Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mt. Linabo hike (3,003 steps)

On May 24, 2008 , I woke up early to try and do the hike to Mt. Linabo Peak near Dipolog City. This is to challenge myself and also to burn some calories during this 5-day vacation. But forego going here to join the group tour instead (they had me at seafood buffet lunch...yum).

Good thing another opportunity presented itself in the afternoon when our tour ended at 2PM. Since it was already free time for the group, I used mine to try and do this hike by first taking a "habal-habal" (an extended version of a regular motorbike) to the drop off area. I got there at about 2:30PM. Enough time for the supposed 1 hour hike to the peak (this information I got from one of the lodging house staffs).

I was excited at start of the climb and ran up immediately (as a way of training myself too for incline running). That didn't last too long as by the time I've reached the Fourth Station of the Cross, I was panting, my shirt was drenched with sweat and my backpack turned into a burden for my back. At that stage, I just walked all the way up with some stops along the way (there were benches on each Station of the Cross). Too many steps to climb and pretty soon, even my knees were in pain.

Each Station (total of 14) is a countdown for me to guage how much more I have to climb. I was on track as on the 7th or 8th Station it was just 30 minutes or so from when I started the hike. I was so relieved to finally reach the final Station and at just 45 minutes. But then, instead of getting a view of the city, what I saw instead was a small community with houses, sari-sari stores and even an elementary school!

To go to the peak, you have to hike among boulders and do some trail hiking. I got tricked! The 3,003 steps is just for the Stations of the Cross and not for the Peak of Mt. Linabo. Well, no other choice but to keep on going and after an hour of walking on steps and hiking on incline plane, I've finally reached the top of the mountain.

View was very nice as can see the entire Dipolog City. There is even a Lover's Rock and a bench to sit on so you can savor your hardwork and enjoy city view. Unfortunately, I had no time left as had to hurry down for dinner. To make things worse, it started to drizzle so had to speed my descent or it might be dangerous once the trail becomes slippery.

Faster going down but still bad for the knees. I got down at about 4:30PM and bought two bottles of softdrinks at the sari-sari store. Waiting for a habal-habal to pass by took longer as not much vehicles going here. The locals were very helpful though and got me a ride with one, which already had a passenger on it. Got back to the hotel just in time for a quick shower and change before we were off for final dinner for this tour.

Some information on Mt. Linabo:
This area is located about 15 minutes from the outskirts of Dipolog City and the only way to get here is via the habal-habal, which are found anywhere in the city. Cost for one-way fare ranges from Php 20 - Php 30. Maximum of 2 passengers can ride this behind the driver. This mountain is more popularly known as 3,003 steps because it takes 3,003 steps to climb to the village, and scattered around here are the 14 Stations of the Cross. This area is most crowded during Holy Week, where devotees climb and visit each Station of the Cross. There is a small convenience store located at base of hike where climber can purchase softdrinks and food there at affordable prices. There are also some convenience stores at the top but they were closed when I got there.

Various Stations of the Cross where I took my rest after walking at ordeal below....

And that's only about 40 - 50 steps!

Elementary school at the place I least expect to see...on top of the mountain!

Lover's Rock at the Summit

Various views from summit of Mt. Linabo

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