One of the overused quotes we often hear is the dreaded and famous, "Don't judge the book by its cover." It is so common that I will use it to express my thoughts on my recent mountain experience. Legend has it that Mt. Cristobal is a haven of evil spirits lurking in its surroundings. Moreover, it is said so the opposite of its neighbor, Mt. Banahaw which is popularly known as the Holy Mountain. Hence, the former is dubbed as the Devil's Mountain. Because of its moniker, going to the said mountain made me not think twice but thrice. Alas, I opted to hike it due to a six month drought of hiking.
One can reach the said place through boarding a Lucena-bound bus from
Buendia. Tell the conductor, you are headed to San Pablo City, Laguna.
Fare is 124.00 PhP. Then go to the wet market which is near to Liana's
supermarket. Find a jeepney en route to Dolores. (Sir Jhun, convinced
the driver to bring us to the jump-off point for a fare of 50.00 PhP per
head.) Try to be hospitable to the people there, you'll never know that
the one you are teasing is a policeman. (Based from a true story) After
more than an hour ride, You'll be drop off near the foot of the
mountain. Then it becomes little tricky because there is a road filled
with cement on your way to the Montelibano House. The aforementioned
place is where you will settle things before your ascent to the
mountain. You can use their water and rest room as well. You'll end up
contributing for their funds at the range of 5.00 to 20.00 PhP.
tell you frankly the ascent is not a walk in the park. The terrain is
mostly steep but is covered of various trees. However, on the way up,
the trail is on the edge of a cliff or a ravine that you'll only step
the roots of the trees in order to reach the other side of the trail. If
you're into adventure this might be good for you. Along the way, you
will see Mother Nature in its finest. You'll marvel at the huge trees
surrounding the mountain. It is a pleasant sight compared to the
skyscrapers we are accustomed to in the metropolis.
site in the crater of the mountain is around 3 to 5 hours from the
house. It depends on your pacing. (Our group reached it for five hours
due to photo-shoots and long breaks that were badly needed during the
ascend. The crater has a lagoon, which has soft land that you cannot set
up camp there. The mountain is so high that you should bring a jacket.
It is freaking cold out there. (Charge to experience, I did not have any
jacket with me. Fortunately, one fellow mountaineer kindly lent her
poncho to me.)
Moreover, there is no water source here so better
bring lots of water. The summit is around an hour or so from the crater.
However due to the rain, we did not go to the summit. Besides, there is
nothing to see due to the fog covering the mountain. Going down is
quite easy than going up. It took me just couple of hours and a couple
of downhill slides to reach the house. (It was raining during our
Overall, the mountain is not really the same mountain
it is being advertised. There might some unexplainable things but it is
just one of the things that make the said mountain sound mysterious.
You know a thing or two about it but then again there are new things
that you discover about it. Also, the locals residing there are very
hospitable so do not be shy asking for assistance. Mt. Cristobal is
pleasant to people just be respectful to her and nothing bad will
happen. (In my case, I went up there with one friend but when I went
home, I have 14 new friends.)