Hi there, weekend warriors! This is my entry about Mt. Beaufort! Let me tell you our story first, but if you just want to learn more about how to get there, feel free to scroll down – but you’ll miss how serious I wrote this. XD
Everything is still so vivid – it all began with the slow steady hike up the path surrounded by seedlings that will be planted in the incoming Pista Y ang Kagueban. It never took long when it started drizzling and without giving us a chance to cover our bags, the heavens broke loose – the pouring rain came crashing down, drenching us…and my phone. It was quite a relief, the rain helped cool down the heat that the early afternoon ascend may bring. We continued our assault up, taking five minutes break along the narrow paved path. The surrounding slowly changed from short bushes to bamboo tunnels that led us into the deeper part of the forest where the fog seem to kiss the lush green leaves of towering trees – it was feast for the eyes and food for the soul, a postcard we haven’t captured.
As we go along, the trail became steeper, the path more slippery and our bags twice heavier. We cannot afford longer rest because we might not reach the camp before dark – we were all pushed to our limits, even the seasoned mountain climbers among us. The group divided, Ate Ems, Omo and I kept up with our guide, Tatay Bert, because all we want to do is to finally drop down our bags and rest. The climb is unlimited and is trickier than the last – we relied on the protruding roots of the trees to pull ourselves up in almost 90% angle one hour continuous assault, occasionally gripping into rattan thorns or dead branches and slipping. It was dark when we reached the clearing where we will camp for the night after five hours of hard climb.
When the rest of the team arrived, we started setting up our tents, some secured their hammocks in the nearby trees, some prepared our food and some changed into what remained dry in their bags. Dinner came, the team savored on what could be the best dinner we had – canned goods, pork adobo and warm rice. We then gathered into small cozy circle, enough to bring warmth to who’s near us and in the smell of the burnt marshmallow and the sound of the rattling logs in the camp fire, we all learned about each other and one by one, we shared what made us climb.
As the night went deeper, we slowly climb into our tents and hammocks, and in the sound of broken hearted tales and even more broken songs softly playing from the portable stereo, we all went into peaceful freezing slumber under the canopy of the forest where the stars are so near yet invisible.
Good morning! We woke up late! We didn’t get to witness the sunrise!
We changed into our wet clothes from yesterday and slowly trekked towards the summit for half an hour. Ate Ems, Keanne and I went ahead of the group to be with Tatay Bert – every clearing whispered how close we are to the peak. We threaded the mossy path where pitcher plants, exotic mushrooms and wild colorful orchids grow. In the end of the boulders, we were greeted by the spectacular aerial view of Puerto Princesa Bay surrounded by thick mangrove forest and rivers branching out towards the plains. Down the crocodile ridge, a rock protruding from Mt. Beaufort’s belly, lays the verdant mountains bathing into the warm early morning rays. Staying at the ridge gave us the glimpse of both the West Philippine Sea and Honda Bay and made us realize how small we are compared to this marvelous work of wonder. Our hearts swelled with combined pride, relief and peace and in the silence of Philippine Independence Day, surrounded by the next mountains we are about to climb someday, we celebrated Ate Ems’ birthday.
How to get there
Mt. Beaufort, a 1, 148 meters above sea level landmark, is located at Brgy. Irawan, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour north of Palawan Provincial Capitol. This is easily accessible via multicabs (20.00 – 22.00 PHP), tricycles (150.00 PHP if hired)and private vehicles. It is one of the many trails in Palawan that mountaineers, adventurists or us, weekend warriors, climb to experience the “summit fever”.
You have a choice
I slipped, maybe ten times, and Ate Ems got bruised so bad it still looked like a ripe avocado now, haha, but I never regretted climbing the Mt. Beaufort. We opted for new trail because of reasons I cannot disclose (XD) but according to the seasoned climbers, it is harder, more harkor, than the old trail.
I cannot tell you the details of the old trail but according to our co-climbers, this can be a day hike and can be taken by new climbers. It may last for 10 to 14 hours depending on how often you “take five” and how many stops you’ll do to take pictures. You can contact Mt. Ronald Amada through 0946 811 1931 if you want to know more about this.
Warning: this trail is unlimited-assault. Though the ascent can be taken for four to five hours, considerably shorter time compared to the old trail, the trek is harder and you’ll have to take this on your risk. Our seasoned colleagues said that this is not advisable for new climbers. If you are interested, you can contact Tatay Bert and his slippers, which I swear is more powerful than the Salomon shoes I’ve been eyeing lately, through 0948 260 4378. Fair warning, the descent will make you wish that you listened to your parents’ advice and stayed put at home to watch KDrama.
When to climb, what to wear and bring?
As always, make sure to check the weather before climbing and please do not insist if it’s raining or will.
If you will take the new trail, it is advisable to bring at least 3 liters of water and 4 if you’re planning to stay overnight at the site – there is no water source. Bring hearty trail mixes and sweets to keep you energized, which I prioritized last hike because of my, you know, eating habits. You can also bring cooked food or a cook set, thanks Thea Bona for this, canned goods and rice. Do not forget to bring power bank, insect repellent, first aid kit, wet wipes for – you know, a fold-up survival knife, flashlight, extra dry thick clothes, garbage bag, sunblock, ziplock, eating utensils, complete camping gears(tent or hammock, sleeping bag and insulator) – because oh-my-gad it’s so cold up there you’ll need a gin, an efficascent oil and thermal jacket, whichever comes first or all of the above. But despite all these, pack light.
It is advisable to wear correct, comfortable full body hiking clothes. Make sure that your shoes are designed for hiking. I used my running shoes for this hike and, boy, it’s-slippery-I-literally-crawled. Use a correct bag and dry pack everything — a wet bag is a heavy bag.
P.S. Toothbrush not needed.
Bes, LEAVE NO TRACE. Please clean as you go… and thanks Ferds for shouldering, literally, our trash.
Please forgive me for this section – I just want to thank #TeamLigaw aka #TeamPH for the best company. My happy heart will never be happier without you last Independence Day – Thea, Ate Gading, May, Bryan, Ate Ems, Omo, Keanne, Nikko,Ferds, Kuya Israel, Manny(Thanks for the photos), Renz, Mark and the most positive-minded and encouraging tourguide, Tatay Bert.
Disclaimer: This is my first minor-major hike, I spent 250.00 pesos and we took good care of our flag.