Guess what? 

It's been three months now since I crossed out another thing off my crazy bucket list, yo!

Remember when I hiked Mt. Pulag last year? I still have a tiny bit of hiker's hangover (if that's even a thing) from that trip and I promised myself that I'm going to do it again, I'm going to hike again but maybe somewhere near Manila because I can't really afford to go somewhere far these days. I'm currently trying to build a metaphorical fort (No, not just my usual pillow fort!) and I know I got to save, replenish and make more source of income if I want to get to where I want to be. But that doesn't mean I would easily let go of my other crazy dreams. 

I am designing my own life and I get to choose what to do and what not to do. I need motivation and a quick escape from the constant city suffocation, so, even though it took me quite some time to find my way back to the hiking trail, I made sure to stick to my promise to myself. 

It was a brand new experience for me and it's not something I would normally do, but for some reasons I had a good time hiking with total strangers this time. And even though towards the end of the trip, I kinda went back to my introverted hermit self, the general experience is definitely worth blogging about!

The night before the hike, I actually stayed at the organizer's house to make sure that I won't be late for the meeting time. I barely slept though because I had fun talking to her youngest daughter. The organizer wasn't able to hike with us that day, so, she put her cousin in charge of the trip. We hit the road around 2 AM last July 20th, 2019 and started picking up the other joiners from the other meet up places. We made two stops before heading to Rizal.

Rizal which belongs to the Calabarzon Region has a growing popularity among young hikers nowadays. First of all, it is within the border of Manila and the trails are pretty easy even for beginners. 

Nagpatong Rock Formation is absolutely one of the most famous destination for Millennial climbers. And I've set my mind on it not long after I hiked Mt. Pulag

Months before this hike, I've been checking out photos of this amazing rock formation. But boy, looking at the photos is way too different from actually climbing the famous rock. Let me skip to the knee-shaking part since the long walk is pretty much easy to imagine - I really wasn't expecting it to be THAT challenging!!! When I saw the ladder leading up to the top, I was ready call it quits. At some point, I really didn't want to do it anymore. I already walked on a muddy trail, I'm exhausted as f*ck and I seriously just needed a warm bath then because I was feeling so icky since I was on my second day of period. I can't even find a word to explain my pain. And I can't tell if I was being negative and emotional because of my hormones or because of the life-and-death way to the top. I was looking for signs of harness and helmets for rent - there were none! I didn't even have gloves, so I had to use my bare hands to pull myself up to the very top. 

I maybe born and raised in the city but I was fortunate enough to experience living in the countryside as well. So, maybe climbing trees as a kid was a way to train me for this hiking life, yo!

Let me try to re-live that moment!

So, there I was, climbing one step at a time on a ladder made out of tree branches tied together. Everywhere I look and everything I touch is muddy and slippery. One wrong move and my life on Earth is over - that's what I've been thinking the whole time. I don't even have a pouch where I can keep my phone and digital camera. I had to give them to the tour guides to keep my hands free. We also left our bags at one spot right below the main rock formation. I was hesitant, of course, but life is like that sometimes. You just have to trust nature that you can leave your stuff unattended and get back to it later on. Don't try that in Manila though, that's a stupid idea!

Half-way through the knee-shaking, unexpected epic rock climbing, I found the will to move on even if it was just one inch at a time. The tour guides have to literally tell me where to place which foot and where to cling my hands on to the whole time. It was scary as f*ck! There's absolutely no way to sugarcoat it. The shitty voices in my head were saying "What if I slip and hit my head and die right here? And even if I don't end up dead, what if I get injured, have amnesia or become paralyzed for the rest of my life?" But then I also heard something that goes like "What if I beat the sh*t out of this fear, come out alive and stand on top of this gigantic rock?"

I'm not gonna lie, I was embarrassed with the way I acted while I was there and the fact that I almost chickened out of that experience. If it weren't for those younger hikers who kept encouraging me to keep going, I never would have done that! It's also hard for me to trust strangers, but I feel like I owe my life to our tour guides. Every time they hold out their hands to help me out, I just had to trust that they won't let go. They have the most dangerous jobs ever! I couldn't even imagine doing something like that for a living, but there they are, just hopping from one hill or one rock to another - like a frigging hokage ninja!

We were not the only group hiking that day. We went there on a weekend, so there were quite a lot of hikers too. When I finally made it to the top, I saw a few people from my group smiling, waving and looking at the view with and a bunch of people from other groups. And just like that, I completely forgot about my dramatic ascent! 

The air away from the city is just SO different. My eyes can only see green trees on the horizon. And the sunrise, oh boy, the sunrise! I wouldn't trade it for any material wealth. We took turns taking each other's photos while waiting for our turn to pose on the topmost part of the rock. I took some video clips for my vlog, of course. 

The descent was a different story though. It should have been easy, had I not lost my way...again. I really tried to stay with the pack, but maybe I got way too much into my vlog. At some point, it felt like a real movie scene wherein one character magically strays from the pack and in a few seconds she finds herself all alone in a strange place. Good thing it was daytime! I got lost in broad daylight - so basically, I can still see, but I really can't hear anyone in front of me or behind me. I yelled out as loud as I could before I went into a semi-panic mode. I couldn't believe the fact that I got lost in the woods ALL BY MYSELF! At least the last time that happened, I was with my friend and we had a great time chatting and laughing while we were finding our way out of the woods.

I got no one to talk to or blame this time.

I tried to turn back and retrace my steps because I could have sworn the others behind me were just a few steps away before they 'vanished'. When I failed to hear their steps and chitchats, I started to walk faster towards I don't know where. After minutes of hyper-ventilating and thinking about crazy scenarios in my head, I found one of the huge rocks that we saw on the way to Nagpatong. And I felt a sense of relief; I was on the right track - I just had to keep going. But at some point, my feet led me to a spot wherein there were no tracks at all. It was freaky! I was only looking down on our way up, so, I was not able to recognize the other parts of the trail. I had to remind myself to CHILL and THINK the whole time. After a few minutes of mental jumanji, I was able to calm down and I started to walk at a more stable pace. There's no need to rush, it's still early and the others would probably get tired and wait for everyone before heading out of the forest. It's not that bad, if you logically think about it. At some point, I thought about just staying near that huge rock (it's kind of a landmark) and maybe just wait for other groups and tour guides to walk that side, then, I'll just join them on their descent.

But I was too impatient to wait, and though I am all for peace and silence, I really freaked out when I found myself lost in the middle of that forest, hearing nothing but my own breathing and footsteps.

Eventually, I found the pack resting near a hut. Turns out, I took a different trail from the ones behind me. I came from a different direction which my group-mates immediately pointed out when they spotted me. I never left the tour guides' side from that point onward.

After the hike, we had lunch at the jump off area and made our way to Daranak Falls which is about 30-45 minutes away. Almost everyone dozed off as soon as the van started rolling again. By the time we arrived at Daranak, I was welcomed by my mortal enemy - migraine! So, I wasn't really in the mood to swim. I just went straight to the restrooms, took a shower and dried myself up and took my meds before rejoining my group. I saw them playing happily and I just can't help capturing that moment. I have no idea how they seem to get all their energy back after our exhausting hike. I have zero photos near the falls, I just waited for them to finish jumping in and out of the water. It was a very nice place though, I just hate the fact that I had a migraine attack right in the middle of our trip. 

It think it took us more than two hours to get back to the city because of the crazy traffic jam. On top of that, the drop off was quite far from my dorm so I had to spend about half an hour to commute on my own. I collapsed on my bed as soon as I got back to my dorm. But boy, it was such an unforgettable day for me! 

Would I ever hike Nagpatong Rock again? PROBABLY NOT! Do I regret doing that impromptu rock climbing - without harness, gloves and helmet? ABSOLUTELY NOT! 

It was one of my bravest moments so far. I rarely feel stoked in my normal day to day life. Plus, I really find it hard to save enough money (nor find time) to go on trips these days (with all the adulting stunts that I have to do). I'm probably much more adventurous (and richer) when I was younger, but I would not let that younger Cyndrel have all the fun. I'll always try to go further and do better as I get older, that's my life motto! 

Do you like stepping out of your comfort zone? What was the scariest thing you've ever done so far? What are the things that scare you right now that you hope to overcome someday? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Comment down below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

If you've made it this far, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! If you still have time, you might wanna watch the vlog version of this hiking adventure! Don't forget to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel too!  


  1. Wow, such a nice view. Pictures like this inspire me to go exploring more and more. Most of the time I rock climbing and hiking. I always carry all the necessary camping gear with me. I brought all of my camping gear from dwights tents camping store. They have an amazing collection of tents along with other outdoor activity gear.


Post a Comment

I want to hear something from you!

Popular Posts