Thursday, January 10, 2013

Knife Edge Trilogy: Be Stupid for a Split Second and You Die

Despite our reputation for having rich natural resources as evidenced by the continuous attempt of different countries to invade us for the sole purpose of scraping our country off our natural resources like a bear let off in the middle of a bamboo field after 2 years of hibernation, we still rarely get mentioned when they make lists of best places to visit if you want to go nature tripping.

The top 10 Most Difficult Mountains to Climb list, for example, doesn't include a single mountain from the Philippines. It may be because we don't have snow here. Most deaths in those mountains is caused by Hypothermia.

In the mountains of the Philippines, mountaineers don't battle hypothermia, they battle leeches, falling rocks the size of Antartica, unpredictable weather that changes its mind more often than we take in oxygen, snakes and other yet to be identified forest animals, ghosts and monsters, and some gaddam cannibalistic ethnic groups.

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We have 3 mountains in the country that are particularly brutal, unforgiving and downright saddistic. They call this the Knife Edge Trilogy. This includes Mt. Halcon in Oriental Mindoro, Mt. Guiting-Guiting in Romblon and Mt. Mantalingajan in Palawan.

No mountaineer is ever advised to try any or all of these mountains without training. One person, with no prior training attempted. Guess what happened to him? Yup, he died.

These three mountains mean business. They demand respect and if you don't give it to them, they'll come and snatch it away from you plus interest.

These three mountains are proud. They stand tall and mighty and they act it. If anyone ever attempts to prove that they can be conquered without preparation, they teach them a lesson, a precious one... that anyone who is arrogant enough to attempt conquering them without paying their dues will die.

They were built and have developed to protect themselves and the animals that live in them. Humans are not their primary concern, at least not directly.

Rocks On Top of Each Other

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When climbing Mt. Guiting Guiting, it will welcome you by asking you to climb a pile of giant rocks sitting on top of each other. It's not like there's something holding it together like rugby or a fuc$!n' barbecue stick. They are literally on top of each other like some god forsaken giant dropped it because he had to rush and take a dump and didn't bother checking if it will ever fall WHEN HUMAN BEINGS STEP ON IT.

It's not like the whole piling up of rocks make sense either. Once you risk your life, limbs and balls to climb up a la Spiderman on steroids, once you reach the top, you will have to go back down again to continue your trek. What the fu$%in' f$%k? I was expecting it would, at the very least, lead to a nice flat road! But no. It felt like it was played a joke on me. It was like "yeah, go up. After you grow 5,873 callouses, you'll see a really beautiful rose with colors of the rainbow"... so we all go up with enthusiasm and excitement not minding the fact that one wrong move and we will see our own brain scattered like a freakin' fertilizer on the ground. When we finally make it to the top, I could hear the mountain laughing at us and going 'now go back down again, bitches!"

Those rock formation has no sense at all!

Kiss the Wall

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After climbing and going down from those darn rocks, you will now have to continue trekking side fu$%in' ways. That's because the trail is blocked by a rock and you will have to surrender your entire body to it, hug, make love to it and get pregnant by it if you ever want to cross.

I have no idea why nature would want to put that rock in the way. It has no aesthetic or functional value. It's not like it's holding some roots of a really magnificent tree. It's just there... like a booger that refuses to leave.

See that guy in the picture. He is freakin' insane.

Choose Oriental and Occidental

On all mountains, there is always that trail that allows only one body to pass. I think it's something all mountains vowed to have to unite their souls. Guiting Guiting, one afternoon, called Halcon and Mantalingajan and said, 'I have an idea. You'll like this. In one section of our body, somewhere really close to the summit already, let's put a trail that is... wait for it... so narrow only one body can pass.' Halcon was like, 'why will we do that?'

Mantalingajan sighed and said, 'so people will die if they are arrogant and stupid.' Halcon said, 'Brilliant!'

So there it was. That one trail that will make it impossible for a two way traffic. These three mountains are not exemptions. The difference is that these trail appear at high altitude and when it's really foggy, visibility is zero. So, you're walking on a trail where only one person can pass and you don't see sh!t!

$h!t, right?

We were constantly told that if we ever fall, we will have to choose whether we want to land Oriental or Occidental. We also have to choose whether we want our bodies to bounce like a ball landing on a pointed rocks on one side or fall like a doll getting caught on the trees and branches on the other.

I think we were supposed to feel fu#$k!n excited.

Cannibal Tribe

Never mind the mud, it's part of nature and soon enough, everyone will be reunited with it. The problem is that setting foot to Mt. Mantalingajan is like walking into a death trap.

It is home to Tau't Daram who are known for being eating people.To date, they still live in trees, practice ancient customs like arrange marriage, polygamy and use of magic. It is not clear if they are still cannibals but there are very few of them left. Operative word, few not gone.

Long Trek

Mt. Mantalingajan will take a full week if you want to reach the summit and a lifetime if you want to explore it. It has the length of the famous Mt. Halcon and the difficulty of Mt. Guiting Guiting. That is one week of non stop walking, climbing and meeting unidentified crawling objects to suck your blood or poison it. That's one week of going through, around and over rocks that can move anytime and decide to crush you like a cockroach.

And should the gods of the weather ever decide to change its course or mood and slap some rain, wind and thunderstorm on these mountains, trails become inaccessible and places in the mountain become inhabitable. It becomes cold, too cold for us who are used to a weather that could practically cool an egg in minutes.

But It's Beautiful

No mountain comes close. Each of these three mountains offer a view that will really convince you that when God talked about creating paradise for Adam and Even, he must have been talking about the Philippines because gaddamit, it's beautiful.

There are flowers and leaves and birds that are just so beautiful you will be convinced God is a duddette because no dude can every create something as beautiful as that. Each of those three mountains has the capacity to frame the sky to give your a view you have never seen before. You can spend your entire life looking up that vast  blue sky hoping to see it the way you did when you were in these three mountains and you will never succeed. I think these three mountains have a deal of some sort with the sky.

That's why these three mountains are arrogant and proud and difficult... because they deserve to be proud and difficult. When you reach the summit, you are gonna forget about the Kiss the Wall and the rocks on top of each other or that 1,000 gram of blood you lost to that leach of that monster who were trying to open your tent when you were sleeping.

Actually, you won't forget those but you won't mind going through 1,000 more round of that if only to reach the peak. 


  1. Uneccessary cursing.. OA. G2 isnt that hard.. peaked it with jsut mt pulag as a pre-climb...8 months apart.

  2. Anyone planning to climb Mt. Halcon this April? :)

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  4. This use of the knife continued like this for quite some time. There were destroyed grapefruits and mashed up cheese.check this out