Math and numbers have always been difficult for me, but this time I understood perfectly what a 45 degree angle is. I understood perfectly what it looks like, and more importantly how it feels like (to slip on such, ouch!)
Located in Tanay, Rizal, Mt. Sembrano is one of the nearby mountains from Manila. From Starmall, you can ride an FX to Tanay (70php), and then ride a jeepney to Brgy Hall of Malaya. (20php). Be wary of trusting tricycle drivers.
Malaya Barangay Hall
Malaya Barangay Hall is the registration (P20) and jump off point for this trek. You can rest and take a shower here after the climb - there is just 1 bathroom so please avoid holding up the line if you know there are other climbers waiting. Barangay hall officials will offer themselves as guides for 300php (up to Manggahan), or 500php (up to campsite/peak).
The trek is mostly uphill, unlike other mountains which are a combination of both. On the residential part of the mountain, be careful of horse shits. Around June, lots of mangoes (and jackfruit), on the place as well, they're selling mangoes for 150 php per sack! Sweet baby jeezuuz!
The manggahan area marks the first half of the trek. There are lots of mangoes on the area. Hence, the name. If you would like to rest or eat, I suggest you do it here already, since the following stopovers have little shade. Another 10php entrance fee will be collected here. You can also buy a whole coconut for only 10php.
Getting to the campsite is the challenging part of the hike since the ground is elevated on a 45 degree angle - without rocks and ropes to hold on, but with sand and loose soil to slip on.
The view on the campsite is beautiful, but saddening: the sky and the sea are deep blue, but the mountain, instead of green, is brown. Mt. Sembrano and it's neighbors are getting seriously bald.
My friends and I thought that we should plant trees on such mountains, and join clean up hikes too, and maybe save the world during our free time. Aren't we the sweetest bunch? HAHAHA! But seriously, we'd like to join responsible clean up hikes and tree planting activities. Contact me if you know of any.
EDIT: June 4, 2016
As fate would have it, I returned to this mountain two years after to join my first clean up climb. I hope the second one (and the third, and the fourth, and so on) won't take me this long. Because more than the fulfillment that I get from climbing the mountain, was the satisfaction I get from cleaning it - ughhh that sounds soooo domesticated. HAHAHA
Reminders for Cleanup Hikes
1. Coordinate with DENR or LGUs to know if there are any permits to secure for the hike. Check also where the garbage should be brought to – make sure the place has proper waste disposal system.
2. Bring woven plastic sacks instead of the black trash bags. The black trash bags have higher chances of getting ripped off during the climb.
3. Bring first aid especially for cleaning wounds, and covering cuts.
4. Better to have a buddy during cleanup, one can do the picking up and the other the carrying of the garbage bag.
5. All necessary preparations for normal hikes should still be followed for cleanup hikes.
See you around!