BY: JEROME LAURON
Mount Tapulao (also known as High Peak) is the tallest mountain in the Zambales mountain range. The peak, which rise to an elevation of 2,037 metres (6,683 ft), is located in the municipality of Palauig, Zambales. Its name is derived from the abundance of Sumatran Pine trees in the area, known in the local Zambal dialect as tapulao. [Source: Wikipedia]
The Trail and Patience
The trail to Mt. Tapulao’s summit takes no more than 18 kilometers on a rocky terrain. Trekking your way through lowland grass, pine trees and mossy forests with slopes ranging from 20 to 40 degrees. Patience if your best friend. We’ve heard stories of couples breaking up or tampuhan after the trek. 18 kilometers by numbers seems short, but don’t be fooled. Trekking with kilos worth of camping materials and food at your back will exhaust much of your energy. Trail food like energy bars, sweets (chocolates), crackers and anything else helps give you more calories that is much needed during the climb. There are two water source along trail between the 5th-7th kilometer mark and past the 10th kilometer point. Another water source can be found near the campsite.
Training is very important. Do not force yourself to climb mountains without enough exercise or suffer straining your muscles.
We left Manila just before 12 midnight on a Friday. We reached the Palauig Information Center at dawn (Saturday). There were 10 of us plus a guide. After registering and doing a bit of stretching, we started our ascent. It took us 9 hours 18 minutes to reach the campsite (Some of us even got there earlier). We set up our tents, cooked dinner, relaxed and went to sleep.
The next morning, Sunday, we continued on to the summit after having our breakfast. In less than 2 hours, we reached Mt. Tapulao’s peak after trekking through thick mossy forest. 10 minutes later, we we’re on our way back to the campsite.
Mount Tapulao is very rich in Flora and Fauna. Along the trail, you will hear birds chirping and insects making noises. Ants in a color and size I have never seen before and a snake that crossed our path. Flowers and wild berries in bright colors. All of which are abundant in the area.
Special thanks to my PNMS Family!