The Difficult Trail to “Mag Asawang Bato” (Couple Rock) – Beautiful Sunday
My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108
What is it that makes us want to climb a mountain and conquer the summit? Reaching the top is like something that we all want to achieve. In spite of the difficulties along the way, we strive to reach our destination. In this episode, we will take a trek on the way to the highest point of Marikaban Island, Philippines. Join us today as I take you with me to one of the hardest trek we have experienced.
The Difficult Trail to “Mag Asawang Bato” (Couple Rock)
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Aside from enjoying the turquoise crystal clear waters of Masasa beach. There are a lot of physical activities that you could experience on the island. One of these activities is taking a trek to the highest point of the island called “Mag Asawang Bato” which means Couple Rock.
From the beach, if you would look closely, there is a gigantic rock at the very top of the mountain. The rock is split into two and remains inseparable till this very day. Thus the name “Mag Asawang Bato” (Couple Rock) was born.
To get there it is required that you hire a guide to bring you to the site. We asked our host if she could arrange for someone to take us to the summit. Here on the island, it is always best to ask your host for any activities that you have planned. They already have contacts when it comes to tours around the island and even give you the best prices. For our trek to the mountain, it would cost you 100 pesos per head which is around almost $2.00 USD.
Our trek was scheduled at 3:00 pm and our guide came on time to pick us up. We were advised to wear comfortable shoes for the hike and bring some drinking water.
We were all set and so our adventure began. I asked how long it would take to reach the top. Our guide said that it could take around 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on our pace. I thought that it would be an easy trail as we have climbed a couple of mountains in the past and even the Taal volcano which is currently erupting here in our country.
In the afternoon sun, we passed thru a trail lined up with coconut trees that gave us some shade along the way.
Between the mountain and the beach are flooded rice fields. Maybe it is not yet planting season during this time of year but it adds great scenery in this provincial environment.
The breeze from the ocean and the mountain air clashes which gives out a very relaxing mood. Time seems to slow down and makes you forget the outside world when you take a stroll along this trail.
How would you like to live a simple life in a place like this? Even though it is an isolated island they have a small power plant here. But not all the time power is available and it would be a good idea if you could hook up your solar power supply.
Here we are at the entrance of the trail going to the top. From here there we be no more houses going up the mountain. If you missed to bring some water with you this would be the last chance to buy some drinking water from the stores nearby.
Our guide made sure that everyone was following behind and checked once in a while if someone needed rest. We haven’t reached the mountain yet but the uphill road made us stop for a few minutes which was embarrassing. It just shows that we haven’t been getting enough exercise lately.
From here the vegetation is getting thicker and the trees seem to look older. You could only hear the songs of the birds and insects. The covering of the trees is much welcoming as it gave us shade from the afternoon sun.
Without a guide, we would get lost here in this maze as the trail is slowly disappearing. Our guide with his jungle knife hacked thru the branches and plants to give us a pathway.
Finally a trail became visible to us again and I think our guide took us thru a shortcut.
We had to stop as we were catching our breath and needed some water. Our destination looks close but is still so far away, I was told it would still take more that 30 minutes to get there.
I felt that we were climbing for more than an hour now and I could feel the exhaustion already. I was starting to if we made the right decision to go on this trek.
After a few more minutes of climb, we again needed some rest. The water we brought with us was almost half empty and everyone needed a sip. I was getting afraid that we would didn’t bring enough water on this journey.
The trail was getting harder and harder as we climbed higher. The first sign of relief that welcomed us is this bamboo handrail tied between trees.
Now regret was sinking in and how I wished we didn’t go through this activity. I was imagining myself lying on the beach and enjoying the cool water instead. I tried to focus and told everyone that we are almost there and would be a waste to turn back now.
My wife and daughter were already at the point of giving up. I kept saying that we are almost there and we must not give up. There is always always something rewarding at the end of a difficult trail.
We had to stop again as I was feeling a throbbing in my head. I haven’t done any strenuous activity lately and I may have forced myself into this activity without any preparation. My daughter is at the point of giving up and sat quietly on a rock. We heard a call from my brother in law from the top, “Hurry up we are almost there!” That call gave us a burst of energy and we all got up and started moving again.
We could almost see the sun on the other side of the mountain. It was an indication that we have almost reached the top.
From here we could see almost all of the island and the view was amazing. But to my surprise, I was told that this was not yet it as we would still need to reach the very top of the rock.
We still had a few more steps to go to reach Couple Rock. Unfortunately, my comrades have fallen and can no longer proceed to the rock. My family said that they would just wait for us in this area. Now only three of us were left to see what glorious beauty awaits. Our guide has been telling us that on the rock is where we could see the whole beauty of this island. Catching my breath, with very little energy I have left, we pushed forward.
To Be Continued………
Thanks for joining me today on this trek and I will be sharing with you on our next episode the summit of Couple Rock. Up there, words are not enough to describe how the view from the top looks like. A bit frightening as the wind is very strong up there. Please do join me again to complete this amazing adventure as I am going to tell you now that the difficult trail is all worth it.
I will also be editing and uploading a video version of this tour to fully experience the difficult trail that we went thru. Please watch out for the video very soon.
Until then, keep on dreaming and reaching for the top.
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All photos are original and taken with
Panasonic Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm kit lens