Amyek Maleh 2013: Mt Matutum Climb

mountaineering

“You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.”

—  Lito Tejada-Flores

Yes. I know I’ve been there before during my high school years because of a scouting encampment.

But after almost 10 years, I found myself again about to set on a journey to a mountain that they say had one of the most challenging trails in the Philippines (even MORE DIFFICULT than Mt Pulag and even Mt Apo) – none other than the MT. MATUTUM.

About Mt Matutum

mt matutum

Rising to 2293 meters (7522 feet) above sea level, Mount Matutum prominently resides at the southern end of The Philippines southernmost province of Mindanao. Although only 70 km SSW of the country’s highest peak Mount Apo, this isolated dormant volcano dominates the landscape from all 360 degrees.

Thanks to the Amyek Maleh 2013 celebration I was given another opportunity to have my body endure another adventure to conquer this known landmark in South Cotabato.

What is Amyak Maleh?

The name Mount Matutum is derived from the local Blaa’n tongue “Amyak Maleh” meaning climb and plant. Indeed, all trekkers are required to plant a tree while visiting the Mountain.

The Mountain and its surrounding landscape are protected through a Presidential Proclamation issued March 25, 1995 by President Fidel Ramos.

Amyak Maleh is being conducted each year as one of the events that formed part of the weeklong celebration of the declaration of Mt. Matutum as “protected landscape”, or the Linggo ng Mt. Matutum.

Amyak Maleh 2013

Hundreds of mountaineers coming from all over Mindanao flock to the municipality of Tupi, South Cotabato to join this year’s Amyak Maleh.

March 22, 2013 – the day started early with the registration of the participants.

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After which, a brief orientation had been given and all mountaineers are transported to the jump off point in Glandan, Brgy, Kablon, Tupi, South Cotabato.

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Amyak Maleh Itinerary

Here’s the detailed itinerary for the climb.

Day 1 (March 22, 2013)

4:00 AM Wake up
6:00 AM Registration, Orientation and take service to Sitio Glandang
8:00 AM ETA Glandang
8:00-9:30AM Tree Planting
9:30 AM Start assault to Phase I
12:00 NN ETA Phase I
1:00 PM Ascent to Summit
4:00 PM ETA Mt. Matutum Summit and start pitch tent and sightseeing / picture taking
6:00 PM Dinner and Inato Social
11:00 PM Lights off

Day 2 (March 23, 2013)

5:00 AM Wake up
7:00 AM Breakfast / Sightseeing/ picture taking
8:30 AM break the camp and descent preparation
9:00 AM start descent to Phase I
12:00 NN ETA Phase I (Lunch)
1:00 PM descent to Sitio Glandang
4:00 PM ETA Sitio Glandang
4:00 PM Take service to Municipal Hall
6:00 PM Mountaineers Night (Free Dinner)

Registration Fee: 300.00
Inclusive: Souvenir T-shirt, Certificate, I.D., 1 Meal during Socials and Transportation from Mun. Hall to Sitio Glandang

Amyak Maleh Tree Planting

The climb started with a tree planting activity on the foot of Mt Matutum in Glandang.

plants

“My heart is glad, my heart is high
With sudden ecstasy;
I have given back, before I die,
Some thanks for every lovely tree
That dead men grew for me.”
V.H. Friedlaender

plan a tree

The Journey to Mt Matutum

After the tree planting, it is now time to start the battle.

hikers

The climb almost lasted for 6 hours, 3 hours towards Phase 1 and another 3 hours to the Summit.

Your first stop will be in this marker, here you will get to refill your bottles for water from a free flowing spring. The next water source will still be at the peak

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matutum water source

6 long hours of dodging from twigs, ducking low, crawling in between trees, holding branches tight, and sometimes slipping on slippery rocks. We even met a cobra along the way! Yikes!

climbing mountain

The trail, especially after Phase 1 was REALLY STEEP.

mountain climbing

There are even moments when you are in the middle of your trek, when you get to stop, pause, and ask yourself,

“Why ? Why, why, why do I do this ???

Arrival at Phase 1

phase 1 matutum

amyak maleh 2013

Arrival at Phase 1

mountain climbing

But as they say ‘That which does not kill you will make you stronger.’ Hopefully this will. Haha!

And yes, I am a living witness to the statement that

the trail to Mt Matutum is indeed MORE DIFFICULT THAN MT. APO or MT PULAG

mountaineering

“To put yourself into a situation where a mistake cannot necessarily be recouped, where the life you lose may be your own, clears the head wonderfully. It puts domestic problems back into proportion and adds an element of seriousness to your drab, routine life. Perhaps this is one reason why climbing has become increasingly hard as society has become increasingly, disproportionately, coddling.”
—  A. Alvarez,  The Games Climbers Play.

Arrival at the Summit

But as they say, once you get to the peak, it’s all worth it!

clouds

Afternoon clouds that met us upon arrival

outdoor gear

“The bizarre trend in mountaineers is not the risk they take, but the large degree to which they value life. They are not crazy because they don’t dare, they’re crazy because they do. These people tend to enjoy life to the fullest, laugh the hardest, travel the most, and work the least.”
—  Lisa Morgan

It’s Not Too Late To Live

What’s even more amazing is that during our trek to Mt Matutum, a couple age 57 and 59 years old came with the group and successfully conquered the mountain up to the summit!

When asked what their reason for climbing is, they only said, ‘Better do it now before it’s too late.”

Inspiring indeed. It reminds us all that it’s never too old or too late to have an adventure and live.

friends

Mt Matutum Flora and Fauna

matutum flower

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. -Hans Christian Andersen

flower

tree

rainforest

Does they look something similar? Clue: Zombies love them!!

More Summit Photo Moments

matutum marker

Mt Matutum Marker

tent

Pitching tents and the freezing atmosphere!

sunrise in mountain

The Descent

But of course, you cant’ just stay on the summit.

What’s even more arduous is the descent, especially that it rained the night before. Scary slippery!

mountaineers

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
— Ed Viesturs

mt matutum peak

“If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans… When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man.”
— Wilfrid Noyce

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Wow! Hinugyaw! A Once in a Lifetime Nighttime Street Dancing Experience!

January is indeed a month of festivals ; from the popular Sinulog in Cebu to the Ati-atihan in Kalibo and Dinagyang in Iloilo. But wait, I’m sure Mindanao wouldn’t let this month passed by without having something, particularly my province here in South Cotabato!

And so I present to you THE HINUGYAW FESTIVAL 2013!

Start this year with a bang as Koronadal City celebrates the 13th Hinugyaw Festival.

The said festival started last January 4 and culminates on the evening of January 10, 2013, highlighting the Piyesta Korona (Korona Festival), a unique blend of mardi gras, creative korona attire and float competitions and of course the most awaited nighttime Street Dancing Competition!

Yes! You heard that right, NIGHT Street Dancing that is! Contrary to the common street dancing held during the daytime, Hinugyaw trots the road less traveled ; and that’s what makes this festival even more interesting!

Streets once again will be flooded with curious spectators dying to witness participants in their colorful ethnic attires as they dance to the beat of lively cultural music.

So without further adieu, here are some shots I’ve took during the colorful festivity ;  a mixture of the Street Dancing Competition, a parade of beauties in their creative crowns and attires, and the the Float Parade.

Have a Feast!

Street Dancing Competition

Participant No. 1

Adventuroj Hinugyaw Festival Photos (1)

Adventuroj Hinugyaw Festival Photos (2)

Adventuroj Hinugyaw Festival Photos (3)

Adventuroj Hinugyaw Festival Photos (4)

Adventuroj Hinugyaw Festival Photos (5)

Participant No. 2

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Participant No. 3

Hinugyaw Festival 2013 Photos adventuroj (2)

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Hinugyaw Festival 2013 Photos adventuroj (3)

Hinugyaw Festival 2013 Photos adventuroj (5)

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Hinugyaw Festival 2013 Photos adventuroj (1)

Participant No. 4

Hinugyaw 2013 Photos adventuroj (1)

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Participant No. 5

Street Dancing Photos adventuroj (1)

Street Dancing Photos adventuroj (2)

Street Dancing Photos adventuroj (3)

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Street Dancing Photos adventuroj (5)

Participant No. 6

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And in this group I also spotted a very cute kid who got my camera glued on him.. so pardon if his smiles and gorgeousness took a lot of space in the following photos. I’m sure you’ll also agree with me after seeing these –

hinugyaw festival photos (7)

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Korona Creative Attire Competition

Adventuroj Corona Hinugyaw 2013 (2)

Adventuroj Corona Hinugyaw 2013 (1.5)

Adventuroj Corona Hinugyaw 2013 (2.5)

Adventuroj Corona Hinugyaw 2013 (3)

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Adventuroj Corona Hinugyaw 2013 (5)

Adventuroj Corona Hinugyaw 2013 (01) Adventuroj Corona Hinugyaw 2013 (1)

Float Competition

Hinugyaw 2013 float parade photos (1)

Hinugyaw 2013 float parade photos (2)

Hinugyaw 2013 float parade photos (3)

Hinugyaw 2013 float parade photos (4)

Hinugyaw festival is a week long celebration of the Foundation Anniversary of Koronadal City, the center of the Province of South Cotabato happening usually on the first week of January every year. It is a colorful merry-making depicting the evolution of the distinct cultures of B’laans, Maguindanao, and Christians into a singular wave of rhythm as a tribute to the creator, and in celebration of the spirit that Koronadal is known for dynamic and persistent in its bound for sustainable development.

So next time you’re heading South Mindanao, don’t forget to drop by and join in the merriment! Until next year Hinugyaw!

Not Your Ordinary Pasta House: Basilio’s – Based Basil Pasta and Resto

It was a cold and cozy Tuesday afternoon when me and my buddy decided to warm ourselves up by treating our appetite to a new found pasta house in our very own province in South Cotabato, specifically in Koronadal City.

Although we often eat out in Davao, but having a taste of specialty cuisines in our locality is still an experience worth trying ; something worth bragging for.

And so around 3pm we entered this home-turned-resto pasta house  – The Basilio’s.

Basilio's Pasta House

Basilio’s Pasta House

Upon entering this restaurant, one will definitely feel the warmth and coziness of a home. A perfect place for family bonding or simply catching up with old friends.

Basilio's Interior

Basilio’s Interior

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Heading upstairs you will be impressed by a Japanese style dining facility where tables are surrounded by cushions laid out for a relaxing dining experience. Floors are squeaky clean and laid out with banig. I even thought that this would be a perfect place to have a relaxing massage or yoga.

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And since it’s Japanese inspired, guest are required to leave their footwear behind. Need not worry for Basilio’s will be providing you slippers.

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Then it’s time to order.

Basilio’s Specialty

Basilio’s culinary fare specializes in pasta. You have a number of pastas and sauces to choose from. And of course, almost all of them include their favorite herb – the Basil. (The name Basilio’s was derived from the restaurant’s main ingredients in almost all their specialties – the Basil.)

For our 1st luncheon experience there, we tried their Carbonara Pasta, a fettuccine pasta which has the right amount of creaminess and non of that evap milk taste common in other restaurants. It has the right amount of saltiness from the bacon and butter.

Basilio's Carbonara

Basilio’s Carbonara

The Gambas Pasta, the signature dish of Basilio’s – a tomato based fettuccine pasta with shrimps topped with chili flakes. I was surprised at the pinch of spiciness that linger in your mouth after taking a spoonful of it, probably brought about by the chili flakes.

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 Gambas Pasta

Gambas Pasta

Then the third one the Lasagna, also a house specialty, mixed just with the right amount of creaminess enough to leave you wanting for more.

Lasagna

Lasagna

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This is also a favorite of my father. I actually heard this Pasta House first from him, turned out the owner was a friend of his. As a matter of fact you could also see one of my father’s craft in this culinary place – his Wall Aquariums, a hobby turned business by him. (Let me know if you want one done in your home! *Wink)

Wall Aquarium

Wall Aquarium made by my father

What is impressive with Basilio’s is that their prices are really reasonable! Imagine a plate of their succulent pasta will only cost you around P95 per single serving.. now that is delicious isn’t it?!

Basilios Menu

Basilios Menu

And for those who are not pasta-lovers, they also have main dishes served with rice and vegetables on the side.

Where is Basilios?

Basilio’s – Based Basil Pasta and Resto is located at 72 MH Del Pilar St., Korondal city. From Gensan drive, turn left at the round bowl, and once you reach Notre Dame of Marbel university, turn right and left again at MH Del Pilar St. For bookings or reservations, you can call them at +63 83 228 2878. Business hours is from 10AM til 10PM daily.

Adventuroj Ventures at Basilios

Adventuroj Ventures at Basilios

Hinugyaw Festival 2013 Schedule of Activities

It’s January once again! A time of festivities and colorful festivals! But this isn’t Sinulog in Cebu, nor Dinagyang in Iloilo, not even Ati-atihan in Aklan, but this is HINUGYAW FESTIVAL, a festival as equally colorful and vibrant!

Hinugyaw festival is a week long celebration of the Foundation Anniversary of Koronadal City, the center of the Province of South Cotabato (my home province). Hinugyaw is a colorful merry-making depicting the evolution of the distinct cultures of B’laans, Maguindanao, and Christians into a singular wave of rhythm as a tribute to the creator, and in celebration of the spirit that Koronadal is known for dynamic and persistent in its bound for sustainable development. (from Koronadal Hinugyaw Festival Website)

The festival icon is the cogon grass. Etymologically speaking, Koronadal is believed to have been derived from two B’laan words “kolon” and “nadal” meaning, a plain of cogon grass. Koronadal has been the home of speedy and sustainable development which sprouted naturally like cogon grass.

Now on the 13th year, Hinugyaw Festival is set on January 4-10, 2013. The week long celebration will once again showcase the fusion of diverse cultures present in the City of Koronadal. Major events includes the Drumline Competition, the search for Lakambini ng Koronadal 2013 and the much anticipated Piyesta Korona (Korona Festival) – a mix of street dancing, mardi gras and float competitions. Check out below the list of major events and schedule of activities for the upcoming Hinugyaw Festival 2013.

See this year’s schedule of activities:

Hinugyaw Festival 2013 Schedule of Activities

January 4, 2013
Peter B. Miguel Cup – Basketball
7 am, Freedom Park

Unveiling & Wreath Laying of Historical Marker for 17 Martyrs
8:30 am, Koronadal Central Elementary School – 1

Veteran’s Exhibit
3 pm, City Hall Ground

Kasadyahan sa Dalan & Nightly Bands
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

January 5
Koronadal Marathon/ Fun Run
4 am, Assembly Area: City Hall Grounds

Siok Extreme Eco Adventure
4:30 am, Assembly/Registration: City Hall Lobby

Peter B. Miguel Tennis Tournament
7 am, SMRAA Tennis Court

Motocross
8 am, back of the City Hall

Coca- Cola Night
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

Lakambini ng Koronadal
7 pm, South Cotabato Gym & Cultural Center

Kasadyahan sa Dalan & Nightly Bands
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

January 6
Golf Tournament
7 am, Paraiso Golf Course

SIKAD Koronadal
9 am, Assembly Area: City Hall Grounds

Kasadyahan sa Dalan & Nightly Bands
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

January 7
Celebrity Comedian Night
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

Kasadyahan sa Dalan & Nightly Bands
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

January 8
Farmers Festival
6:30 am, City Hall Grounds

Celebrity Night
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

Kasadyahan sa Dalan & Nightly Bands
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

January 9
Paramotors Exhibition
9 am, City Hall Grounds

Kasadyahan sa Dalan & Nightly Bands
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

January 10
Kapehan & Mass Sponsorship
5:30 am, Christ the King Cathedral

Drumline Competition
6 am, South Cotabato Sports Complex

Korona Festival/ Piyesta Korona
6 pm, Gensan Drive

Kasadyahan sa Dalan & Nightly Bands
7 pm, City Hall Grounds

Colors, Lights, Sounds and Shadows filled the streets during the 2010 Hinugyaw Festival in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. Photo from Flickr

Colors, Lights, Sounds and Shadows filled the streets during the 2010 Hinugyaw Festival in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. Photo from Flickr