Talinis, we meet again

12:00:00 AM

Last January, I went on a day hike of Apolong Trail of Mt. Talinis to get to Twin Falls. Overall, it was an amazing experience, but I struggled a lot. James, Enza, and Jai pretty much saved my ass. I vowed then that I would be better prepared next time. Aside from getting in shape, I invested in some gear! I bought a sleeping bag and a hiking bag - both at 25% off - from the outlet store of Sandugo in Pasig. Too bad I only got the 28L backpack, as it turned out to be too small for an overnight camping trip (I ended up borrowing from Enza). It's now become my everyday work backpack, but I'll be sure to buy a 40L for the next climb.
It looks like a capsule!
My everyday bag these days.
I got myself a pair of Merrell hiking shoes, too - with a special discount of Php500 off because I asked nicely, haha! - because the trail is no place for my Nike running shoes. I slipped one too many times last climb, which is pretty dangerous. I bought these babies two weeks before the climb, so I made it a point to wear them everyday to break them in just in time.
My feet thanked me for these.
As for the working out, I have to say that it all paid off. Because despite carrying a pretty heavy bag (last time, I had nothing but a bottle of water, haha!), I actually enjoyed the hike. It helped that I was with the right people and that the weather was perfect.
I did it! #legit
It's funny - I just realized that I wore the same shirt as I did last time - the one I got from Wicked Active Gear. Made from technical fabric, it's absolutely perfect for the hike! Sorry if this is going to sound like an infomercial, but let me be a little geeky - the inside of the shirt absorbs the sweat from my skin and brings it to the outer part where it evaporates faster. Also, unlike cotton shirts, it doesn't retain moisture so it never feels heavy. The best part is, when it started to get cold, I still felt warm in it! By the way, I also got me a Wicked hoodie, which I wore to sleep.
Our only groupfie HAHA
And this is what we were looking at
We met with our guide, Mang Adong, at Harold's Eco Lodge - a very nice place owned by the same guy who owns Harold's Mansion in Dumaguete City. Just like last time, we went through Apolong Trail, but we hiked for about an hour more from Twin Falls to get to Rancho. We had lunch - yummy gourmet sandwiches made by (Chef) James - on the trail.

Rancho is a vast, flat area, about 1,200 meters above sea level, surrounded by lush green. Enza described the place best - it's like being in a really big dome, and you feel cradled by nature. On one side, the trail of which will lead you to Lake Nailig, you could see several cones and peaks - Cuernos de Negros, or the Horns of Negros.
One part
Peaks and cones
Bahay-Bahayan Level 9000
After setting up camp, we started preparing dinner. We had sinigang na bangus, rice, and tofu in some sort of secret sauce, which was just perfect for the cold weather. James really knows how to cook, and so does Enza. I... I'm a very good eater! Haha! But hey, I made myself useful by helping chop veggies, fetching water from the nearby source, washing some utensils while they were cooking, and helping Enza rinse our mess kits after dinner.

Before going to sleep, we had some drinks - just the right amount of alcohol to get a bit buzzed, to get warm, and to relax. It was a long hike, so it was nice to just chill out - sipping Argentinean Merlot (me and Enza) and beer (James) while chatting and watching millions and millions of stars scattered all over the thick, dark blanket of night. I've lived in the city for far too long, where light pollution tragically mutes the sparkle of these balls of fire from light years away. It was wonderful to see stars shine as brightly as they did for us that night. (Sorry, no pictures - my phone camera couldn't cut it.)
Sunday morning.
Sunny day
Good morning, happy campers!
I woke up two hours before James and Enza did, and an hour before Mang Adong did, because I wanted to catch the sunrise. I mentioned earlier that Rancho was like a dome, so the sunrise wasn't like the one Dahican Beach, but it was still breathtaking. I walked around to stay warm, but I made sure I didn't go too far. I (of course) had a notebook and a pen, and I started writing to help me process the natural beauty that met my eyes no matter which side I faced. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
Breakfast buffet
For breakfast, Enza made French toast (YUM!) while James made a fritata-ish thingamajig with eggs and a ton of veggies. We had leftovers from the night before, which we added to our mountain breakfast buffet! We now officially call our group, "The Gourmet Mountain Club," by the way, with James as our Kim Jong-Un.

After breakfast, we sat around and soaked in the surroundings. I also took the time to meditate a little, to prepare myself for... pooping. HAHA! I've been feeling something funny in my stomach since I woke up. I actually tried to empty my bowels while they were all sleeping, but I was unsuccessful because I was afraid that I didn't have a lookout. It's a good thing I was able to go before we packed up - going down would have been super difficult with that heavy feeling at the bottom of my tummy.

We thought about having lunch in Rancho, so we'll have more time to relax. But because the place had no shade, we decided to pack up and head to Twin Falls instead. We also decided to skip the side trip to the hot spring that Mang Adong mentioned (but it's definitely going on our next itinerary).
The hero of our climb!
For lunch, we had penne all'arrabbiata, chicken fingers with honey lemon mustard dip, garlic bread, and some leftover tofu. It was A LOT, so it was good that there were other hikers there that we got to share the food with. James and Enza prepared everything while I was gallivanting all over Twin Falls, haha! Below are some photos I took:
Skipping stones
Hello, fellow mountaineers!
Nice to see you again!
And you, too!
Are you afraid of the fog?
So yes, we all made it back, alive and kicking. Everything about this hike was perfect - from the weather, to the stars, to the company, and even to the food - and I just can't wait for the next climb.

James, Enza, Mang Adong - daghang salamat!


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Hello, reader! Thank you for wasting your time reading my blog. I do hope you enjoyed whatever you stumbled upon. :)