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MOUNT HALCON

LOCATION: Mindoro Oriental and Occidental Provinces
ELEVATION: 2,586 meters above sea level
LEVEL: Major Climb, Level III, Strenuous
JUMP-OFF POINT: Lantuyan Baco, Mindoro Oriental

INFORMATION:

Mt. Halcon is the fourth highest mountain in the archipelago. It’s 2586 meters height towering over the hills and verdant mountains occupies the north-south mountain range of the province. Around it’s slopes are found the eight ethnic minorities with their preserved culture and heritage and unaffected civilization, one of the few remaining here in the Philippines. Generally, these people are called the "Mangyan". And each one of these groups is a bit different from one another. Halcon is one of the few mountain here in the Philippines where you will have the experience of the cultural interaction with people living in the mountains.
Although only the fourth highest, most mountaineers claims that Halcon is the most difficult to scale here in the Philippines concluding that climbing Mt. Halcon makes a mountaineer a ‘true mountaineer"- Filipino mountaineer that is. In fact climbing Mt. Halcon would entail five straight days of continuous ascent and decent using the same effort on the two days to the summit and the 2 days back to the trailhead. The vast mountain range has also it’s own micro weather wherein rain is due almost everyday even during the long dry season at the lowlands.

During the rainy season, climbing may have to be aborted when flash floods sets-in making the trail crossing the rivers unpassable. Another factor that adds up to the difficulty of climbing is the presence of the Philippine limatik on almost 90 percent of the trail. These small leeches silently clings to your boots and makes their way to any exposed skin where they begins to suck the blood of their host. The bite however is painless but after sucking the blood, the blood then flows continuously from the victim for about 30 minutes due to an anti-clotting substance it injects when it bits you. It’s more of a messy uncomfortable feeling than pain.Last 1994, Halcon was in the headlines of the national newspapers due to the death of one of its climbers. It was caused by hypothermia due to the cold winds of typhoon Katring and inexperience in the part of the novice climber. Because of this incident, locals began monitoring and requiring permits to the climbers of Halcon. It also proves that Halcon is not your ordinary "hike-in-the-park". Climbing Halcon really demands months of preparation and proper planning to make the ascent not only a successful climb but more importantly a safe one. Though years of experience have shown that it’s not only preparation and planning that counts but it seems like the mountain chooses who will be able to set foot on its sought after summit. Nature will always be a factor in the success of this climb. So it is best advised to climb it during the summer months of March to May to make the chances of success of the expedition the better.

The hardship in conquering Halcon has a lot of rewards other than the feeling of conquering the Philippines hardest and setting foot on its sacred summit. The entire hike has a lot of wonderful sights and sounds to offer. It has unique and exotic flora and fauna, countless rivers and waterfalls, spectacular views, particular from the summit wherein you can see the entire island of Mindoro and the surrounding islands. In a clear day, you can see Banahaw, Maculot and even Mayon from the summit. Different terrain from rain forest to mighty rivers, mossy forest, bonsai forest and a wide variety of highland floras are some of the unique encounters. The contact with the natives will also give you a new perspective in life that is why it is advisable to take them as your guide.

Definitely, climbing Mt. Halcon is the ultimate in Philippine mountaineering. There you will come face to face with the question of why do you climb. And maybe come into conclusion that "mountaineering is the art of suffering!"

LEGENDS:

The Mangyan people have rich culture and heritage and with that comes rich stories and legends about the mountain which they come to call "Lagpas Ulap" or "over the clouds". The native calls the summit "Sheldang" and they traditionally believe that to climb Halcon would entail you to climb a total of seven mountains. A ‘seven-summits" adventure for the local mountaineer who comes to climb the mountain. If you hire Mangayans as your guide, take the opportunity to exchange stories with them so that you will have the chance to get a glimpse of the rich legends of the mountains as well as their rich culture, beliefs and traditions. One guide I had told me of stories of a different tribe at the other side of the mountain who are afraid of white skinned people. They claim that it was due to an experience with the early Spanish missionaries who bore children from the women of the tribes. He explained that it was the reason why that tribe has better complexion and pointed noses than the other Mangyans of the mountains. If you are also planning future expeditions especially to uncharted sections of the mountains, they are the ones who can help you plan and eventually guide you to these new and exciting territories. The best experience the encounter can give you is a better understanding of these people and if ever you have some prejudices, it may help you grow to overcome this. It’s quite funny how some lowlanders create amusing but at the same time disturbing stories about them, some to the extent of telling you that Mangyans have tails.

 

 

 

 

Major Climb Mountains

   Mount Amuyao
   Mount Apo
   Mount Banahaw
   Mount Bulusan
   Mount Canlaon
   Mount Guiting-Guiting
   Mount Halcon
   Mount Iglit and Baco
   Mount Iriga
   Mount Kitanglad
   Mount Mayon
   Mount Napulawan
   Mount Pulag
   Mount Tapulao
   Mount Ugu
   Matulid
   Tirad Pass

 

 

 
 
         
       
 
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