Set in the province of Rizal, town of Pililia in barangay Malaya is another mountain gaining popularity from mountain junkies that is so close to Metro Manila and not commercialized by the local government. Unlike Tanay, Mt. Sembrano, in Pililia is handled by the barangay so the environmental fee and registration fee are minimal compared to Tanay.
According pinoymountaineer, Mt. Sembrano’s difficulty is 3/9 but for us, it feels like a major hike all over again. It is probably because of the weight of our bags since we decided to camp in the summit. And the assault, though short in distance, it is very steep. I can compare the steepness of the trail to Mt. Natib, less the rope segments. There is a recommended camp site just near manggahan falls, but we decided to camp at the summit because we were too lazy to wake up early the next day.
We arrived at the barangay Malaya Hall around 3:00 in the afternoon. After registration we started our trek 3:30 PM. From jump off to Manggahan camp site is approximately 1 hour, by 6:30 PM, we reached the 2nd peak just thirty minutes to the summit. According to our guide, it is best to set up our camp there since the space at the summit is not wide enough for our group. It is also getting darker. So we camped there.
Strong Winds Day and Night.
As soon as we reached the grassland, we were greeted by strong winds in all direction. We were so excited about it after a very tiring assault. But as we started to pitch our tents, that’s when we realized our dillema: can our tents withstand this strong wind? Are we going to make it through the night? How do we cook our dinner? These are just a few questions that we have not anticipated. But our will are stronger than the wind, we had successfully installed our tents, had korean barbeque for dinner! Amazing.
Where is Longanisa?
Prior to our hike, we planned everything including our food for dinner and breakfast for the next day. For our dinner we had Samgyupsal (yes we did, and I am not joilking). For our breakfast, we are to have longanisa with rice. Before we all went to our tents, I took the blue bag where the 1 kilo of longanisa, 10 salted eggs and tomatoes were kept and put it in what I thought was a safe place. Around 12 mid night I woke up unexpectedly. Wonder around outside the tent and went back to my tent when I noticed that something is missing. The bag of food is no longer to be found. I thought maybe one of the group decided to get it and out inside their tent so I slept.
The next morning, I asked everyone if anyone of them took the blue bag but nobody did. We discussed it among ourselves until our descent, still puzzled by it. Suddenly a bag of food lost without a trace. Luckily we still had some coffee and noodles and a loaf bread which saved us from total hunger. Otherwise we would have left with empty stomach on our way to the summit then back to jump off- that would be a total disaster.
The following morning is as chilly as the night before. After a light breakfast (still not over the longanisa) we headed towards the summit. It only less than 30 minutes from our camp site. It is grassy area with the strong winds battering left and right.