I’m a fan of all the hikes of Ate Ibang and Ate Ruby – they are my Indochina buddies who loves to hike beautiful mountains here and abroad. I always check their albums and so amazed on all their photos. While browsing, I saw an event hosted by Yabag Mountaineering group (liked by Ate Ibang) and decided to join. I always wanted to do the Mystical Kabayan Tour based from the photos I saw from my Ate’s. I also like the itinerary posted but Yabag is known as a group not following their itinerary. Is that a good or bad thing? Well, I need to join to find out.
So I invited my travel sissy “Bim” and my colleague Lee. But when the event is near, Lee cancelled so it’s me and Bim who went to this trek. Tour fee is Php 3500 which includes transportation (Bus Manila to Baguio 2 way and 2 days rented Monster Jeepney – Baguio to Kabayan), Entrance Fees & Environmental Fees, Guides for the Lake tour and hike and 2 camp meals (Dinner and breakfast). You can even rent tent from them just like what we did (paid Php 750 for 3 person tent). And since I’m from Baguio, the tour fee that I paid is less the Manila Baguio transportation which is Php 2600. I just wait and meet them at Victory Liner Terminal PNR Baguio.
We met new faces on this trek, Migs – owner of Yabag Mountaineering group, Cris – loves to do solo travel (we plan to do a trip together soon), Ate Lulu – trekker who will be hiking Mt Everest with Ate Ibang, and Jonalyn – a broken hearted soul who wants to mend her heart thru hiking…plus a lot more.
Before starting the trek, we ate breakfast at Good Taste. But since Bim and I are so “pasaway”, we went to Jollibee, eat breakfast and bought pack lunch.
The original itinerary says that we will be hiking Mt Timbac (3rd highest in Luzon, 9th in the Philippines) but due to the recent typhoon Ineng which caused lots of landslides, the area is closed.
We visit Kabayan National Museum where we see a fire mummy. It’s so amazing how they do the mummification process.
The mummification began shortly after a person died where he would digest a very salty drink. After his death, his corpse was washed and set over a fire in a seated position, thus drying the fluids. Smoke from tobacco was blown into the mouth to dry the body’s inside and internal organs. Eventually, herbs were rubbed into the body. Mummified bodies are then placed in a coffin made of pinewood and laid to rest in rock shelters, natural caves or man made burial niches. The practice of that mummification ended when Spaniards colonized the Philippines in the 16th century.
Then we proceed to Tinonchial Burial Cave where see more fire mummies.
We arrived at Lake Tabeyo at around 12 noon where we had our lunch. We just let the Yabag boys to set up the camps & tents. They are really organized and very fast in setting up the camps. We had few hours to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The weather is not too hot or too cold. This is a fun base camp since we have toilets and stores where we can buy coke. Yes, Bim and I are addicted to coke. I think we were able to drink two 1.5L coke for this tour.
We arrived early since Mt Timbac is closed, it was agreed that we will start the hike to the three (3) lakes. We were accompanied by our lady guides since the Yabag boys will stay and prepare our dinner. We just bring our trail food (snacks), waterproof jacket, hats and cameras. It’s a monkey trail so I need to bring light items only. We were also reminded to minimize noise while we explore the lakes. I guess they know how noisy I am. My friends in Baguio also told me to always call my name – “Uwi na Roan” since the place is enchanted. This is for me to avoid from getting lost.
We rode the monster jeep and bring us to the foot of Lake Ambulalacao. It was really nice to know the folklores behind the three lakes. According to our guide, some fishermen saw shooting stars going up and down from this lake so it was named Lake Ambulalacao. Sadly, we are not able to see the whole beauty of this lake since it was covered by fog.
Before reaching the next lake, you will see a lot of beautiful picturesque view.
Next stop is Lake Letep Ngepos. The trail is muddy, you need to follow the guide’s trail since you might fall on the quicksand. It was believed that there was a young man who dive into it’s waters while holding a lit torch looking for treasures and the torch didn’t die as he dived.
The last lake is Lake Incolos where I didn’t see any body of water. Our guide explained that we are actually on top of the lake. This explains why it felt like I’m sinking and my shoes are wet. We are also not allowed to do the jumpshot hehe! Our guide told us that a crocodile lived on this lake but was killed by a fisherman. The lake was covered by the crocodiles blood turning this lake like this now — covered with grasses and thin layer of land. After hearing her story, I’m imagining that a giant crocodile will appear and will try to eat us… alhough it will not succeed since we are the fastest sweepers haha!
We continued our trek to Junior Pulag. No wonder it’s the junior Mt Pulag since it has the same grassy terrain and peak. We stayed for a few minutes to take some rest, share stories and laughs before we head back to campsite.
Dinner time. Time to drink some booze and learn more things about our new found friends.
Woke up early to see the beautiful view of Lake Tabeyo.
Our guide teach us also on how to do carrot picking and proper way of cleaning carrots. Jonalyn and Bim have carrots for pasalubong already.
Side trip to Opdas Cave where we see hundreds of skulls and bones. May they all rest in peace.
Wash up at a swimming pool. Sorry but I don’t know the name. Most of them took a swim while the three of us – Bim, Jonalyn and I sing our hearts out at the videoke. They all looked fresh after the swim while we look so sweaty..yikes! Don’t worry, I let Bim and Jonalyn shower at my apartment. We did a quick tour at Oh My Gulay and had dinner at 50’s Diner. Met the Ulupong Mountaineers at Victory Liner while waiting for their bus ride to Manila. Happy to see Ate Ruby again 🙂