Mount Maculot’s Irony

It has been my practice that when I blog about a particular mountain I conquered, what I always, if not usually, do is to just note the events or my reasons from pushing albeit the narration in my blog entry entitled, “Why Do I Love Mountain Climbing?“. In this particular post, I only had two major notes. The first is, the word maculot, which means curly or unattractive in English, is an irony. Mount Maculot is absolutely paradisiacal. Subsequent to that is this was my “reunion climb” with Sir Bart Lee, who’s from Taiwan and whom I and my hiking buddies (HBs) made social acquaintance with during pinoymountaineer’s Second Annual Charity Climb at Mount Tirad Pass in Ilocos Sur last 05-07 February 2011.

The reason why I instantly said yes when I was invited to traverse this mountain was I want to know if this mountain is, to some extent, unattractive because it’s not that popular in the mountaineering society and because of the word maculot. Hence, the first note and the title.

Allow me to make an illustration by using the photos I took from our MACTRAV (Maculot Traverse) as I try to commentate after or before each photo to, at least, blow this post up.

Let’s start with the group pic minus me before the ascent.

The Crew (From Left: Kat, Sir Bart, Matet, Our New Friend From Korea, Ma’am Amy, Cha, Paul, and Ness)

Passing Through the Steepest Part of this Mountain requires roping up for the final ascent.

After the grueling climb on that vertical trail leading to the summit facing the north, the exceedingly pleasing views atop somehow put back the exact amount of energy I consumed from the bustle.


I Was Amazed at How the Two Dragonflies Stole the Scene in this Pic Albeit their Microscopic Sizes

Facing the south, I asked one of my HBs to take a photograph of me on the edge of one of the jagged peaks.

According to hard-core mountaineers, MACTRAV is not complete without making it to The Rockies. So we, or should I say I, did.

I thought the views at 706 MASL were the nicest up to a time I reached the rockies. I was totally breathless upon looking at the landscapes around me. Take a peek at the furtive view of the most famous destination in this mountain: the rockies.

What lies behind and on top was an extreme surprise … or make that surprises, with these photos.

 The Rockies creates breathtaking views of Taal Volcano and the lake circumscribing it, Mt. Makiling and Tagaytay Highlands.

The rain was already nearing our locus by the time I shot the photos in this series. That explains the caliginous guise of the pictures.

A Closer View of Taal Volcano

Mount Makiling

The globules of the rain were thrown upon by the wind’s blow a couple of minutes after I took the last photo in this series. So I prayed to the Aura that it be stopped because it will compromise our descent. And it did! This instance is another asseveration of how truly powerful a prayer is.

After a few minutes, Mr. Sunshine loomed over the horizon again giving another opportunity to take more beautiful photos.

Point(ing)-and-Shoot(ing) the cam towards the left side gives you this view:

And this one at the opposite:

While zooming the lens alternately towards both sides, produces these photos:

To the Left

To the Right

Before I composed this blog post, I actually researched on why the mountain is named after the word maculot. I found out that curly-haired aborigines (Aetas) once lived in this mountain. It was named Maculot from “kulot“, meaning curly in honor to the inhabitants of the mountains (Aetas). I also learned that it’s not connected, in any way, to ugliness.

For more information (how to get to the place, trivia, special concerns, climbing notes, etc.), click this website:

- Mount Maculot is my seventh conquered mountain (03 October 2010).



Tirad Pass’ Historical Trails in Ilocos Sur


“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” (

Since I was acquainted of the website, (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 11:00 PM of 05 February 2010. We arrived at Candon, Ilocos Sur at 7:00 AM where we had breakfast and lunch.

Prior to the ascent, there was 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.

Tirad Pass Shrine

The highlight of this climb is  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 3:00 AM 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 were nearing the peak, 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” (

First “Take 5″ of the Assault that Started at 4 a.m.


At the Saddle (Sir Bart Lee Gamely Posed in this Pic While Masters Red and Paul were Snoring)

Our Guide Who Seem to Have the Power of Vertical Ascension

Group Pic at the Peak (1,312+ MASL)


A Re-enactment of del Pilar’s Fall

And the last thing that caught my attention was the multitude of graffiti at almost every point of the trail although I only had six to show here.

- 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:

PS: K-C813