To Climb Again

November 26, 2019 Mountain Climbing

This is something I thought I would never write again. I decided a long time ago not to pursue climbing anymore as a recreational activity. The only acceptable reasons for me then were work and outreach.

But it is really hard to turn my back against something I am passionate about. Up on the summit of Mt. Kapugan in Kiangan, Ifugao, I was reminded why I love climbing despite exhaustion, both physical and mental; the bruises, sunburns, and other unsightly marks; and of course, the risk and the worries that come with it — not just mine but also from my loved ones.

When I stared at the expansive view from the summit of Mt. Kapugan, and when I looked at my friends who I have climbed many mountains with, I knew I was right where I should be that moment, and I couldn’t wait to tell the world that I had climbed again.

The group I joined is Guys4Mountains, where I am an honorary member. It had been so long since the group had gathered to climb again. During our active years, we climbed at least once a month as a group, and we kept records of all members who join. Good thing Eric had the initiative and energy to organize an activity, which revived everyone’s interest again in mountain climbing. The climb celebrated the group’s 14th year.

At the summit with my Guys4Mountains family
Just a few hours earlier, I could not decide if I should climb or not. I was already bruised from a slip I’d had the day before, when I was going down the slippery cemented trails of Uttu Waterfalls, which is located at the foot of Mt. Kapugan. It was already a bad fall. I also almost got into a tricycle accident also. Plus, of course, scenes from my mountain climbing accident were all rushing back to me.

I don’t know what made me decide to wake up early, don my trekking attire, and join the group. I am not an early riser. 

The mountain is only 1,305 masl and the blogs I read said that it would only take an hour or two. There are two trails: the forested side and the grassland. The first would take 1.5 hours and the latter, 1 hour.

The mountain as viewed from our guest house
Well, it definitely took us more than two hours. We ascended through the forested side and descended through the grassland. There were lots of steep accents. The grasses were sharp and could cut into your skin. 

The grassy summit of Mt. Kapugan gives a breathtaking good view of the town. You can actually see the entire Kiangan.

Kiangan is a quiet town in Ifugao, overshadowed by its more famous neighbors Banaue and Batad. It is known as the oldest town in Ifugao and is supposedly believed to be the birthplace of Ifugao culture. 

There is actually a trail from the summit that could lead to the old "Kiyyangan" Village, the original settlement of the Ifugaos.

We could also see our guest house from the summit, Kiangan Viewpoint, and some of the places we visited the previous day, like the Kiangan Shrine, which is home to Ifugao Museum and a shrine shaped like an Ifugao hut, dedicated to the Filipino and American fighting men in World War II; the Uttu Falls, where I had my minor accident a day before; and the Nagacadan Rice Terraces, one of the four terrace systems in Ifugao declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Kiangan Shrine
Uttu Falls
Nagacadan Rice Terraces

We took a bit of time at the summit when tracing our route, looking at other popular Kiangan sites, and relishing the moment of being up on a mountain summit again. When I had the time to post on Instagram, my caption described the happiness I felt that when I chose to climb again, it was with the group who taught me how to do it fabulously.

We all laughed at our pace but at the same time felt proud that we could still do it. It was quite a feat after not training and practicing for such a long time.

We rewarded ourselves with a swim at the river before we headed back to our guest house to meet the rest of the group. It was also a moment for the group to reminisce about all our previous adventures and this most recent one.

Just before we reached the jump-off point, we had to cross the scariest dilapidated hanging bridge we have ever seen. 

Another view of Mt. Kiangan
Another one to add to our list of Kiangan stories and to all our happy memories together.

Other Good Travels