Monday, February 4, 2013

Eat, Hike and Ride at Mt. Balagbag with the USAP Mountaineers, USAP MTB and the USAP 2-Wheels Clubs

Mt. Balagbag
Rodriguez, Rizal

Feb. 3, 2013

Which is much faster, wheels or feet? This past Sunday, the said question was finally answered when our club USAP Mountaineers joined forces with the USAP MTB and the USAP 2-Wheels clubs in a trailblazing affair in Mt. Balagbag.On any given day, the easy bet would be wheels but this was no ordinary day as we were all in a competitive spirit to race on the said mountain.

The whole gang:USAP Mountaineers, USAP MTB and USAP 2-Wheels

As mentioned; there were three clubs involve so went to the jump-off separately. The mountaineers went to Licao-licao through the Tungko route while the MTB club took the Montalban route. There were only two participants from the 2-wheels club and one took the former trail while the other one used the latter route.

On our way to Licao-Licao
Upon our arrival. we saw sir Julius of the 2-wheels club already waiting for us. And so the winner of the first leg goes to their club. In fact, he went with us without his motorcycle and he even lead the way for majority of the trail.

Sir Julius leads the way minus his motorcycle
Half an hour later, the MTB club had arrived and we commenced our journey to the helipad. Probably, we were given a 15 minute head start by the bikers and still they were able to catch up by the time we reached the school in Balagbag.

At the midpoint of the trail, the bikers had caught us
However, we took back the lead when the the trail became a steep and rocky assault. And we held the lead for good by a long margin. Thank you very much steep trail. We appreciate your humble assistance in making their ascent a burden.

See how hard it was
During the ascent, it is notably worth to mention that the sight was breath-taking as one could see the Sierra Madre mountain range as well as Mt. Arayat in Pampanga. The skyline of the buildings in Ortigas can be seen as well. Minutes past nine in the morning, I already reached the gate en route to the Helipad. Right after, a house could be seen and served as the registration site that cost ten pesos.

A week before the year of the snake comes, a dead snake welcomed us just before the registration site
Sir Julius and I were the first one to register and did not wait for the others. One of the locals instructed us to use the shortcut en route to the Helipad and so we used it while the others use the long route. The trail was much more I am accustomed to as it was narrow and steep and full of tall grasses. True enough, in just ten minutes, I was able to reach the highest point of the mountain, i.e. the Helipad. Aside from the privilege of being all alone in a mountain with a gorgeous view of the mountain range of Sierra Madre, I am also proud to brag that the Mountaineers went there first.

Victory for the Mountaineers

Moments later, Julius was able to reached the top. Then the sun made his presence for awhile just before the other mountaineers arrived. Afterwards, the MTB crew one-by-one made it finally to the top and greeted with loser signs.

A proud achievement for the USAP MTB Club
And the winner is....
The Mountaineers had their lunch there and rested in a hut nearby the helipad and joined in by the MTB crew as well. While me, Julius and sir Lemuel stayed behind. I took the opportunity to have a serene and peaceful thought of my lolo who departed five days earlier and was cremated 24 hours earlier. 

For a brief time, I did not have fun in this hike
Just before noon, we had our photo session. This time the bikers made the most of the time pedaling as it was downhill to the jump-off. I was the only one able to catch them but only momentarily. One side note was a local trying to be funny asked me where was my bike. I took it as a compliment but I accept my fate of not beating them downhill because I had neither front or rear brakes like them. By the time I reached the jump-off point, they were all having their lunch. More than an hour later, the others arrived as they drop by at the falls who had a few water to offer.

All set to leave

Thank you for all those who participated in this unique event of conquering a mountain
Thank you Sir Dada for the photos


On a personal note; this is a tribute climb for my lolo Bugs. Surely, I will miss him very much dearly.

Engr. Orestes "Bugs" M. Delos Reyes
Jan. 12, 1932 - Jan. 29, 2013
The engineer and the future mountaineer

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