Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Great Mt. Amuyao Traverse (Barlig - Battad)

My First Major Hike



No clearing at the summit of Mt. Amuyao but still worth taking picture
(c) John Barcellano (Most of the pictures from this post are from his GoPro)

A - Assault

M - Muddy (SOBRA) because of the rain

U - Unli Descent as in 1,500+ Meters Steep and Slippery!

Y - Yikes, Limatik!

A - Ayoko na! Pagod na koooo!

O - Olryt, NATAPOS KO!

Mt. Amuyao is the 10th Highest Mountain in the Philippines. It is situated in Barlig, Mt. Province and 2,702 MASL (Meters Above Sea Level).  According to +Pinoy Mountaineer, the Mt. Amuyao Traverse is the most challenging trail compared to Mt. Ugo and Mt. Napalauan Traverse. It is the most challenging as it will require you 3 days to finish this trail. You will pass through the mountainous areas of Barlig, then to the scenic village of Pat-yay then a very challenging and lengthy descent trail going to Cambulo then a walk in a park going to Battad, home of the amphitheater-like terraces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Mind that the trail difficulty of Mt. Amuyao Traverse is 8/9! I say that this is the most challenging hike I have ever experienced. I was not expecting that it was that hard but still thankful and blessed to have my team as they helped me finished this trail despite almost giving up. Among the 100 hikers that long weekend, only the 5 of us were able to finish the whole traverse altogether, plus we were the first group to arrive in Battad. Despite all the hardships, we still managed to finish the whole traverse. I know it was not a race but still felt proud that I was the first woman to finish the traverse that weekend. #WomanPower

Entry Point
If you want to do the traverse, like what we did, your entry point will be at Sitio Macalana, Barlig, Mt. Province which is 2 - 3 hours away from Banaue. And your exit point will be at Battad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao which is 30 - 45 minutes away from Banaue. When we say traverse, in layman's term, it means not going back to where you started, your entry point will not be your exit point. As simple as that, so don't be confused when someone asked you if you will be doing a traverse hike. *feeling expert* haha.

Exit Point
HOW TO GET THERE?

From Manila
- Ride a bus bound for Banaue. Dangwa Transit has a daily trip to Banaue, departing Manila at 10 in the evening. Make sure you buy your tickets in advance, like a day before. You will arrive in Banaue around 6 in the morning.
- Upon arriving at the terminal, you must purchase your ticket back to Manila, to secure a seat.


From Banaue
- You can rent a van/jeep going to Barlig but if you are on a tight budget. You can ride a public van/jeep bound for Bontoc then from Bontoc, you can ride a habal-habal or jeep going to Barlig.

You may contact Sir Joel Tindungan, +63 936 - 292 - 4890. He is from Banaue and owns a jeep. He has been transporting hikers from Banaue to Barlig for years.

HOW TO GET HOME?

If you do the traverse, Battad will be your exit point.

From Battad
- There are habal - habal/jeep that you can rent going to Banaue, just prepare some bucks, or have a contacted driver pick you up at Battad. Then, from the saddle point, it will only take you 30 - 45 minutes to reach Banaue.

Tip: Try riding on the top load on your way back to Banaue. :)


OUR ITINERARY FOR THE GREAT TRAVERSE:

February 24, 2016 (Wednesday)
9:00PM Meet up at Kamias, Florida Bus Terminal
10:00PM Bound for Banaue

February 25, 2016 (Thursday)
6:00AM Arrived at Banaue | Register and Buy tickets bound for Manila | Meet our contact driver | Breakfast | Buy food and supplies at the Market
8:30 AM Bound for Barlig
11:00 AM Arrived at Barlig | Register and meet tour guide | Early Lunch and Repack
12:30 PM Go to Barangay and register
1:00 PM Start Ascend


Barlig's Viewpoint (No Clearing but still beautiful)
It was like you are in a garden


6:30 PM Arrived at the Summit, stay at the bunker or set up camp.

February 26, 2016 (Friday)
5:00 AM Wake up | Hope for a clearing | Breakfast | Picture Taking | Break Camp

 A little bit of clearing! Huhu
7:40 AM Start Descent
9:00 AM Arrived at Waiting Shed | Rest

With the HARDCORE Mountaineers


9:15 AM Start Descent




1:00 PM Arrived at Pat - Yay Village | Lunch

Pat- Yay is my favorite. No establishments and most of the houses are still native.
2:30 PM Start trek going to Cambulo (Unli Descent and if you are lucky enough, the trail is so muddy because of the rain) I almost gave up but good thing Elvis and Macq were there to helped me get through that trail. It was steep and slippery because of the mud.
10:00 PM Arrived at E-Camp, house of Tatay Ricky | Rest

*** It took us 14 hours just to reach the house of Tatay Ricky, we were really exhausted, good thing he offered his house and there is a free flowing water that is somehow safe for drinking.

February 27, 2016 (Saturday)
6:00 AM Wake up | Prepare things
7:00 AM Start trek to Cambulo (Centro)



8:30 AM Arrived at Am-way Tavern | Brunch

L-R : Moses (Guide), Macq, Penny, Gab, Elvis, Raul (Am-way Owner) and John
10:30 AM Trek to Battad
12:00 NN Arrived at the View point of Battad| Take Picture | Drink ice cold beer while enjoying the view.


3:00 PM Arrived at the Saddle Point | Ride Jeep bound for Banaue
4:00 PM Arrived at Banaue | Hot Shower at People's Lodge and Restaurant | Dinner
7:30 PM Go to Dangwa Bus Terminal
8:00 PM Travel back to Manila

February 28, 2016 (Sunday)
5:00 AM Arrived at Manila
6:00 AM Home sweet home!


TOTAL EXPENSES FOR OUR TRIP (Note: Some expenses were divided into 5)

530 Php - Bus ticket to Banaue
50 Php - Registration Fee at Banaue
50 Php - Registration Fee at Barlig
20 Php - Environmental Fee at Sitio Macalana
150 Php - Stay at Ricky's Native House
50 Php - Heritage Fee at Battad
80 Php - Food and Supplies (400 Php)
1,100 Php - Rent of Jeep going to Barlig and pick up at Battad (5,500 Php)
900 Php - Guide Fee (4,500 Php for 3 days, 1,500 Php per day)
495 Php - Personal food expenses for the whole trip
530 Php - Bus ticket to Manila
----------
3,955 Php



TRAVEL TIPS:

1. Make sure you are all experienced mountaineers. This traverse is not for beginners though if you really want, your guts can take you to the top plus you will definitely have a hard time on the traverse trail.

2. Make sure you have all the necessary things needed for this trip like jacket, emergency blanket, flashlight/head lamp, whistle, trail food, water, proper clothing, socks, cap, raincoat, tent/ sleeping bag.

3. It will be best if you have a pre - climb, so that you will know what to do, expect and bring. A pre - climb is a meeting / hike prior to the climb.

4. Get a local guide from Barlig, as they know how to preserve the trail and handle the hikers. I highly recommend Moises Lamaton, you may contact him with this number +63 935 - 854 - 9642. The trails are a bit confusing and having him as our guide made this whole traverse easier.

Moises is the one wearing Blue Shirt. He took care of us during the whole hike. 
5. Be prepared for unlimited mud, especially when it rained as the forest is very mossy, and limatik.
I suggest that you wear a legit trekking shoes and high knees socks.


6. When walking on the rice fields, be very cautious. I was disappointed to see some hikers who stepped on the newly planted rice. Haiiiiiiiiii!



7. Never leave your group, you should always stick with them because worst comes to worst they will always have your back.

Our team composed of Elvis, Macq, John and Penny! :)
8. If you were too exhausted when you reached Pat - yay, you may opt to cut the traverse and make your way to Mayaoyao, Ifugao which is 5 -6 hours trek but on a more established trail. Some groups did this according to our guide. Also, if you reached Cambulo, there are jeeps or habal habal going to Banaue.

9. Bring cash, as there are no banks/ ATM in Barlig, Patyay and Cambulo. :D Food at Cambulo and Battad are relatively expensive.

10. Make sure you enjoy your hike and just keep on walking!


Verdict of Tara Gumala: It was a very challenging hike for me, not recommended for beginners. I suggest that if the weather is not good, do not proceed. The trail is really muddy. I will definitely go back to Amuyao but will no longer do the traverse and just explore the hidden attractions of Barlig.


Ano, TARA GUMALA?


CIAO.
--
GABRIELA.

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