Mt. Cristobal: climb to the Devil's Mountain

From waves to summit: This climb is an invitation from total strangers (Paul and Paula) which I met in La Union and have been my surfing buddies just week ago, from there friendship just sparked and so I call them my newest travel buddies. What made me throw my impetuous ‘Yes’ is the creepy stories behind the Mt. Cristobal. These stories were come from the mountaineers and locals and I just wanted to see and feel it for myself. 

This is a celebration of the first week of our friendship. haha! I also invited my friend, Lizcel who I really wanted to be with in a hike, she's a pro when it comes to mountains. Small but terrible. The more the merrier!

Rain poured over Mt. Cristobal night before our hike and so it gave me additional baggage of worries that made me more reluctant to push the climb because mountaineer friends told me that it’s a total knee breaking climb, a non-stop assault for 5 hours through steep, wet and muddy rainforest of the mountain named as the Devil’s mountain.

The cast: Me, Lizcel, Paul and Paula.



The game master, our tour guide: Mang Jaime







Mt. Cristobal a.k.a The Devil's Mountain
Dolores, Quezon; San Pablo and Nagcarlan, Laguna

Entry point: Sitio Parang, Brgy. Sta. Lucia, Dolores
LLA: 14.064° N 121.428° E, 1470 MASL (600m gain)

Specs. Major Climb; Difficulty- 6/9; Trail 3-4.



GOING THERE

02:00 AM – Assembly time at Jac Liner Station at Buendia.  
We boarded the bus bound for Lucena and told the driver to drop us off at SPC Medical Center in San Pablo, Laguna
03:15 AM – Departure of the bus, earliest trip is at 2:00 AM. Fare is 127Php.
04:40 AM – arrival at SPC Medical Center. We took our breakfast at the nearby 24/7 Jollibee while waiting for our rented jeepney.
05:20 AM – from Jollibee we travelled to cell site in Brgy. Sta Lucia, Dolores, Quezon by rented jeepney which is a 40 minutes ride. Rent for the Jeep is 800 - 1000Php. 
  
THE ASCEND

06:00 AM – Arrival at cell site (jump off point): From here we walked to Montelibano house in a cemented road. There we met Mang Jaime, our contact tour guide. 
06:25 AM – after 25 minutes we reached the Montelibano house that served as the registration area for climbers.
Fee is 10Php only and here you can take a bath after the climb.
06:50 AM – Started the real ascend: 
A cold breeze whispered us upon entering the forest of Mt. Cristobal with a temperature of 23 degree Celsius, complete opposite of my last week hot climb at Mt. Pundaquit which is an open trail. Towering trees has been our shield from the sun and their intertwining roots served as the stairs in the first part of the trail. The dense forest gave us a very refreshing touch which seduced us to withstand the ceaseless assaults. It is a constant 90 degree climb; the trail will test the endurance and strength of you lower extremities for you need to step up the biggest obstacles along the trail.
  
Ferns, ferns, ferns.

Stairways to Jone's peak

Tarzan & Jane: Mt. Cristobal version

Lizcel struggling in a rocky ascend.

 We also need to rappel down in this rocky part.

Paul's fave part.

Another apprehension that bothered me is the 'kiss the wall' portion of the climb. I certainly fear those deathifying acts. Throughout our ascend I kept asking our guide if there's other way to reach the summit but I failed to get an favorable answer. Therefore, no other way but to pass through this part. 

Kiss the wall: I kissed the wall and i like it... and conquered it!

They say that the most rewarding part of the climb is reaching the summit and have the panoramic view from atop, but not in this mountain. This is the best part of Mt. Cristobal hike, the mossy forest. 


The pristine mossy forest

09:15 AM - It was another gratifying sight when we reached the crater of Mt. Cristobal; we landed in a flat area that even for a short period we had our almighty rest and recharged our dwindling vigour. For hikers who opt to stay for an overnight you can pitch your tents here or on the next flat area which is the Saddle Point or Bulwagan.
 
the crater of the Mt. Cristobal which is actually a quicksand (kumunoy)

here we had our lunch.
09:45 AM – resume ascend
09:55 AM – after 10 minutes hike from the crater, we reached the Saddle Point / ‘Bulwagan’. It is a hallway of pristine mossy trees. This is the most picturesque view of the mountain. It is just 15 minutes more to Jone's Peak.

Saddle Point


10:00 AM - True enough, we decided to finish the hike by resuming the climb to the Jone's Peak. We passed by in a talahiban tunnel, you can get through it by doing the duck walk for 10 minutes.

Make fun over an obstacle.



THE JONE'S PEAK

10:15 AM - at 1460MASL, after 3hrs and 25minutes hike from Montelibano house we finally reached the Jone's Peak. The fog made our anticipated majestic view of Laguna and Quezon impossible, we waited for almost 20 minutes in the peak praying for the fogs to vanish but the nature didn’t permit us so.  After a while, we decided to descend because we predicted a rainfall and we didn’t want to cross the ‘kiss the wall’ portion in its most slippery condition.

at the Jone's Peak.
This isn't rewarding. Zero visibility!

Make a wish!

THE DESCEND

10:40 AM - As much as we wanted to traverse in Nagcarlan, Laguna; our tour guide, Mang Jaime didn't allow us because of the danger awaiting for us down in the unknown. And with so much respect we just follow Mang Jaime's decision and also thought that it would be a problem to Mang Jaime to go home from Nagcarlan to Dolores, Quezon. We don't want to be a headache to the kind old Mang Jaime.

We four were able to shadow the fast-paced Mang Jaime.In our group I was the one who lead the descend for it was my favorite part, I was like Tarzan clinging and hanging in the branches of trees and strenuously overcome the obstacles of the trail. Throughout our descend I heard a butt slamming down into the ground because of the muddy trail. Paul, Paula and Lizcel caught big fishes along the trail. Good enough for our lunch. Joke!

12:50 PM - Finally, we reached safely the Montelibano house after 2 hours and 10 minutes of non stop descend with minor bruises and scratches. We spent there for 1 hour for rest and we took a refreshing bath. Mang Jaime commended us for we were the fastest group who completed the trail among he guided.

1:50 PM - continue to descend in a concrete path towards the cell site.

2:20 PM - we were picked up by our rented jeepney

3:00 PM - reached San Pablo and boarded a bus to Manila. 

5:00 PM - dinner at MOA

Mt. Cristobal is the 5th mountain I climbed and by far my most favorite hike even it was zero visibility in the peak. I just loved how I was united with the vast forest of Mt. Cristobal. They said it was a constant assault but for me, I didn't feel a single moment of it. The invigorating breeze inside the Mt. Cristobal boosted us to hike in our most steadfast mission to reach the peak. I would like to express that contrary to the stories, Mt. Cristoabal isn't home of bad spirits but a home of wild floras and faunas like rasberries, wild ferns and civet cats.


 
Breakdown of expenses

Bus fare to San Pablo from Buendia - 127Php
Jeepney Rental to Dolores from San Pablo - 800Php/ 4pax = 200Php each
Tour guide - 500Php/ 4 pax = 125 each
Jeepney Rental to San Pablo from Dolores - 800Php / 4 pax = 200Php each
Bus Fare to Buendia from San Pablo - 127Php
Total expenses: 779Php

Contact details
Kuya Jon (jeepney driver) - 0918 628 06290918 628 0629
Mang Jaime (tru his nephew Mang Lucio) - 0999 390 3350


20 comments:

  1. Haha, natawa ako sa I kissed the wall and I liked it. Ang galing mong magorganize ng akyat. Gusto naming magthank you sayo ni Paul. :) Sa uulitin!

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    Replies
    1. Haha. Walang problema pau. Invite nyo lang ako sa mga akyat nyo ah or kahit saan pa yan! ;)

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  2. That's a quick one. Devil's mountain? definitely not!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ivan! Yup, sabi din ng guide namen, ang bilis namen.
      Siguro kaya mabilis kame kasi apat lang kame umakyat, less pahinga, less antayan, etc. :)

      Delete
    2. PS: Sana makasama ako sa mga akyat mo. Heard nice things about you. :)

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  3. very nice adventure sir pangalawang beses ko na jan ni minsan di ako pinag bigyan ng view kahit maganda ang panahon... :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ang damot minsan ng ulap sa taas e no? hehe

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  4. Sir magandang hapon po.. Okay po bang guide si mang lucio?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, sobrang ok po si Mang Lucio, request nyo po si Mang Lucio if you want. :)

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  5. Replies
    1. Hello, yup, highly recommended si Mang Lucio! thumbs up!

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  6. Replies
    1. Ok, but book your flight first to Manila. haha

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  7. Sir possible po ba pumunta sa cristobal na hindi na magrerent ng jeep? Paano po kaya ung way? Duo hike po kc kame. Thank you in advance.. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, advisable po mag rent ng jeep talaga kasi about 30-40 minutes uphill and may parts n rough road po. And para may service din po kayo pabalik sa bayan. Anyways, 800 yung binayad namen sa jeep instead 1000, tumawad kame kasi 4 lang kame nun, try nyo din po. :)

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  8. Sir paano po pag overnight camp, same pa din po ba ang fair sa arkila ng jeep? and baka alam nyo din po kung how much ang bayad sa guide pag overnight. More power po sir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup same lang po ang rate ng jeep rental. ;)
      Probably po e may additional bayad na si manong jaime kapag overnight, kung magkano e di po sure.
      You can contact them po sa contact number provided dito sa blog. Salamat!

      Delete
  9. Nice adventure Sir. Ngayon ko lang nalaman may kiss the wall din pala dyan sa Mt. Cristobal. Pwede po mag-hike ngayon dito? Thanks

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  10. Pwede pa pa bang Mag hike sa Mt. Cristobal Laguna?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Pwde pa po bang mag hike sa Mt. Cristobal?

    ReplyDelete

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