“Parang wallpaper ng Windows,” my friend murmured delightedly, as we scrolled through Instagram posts of Mt. Gulugod-Baboy on her phone.
“‘Teletubby land’?” my boyfriend remarked, raising an eyebrow. He was looking at this blog entry, trying to figure out a way to commute to the Gulugod-Baboy jump-off point.
“Yeah, it looks like the hills from the show, see?” I said, pointing out the hills that capped the mountain from which it got its name. Gulugod-Baboy, in English, is ‘pig’s spine’.
And with that begun yet another episode in the “Kate and her friends do things because they’re bored”.
Originally, our whole college barkada was supposed to make the trip. But, as is the norm for trips like this, people began backing out. First, the grad students flaked – which, hey, I totally understand. Then a couple of people who had to render OT on the weekend, and one whose family planned a trip for her birthday. So basically from a group of nine people, we were whittled down to three.
Gulugod-Baboy is not my first mountain. It’s my fourth, and in fact, I plan to talk about my three other hikes in this blog – sometime soon, when I’ve managed to gather both my thoughts and enough nice photos. But the routine hasn’t gotten old yet, and I suspect it never will. Prepping lunch and snacks, making sure we have enough water, stocking up on sunblock, getting up at an ungodly hour to catch a bus out of Manila. Sounds tedious and tiring, but I don’t think I could ever get sick of it.
The hike up was easy enough. We decided not to get the services of a tour guide, since the trail was easy to follow (and also because a tour guide cost 500php and we are poor sods). As we ascended, we had excellent views of the sea, as well as Tingloy Island in the distance. The close proximity to the ocean meant that, despite the insane temperatures, we were never in want of cool breezes.
For the first half of our hike, the water was a deep blue, impenetrable, like a woman with a secret. But at noon, the sea changed. The sun glittered on the surface and made it look silver, like the water was suddenly made of precious metals. It made think, again, of a woman, but this time, one who was bedecked in jewelry and finery, coyly flirting with the mere mortals privileged enough to look upon her.
Sidenote – what is it about the ocean that makes us think of it as a woman? I think it has to do with the duality of its nature. One minute, calm and nurturing like a mother; the next, ferocious and unforgiving. Water is death and salvation, graveyard and harbor. As are women.
But I digress.
It’s long been a source of confusion which of the three hills you’ll see at the top is the real peak of Gulugod-Baboy. Some would say that the highest peak is Gulugod-Baboy, while others say the highest is actually Pinagbanderahan and the leftmost peak is Gulugod-Baboy. Others also say that the whole thing is Gulugod-Baboy. It’s all the same to me, but whatever you decide to call these peaks, a trip to the very top is a must. Not only are you afforded a perfect 360-degree view of Batangas, but the wind is so cold and so strong that you’ll hardly feel the noontime sun. (Which makes sunblock and covering up all the more important, I guess, since you won’t feel the heat and can’t gauge if you’re getting burned or not.)
Every mountain has something different to offer. With Gulugod-Baboy, it was the rolling hills atop the peak. Once we cleared the final assault, we were treated to the view of a magnificent carpet of grass, the talahib waving in the wind like currents on the surface of the ocean. In the distance, waves of blue crashed on the shore. Here, before us, waves of green danced in the wind.
I’ve never had cause to use the phrase ‘poetry in motion’, at least until today.