Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dayhike of Mounts Cabuyao & Sto. Tomas

My last hike for 2012 was done on the last day of November, my 4th hike for that month. Actually, I just inserted it on my schedule, after arriving in Baguio City at 4:00 am to attend a seminar. It was a 2-in-1 hike, of the neighboring Mounts Cabuyao and Sto. Tomas, located in Tuba, Benguet.

Supposedly a solo hike, good thing that my seminar co-attendee RS accompanied me on this hike, despite the short notice and without much gears. It was still dark when we left the hotel and arranged a taxicab to bring us to Mount Cabuyao for Php 600. Pinoy Mountaineer has the following technical description of the 2 mountains:

MT. CABUYAO (2,025 +) / MT. STO. TOMAS (2,256 +) 
Tuba, Benguet
Major jump-off: Green Valley, Brgy. Dontogan, Baguio City
LLA (Mt. Cabuyao): 16° 21.530N, 120° 33.888E, 2025 MASL
LLA (Mt. Sto Tomas): 16° 20.12N, 120° 33.661E, 2256 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2 hours (C) 3 hours (ST)
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1

In about 20 minutes, we arrived at Mount Cabuyao’s radar site, but their gates are closed and looks like they don’t allow visitors. From the ridge of the radar site, it would have been nice to see the entire Baguio City at the break of dawn. These radars and antenna are visible if approaching Baguio City from Marcos highway.

We started our hike from the radar site, while the moon is still very visible. From a cemented road, it turned into a rough road on a rolling terrain. We passed a few local men and a girl bringing a gallon of water from a spring nearby.

Instead of rice terraces, we saw vegetable terraces partly hidden by darkness and some clouds.

In less than 30 minutes, we could see the radar site already far from us.

The summit of Mt. Sto Tomas still look very far from our position.

Along the trail, we saw sampinits or our local version of raspberries. They just grow wild on the Cordillera mountains. Their sour sweet berry taste provides good short break for hikers like us, who haven’t taken any breakfast yet.

The left photo below shows a rocky cliff’s silhouette on the west side. The right photo is one of the many antenna sites on the area, near the saddle of Mount Sto. Tomas. It became the endpoint of our hike, since RS has difficulty in walking on the rocky portions of the road with his sneakers. Plus we have to catch a seminar that morning as well.

From our endpoint on the base of antenna tower, the summit of Mount Sto. Tomas looks very steep and would probably require another 30 minutes of hike.

There are vegetables grown even on this part, like potatoes and cabbages.

A dam is visible from this point, on the west side of the radar site. It could be one of the water sources of Baguio City.

On our descent with the sun up in the horizon, the views along the trail looked much better. The left or western side of the trail shows the rocky cliff, where Pangasinan, La Union, and West Philippine Sea could have been visible without the clouds and fog.

Nueva Vizcaya lies on the east side of the trail. I guess Mt. Ugu is somewhere on that part.

This is a good alternative destination, for those who are sick and tired of the usual tourist sites of Baguio City.

Looking forward to more hikes on 2013!

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