Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mount Banahaw, Quezon

WHERE: Mount Banahaw, Quezon
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 1-2, 2007

1. This is considered a spiritual mountain by many hence the different spiritual beliefs everywhere - from the waters to the caves to the mountains! Mt. Banahaw is full of "holy sites". Some actually believe that if you get out of Husgado (judgment) cave with bruises and scratches, you ARE sinful!
2. It's very interesting to meet Rizalistas (people who have so much belief in the life and works of Dr. Jose Rizal and at some point believe that he is a divine being!) who actually reside in this area.
3. Even though you are not religious, this site proves to be a destination for the adventurous! The caves are actually challenging, and the hike to Kalbaryo is anything but easy.

FEES: For this trip, we paid around P1,500 for the whole overnight trip inclusive of the public bus line that brought us to Quezon and the 3-hour jeepney ride from Quezon all the way back to UP Diliman!

NOTE: We joined our friend JP's field trip for PI 100: Rizal. It's probably cheaper to do this on your own but we're not sure how the do-it-youself (DIY) groups plan their itinerary. ;) There is an eco lodge here called Kinabuhayan Bed and Breakfast and homestays are also available.

Mt. Banahaw is located in Dolores, Quezon. This trip was actually done at the foot of Mt. Banahaw because a lot of things can be done on this religious site. Called "holy mountain", hundreds of people flock here during the lenten season. Banahaw supposedly got its name from the Tagalog words "banal" which means sacred and "daw" which is a term to suggest doubt in something that is supposed to be a fact. Put together, "banal daw" means "supposedly sacred".

In 2004, Mt. Banahaw's hiking trails were closed for restoration and is scheduled to open again in 2010.

There are a lot of things to do in Mount Banahaw. Whether you're religious, adventurous or simply curious, there is something exciting and new to learn here. Even just at the foot of the mountain, adventurers would surely be delighted. From challenging mini-caves to cold rivers to waterfalls to steep boulders on the way to Kalbaryo, Mount Banahaw will not disappoint you. A trip to the residences of the Rizalistas is also interesting and enlightening. We do not want to spoil more details because it would ruin your experience. You will find out later on that no words can describe the experience of Banahaw, and you will begin to finally understand why a lot of field trips are done there.

Overall, there's something about this place that is magical. Whether it's the beliefs or the environs that does that to you, it surely succeeds in doing so. This place is a wonderful weekday or even weekend getaway, especially if you're looking for an adventurous connection with nature.

Legend has it that Banahaw was the headquarter of a group headed by the famous local hero, Apolinario de la Cruz or Hermano Pule sometime in 1840-43. He was the person who named places in Banahaw such as Jacob and Kalbaryo. In an offensive against Pule, he and his wife was killed wherein his head, stuck to a pole, was displayed at the road to Tayabas to warn all rebels. Pule promised to return as the Santong Boses. (trivia from this site)
Holy Water Falls & River, Husgado Cave, Sto. Jacob, San Pedro and San Pablo, San Isidro, Kalbaryo, Rizalista House (at least one)
1. Ride a bus from Manila (JAM Liner) to San Pablo, Laguna (P135 aircon bus).
2. Ride a jeepney to the palengke and ask for directions going to Mount Banahaw.

JAM Liner - +632 9251758 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +632 9251758      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (terminals: Cubao (EDSA), Buendia LRT)

1. Prepare to get "wet" and "dirty". Bring extra clothes, water and towels to dry you up.
2. If you can, bring a waterproof camera.
3. Respect the beliefs of the people. Insulting any of their beliefs is a big no-no!
4. Prepare yourself for some physical activity. You cannot just sit down and see the beauty of Banahaw. You have to feel the waters, explore the caves and trek all the way up for a scenic view!

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP: (Dedicated most especially to our group: The Filubusteros
--Forgetting to bring our usual digital camera FOR THE FIRST (and so far, only time). Forgive our pics cause we just took them using our phones (Nokia N70 and N92! We stole some pics from Em's Ericson phone cam, too. Thanks dear!) This part was really a sad one...Wish we could've taken pics of every activity we did. Hmp!!
--The interview with "Tya Pasing!", a Rizalista.
--The super small and very challenging caves (not advisable for claustrophobics, haha!)
--The cave that made us feel how it is to be a worm, and the pitch-black cave!
--The hike up to Kalbaryo (if only because of the singing, the laughing and our groupmate, Clarence:p)
--The falls, the rivers, the clear waters!
--The uber cold water!!! And the uber cold floor where we all slept!
--The race to be the first in line in the shower area!
--JP's (our friend) caving experience!
--Jericho (our groupmate) the almanac!
--JP threatening Jericho!
--"3 and a half lang ang sampung utos ng Diyos!"
--The question "Sino po ba talaga si Rizal para sa inyo?" by JP at "Ano po ang ibig sabihin ng Kristong Tagalog?" by Paula
--"So what kung uno ka? Eng'g ka ba?!" vs "So what kung Eng'g ka? Other colleges ka naman!!!" (probably, only UPD students will get this!)
--The song "Man in the Mirror!"
--JP calling Ina "Tin" and Paula asking "Sino si tin?" then JP asking back "Ano na nga ba pangalan niya?" (referring to Ina who was right in front of him!)
--The FILIBUSTEROS namely Ina, JP, Em, Aya, Clarence, Paula and Charlie :D
--The rollercoaster ride on the jeepney roof
--The conversation about posers with Ina. (Ya know, we're climbers already kasi we climbed once eh!!!! Bwahahahaha!!!)
--The jeepney ride from Dolores, Quezon all the way to UP Diliman!:)

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