Tirad adventure

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The summit looks pretty tiny from the saddle.
But really, it’s not.

I almost missed this climb. If not for the heavens who conspired to reschedule an exam and to give me my boondocks. Nope. I wasn’t off to a good start.

Last February 6 and 7, my 2 girlfriends and I joined the 2nd Annual Charity Climb of the Pinoy Mountaineers. Last year’s charity climb took us to Mt. Pulag (2,922 MASL). This year, the published destination of the trip is Tirad Pass (G. Del Pilar, Ilocos Sur) with a traverse to Quirino.

The destination piqued my interest as usual. The site is very historical and commemorates the courage of Gregorio del Pilar’s “Battle Above the Clouds”. At 22, the Philippines’ youngest general, along with about 60 guards fought the Americans who were pursuing then Philippine President Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The Pass traces the lonely trail and the numerous caves used as refuge by our Filipino soldiers in the battle. Eerie and poignant at the same time.

For me, the fun started not with the climb itself – but with the jeepney ride we took to the town proper of G. Del Pilar. We had roughly two bumpy hours of going through (literally) rocky roads and crossing river paths.

When we got to the town hall, we got the best(-est) surprise. The Pinoy Mountaineers announced that through the efforts of some local guides, Tirad Peak (1,388 MASL) has already been explored. That’s right. We were the first group to summit Tirad Peak! :)

It was no easy feat though, especially for not-so-hard-core mountaineers. The local guides pulled a good one on us. I think they failed to tell us we were summiting a rock. Yeah, a rock. Or maybe, I wasn’t listening properly at that time. But I do remember them saying it was easy. EASY.

The photo above doesn’t show it but climbing the summit is precarious, with one misstep sending you to the ravines below. The summit is so narrow only five to ten climbers can go up at the same time.

Nevertheless, it was all goooood.

1. I went rock climbing.
2. I drank right off a stream.
3. I took home a Merrell pair in the raffle.
4. And of course, I made a bunch of new friends. :D

Here’s a rough sketch of our itinerary:

Day 1
01:30 boarded and left Manila for Candon via Partas Lines (in Pasay)
07:30 arrived at Candon town proper for breakfast
09:00 boarded (humongous) jeeps and left Candon City for G. Del Pilar Town
11:30 arrived at G. Del Pilar town hall and basketball court for lunch, the medical mission of the fraternity and the orientation
13:30 boarded jeep to jumpoff point
13:45 started trek to campsite at Tirad Pass
16:30 arrived at Tirad Pass

Day 2
04:00 started ascent to Tirad Peak
08:30 summited Tirad Peak
09:30 started descent of Tirad Peak
12:30 arrived at campsite
15:00 started descent
15:45 arrived at jumpoff point
16:00 boarded jeep and left for Candon City
18:00 arrived at Candon town proper
19:00 assembled at Jollibee for dinner and raffle
21:00 boarded and left Candon for Manila via Partas Lines

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