The first man to ever stand atop Mount Everest, Edmund Hillary, was quoted saying: “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” I’ve proven this to be true when I climbed my first mountain. I struggled every step to the summit and had to literally drag myself up in the process. My friends and some other strangers who saw me were kidding that I looked like I just came out from a battle. And I did. It was a battle with myself.
If you are a seasoned hiker, this blog post will most probably bore you. 😛 As the title implies, this quick guide was whipped up for those who will embark on their first climb at Mt. Pamitinan. Located in Barangay Wawa Rodriguez Rizal, Mt. Pamitinan is one of the newly-explored mountains for outdoor enthusiasts, with a difficulty level of 4/9. Here are some basic pointers:
1. SHOES: Securing a stalwart footwear is number one on our list. Finding the right gear lies in knowing the terrain on which you will be treading. For instance, the trail to Mt. Pamitinan is divided into two: the “assault” part and the “bouldering” part. Hiking slippers (e.g. Sandugo’s and Tribu’s) may provide more support for the assault part which is the muddy and slippery uphill climb. However, closed rubber shoes (e.g. spiked hiking shoes or trainer shoes) can protect your feet in the bouldering part where huge rocks will be climbed. Either of these two would work just fine; just choose whichever you are more comfortable wearing. Also, I’ve learned the hard way to never hike with shoes worn for the first time.
2. TOP: Unlike cold mountains such as Mt. Pulag, trekking Mt. Pamitinan can be sweltering even before sunrise. So it is not wise to wear long-sleeved top such as a rash guard (I’ve learned this the hard way, too!). A short-sleeved “dri-fit” shirt would do. 😉
3. PANTS: It is better to wear long pants instead of shorts to protect your legs from scratches that can be obtained from rough boulders. For women who will go for a pair of tights, it is advisable to wear shorts over it—according to our guide, there were some women who had their leggings ripped at the back. Consequently, go for elastic compression garments rather than cotton fashion leggings.
4. GLOVES: Gloves with rubber underneath is a must for the bouldering part of this hike. You can buy a pair at Daiso or Saizen, for P88.
5. BAG AND THINGS: A knapsack/backpack is a good choice for it provides more balance than sling bags and belt bags. A flashlight is also needed if you will start your trek before sunrise (which is the ideal time). Aside from water, snack, and flashlight, other items to bring are change of clothes, disinfectant, and whistle in case of danger. A tip from our hiker friend: avoid bringing unnecessary stuff as it is more convenient to hike with a lighter load.
6. WATER: This depends on your hydration needs. In my case, I get thirsty quite too often so in hindsight, I should have brought at least two liters of water. There are a couple of kiosks selling cold beverages at the first stop but if your climb is before sunrise, you will probably catch them on your way down.
7. PREPARATION: The best preparation for any hiking activity is cardio exercise because above all, an uphill climb tests one’s endurance. However, if you are a beginner, do not feel compelled to keep up with your more experienced companions’ pace. Mt. Pamitinan also requires rock scrambling skills so it is ideal if you have an experience on this kind of activity. Make sure to have enough sleep, too. A well-rested mind and body is better than any energy drink!
8. GOING AROUND: In front of Jollibee in Cubao Farmers, ride an FX going to Montalban. From there, take a tricycle going to DENR office where you will meet your local guide (The bathroom can be used here—It is a must to pass water before starting the climb). As much as possible, contact a guide ahead of time, otherwise, you will have to wait for an available one and you might miss the sunrise. The guide costs P500 for every 10 people. Not far from the office is where you will register and give a donation of any amount. Down from the mountain, you can have lunch at a nearby eatery and change clothes in a public restroom.
9. PICTURE TAKING: For those who love capturing photos, Mt. Pamitinan has two peaks where you and your friends can take pictures. The famous “buwis-buhay” ledge is in the penultimate one, but always prioritize safety above everything else! 🙂
10. ATTITUDE AND MINDSET: If this is your first climb, expect it to be challenging. But the key is to have a determined attitude. Our guide has told stories about climbers who quit in the middle and wait for their friends down or simply go home. In my case, I wanted to stop halfway through the climb (my feet were aching from my new shoes, my rash guard made it harder to breathe, I barely had an hour of sleep, and I was not physically fit for it, not to mention my fear of heights!!!). However, it does pay to have dear friends (and kuya guide!) to help and encourage us every step of the way! 😉
According to this blog post, other activities can also be done in Wawa Gorge like spelunking at Pamitinan Cave and Bat Cave, jogging at the Wawa Dam, trail running through Wawa Gorge, swimming, rock climbing, and going for the Mt. Pamitinan–Mt. Binacayan Twin Hike. 🙂
I hope this post has given you quite an idea of what it is like to hike at Mt. Pamitinan as a first timer. 🙂
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