Monday, December 15, 2014

Mt. Kalisungan- The Grassy Mountain in Laguna

Mount Kalisungan is one of the striking mountains in the province of Laguna. It features wonderful grassland peak, lavish fruit trees, spectacular view of San Pablo's Seven Lakes, and interesting view of nearby mountains such as Mt. Banahaw, Mt. Cristobal, Mt Makiling, Mt. Tagapo and Mt Sembrano of Rizal.

A long-weekend getaway in Subic was suddenly changed into something that was more adventure and perspiring activities.

Our group, Malaya (International Outdoor Group) took a bus in Cubao to reach Mt Kalisungan. The first plan was to hire a van, but the tour master decided to take commute instead. Bus fare was than Php 200 (one way)

The meeting place was in DLTB bus terminal in Cubao. This bus company offers trips going to the provinces of the Southern Tagalog. Their buses are air-conditioned swith spacious seats. .

Travel time to Victoria, Laguna was around 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The famous landmark in the area was the Duck Junction. We hired a tricycle going to Barangay Hall of Lamot in Calauan, which is the jump off point of Mt Kalisungan.

We're expecting a guide that will lead us to the peak of the mountain. Some of the participants on this day hike adventure were first timer to explore "Bundok Kalisungan." It's advisable to hire a guide because the mountain has a chain of confusing trails. Guide fee is negotiable. The guide together with a brave kid walked with us  going to Erais Farm Trail. ( Other trail is called Field of Faith Trail).

It's raining cats and dogs that day. The road was very muddy and slippery. The 1st kilometer of  the trail was not that difficult. Some parts of the mountain were ascending but not that steep. We saw lots of fruit trees such as Rambutan, Star Apple (Caimito), Banana, Buko (Coconut), Suha, Dalandan, among others.

On our way, we found a little cottage. It has lots of fresh Dalandan.  We met a guy here and he gave some fruits for free. He also gave us permission to pick some fruits. For those hikers/ mountaineers who will visit the mountain, it's advisable to ask permission before picking the fruits.

Mt Kalisungan is a minor climb as described by some mountaineers. During our climb, it's not easy  become for us  to reach the summit and to go down.  The trail became very muddy and slippery. A lot of us slipped into the groud. We're laughing to each other. The beautiful Hey started to say a joke "Wow! naprapractice mga vocal cords natin dito ah".  She said that because some us shouted so loud every time someone fell. Good thing there were  no big stones scattered along the trail.

Wearing Sandugo Shoes
We encountered a lot of tall blade-like grass or Talahib near the summit. Get an extra careful in touching these plants. One of my hands has a small "papercut." There's also a very small wood stuck inside the skin of my finger. It's a bit hurt but tolerable. For every hikers, it's a must to have survival or medicine kit. You can use this in case of emergency or if someone gets wound or injury along the trail.

Wearing tank top by Aeropostle, cap by Convrese, short by Regatta and accessories by SM Accessories 
We reached the summit in a very cold weather. We're all wet and freezing. The view from the summit were because the low-lying cloud or should I say 'fog'. We waited for awhile in the newly installed concrete markers.

After a couple of minutes, it's stopped raining.  A very relaxing view of nearby mountains and waterforms showed to us. We saw the wide-view of Talim Island, Mt Tagapo and the glimpse of seven lakes of San Pablo, Mt. Cristobal, Mt. Banahaw and other mountains.We took a lot of selfies and group pictures as well videos using GoPro/ Hero 3.

Camping site is available at the summit. The area is very windy. You need to make sure you have quality tent, which is properly pitch to the ground. No water resources available near the summit even along the trail.

Just to give you a trivia about Mt Kalisungan. It's part of the Philippine history, where the mountain served as the final stand of  the retreating Japanese soldiers in Laguna during the World War II in 1945. Some call the mountain Mt Lamot because it lies in Brgy Lamot and others named it as Mt Calauan or Mt Nagcarlan.

There are some hikers traverse to Mt. Atimla (the twin mountain of Mt Kalisungan), which I will be considered to do in the future. According to other blogs I read, the mountain features crisscrossing trails,  greenery woodland and spectacular view of nearby peaks. Some of  them had a side trip at the Bunga Falls in Nagcarlan Laguna.

Itinerary created by Sir Danilo Candelario of Malaya IOG.

05:30 AM Call Time/Assembly Time
 06:00 AM ETD from the Meeting Location
 09:00 AM ETA Victoria, Laguna, Duck Junction via Bus
 09:30 AM ETA in Brgy. Hall via Tricycle. Register. Breakfast.
 10:00 AM Start Trek
 01:00 PM ETA in Mt. Kalisungan Summit. Lunch. ...
 02:00 PM Start Descent
 05:00 PM ETA in Brgy. Hall. Wash-up.
 06:00 ETD from Victoria, Laguna.
 09:00 PM ETA in Manila
MT. KALISUNGAN in Calauan, Laguna
Jump-off point: Brgy. Lamot 2, Calauan
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2.5-3 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Trail class 1-2

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