Peak that stands at 1013 masl.
The peak is an outcropping of limestone rocks towering above the surrounding mountains in a 360 degree view perspective hence the word “Torre” and “Lantawan” was associated. “Torre” in Spanish means Tower and “Lantawan” is a Visayan term with a close english translation – overlooking, observation point or watchtower.
At the “Torre”, you will be mesmerized by the breathtaking view of the surrounding and you will come into a realization how splendid God’s creation is. It may not be as high as other peaks but the scenery that you can witness atop of Mount Kapayas is simply amazing, let alone perfection before nature lovers eyes. To top it all, the mountain is realtively unexplored with its astounding beauty, secrets and challenges.
Mount Kapayas is an elusive mountain for most outdoor enthusiasts due to the hear-says that there maybe some “Nice People Around” in the place. Well, if nice people are around then let’s be nicer. We’re just going to climb their mountains anyway and nothing more. I think the key if we encounter them is to try to know our place and to keep ourselves grounded. We are strangers in their place, we should be as polite as we can be and we should respect them, as well as the locals that we encounter in our adventurous journey. Maybe this is why the government is strictly implementing the “No permit, No Climb” policy and is limiting the number of climbers to just 10 pax but can be negotiated to 20 pax for some cases as they say.
Preparing for Summit Assault:
Alarm was set at 3:00AM the previous night but I guess my body anticipated to wake up around that time and woke up a bit early. Actually I was awake few times before my alarm sets off due to a very sultry weather that I didn’t use my sleeping bag at all. Last time I woke up was 30 mins before 3AM but chose not to get out of the tent yet and wait for the others to wake up.
At 3AM everyone’s alarm was setting off, waking the other half of the camp site (NCR Trekkers group). MJ and her tent mates immediately went out of their tent to help the cooking and called me out. Later that day it came to my knowledge that they had no enough sleep or non at all due to tent malfunction when the rain had poured the last night. Poor kids, our tent can accomodate some of them if we did knew the situation head on and maybe we can have done something to fix the problem.
Anyway, we then started preparing our early breakfast. We had pork adobo, rice, noodles, coffee, some canned goods and bread for breakfast. We’re done preparing our food at around 4:30AM and immediately eat breakfast right after coz we need to leave the camp by 5AM. While eating, there was one line that I can’t forget from PJ and I quote “Whoaah, lami-a aning adobo oi, gi-unsa man ni ninyo pagluto? Di ko mo undang ug kaon ani ron!”. Thanks PJ for the compliment, it was just a plain pork adobo and we just put some twist to it while heating to add flavor. Well, we will have more pork adobo in our succeeding climbs – courtesy of Mommy Ai. Hehe.
At 5:10AM, everyone was ready and up for the challenge. We then have a short prayer followed by a short briefing from Kyno Dumlao and warm-up / stretching.
We started our trek to Mount Kapayas Torre at roughly 5:30AM. We’re late again for few minutes and we need to be back at camp by 9AM coz we need to be there at the jump off by 11AM where the mini-dump truck and ELF waited for us.
Kyno has assigned two guides for us, one head/lead guide and the other one is the sweeper (Veber). As usual, I’m on the tail as I always do in most of our climbs coz it’s being proven that being in the tail is more fun and has less pressure compared to the head and middle. I won’t tell you why (for now) coz maybe some members from our trekkers club can read this and opt to be at the tail next climb. It will be a disaster if no one wants to be in the head or middle (but I know, Kring likes it better in the middle group) so probably the problem is within the head. LOL. Anyway, we made it as a hidden rule in the club that slow pacing members must be in the head or middle at least so that everyone can adjust to their pacing but of course everyone can choose where they want to be and most comfortable with.
The first segment of the trek is crossing a fully exposed area which could be gruesome when trekking during midday with the scorching sun. After 10 minutes of trek going uphill right above the corn fields, we had a stop. We, on the tail group didn’t know why we stopped, so we just took pictures and fooled around and threw some hugot lines to each other. It turns out that the head group following the head guide didn’t follow him coz “they thought” the guide was just checking in or scouting the trail. 10 minutes after, the guide was back sweating all over and catching his breath saying that he thought the group is following him. Haha, miscommunication in the early morning. But honestly, it should not happen again in the future climbs as it can involve risks. Open communication should be strictly followed next time, and before we try to assume, we should try this crazy process called asking. But that was fun though, it’s part of the adventure and it adds more spice to the experience.
We continued on our assault uphill to a thickly vegetated hillside with a very slippery trail due to the rain the previous night. Everyone was extra careful as the stones on the trail were very pointed and one wrong step can lead to injury and we can’t afford that. After a steep ascent we reached in the rocky portion of the trail which looks to me a parched portion of the hill. But Ohh, one funny but serious happening during the trek was that when our head guide felt dizzy on our steep assault and had an emergency rest for few minutes. We were brief not to shout on the trail and walk in single file in a very narrow trail, so the head guide passed on a message to the tail to have some water which the sweeper was bringing with him and asked to pass it on. Our bad, we left our first aid kit in the base camp. We were playing a message relay then and everyone was like having fun of it.
After half an hour we were entering into a thicker jungle on which the trail was littered with very sharp and loose rocks let alone slippery due to the rain and morning mist. Good thing the trail is on a rolling terrain with mild ascents and descents. At 10 minutes before 7AM, we arrived at the foot of Mount Kapayas and had a 5 minute water break and picture taking.
According to the guide, the assault to the Torre will take about 15-20 minutes. This is the trail that we we’re warned not to have long breaks on our assault as there are giant ants on the trail and is very dangerous when bitten by one. Wee are advised to keep moving even in slow pace. So we came up with the idea on the tail group that we had to apply the 5 meter distance rule to minimize unnecessary stops due to the man suddenly stopping in front of you. We did it to keep moving even in small steps to minimize the chance of being crawled and bitten by the monster ants.
Its not a trek anymore going to the Peak, it’s technically and literally a climb from the foot to the cliff base Torre. Yes, it’s a mild technical climb. You need those free hands to keep your balance when climbing the vertical cliff face. You need to hold those cracks on the rocks to climb up. You need to crawl and push yourself up, keep your balance and not to swerved on the edge of the precipice as it can lead to a deadly fall to the abyss.
If you’re afraid of heights and easily gets distracted by heights, don’t look down on the precipice as you pass through it or climb yourself to it as it can greatly affect your balance and muscle control. And if not, take a look around and enjoy the magnificent backdrop of mountains and clouds around.
After passing through the cliff base trail, the last part is to scramble your way up through a narrow rocky passage to the Torre and there you can see the beautiful rock formation on the Torre that somewhat resembles like Mount Mauyog in Balamban Cebu, but in a bit larger scale.
Mt Kapayas Torre:
The Torre is relatively small with the towering limestone rocks. The lone summit area can accommodate just a limited number of people but it really can accommodate around 30+ people. We were 25 in our group including 2 of our guides and there still more room for some extra persons. In totality, the outcropping of Mount Kapayas Peak are basically towering cliffs with the exquisite and stunning 360 degree view of the surrounding places below it.
The view is so hypnotic not to stand on the very edge of the Peaks outcropping and have ones picture taken. There is a ledge also just right below the Torre where I found it nice to have someone pose for a picture. It was indeed became one of the photo shoot location at that time. Notwithstanding the palpable peril on standing the Torre itself, the majestic panorama of nature will definitely leaves you breathless, astonished and exhilarated.
After half an hour (quarter to 8AM) of relishing experience, we bid our goodbyes to the summit and started our descent as we need to be back to the base camp by 9AM. But we knew we were a little behind of our itinerary by few mins so we must hurry in courtesy of the other group that might wait for us too long.
We checked everything and start the cleanup at the peak as there are some trash left in there. We mountaineers should abide with the LNT principle and practice it by heart, and it pains me to see some trash left by mountaineers in the mountains they climb.
We descent on another trail which is a bit difficult if we’re following that trail going up coz there are less vegetation and rock cracks that jutted from the precipice to hold on. Some mountaineers follow this trail and dubbed it as “Kiss the Wall” section of the cliff base trail.
After this section, the trail is moderately easy until the end of the descent to the foot of Mount Kapayas where the head and middle group had another stop again to wait for all members of the tail and the sweeper to make sure everyone is accounted for.
We hurriedly started our descent back to the base camp with the marvelous experience with us. It was a fun-filled descent with all the hugot lines we had thrown to each other with matching trail sliding from other trekkers. I often joked that one can’t be called a mountaineer if he/she doesn’t experience one of those things in the mountains like difficulties encountered and sliding on a slippery trail, in the end it adds more color to the adventure and its not how excellent and perfect you had reach to your destination that counts but rather it would be how great and fun your experience was on your journey. And everyone takes pride in it instead of being ashamed of those shortcomings. Whenever it happens, everyone just laughed and will say “I tripped! Can you? That’s part of the adventure” 🙂 and its getting more fun.
We reached at the base-camp 10 minutes past 9AM. We need to hurry and break camp immediately coz the heat of the sun is scorching and the other group has started to left camp. After the break camp, we had the “mandatory” group picture again and heeded our way to the jump off in Agsuwao. Just few moments after leaving the base camp, the sky was hurled with clouds and the scorching heat of the King sun was gone.
I had this nostalgic feeling again as I always do after breaking camp in the mountains. I really want to stay longer but we need to part ways to fulfill our other puspose, to clean up one of mother earths possessions – the sea.
It seems the heaven cried when we left, coz few minutes of our trek, it rained suddenly when few minutes before that, the weather was soo good and the sun was bumptiously shining above us. Guess its not only us who can be moody but the weather too.
The rained didn’t stopped, so we need to trek under the rain. It added more challenge to the trek especially on our descents and some of us had tripped on the trail especially few members of the tail group. It seems our shoes was not cooperating at that time. We had small peep talks again and just few stops as the rain kept pouring. Few minutes before reaching the jump off, at around 11:20AM the rain had stopped. Thank God.
We had a quick stop with our guides and fix our rain covers, umbrellas and raincoats. We arrived at the jump off at Sito Can-Ampao, Agsuwao Catmon at 11:40AM where the other group had already settled in the ELF and waited for us for a couple of minutes already. Sorry guys for the long wait!
At 11:45AM, we left Barangay Agsuwao bound to Baranggay Macaas for the Boodle Fight Lunch and Coastal Cleanup after. Few minutes as we journey to Barangay Macaas, the skies cried again. Oh noh! We will be soaked in the rain again but this time in a very bumpy ride with all the leaves slapping and sometimes tree branch whipping! What an experience!
Find out the happenings on the Coastal cleanup on my next post. (Part 2/2) Hope that you will not get bored of me being chatty here and spitting all the details 🙂 Stay tuned!
Below are few more pictures for your delight! But the first one is my favorite. (Don’t get mad at me glen and Gamz) 🙂
Some pictures are not mine:
Photo Credits to:
Kring from “The Wanderfull Life”
Norman and Eli