“Tirad Pass was the site of the battle chronicled by international correspondents at the turn of the century. Part of the Tirad Pass National Park, it snakes upwards to at the turn of the century. Part of Tirad Pass National Park, it snakes upwards to just kilometers from the peak of Mt. Tirad and includes the lower zigzag road portion (and earth road with boulders and dry riprapped shoulders). With an elevation of over 4,000 feet above sea level, Mt. Tirad could well pose itself as a northern challenge to mountaineers. Its peak is marked by a distinctive ‘gaping mouth’ or Pettak (literally means Crack), which lies near the summit. Strong winds blow at this portion of Mt. Tirad” (www.ilocossur.gov.ph).
Since I was acquainted of the website, pinoymountaineer.com (your guide to hiking in the Philippines), the hunger to know more about hiking intensified. So I read, read, and read up to a time the inspiration to share my photos primarily, and maybe stories about my mountaineering experiences crossed my mind. Hence, this third entry.
Being a part of another “climb for a cause” by pinoymountaineer through the Second Annual Charity Climb is another endeavor to be proud of because of two things:
1. This climb helped the recipient (a baby with congenital deformity) financially for her cleft lip and palate operation.
2. This climb was an exploration up Mt. Tirad which has never been summited.
Our journey started at the Partas Bus Station (in Pasay City) at 11 p.m. of 05 February 2010. We arrived at Candon, Ilocos Sur by 7 a.m. of where we had our breakfast and lunch. Prior to the ascent, a medical mission and introduction of the recipient for that year’s Charity Climb. After giving a free medical clinic at the town plaza, the 62 participants, proceeded to climb the historical trail of Tirad Pass. Nice trails and views (which include the plains of Ilocos Sur and South China Sea beyond, abundant pine trees, and the cave where del Pilar slept the night before he was slain in the battle) kept us going until we reached the Tirad Pass Shrine featuring Gregorio del Pilar’s statue mounted on a horse. It was there where we spent the night and gormandized the food at supper that is heavy.
The highlight of this climb is actually the exploration made possible by the Municipality of Gregorio del Pilar on the second day. From the Tirad Pass Shrine where we had camped, we woke up at 3 a.m. to prepare for the start of the assault and trekked the sturdy portion of the trail. It was easy with no declivitous parts but when the peak was finally visible, we were completely surprised by its imperial ascension. “There’s a huge rock pointing upwards living up to its name ‘Tirad’, meaning sharp. Indeed this part of the trail was quite precarious: only 5-10 climbers at a time could ascend or descend from the very peak. And the ravines on both sides were deep” (pinoymountaineer.com).
And the last thing that caught my attention was the multitude of quotes at almost every point of the trail although I only had six to show here.
(PS: A huge thanks to Mr. Redentor Gonzaga who shared his tent with me and to all the valuable lessons he taught me. I would not have made it to the climb without him.)
- Tirad was my third conquered mountain.
For more information (special concerns, how to get to the place, trivia, climbing notes, even stories, etc.), visit this website: pinoymountaineer.com.
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