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Mt. Tapulao (High Peak)

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  Holyweek climb of DPM for the year 2008 was held on Mt. Tapulao in Iba Zambales, it is considered the highest peak in Zambales Mountain range. Its peak elevates to 2036 meters above sea level and total distance from jump-off point to summit is 17 kilometers.
  March 21, 2008, friday meeting place of DPM is at Ian's residence in Pacita Complex at 1900H. We prepare to pack the foods and other stuff that was bought the day before the trip to Zambales. We departed at Ian's house at around 2000H, while Sir Larry and Mam Rose and the guest are heading straight to Victory Liner Pasay terminal. There were no transpo available straight to Pasay, so the group decided to go to Alabang Metropolis to ride a jeep straight to Pasay, luckily there are still availble ride and it will take Skyway flyover (hay salamat nakasakay din). Upon arrival at Victory Liner terminal Pasay station, Sir Larry, Mam Rose and guest (Sir Joel) were already there waiting for us, but its only 2130H so we were ahead by 30 minutes in our IT which is 2200H. I now begun to ask the ticket operator on how much is the fare from Pasay to Iba Zambales, because according to news the transpo on buses have increased, fortunately the fare only increases by five pesos, so from P305.00 its now P309.00 The scheduled trip to Iba is at 2330H, one hour behind in our IT which is 2030H, so we waited until the bus has arrived. Alas its now 2330H we now begun to ride the bus and position ouself for a sleep, because tomorrow it will be a long day hike. The bus leaves the terminal at 2359H.
   March 22, 2008 Saturday we arrived at Iba Zambales at 0345H (wow and bilis ng biahe), its still dark but there were already tricycle there waiting, and a bus bound for Sta Cruz (Victory liner also air-conditioned), the tricycle approach us and ask if we want to ride to the jump-off point the Dampay-Salasa (alam na nila kasi yung ang regular trip nila to the mountaineers), at first we were a little bit shock of the prices that they gave us, they say its 120 per head, P360/trike for 3 persons (14 kami kaya mapapamahal yung two person sa tricycle) but we come to negotiate for P110 each, the tricycle agreed on the condition and even told us also if we want to pass by the market place (to buy some foods and others), so we said ok. On the market some of us eat foods, while others just buy their pack lunch and trail foods. We arrived at jump-point at 0515H, a one hour bumpy ride from Iba to Dampay Salasa (sumakit pwet ko kasi sa bakal ako nakaupo, sulit naman ang 110 na binayad namin, layo pala). It is required to register there just look for the Kagawad and she will explain to you all the detail, she even sell us a sumpit, it is a handcrafted sumpit made by locals (bilin ko sana panira ng kalapati, hehehe), by the way registration fee cost P30. We begun to trek at 0600H.
   We now see the miner's trail, its a wide and a very very very (to the max) long long trail (gets nyo na cguru kung gano kalayo), besides the wide and long trail there were no shelters to cover us from the rays of the sun, so sun protection and sun blocking is a must (buti na lang nagdala ako ng payong, hahahaha). While resting on the trail, we saw another group of mountaineers (from Tondo) getting down with a matador in their hands (kala namin trail water eh, hehehe), they want to trade a one liter of matador just for few cigarettes (yun pala naubusan sila ng sigarilyo, kaya pala nakipag trade), so we traded. We reach the second water source at 1130H, a 5.5 hours of non stop walking in the sun (hindi namin nakita yung first water source, pero mamaya ituturo ko, tinuro kasi sa amin nung pagbaba namin). On the second water source we have our lunch, most of us ate rice, others ate bread, me I only ate chocolate, and Edel the fast car ate only saging na saba (energy booster just like chocolate). After one hour of rest at the second water source we continue to trek on the bunker campsite.
   The bunker campsite is even farher than we expected (dami kasi liko, akala mo dyan na sa pag liko yun pala wala pa hay grabe), its more difficult here because the trail is much steeper than the one we are heading to the second water source. Our legs is now craming for the long long walk, rain has also pour while we are walking, so its a total exhaustion that we experience, others were already hungry (talagang pahirap nga ang Tapulao). We reach the first hut at 1630H (akala namin yun na), but I know that the bunker is much more larger than I expected, so I told them that this is not the one, so Ian and I went to explore and find the bunker campsite, because there is water source at the campsite, about 10 to 15 mins walk from the first hut you will reach the bunker campsite (Finally, nakarating din), so Ian and I headed back to the first hut to tell the group that it was there. DPM arrived at bunker campsite at 1715H (on my watch), so we walk it for 11+ something hours (KAPAGOD, imagine 11 hours of walking).
   We now begun to assemble our tents, and prepare dinner, because everybody was now starving. Bong is the cook, while others prepare the ingidients, Jay and edel cook the rice, and the others prepare and arrange the session hall (yung pag iinuman, hehehe). Our menu is composed of Adobo (walang kamatayan), giniling with baguio beans (isa pa din ito), and the new one salted egg or itlog na pula with tomato (dati namin menu sa bundok). We begun to ate at 1830H and the socialites begun at 1930H. Our pulutan is composed of squid ball and kikiam. Lights off is at 2330H (sa tingin ko kasi inunahan ko silang matulog eh, hehehe).
  We woke-up at 0430H of March 23, 2008 and prepare the breakfast, our breakfast is composed of coffee, noodles, tuyo and died fish and sardines. We begun to assault summit at 0800H and reach it at 0850H (at my watch). We are fortunate that there is clearing at summit, so we got the picture view of the Zambales area. We stayed there for a couple of minutes and begun to descend at 0915H, we reach the campsite at 0945H. Immediately after getting down we break camp and start descend at 1015H. We reach the second water source at 1200H and begun to cook for lunch, our lunch is composed of cornbeef and maling and noodles, the problem is we are a little bit short of rice, so edel the fast substitute the cornbeef for rice, hehehe, by the way the masterchef for our lunch is Jay (sarap panalo cornbeef), next time he will be the cook and he will amaze us of his adobo (panalo daw sabi jomar eh, hehehe).
  We descend from the second water source at 1300H, while we are descending heavy rains pour on us, so this was very difficult in getting down because the trail is wet, muddy and slippery. When we reach the DENR signboard sun has shown and now its very very hot, you know its better to rain in getting down, than the other way around. We reach the jump-off point at 1530H, and immediately buy a refreshing halo-halo (wow sarap, ang lamig ng pakiramdam, hehehe). We departed at Dampay-Salasa at 1700H and straight to hi-way fare there is only P30, and ride a mini-bus straight to Botolan fare there is on P23 (makakatipid ka pala pag nag Sta. Cruz Zambales ka instead of Iba, tapos baba ka na lang sa Paluig with marking of Mt. Tapulao). By the way we go straight to Botalan instead of Iba (Victory bus terminal) because we are still going to the beach (ligo naman muna and enjoy the beachside), this is in courtesy with the mountaineer that we met at the campsite (thank you very much Sir.). We departed at the beach at 0300H of March 24, 2008 and straight to Olongapo, because there were no bus passing by Botalan hi-way, from Olonggapo we ride a bus straight to Cubao Edsa, we arrived at Cubao at 1130H.


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