Happenings

Mount Cristobal: Not for the Faint-Hearted

 

Hello there, kabalikat! First, let me ask you these questions: Do you want your next trip to be what you can call a “real” adventure? Are you tired of your barkada’s usual nature tripping and mountain climbing spots? If you and your buddies are bold and daring true-blooded nature enthusiasts, then Mount Cristobal is the right place for your next escapade!

 

Although just an extension of the mystic Mount Banahaw, Mount Cristobal has its own notoriety and is considered by townspeople to be one enigmatic mountain. This is because of some alleged unexplainable occurrences, not to mention the infamous horror stories. Climbers who have reached Mount Cristobal often claim of hearing sounds or allegedly bearing witness to a number of non-human creatures while trekking through its thick forests. Locals also believe that a supernatural being wanders through the mountain to guard it and punish those who would disrespect his home. Now, now. Don’t get too freaked out by these things.

Mount Cristobal may appear eerie but the 1,500-meter mountain offers more than just a venue of spooky myths and urban legends but also a majestic scenery for city people who want to experience genuine relaxation and adventure! It is so close to Manila, about 100 kilometers southeast, that it has become one of the favorite destinations of mountain climbers, even inexperienced trekkers looking for fun and excitement.

Although Mount Cristobal can be accessed through the Nagcarlan and San Pablo sides in Laguna, the perfect jump-off point is in Barangay Sta. Lucia in Dolores, Quezon for it is the shortest trail toward the mountain. To get to Barangay Sta. Lucia, buses in Cubao and Buendia bound to San Pablo is the best option. From San Pablo, jeepneys for rent take climbers to the entry point of the mountain – that is, Barangay Sta. Lucia. Guides offer their services for a fee at the start of the trek. A budget of 1,000 pesos is really more than enough to experience climbing Mount Cristobal. Imagine, just a thousand bucks – the same amount it would cost you if you’ll watch a movie and eat outside nowadays – and you can have a thrill-filled adventure that you and your friends can brag about!

Generally, climbers consider Mount Cristobal a minor climb as the trail is straight and very visible, and does not have many confusing obstacles. Fun and excitement actually are in the paranormal experiences! Kidding aside, the feeling of awe and amazement is what this mountain provides with the majestic views of nature every step of the way. Fun and excitement are in the trekking, camping, bonding in the middle of the mountain, and being in a place considered spooky by many.

The whole adventure – hiking, reaching the summit and going down – usually takes 2 days, with 5 to 6 hours of walking. The trek starts at around 10 in the morning and ends at 4 in the afternoon for day 1. After the trek, climbers start setting up their tents and preparing dinner, and by 7 in the evening everyone is ready to rest! Usually, no one sleeps after dinner because a soiree takes place. Although it is ideal for the body to find comfort from resting, no one immediately does so as climbers often sit together and have some fun first.

Day 2 starts at 6:30 or 7 in the morning to go to the summit. From the campsite, it only takes 30 minutes of walking to reach the summit so by 12 noon climbers are already back at the start of the trek in Barangay Sta. Lucia.

Like other mountains in the Philippines, Mount Cristobal is a haven for a myriad of flora, including the medicinal plant pakpak lawin, rattan, wild berry and thorny trees, and other flowering plants, and fauna, including wild boars, snakes, civets and lizards such as bubuli. At the start of the trek, only the thick forests, thus species of plants and animals, are seen by the climbers. However, when the summit is already proximate, panoramic views start to greet. The view of the crater of Mount Cristobal is a picturesque scenery that enthralls anyone who takes even a slight glimpse of it.

Reaching the Jones’ Peak, an area once considered the summit, offers a great panorama of the entirety of San Pablo City and its seven lakes! From the Peak, Lakes Sampalok, Palakpakin, Yambo, Bunot, Pandin, Muhikap and Calibato are vividly seen. Other beauties of nature can also be witnessed from the Peak such as Mount Makiling, or during sidetrips such as the Bunga Falls in Nagcarlan, and Sta. Lucia Falls in Dolores.

Despite its reputation of harboring negative aura within its area, people, first-timers and returnees alike, continue to flock and visit the mountain all year round. Climbers may have experienced what others consider as supernatural occurrences in their mountain climbs but this does not stop them from returning, because they also have witnessed the richness of natural resources of the mountain as well as the beautiful sceneries from atop. These magnificent views are the ones that entice them to climb the mountain over and over again.

Truly, Mount Cristobal is a good climb especially for city people who want to stay away from the busy metro even for a short period of time. Not only does Mount Cristobal provide a coveted fresh air, it also brags about the sceneries that climbers could see from and in the mountain.

So what are you waiting for? I know your feet are now itching for this adventure! If you’re ready for one exhilarating trekking, pack your bags and call your barkada! Visit Mount Cristobal and discover why this mountain is not for the faint-hearted!