Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Mud Spring Ordeal!

The dirt road to the mudsprings 
After an hour of walking
I first tried to climb up the Mt. Makiling mud springs in 2008. I came with my MTLA classmates and went up riding with one of two vehicles, trying to brave the impossible dirt road across the mountain's rainforest reservation. Sadly the owner of the vehicle I was in gave up and everyone in that car readily agreed to go back.  After all I said to myself, what could we ever see in the mudspring beside the mud.

The sari sari store on the mountain
It is not an easy route to follow
This morning, the possibility of climbing up Makiling to the mudsprings presented itself again and this time I was coerced by the members of the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society to join.  Ma'am Elisa's pick up truck took us to about a third of the way up the mudsprings.  When it proved to hard to manage for our vehicle, all of us decided to make the rest of the way on foot, through a non-paved dirt road, generously laden with loose rocks. Of course all of us started on even ground but eventually an hour's walk found me lagging behind from the rest of our group.  After all the complaining and self pity, I managed to catch up with them in the sari-sari store at the top of Makiling (yes, there are sari-sari stores there). The buko sold there is not exactly the sweetest and the most delicious, but at that time it was the most refreshing.  I ordered two because the Sinigang they were selling was already finished off by my companions. Sigh!
The mysterious mudsprings
692 meters seemed forever!
A rattan blocking the way
I was ready to hang my walking shoes and just wait for them under a makeshift tolda. But these guys are hardballs. They would not let me be to just enjoy sitting away my time in the sari-sari store.  They sweet talked me into descending down into the actual mudsprings.  They said it was only 800 meters away. They were all liars, hahahaha! Even the signage on the crossroads said it was 600 meters.  Do not be deceived as the 600 meters is pure unadulterated trekking evil! The reason they probably called it mudsprings is that the path going there is completely covered with mud.  It is not flat and straight but rather uneven and winding. The surface is slippery and booby trapped with gnarling roots and stones. As if the challenge was not enough, they added the twist of  spiny rattan stalks and sleeping vipers! And my sinister companions kept on telling me that it is already near, but it probably took much more time than what they painted in my mind. As a result my shoes, pants and especially my butt was completely covered with slimy mud because of balancing, squirming, crawling and treading through mud puddles.   Felt like a really old man in the end, hahahahaha!

Steam-hazed tree canopies
Just a venomous viper sleeping beside the trail
But my sarcasm and complaints aside, I secretly enjoyed my ordeal to the mudsprings. Yes, there is only mud to see in this part, but the hazy springs presented the mystique of Makiling. It showed a very unique landscape which is far from my known images of U.P. Los Banos and Mt. Makiling since I was a kid. It also illustrated that this part of the mountain is still wilderness which is hard to be accessed by most people like myself. My PNPCSI friends probably deceived me to motivate me to partake with them the experience getting there.  

Oh and I managed the trip back with much greater ease. That is after sipping and downing another buko juice at the sari-sari store.  


Plant Chaser said...

Whoah! Good for you! The last time I was there was in 1987. No sari-sari stores that I could recall.

1784 said...

Great adventure!

Andrea said...

You should have done it in summer when the way is not slippery. I've been to Peak 2 four times and mudspring many times, when it was still small and not as scary as today. I remember bringing our British Scientist to the peak and another visiting scientist to mudspring. It is not as difficult as you picture it today, haha. We even walked straight from the University campus. My first visit to mudspring when we were in college, we cover the small boiling outlets at the periphery of the main crater, to make small volcanoes, and then we run when they erupt. Nice fountains of muds for us!

metscaper said...

The mudspring crater was smaller?

Andrea said...

Definitely smaller crater way back! Covering the small fume outlets along the highway near Calamba giving way to subdivisions could have diverted all the existing energies to Mudspring. I hope it will not be covered by landslides which might activate the main dormant volcano!

Quester said...

Yes, there's a sari-sari store there. And there are kids who walk the rock-dirt path everyday just to go to school.