August 27, 2017; 1,155 masl 4/9 difficulty level; Dormant strato volcano. My recovery climb.
If I have to make an analogy of what my climb was in Mt. Asog is that it is akin to someone who is difficult to love, but you will still love him/ her anyway. Or to a movie, the one who will leave you questioning what really was the ending did it ended with a death or life has sprung.
Mount Asog is located at Brgy San Nicolas, Iriga City, Camarines Sur specifically at Ilian Hill. One need to secure a climb permit at the City Tourism Office, furnish a copy at the Barangay Hall and at the local Police Station situated in the area.
Ilian trail is an established one, but the one less traveled to since the height of the grass is 3- 6 ft. The guide had to slash the grasses for us to make our way. Portion of the trail can be hot, to no air at all. Me and my hike buddies had to take five (minutes) to rest since there are absolutely no air or wind. The guide had to whistle to invite air/wind to come – dunno if it’s a myth or if it’s real.
What I learned from this climb is that, “Reaching the summit is optional, going down is mandatory.” Yes, we have not reached the summit, the guide wanted us to reach the caldera peak, or the highest part of the peak because from the very beginning we instructed him to bring us to the “very top” and the guide was a native Aeta, from Ilian tribe, and he had to literally take everything we say.
I was the translator of two (2) of my hike buddies since they came all the way from Manila since there is a storm or typhoon going north and their original itinerary was cancelled… so this Asog Climb is a Plan B.
Mount Asog is also called Mt. Iriga, and I have forgotten what the other name this mountain is called. We have under estimated the difficulty of the climb since it’s a less difficult one with Mt. Isarog, and a smaller mountain. We started our climb late, we arrived at Iriga City and dropped by at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Paul’s personal oath prior every climb he goes to. The climb needed a permit since this is a protected mountain, got it days prior the climb thru a friend Karla. She didn’t made it to climb with us since she isn’t physically prepared for the climb and went from night duty from a hospital. The climb was not easy, it is steep. As to leeches, we have only seen one (1) and just one limatik (local term for leech) This mountain can be a good venue for trail running but can be a risky trail since the elevation can be up to 50-120 degrees. I had to literally embrace a tree that I came across to. We have only made it up to 1090 masl. Our decision to get back is based on the cloud clearing, and the time constraints as they had to get back to Manila and make it up to the last trip which is 7:30 pm from Iriga City. We started our descend at 3:00 pm and made it at 6:00 pm. To sum up it is a 9 hour climb, our pacing was not as fast as we had several take five breaks. I had my first try on trail running at the end of my descent, it was awesome! I will do trail run next year!!!
I will definitely be coming back to Mount Iriga/ Asog and hopefuly by then I can reach it’s summit and see how beautiful it is. And a cloud clearing by then.