View from Mt. Natib
Yes. Leeches. Limatiks. They have declared war on us. As if I have not had my fill and fair share of the infamous mountain bloodsuckers of Makiling, I found myself saying yes to another climb involving such a major-major concern. This climb is popular not only for its leeches, moreso for the fact that it has been declared closed (then open, then closed, then open) by the military for insurgency-related attacks by our leftist brothers and sisters.
At 1,287+ MASL, I called my mother to wish her a happy birthday and to report that I have summitted another mountain in one piece. Of course I left out the part about the insanely aggressive limatiks and the NPAs (lest I want to cap and prematurely end my budding and flourishing hobby). I also left out the portion describing the one-and-a-half hour cardiac assault to the summit, the almost 90-degree rocky roped segments and the steep and slippery forested trails.
No, I knew better than to bother her with such trifling details. :D
Mt. Natib is currently open. Prior arrangements with the barangay are however encouraged to ensure that your group has the military’s permission to proceed with the climb. Manageable for beginners, the trail to the foot of the mountain is established. It begins with a wide sloping dirt road near a farm for fighting cocks. It then transforms to grass-covered paths that take you through Pinagbutasan (literally an opening in the mountain made by an energy company for their geothermal equipment to get through) and a lunch area called “bahay kubo” (where a water source is available). Afterwards, the paths narrow to the usual single-file trail, most portions of which are lined with tall cogon grass. The foot of the mountain is reached after about three or four hours. At the final stretch, our group’s mountain guides managed the paths and installed ropes at three different segments. The trail to the summit were mostly (if not, all the way) punishing assaults through a heavily covered and cool forest. At the summit, if blessed with a clearing, there are good views of Bataan and her neighboring mountains.