We choose to go… not because it is easy,
but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to measure
and organize the best of our energies and skills,
because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept,
one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Instead of spending a lazy weekend at home, we challenged ourselves for some fun, extreme and action packed outdoor adventure.
The destination: Mt. Manalmon in Sitio Madlum, Barangay Sibul, San Miguel, Bulacan
Participants: 15 (Jen, Rob, Flor, Precy, Mac, Rod, Pat, Tevan, Kathe, Dale, Ada, Toni, Malen & Moi) with our super guide Bong Stone.
Jan 23, Saturday
0600 Assembly Time at Baliuag Transit bus bound for San Miguel Bulacan
0700 ETD San Miguel, Bulacan
0900 ETA San Miguel, Bulacan ( Palengke)
*** Last buying provisions (packed lunch)
0930 ETD San Miguel Palengke to Madlum
1000 ETA Jump Off
*** Registration | Briefing | Preparation
1100 Early Lunch
*** Briefing for Rappelling
1500 Packs on back, start of Trek
1630 ETA Camp site, Rest, Pitch tent
1700 Peak Assault | Picture Taking
1800 Prepare Dinner
2200 Lights out
Jan 24, Sunday
0500 Wake up Call | Peak Assault
0600 Prepare breakfast
0800 Break camp
0830 Descent to cave | River Crossing
1130 Back to Training Center | Prepare for lunch
1300 River (Tubing | Monkey Bridge | Swimming | Balsa Ride| Bouldering)
1800 ETD Manila
Some of us weren’t first timers in this ground and some are newbies whose eager to take the challenge.
It would be too cool if our itinerary were followed on schedule but circumstances get in the way and we were behind our timetable… in short, merong late.
After two weeks of planning, change of venue, event promotion and pre-climb meeting, our group was conceived. Precy who is single and ready to mingle will be leaving again soon for overseas work and a change of career. She was with Flor, her younger sister and a grade school teacher. MALEN (yes, in all caps) who lost contact with Mouhics after College, can’t wait to RAPPEL. She was with Toni, the giddy girl in the Men’s Room. Ada, the Manalmon-Madlum Survivor (except for the Monkey Bridge), Kathe, high energy happiness and Dale, the super blessed human being. Pat, the Spam and Imported goodies Man, who is on vacation till end of this month, Rod, the quiet first-timer. Mac, who can’t get over the hearts on our super guide Bong‘s eyes. Someone to watch out for is Rob, who took beautiful photos. Jen, who is better late than never. Ferdie, the mountain shet este the mountain chef and Me, whom you’ll never wish to take on a rappel challenge unless you’re willing to wait 30 minutes as I get myself ready.
All set, we took Baliuag Transit in Cubao going to Kamias, San Miguel, Bulacan at 9 AM. From there, we hopped in to our arranged jeepney to take us to the town market. We used our last minute chance to buy our packed lunch and ingredients for dinner and breakfast.
We reached Madlum at almost 2 in the afternoon. The low water level at Madlum river let us crossed to the other side on foot.
Registered at Madlum Training Center, had a quick lunch and prepared ourselves for rappelling activity.
We watched how Bong, Mac & Pat set up the rappel venue. Ropes and System: check. The jump site is lower than what we’ve conquered on 2006. When everything was ready, Mac did the first rappel down, while Bong and Pat gave us an introduction to Rappelling.
The fearless girls followed through and all of us survived the challenged even with wobbly knees, cold feet and sweaty hands. When I thought I could push myself easily down the jump site thinking this is only half of what I conquered last time, it still took me minutes to make the first step off the wall. Feels like the first, eh?
After more than 2 hours, we’re off to the Training Center, packed and set ourselves for a night trek to Mt. Manalmon camp site.
The trek wasn’t rigid, we passed through the river and off to the wilderness.
I guess we’re all on the same stamina level, newbies and oldies alike. The lack of training and outdoor activities for so long made our ascent a little strenuous. Climbing together again after so many years brought along some good and funny memories along the way.
Ada got a sprained leg but still managed it to the camp site.
A different group ahead of us occupied half of the camp site while we settled at the lower half. Its like a war site later, everyone battling to pitch tent right away and rest.
After the sudden commotion, our chef, Ferdie, lead the cooking session for dinner. We had grilled liempo and tinola for dinner. We gathered around for the yummy feast.
At socials, everyone loosened up over the BaR vodka and Generoso brandy. Sharing something about ourselves and reminiscing old times are great starter for new friendship and bonding sessions.
We call it a night at around 2 in the morning.
Watch out for Bulacan Ultimate Weekend Challenge day 2: Spelunking at Bayukbok Caves & Crossing the Monkey Bridge.
Roberto Lagmay Bernardo
Expenses (P700 each / estimated for 15 pax)
228 – per person, bus fare (Cubao – Bulacan vv)
1800 – Jeepney rental (Kamias to Madlum vv)
300 – food/guide fee/ registration/ miscellaneous
high five madlum!