(A trip amidst the storm, January 18, 2015)
(A trip amidst the storm, January 18, 2015)

A treasure always awaits those who persevere.

During our elementary years (primary education), my family would always climb a mountain almost every weekend to visit our dalandan (citrus fruit) orchard. We would stay there for almost the whole day, even when the weather was not so favourable. I never knew, and I never actually asked, the name of the mountain before. For me, it was simply the mountain in Curba (a sitio in Sto. Tomas, Calauan, Laguna). It was the first ever mountain I ever climbed in my life, even before I actually gained enthusiasm in mountain climbing.

As a year starter and as part of the challenge to climb one mountain per month, we decided to go to Calauan, my hometown, and climbed the mountain whose name was unknown to me until our climb. The mountain was called Mt. Kalisungan. According to a local whom we met along the trail, the name of the mountain was derived from the Tagalog word lusong which means “to go down”. It was because the trail of the mountain has numerous steep points. Although the mountain was not so high, just around 700 MASL , the climb was actually difficult since the trail was not  established.

The first part of the trail of the mountain has numerous fruit trees, an indicator that the mountain was actually used by the locals as a planting area. The hikers could actually pick some fruits given that they would ask for permission. As we continued to ascend, we finally reached the grassy areas of the mountain which essentially meant that we were near the peak. The grassy lands of Mt. Kalisungan  reminded me of Mt. Tagapo in Talim Island in Binangonan, Rizal. Since it was raining hard as there was a typhoon signal, the weather approaching the summit was chilling cold.

Despite the cold weather on the peak, we really had fun because of the scenery that we saw amidst the fog. We were able to view the plains of Calauan and neighbouring municipalities, Laguna de Bay and Talim Island. There was also a concrete landmark on the peak signifying the boundaries of Calauan and San Pablo City, Laguna. So when you stepped onto that landmark, you were actually in two places at once, just like what Jamie Sullivan wished in the film “A Walk to Remember”.

Because the weather was worsening and we were soaking wet already, we decided to go down after taking some pictures on the peak. We enjoyed it and I would love to go back there during a good weather.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, we left nothing but memories.

For more photos of our Mt. Kalisungan trek, pls visit the Life Gallery.

Some side comments:

  • Getting a guide was highly recommended when climbing Mt. Kalisungan. As aforementioned, the trail going to the peak of the mountain was not established, thus, it was really difficult to find your way up, especially since a lot of human pathways were available and could confuse the climbers. Unfortunately, guides in the area were not organized. When we went there, we registered in the barangay hall of Lamot II and immediately looked for a guide to aid us with our hike, and the person who was there told us that there was no one to guide us, so we waited until he called a local tricycle driver. After some small talks, he agreed to become our guide. As we went up, I noticed that the guide was not actually that knowledgeable with the trails to and from the peak. I was able to confirm it when we went down since we got lost. He did not tell us about it until we complained about the trail.
  • We paid Php 400 when we hired a guide but when we asked him, he told us that it was just based on the person who asked him to guide us. It only meant that they actually had no basis for the fee.
  • We were also asked for a donation when we registered amounting to Php 20. It was not bad to ask for a payment if it would actually act as an environmental fee which would be used in the conservation of Mt. Kalisungan. Unfortunately, based on my observation during our trek, it was not the case. There was no sign of conservation efforts that was observable in any part of the trail. Our guide smoked many times and left his cigarette butts just anywhere.

Additional notes:

  • Bring a tarp or even just an umbrella when going to Mt. Kalisungan since there was no tree or other structures that could protect you from the sun (or rain).
  • Overnight camp was allowed in the area.
  • Bringing of foods was really recommended since there were no stores along the trail.
Travel Guide*    
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
Olivarez Plaza** to Masapang, Victoria, Laguna Jeep (Sta. Cruz bound) 25 minutes
Masapang, Victoria, Laguna to Lamot II Barangay Hall Tricycle 20 minutes
Lamot II Barangay Hall to Mt. Kalisungan Summit Foot ≈ 2 hours
*based on actual events    
**Los Banos, Laguna (College)

 

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