A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus” – Beautiful Sunday
My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108
Join me again today as we continue our journey to the province of Laguna. Last time we were on the road “In Search of Fried Duck” feel free to visit my last post to see how it turned out. Our destination today is Mt. Humarap which just above the town called Paete. Our goal is to reach the summit where a pilgrimage site is located. It has been almost a year since I last climbed up a mountain. You could read more about it here Into the Mouth of a Volcano. This will be a challenge for me and the rest of my crew as none of us has been getting enough exercise lately. Will we reach the summit or will we come back down defeated? Come with me today on a hike as we conquer Mt. Humarap.
A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus”
Together with a crew composed of my family and father in law we traveled the roads of Laguna. During our trip I talked about the pilgrimage site called “Tatlong Krus (Three Crosses) located at the summit of the mountain called Mt. Humarap. During Holy Week in mid April, devotees ascend the mountain top to pray and in remembrance of the sufferings of Christ. I have already climbed this mountain when I was younger and I recall how difficult it was. I was setting the exception of everyone how difficult the climb was, even when I was a bit younger. My father in law who is around 65 years of age confidently said that it will not be a problem for him.
We passed thru a town called Lumban that will lead us to our destination Paete. The road on the way was very peaceful unlike the congested city highways.
After more than a hour we reached our destination the Town of Paete around 6:30 am. Known as the wood carving capital of the Philippines. The town flourishes with talented people that crafts wood into beautiful works of art. Here we met up with my father who lives close to this town. Since it has been a while since I last climbed up, my father was our guide on our trek. There was a different vibe in the town and seems time slowed down. The air was fresher and being in a different place is so refreshing to the mind and soul.
To get to the foot of the mountain where we will begin our ascent. We passed thru this street by a canal with fresh water flowing from the mountain. Here in this town the running from most of the faucets are also mineral water from the mountains. Unlike in our town and in the city, you would need to buy purified water sold in large containers to get a drink of clean water.
I also noticed some fish swimming in the deeper part of the canal.
We continued walking and from here you could already see the Three Crosses on the summit. Just looking at it from down here you already know that it will be a long and tiring trek up. My father made sure that we had just enough water with us to keep us hydrated.
I took out my Olympus 150 mm to get a closer look at our destination.
We pass thru a narrow residential area leading to the entrance.
Since the road is already narrow. There are signs not to park vehicles in the middle of the street. Since this is a residential area some people owned vehicles that may have been left outside.
We were beginning the climb as there were stairs made from large stones. Better watch your step as the stairs are un evenly made. I am just not sure if the 1,000 step starts from here.
The built of the houses also starts as we go further up, unlike on the lower part where houses were built from cement. Livestock were just outside their from doors and even dogs.
Houses made from bamboo and wood surrounds this level and up here it is quieter.
Most of the houses had pet dogs and make sure that the owners are there, if the dog starts barking. It is best not to panic and just proceed with caution.
A fork on the road and my father led us to the right side. People here were very friendly and greeted us with smiles.
The houses were slowly disappearing and the trees around us were getting thicker.
The last house we saw here that was made of cement and I was told it is owned by a foreigner. But now is for sale, so if any of you wants a house up the mountains. There is one available here for you.
Boulders on the road and fallen trees gives this area a great feeling of adventure. This narrow road is the last part that leads to the real climb.
We finally reached the trail and I was surprised as it is cemented. Last time I went here we had a guide and we had to go thru dirt and thick trees. There are also bamboo railings on the side and we figured to take a quick break before we proceed.
It was a good place to stop for awhile with the cool mountain breeze, and tall bamboo trees surrounding the area.
We continued our journey with thought filled with adventure. Surrounded by trees and the sound of nature.
The crew had gone on ahead of me as I was caught a couple of times just looking at the surroundings.
A place where some hikers can go for a quick dip and some residents also wash their clothes here.
I finally caught up with my kids and asked them if they can still continue with the climb. Well, it seems they have not even broken a sweat and I on the other hand was already sweating like a river.
Again, I was trailing back because of the interesting scenery along the way.
One is this huge boulder that may have fallen on the top of the mountain. Here I noticed a cave just below it.
Who knows what hides inside this cave, but it is not a good idea to explore it. Unless you have a guide who knows if it is safe.
This is the first official stop over and I love how they have this area set up. A cool looking bridge made from bamboo and a seating area. A great place to recharge just to sit for awhile and listen to the running water. Here we met the guy sitting and found out that he is one of the guides patrolling this area just in case someone would need help.
While resting I figured that me and @bearkid explored the place a little bit.
We saw this makeshift bamboo that diverted the water for easy access. I felt like I wanted to go for a quick shower here to refresh myself, but I would be getting my gear wet.
Instead I just took out my 50 mm Sigma to take a couple of shots.
My daughter still looks she has so much energy and without any faint sign of weariness.
Some areas are a bit hard to get to as some of the rocks are slippery due to moss and moisture.
Huge boulders and rocks fallen on this stream. You know it has been here for a long time already due the growth of vegetation surrounding it.
I think we have spent enough time here already and we must continue on as we still have a long way to go.
As we were told we are almost halfway to our destination. The stairs were getting steeper, but in my point of view it is still a bit easier. Before I recall we were holding onto trees in order to climb up. Still I felt that my heart was beating a little bit faster as I climbed up. I should be getting more exercise before doing a climb like this.
Just after a couple of minutes we had to rest again as my father and father in law was catching their breath. I asked them if they could still continue on. The told us to go on ahead and they would just meet us on top and my son stayed with them. Me, my wife and @bearkid continued on with the ascent. As we continued we failed to remember that were were running low on water and the other bottle was left with my son.
We were far ahead of them now and the water that we had was only good for at least two gulps. Fortunately, after a couple of minutes climbing up we heard water flowing and it was another rest stop. Here there is a sign that prohibits cutting of trees and it is good to know that they are protecting the area. Cutting down trees causes soil erosion, land slides and endangers people living below the mountain.
A rest stop, a fork on the trail and fresh running water for the trekkers.
This sight is so refreshing, the water is cool and very clean. Fresh mineral water tapped from the mountain side is a gift for the residents in this area. How lucky the people here to be blessed with such natural resource.
My daughter asked me if it was safe to drink. I told her that it is very safe and clean. Unlike the water that we have running in our faucet which we cannot drink. The taste of the water here is very different and you could almost feel like your body is rejuvenating.
I splash my face with the cool mountain water and had a drink to my heart’s content. We filled up our water bottle and prepared to continue on with our journey.
We were way up high now, but I feel we are only just half way to the top.
The trail to the right lead to another site which is called Matabungca Falls. I asked them where which trail they would like to take. Up to the Three Crosses is our destination, maybe next time we will tread this trail to see the falls.
Up to the summit it is then, so we continued our climb on the left fork of the trail.
The climb was getting harder and harder. My legs and knees were beginning to ache.
My father in law was beginning to catch up and they told us to keep on going.
I asked my daughter if she is still willing to continue in reaching the summit. She smiled at me and said that we will complete the trek no matter what.
We got to another rest stop and at this time everyone is getting tired. It was a good thing that we got our water bottle refilled at the previous stop to keep us hydrated. We talked about our previous climb at the volcano which is much harder. The soil was wet and the ground was muddy. I told them that this climb is easier and should be no problem for us to complete.
Looking at the stairs seems like it goes on forever.
My wife stood up and started to climb up. We then followed and pressed on.
In this area is a warning sign, “Warning be careful in passing this area as landslide and erosion is possible”. We’d better be quick in passing this path, but I think it is only applicable when it is raining.
On the way, we also encountered locals. Most of them carries a jungle bolo, something that they use when going off the trail to clear the vegetation.
The sight and sound of rushing water is refreshing to the senses. I have a feeling that there is another rest stop.
I was right as it was another stop. A good place to take out the 50 mm and take more photos.
On the left side, looks like a good place to explore. But the rocks are covered with moss, I figured it is not worth it slipping off and falling on a rock. That would ruin our trip.
I looked on the right side and looks like a better place to explore. There is a small path on the side and you do not need to step on the wet rocks.
In this area, there is a gorgeous natural pool enveloped with trees. If I recall it right, legend has it that there is a fairy guarding this pool.
The rushing water pours down into the pool.
I could not tell how deep this pool is or if they allow people to swim in it.
Looking at it closer looks like it is deep. Thoughts begins to haunt my mind imagining swimming in this pool, the fairy guarding it begins to to drag you to the bottom. I do not know the complete story of the legend, maybe I just watch too much horror movies. But still this natural pool is a very enchanting place to see.
Here is a short clip around this area. Hear the sound of the rushing water and the sound of nature surrounding it.
As we were about to leave we saw a butterfly. I thought that it had a broken wing.
As we looks closer, it seems that those are two butterflies mating. We’d better leave them alone and let them do their thing.
A view from the top of the rest stop.
Along the way a guy passed me by, asked if I was with the boy and two old men. I just realized that we have gone too far ahead of them. I thought that they would just wait for us on our way down. I guess I was wrong, as they are still persistent to complete the trek. I asked the guy how they were doing. He said that they were just resting.
In my estimation out of the 1000 steps, we still have about 200 more steps to go. That is just my estimate and also as a motivation.
The stairs here in this area has been carved from the ground. This path is easier than the steep stairs that we passed below.
This trail is very tranquil and trees surrounding it covers like an umbrella. Just looking at this area makes you forget that you are already tired.
I finally caught up with my daughter and jokingly teased me how slow I was. I told her that I was taking photos. She giggled and immediately continued going up. I have to admit that I was catching my breath and needed to make a stop after a couple of steps. Well, I did not want her to notice.
Big old trees are everywhere and as the old folks say. Never point out and mess around with trees as there might be dwarves or fairies living there. You would not want to offend them. If you want to pass by or pee out in the forest, just say “Tabi Tabi Po” which means Step Aside please. These are just one of the folklores that is part of our culture.
The carved pathway is clear and looks neatly done. The steps here looks to be cemented and I have a feeling that we are almost at the summit.
Here we heard children playing which is a sound that might be a bit creepy out here. But setting those thoughts aside I figured that it maybe children from the houses on top who are just playing. This means that we have almost conquered Mt. Humarap.
Seeing my wife there sitting on the steps. She loudly said, “This is it! We have reached the top!” music to my ears. After 1000 steps we have reach the summit and the fulfillment is invigorating. The reward of not giving up and completing the trek is priceless.
This is just the first part of our adventure and next time I will share with you the magnificent view from the top. See the Tatlong Krus (Three Crosses) up close. Join me again to witness the rewards that await after our long tiring climb.
I hope you enjoyed this trek with us and a great reminder for us all. Never give up and once you have started with something you need to finish it. Going down in defeat will haunt you with the thoughts of, “What if’s?” for the rest of your life.
Until then I hope to see you again very soon as we share more about this adventure.
[//]:# (!steemitworldmap 14.364969 lat 121.492231 long Tatlong Krus d3scr)
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All photos are original and taken with
12-32 mm kit lens
Olympus 40-150 mm
Sigma 50 mm