"...there is still a little regret in me that I didn't just even notice the summit of the first real mountain I ever climbed."

Gone are the days when the urban legends as told by Lola Basiang become partially true. With the advent of technology and advanced scientific research, urban legends about on how a certain thing, structure or event began and/or started can hardly cross lately the raging river of human scrutiny. They are being blocked by the depth of human knowledge and carried far away by the strong current of scientific research. Definitely there has been a wall that divide now the used-to-be unquestioned human belief to mythology and urban legends.

Mt. Gotong | Bontoc, Mountain Province

Climbing Mt. Gotong in Bontoc



It was not an easy task. It requires that you have to be fascinated with urban legends, mythology, and even to ancient stuff. I am telling this because you really have to exert much effort and all you're going to see are stone carvings, though along the way, you can see breathtaking rice terraces, burial caves, mysterious stone formations, the panoramic view of the Halsema highway, and Alab village with the Chico river below. Occasionally, there are WATERFALLS

WATERFALLS

Click here to view the latest articles under the topic *Waterfalls* / Photo: Tappiyah Falls | Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines
if it is not dry season.

Alab Oriente | Bontoc, Mountain Province

Alab Village and Rice Terraces, Halsema Highway and Chico River below


I don't want to hype everything and these destinations are for those who are interested only. Though, by the characters and the stories they have, I would tell that you should not mind about what you will expect to see. It is all about the story behind it you know. So dude, this is your chance to see before your naked eyes the remnants of a prehistoric past.

JUMP-OFF POINT

The MOUNTAINS

MOUNTAINS

Click here to view the latest articles under the topic *Mountains* / Photo: Mt. Polis | Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines
of Gotong and Data are actually not the main attractions of Alab Village. They are just the "home" of the important things and destinations you'll see when you explore these mountains. So climbing these two mountains is a prerequisite, there's no way you can skip them.

Alab Oriente | Bontoc, Mountain Province

Selfie from the jump-off point, Chico river at the back


Before this climb, you have to register first at the Alab Oriente barangay hall. The barangay government requires that you must get a guide. From there, they can assist you getting one.

The trek starts from the barangay hall. If you'll be lucky to get an excellent guide, he/she might tour you first around the village and let you meet their tribal elders and some of the oldest living people in ALAB ORIENTE

Alab Oriente, Bontoc | An Ancient Village with Sacred Grounds

TEASER: "Prehistoric mountain dwellers inhabited this place leaving a mark that became an evidence of their existence." / Photo: Alab Oriente | Bontoc, Mountain Province
, drop by at their house for some water or food like what happened to me then proceed to the hike (if you want a hint, email me or leave a message below and I'll give the cellphone number of my guide).

1000-STEP STAIR EMOTIONS

Then I just can't believe I have to climb a real mountain, it is my first time. It was a heterogeneous mix of emotions; excitement, uncertainty, worry, fear, happiness, advanced fulfillment and a little 0.1 percent of extraterrestrial emotion.

I am excited because this will be the first time that I am going to climb a mountain; right now it is not just one, but two. It has been a prepubescent dream for me to climb a mountain. I have been grossly curious what to see at the top and from the top of a mountain.

I have been quite uncertain if I can do it because I did not perform any warm-up, training or physical conditioning. The hike is gravely unplanned, spontaneous. Of course I don't want to die while hiking so there are some uncertainties but I defied them all.

Mt. Gotong, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province

My exhausted resting brother, I am the worrying kuya


A dose of worry and fear also punched me. I am with my brother this day. It is both our first time to climb a mountain up to the top. If something happens to him, I will blame myself for bringing him here with me. Also, if there is worry, happiness has always embraced me whenever I travel to discover something and fulfillment came in advance.

The extraterrestrial emotion is just nothing. It is between my heart and my head. That would be somewhere in my throat. This might be the result of my interest to conspiracy theories.

Mt Gotong | Bontoc, mountain Province

Our guide, effortlessly climbing the 1000-step stair


While our female guide in mid-40's effortlessly climbed that 1000-step stair, I am grasping for breath. I checked my bag if I brought water. Fortunately, I got a 500-ml bottle that's good for one big swallow considering how tired I was that time.

My body fluids responsible for my blood circulation have been excreted much. Oh God, I don't want to die yet. My strength has been depleted gravely.

Mt. Gotong, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province

Pine trees of Mt. Gotong

About to finish Level 1


I told you it was my first time. I ignorantly didn't know the do's and don'ts of mountain climbing. I didn't expect this could be deadly too without being properly equipped. Poor me. I have gone wild and careless. However, I could not just imagine how I survived the continuously ascending stair that seemed so endless.

THE REAL TREK AND THE UNNOTICED SHIFT TO MT. DATA

When we survived the Mt. Gotong's 1000-step stair, I thought it was already the end. To my surprise, we are still 1/4 of the total trail. From there, the real trek started. No more stair, just rough trails.

Some parts are muddy due to springs that come out the soil. Just take an optimum dose of caution because some parts are steep.

The guide said, we are now in Mt. Data. "Huh?" I responded. I asked where was the peak of Mt. Gotong and she apologized she forgot to tell me. Well, I just didn't mind about it but there is still a little regret in me that I didn't just even notice the summit of the first real mountain I ever climbed.

Mt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province

Up close with the rice terraces


The shift to Mt. Data was unnoticeable. The two mountains are like Siamese twins with two heads but one body, I surmise. Mt. Data is higher since the trek continued upwards.

Here, we were already TREKKING

TREKKING

Click here to view the latest articles under the topic *Trekking*. / Photo: Baringcucurong | #Suyo, Ilocos Sur, Philippines
through the rice terraces of the higher regions of Alab Oriente. We were with the rice paddies ready for planting, up close. They seem like an ultra huge ladder that stretch down below and at some points, upward.

I could not just even imagine how the farmers who own these fields carry their tools and all the things they need for farming. Personally it could be a suicide based on my shallow knowledge of farming rice. I struggled to climb these mountains. How more if I will come back here every now and then to take care of the fields? And during harvest, what inter-galactic technology they used to bring down the sacks of rice considering I could not even just imagine myself surviving this mountain hike. Huh. These mountain people, I surmise, are naturally born superhumans.

Mt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province, Cordillera

Mt. Data Trek through rice paddies

Mt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain, Province

Selfie, trek to the summit of Mt. Data


The guide said, "We're near." That's one of the best ever news I heard my whole life. Well I also noticed that the trail isn't as difficult as the first hour of our climb. This time, it is not as steep as the past hour. Thanks to these RICE TERRACES

RICE TERRACES

Click here to view the latest articles under the topic *Rice Terraces*. / Photo: Bugnay Rice Terraces | #Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines
that have been a great help for us. The steep mountain slope has been flattened relatively.

PITCHER PLANTS

I have been badly in need of water during the trek. Our guide said, ideally, we must have brought 2-3 liters of water. Well really, I am a virgin in mountain climbing and had no idea. Even my common sense didn't work that time. Until...

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant

I wanted to drink from a pitcher, but it is pitcher plant this time


...along the way, I saw for the very first time a pitcher plant. It was my guide who told me about it. I may not notice it without her telling me.

Well, I know what a pitcher plant is and my biology teacher in high school told me it is carnivorous. This plant eats insects. It digests its victims through a fluid inside it. Our guide told me that I can drink the fluid inside it. I have to doubt first and say to myself, "No way!"

I told her she must drink first before I try. When she drank it, I at least felt it was safe though I am still thinking of the insects (like flies) it consumes. No, this will not save me from becoming dehydrated, I will just try it for experience. I still need real water.

MT. DATA SUMMIT AND THE DESPERATE NEED FOR WATER

I have been complaining of thirst (which is my fault) during the hike but our guide has assured me that there is a spring  at the top of Mt. Data where I can drink. That was a great news to hear, again.

Finally! We have reached the top of Mt. Data and we saw a sleeping man inside an open hut situated atop the summit. Our guide told me it is a rest area for those who own rice fields here and to some who have something to do in this part of Alab Oriente. But where is the drinking place?

Mt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province


Then I saw this very little flowing creek. I was surprised when the guide told me that this creek is where I will get a drink. At first it was repulsive. I took a bottle of water. The color isn't clear. It was a little bit hazy. But the guide assured me that many climbers have been drinking this and there has been no reports of ill effects from drinking that water.

I have no choice then, I was really thirsty. I have consumed a liter of the not-so-clean-looking water. I wanted to drink more, but I was still thinking about my health. It is either I will get dehydrated during the descent or get dehydrated due to diarrhea. Uh, really, I have no choice. Guess what? Nothing happened to me. I didn't get sick. But of course, I took a respule of probiotics, just in case.

Now my next question after my thirst has been relieved is where are the 3500-year-old stone carvings also known as Alab Petroglyphs? The almost 2.5-hour trek to the top has been so tiring for a first-timer like me.

My guide told me, "Relax first, have a rest." Well after the rest, I went down a bit to see the view of the mountains, the rice terraces and the valley below.

Breathtaking view from Mt. Data de Alab Oriente


The health-suspicious water has relieved me somehow. I can get physical again. The breathtaking view below I am seeing made me forget all the physically challenging things I did the last 2 and a half hours.

Ahhh... If only I could stay and live in this kind of place everyday, then I would. But I guess, my fate may not let me so that I will still have that thirst for ADVENTURE

ADVENTURE

Click here to view the latest articles under the topic *Adventure* / Photo: Palang | #San Quintin, Abra, Philippines
everyday whenever I am in a place where I don't get thirsty with water. So it is the thirst for adventure here.

Photo Gallery (hover to see captions)

Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain ProvinceMt. Gotong, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain ProvinceMt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain ProvinceMt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province

I realized I have been enjoying the view a lot and I almost forgot to see the prehistoric carvings. My guide walked close to where I am standing.

She smiled, she paused for a while, looked at me eye to eye and asked me to give my camera to her and take a photo of me first (photo is posted just below) then walked away from a distance.

Selfie on a cllif near the top of Mt. Data taken by my guide


The guide shouted, "The petroglyphs you are looking for is just there. Try to find where." Gosh! I have no idea. I don't know where to see it. Why this guide has to excite me this way?

Then when I said I really didn't know where, she came close a bit and told me, "Look at your feet," as she points to my shoes with bright facial expression. "the Alab Petroglyphs you are looking for is carved at the stones you are stepping onto." she added.

I said, "Why you did not tell me beforehand? I should have avoided this part, I am afraid I might destroy the marks."

Then she responded with a smile and I started examining the stones while she was telling me the story of the legend that happened exactly at the place where I am standing. Those were crazy marks!

I thought the stories of Lola Basiang is long gone. But in this place, the MYTHOLOGY AND URBAN LEGENDS

MYTHOLOGY AND URBAN LEGENDS

Click here to view the latest articles under the topic *Mythology and Urban Legends* / Photo: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse | #Burgos, Ilocos Norte
are so alive while the marks of ancient past are so real. Lola Basiang must be happy if she hears this. I was looking for the carvings excitedly. How do they look? What is written on those huge stone cliff and why it was in the cliff? /to be continued...

*ALAB ORIENTE DOCUMENTARIES SUB-SERIES | 1

Alab Oriente, Bontoc | An Ancient Village with Sacred Grounds

TEASER: "Prehistoric mountain dwellers inhabited this place leaving a mark that became an evidence of their existence."
| 2 | 3

Alab Petroglyphs | Prehistoric Etchings, Mind-Boggling Patterns

TEASER: "It was carved inside a space of time from another dimension of civilization even far from the dawn of Christianity..."
| 4

Finding Shelter in Alab's Mt. Data: Happy Memories with Strangers

TEASER: "By time, I may forget them, so, I have to write a story about that experience that I may still remember those precious memories every time I do the recalling of happy moments."
| 5

Ganga Burial Caves | Mystical People, Mysterious Grave

TEASER: "I experienced goosebumps upon entering this area of dead bodies that made me feel I was in a different dimension."
| 6

Evidence of Jar Burial in the Philippines as seen in Bontoc

TEASER: "They left an evidence to let us know they once existed but the complete details on why they have to do this is a thing only known to them."
| 7

Ganga House, the Ruined Pig Pen and Goodbye Mystical Mountain

TEASER: "Still, it is significant because it is an ancient mark, an evidence of prehistoric civilization. The trek continues..."
| 8

The Last Generation of Overt Igorots in the Cordilleras

TEASER: "Each second counts, and each second that has passed means losing another second of their generation."

Bontoc #TownExploration Series

Map showing the Location of #Bontoc

Click map to view latest articles covering Mountain Province

MORE POSTS FROM THIS CATEGORY: *MYTHOLOGY AND URBAN LEGENDS*

Paoay Lake | Keeping the Mystery of a Submerged Village

TEASER: "The mysteries linked to Paoay Lake have been a part of the wholeness of the lake and without those stories, the lake is not complete."

La Union | Pindangan Ruins and the Ghost Story Finale

TEASER: "I was actually afraid and I asked manong driver to rush going out of the place immediately."

Angalo Footprint at Amburayan River by a Mythical Giant

TEASER: "I am now here, personally encountering one of the footprints face to face and it feels good to see in person what is used to be a story that I only hear."

Tugot ni Angalo (Angalo Footprint) | The Search for a Legend in Abra

TEASER: "This is considered by the people of San Quintin as their greatest tourist attraction that tourists may not even want to see because of remoteness and the lack of knowledge about this Ilocano myth that exists in this Cordillera province of Abra"

5 Creepy Travel Destinations to Test Your Courage and Faith

TEASER: "Yes, some unexplained encounters happen but my conviction is that one should not be afraid if you have the Words of God in your heart."
SPEAK YOUR HEART OUT. C'MON! DON'T BE SHY. I PROMISE TO REPLY EXCEPT FOR TROLLS.

Axact

EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

Post A Comment:

2 comments:

  1. Hiking two mountains in one must really be a breath taking experience especially once you hit the summit of each mountain.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fran Ramon | Hi Frankee! Sure it was! And it was my first time to climb a mountain :)

    ReplyDelete

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