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A Difficult but Rewarding Trek to Mount Guiting-Guiting


For many mountaineers, climbing Mount Guiting-Guiting is one of the most difficult treks. Located in the heart of Sibuyan Island, the mountain is acknowledged as the most difficult and technically challenging Philippine mountain to climb.

by Jane Dacumos on June 30, 2012

For many mountaineers, climbing Mount Guiting-Guiting is one of the most difficult treks. Located in the heart of Sibuyan Island, the mountain is acknowledged as the most difficult and technically challenging Philippine mountain to climb. Mount Guiting-Guiting stands along with Mount Halcon in Mindoro and Mount Mantalingajan in Palawan as the upper limit. Guiting-Guiting in local dialect means "jagged". It was named that way because of the steep, jagged ridge called "Knife Edge" which one has the cross in order to reach the summit.

A Success Trek to the Mountain

Let us know the reason why Mount Guiting-Guiting is dubbed as "Mayo's Peak" and its spring as "Bulod's Spring". Do you have any idea?

The first trek to Mount Guiting-Guiting was recorded in May 1982 under the leadership of Arturo T. Valdez. A joint team from the Bacolod-based Philippine Mountaineering Society (PMS) and the University of the Philippines (UP) assaulted the mountain, the attempt of which was to be the first in history.

During this expedition, one of the peaks now known as "Mayo's Peak" was named after one of the team members, Mayo Monteza, who celebrated his birthday during the climb. One of the water sources now known as "Bulod's spring" was named after one of the local guides, Bulod, who volunteered, along with other locals, to join the climb.

This team failed to take the summit on their first attempt but came back two weeks afterwards. In the first week of June 1982, four climbers became the first to stand at the summit. Their names are Mon Ruiz, Kim Valino, Bubot Tan Torre (the UP mountaineers), and Edwin Gatia of the PMS team.

Myths of Mount Guiting-Guiting

• Townsfolk believe that there is a hidden village of spirit beings that dwell in the mountain. These sprit beings can be in the form of humans and can even pilot ships that they take into the mountain via an invisible connection to the sea or the "Tinagong Dagat" (Hidden Sea) in the mountain.
• Locals said that hikers should ask permission before picking fruits or taking treasures. A large diamond was said to have been discovered in a waterfall, only to turn into dust when it was taken out of the island.
• Unusual flora is believed to be manifestations of the "engkanto" that once you pick them, you risk their wrath. On the other hand, good virtues are also attributed to the "engkanto". When a Japanese ship tried to land in Sibuyan Island, it is said that clouds enveloped the entire island, hiding them from the foreign invaders. Sometimes, however, the spirit people can fall in love with mountaineers.

A Pleasure of the Mountain

Sibuyan Island, the home of Mount Guiting-Guiting, is an attraction itself. This island is a treasure of the seas laden with beaches, waterfalls, and rivers. The mountain is the sanctuary of 54 endemic plant varieties, beautiful flowers, and diverse fauna including four species of rodents and a kind of bat discovered only in the mid-1990s and found nowhere else in the world.

Concerns

The climbing season is from March-mid May, although it is still possible to visit the mountain throughout the year. However, by June, the rainy season sets in and the wind changes direction, making passage across the Knife Edge and beyond very precarious. Chances of summiting are thus very limited. The only disadvantage is that during peak season (Holy Week and surrounding weeks), the campsite may be crowded. After all, Mayo's Peak is not a very large campsite.

The dangers of trekking the mountain are well-known, and precautions must be done. But aside from the summit assault, the trail to Mayo's Peak is generally safe. Your guides will have to determine whether it is still advisable to proceed, given the weather conditions as well as the physical condition of the climbers.

How to Get There

Mount Guiting-Guiting is located in Sibuyan Island, one of the seven islands of Romblon Province in the Philippines.

MBRS Lines leaves every Monday 5pm from Manila North Harbor; Super Ferry also runs a weekly service. The most regular is the daily departure from Batangas Pier c/o Montenegro Lines. A trip that connects directly to Magdiwang Port, however, is assured only during Thursday. Another possibility is taking the Lucena port, where there is also a weekly service to Magdiwang.

On the way back, the surest and most constant way is the Magdiwang-San Agustin-Odiongan-Batangas Pier route. The best thing to do is get the PASU's advice with regards transportation. Montenegro Lines may be reached at +63437238294 and MBRS at +63274491661.

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