Hiking at Mt. Ope with Romblon Baktas Mountaineers

One of the things I want to do is to climb mountains and see things from above, I was fascinated of seeing the sea, the city/town from the peak.  Way back in Korea I was able to hike three mountains, two in Seoul (Dobongsan in Bukhansan National Park is at 740m and Seoraksan at 1,708m, we did the Yangpok Course), and one in Jeju which is Hallasan (1,950m) the highest peak in South Korea, we hike around March which is spring season but Hallasan is still in a blanket of snow and fog.

[Hallasan Peak, Jeju]

I have been asking my family for a long time if we could hike a mountain, but they keep saying if I like it so much I must do it alone, they found it tiring and since I don’t know where to start and how to do it alone because if you don’t know yet mountains in Romblon isn’t like those in Korea or in other countries, there are no developed trails, in Korea they are fully developed and made it to a park where a lot of hikers and mountaineers where doing a day hike to the peak.   What else should I expect when I can’t even dragged them at DIWA (Gabawan Vista Point).  To ease my itchy feet for an dventure they tour me around to different towns and do road tripping around Tablas. Gladly, I was able to find out through my sister’s friend about Romblon Baktas Mountaineers, a group of enthusiastic  people who climb mountains in Romblon for adventure and for a cause (tree planting activity). I was able to go with them on their third climb as a group at  Mt. Ope (433m) located in Camili, Alcantara, Romblon.

As an introvert, it was been a long time since I went out of my comfort zone, I was anxious how to deal with different people I am going to meet on the scheduled climb, I don’t know if it was anxiousness or excitement, but I wasn’t able to sleep the night before our climb, I was wide awake the entire time.  We scheduled to meet at 4:30 in the morning at Children’s Paradise and while we are there I have found out my shoes were not in good condition. I have used it only once and it was being stocked for a few years, gladly I have a pair of slippers with me because going back home to get a new pair of shoes isn’t possible since we are about to leave.

We left Odiongan at 5:30 in the morning, one hour passed from the agreed time, we reached the town of Alcantara after an hour or so, while waiting for the others everyone made their self busy, registering and submitting the application form and etc. My application form was already crumpled being in my bag for a very long time, as I have looked back at my old posts years ago, it seems I had a mistake in it.

Bad luck, as you may call it, something happened to my loose pants when I used the flooded comfort room, I was uncomfortable with it so I asked my sister/mother to buy me a new one at the town market, so they did.  I don’t know if it is just coincidence, but I have noticed there is something stopping me to climb because days before the climb I accidentally step on the stand of mosquito coil which resulted to a wound in my sole, then my left feet feels weird after a minor sprain which I didn’t tell my family because they will not surely allow me to go on hiking, furthermore a day before the hike my toe nails swell and then my shoes broke before we could even leave the town and before going to the foot of the Mt. Ope I ruined my loose pants.  Weird isn’t it?

After a few minutes of stretching we started walking, the trail isn’t that great, it was like a dry river full of large stone and boulders, it looks like waterways, when it rains the water from the mountains passed through it. Since, it will be my first climb after so many years and without gym activity I felt tired, especially I am carrying a large and heavy hiking bag with me, I perspired a lot, so I removed the jacket I am wearing.  The trail wasn’t that hard, you will not get lost because it has been just a straight road without going left or right.

We rested a bit on top of a hill and then we continued hiking at the adjacent higher elevation which is already the Mt. Ope, everyone went busy creating memories, pictures here and there and of course a group picture will not be forgotten. After which, we stayed in a shed where a raffle takes place and getting to know each other. If you asked me what did I say, I also forgot what is it aside from introducing my name and being stuck for a few years at home and wanting to do an adventure, I was very tense, it was my first time again  to interact with many people after long years being surrounded only by people I have known since my childhood, I would like to say more, but someone says I already speak too long, I felt slightly offended but I shrugged it off and laughed with it because I already expected to meet different types of people.

The scenery from the peak of Mt. Ope is breathtaking, it was beautiful and scenic, you can see the beauty of Alcantara at its best. It was like the sea was just one fly away from the top, thanks to my sister’s friend I was able to have solo pictures and thanks to self-timer and monopod as well I was able to take my own photo. We stayed for a bit and decided to go down for lunch, we initially agreed to have lunch at the peak, but some of us already went down ahead so we followed. We rested a bit at the house of our guide and have photo opps with her and we descended and rest a bit again in a store to drink a cold cola.

We had lunch at the place where the vehicles were left. It was a bonding moment, sharing each other food and eating while sitting in the grass. I didn’t know the names of the people around me aside from 2-3 of them, but it wasn’t a problem at all, after lunch a short meeting takes place deciding where to climb next and it was voted and agreed to climb back to Mt. Payaopao (665m) as others included me wasn’t able to climb the peak.

Mt. Ope is a good place to hike for beginners, it wasn’t that long to reach the peak, it was only about one hour and 30 minutes, but if you are an expert climber/hiker you can maybe reach it in less than one hour. It was very short compare of my hiking experience in South Korea, where it took me 3-4 hours to reach the peak, honestly, most of the RMB members felt disappointed on the short hike, they wanted more.

As I have heard from the experienced hikers/climbers at RBM Mt. Guiting-guiting is the real deal in Romblon maybe because it was the highest peak in the province, as I have searched the Mt. Guiting-guiting summit it is about 2,058m which is only 108m high compare to Hallasan.  Ahm, I wonder if I could hike it without panting or catching for my breath, well, we did Hallasan in one snowy day so maybe yes or maybe no I could make it at G2 summit someday.

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Hiking at Seoraksan

I feel like a crippled right now, I was not able to blog yesterday as I am dead tired. We finally did the hiking tour yesterday, we wake up at five o`clock in the morning, eat breakfast and headed to the bus station, we reached Seoul at around 7:00 AM and took another bus to Sokcho. Then took another bus (7-1) to Seoraksan National Park. We purchased ticket entrance and we started our hiking journey, along the way up to Biseondae there’s a lot of students in group keep saying hi and hello to Pookie Bear, he is so kind not to response to few he said if he did everybody will do the same, imagine how tiring is it. Haha!

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When we reached Biseondae and started walking in the trail we’ve seen only few people mostly are old couple which is a great relief to be away from the group of students. I have experience to climb on rocks, which is sometimes very tiring as it feels like I am going to crawl already. My legs are sore and so thirsty too, we just bought one small bottle water each as we thought we can buy more water at the end of our trail.

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After three hours we reached Yangpok Shelter, we just stayed for five minutes while the other hikers are preparing their lunch, then we move out to return to Seorak-dong (Park entrance)  where we begin our hike.  We hike around 13 kilometers in almost six hours which is already good for first timer hiker like us according to me. Hehe, we didn’t continue to the peak anymore as we need to go home, we need to catch a bus much better if not the last trip.

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Well I thought I can’t see the park entrance anymore as my feet, legs and shoulder are already sore, I walked like crippled already, it is really painful to walk. I keep asking rest time but Pookie bear says we need to hurry so we can get a bus and take a rest, when we reached the third shelter from the entrance we bought water and I one waffle for me as I am already hungry I never eaten anything aside from my breakfast and one piece of cookie.  We had a rest for few minutes while watching the mountain climbers, then when we reached the second shelter I bought a milk shake ice cream, Pookie bear asked me if how many times I am going to eat.  Well I am really hungry plus I believed eating something while walking will help my feet to walk, so my attention is not on my aching legs but into my food, isn’t it?

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After one kilometer and so, we finally reached the park entrance but we need to walk more to go to the bus stop. We took the bus for 40 minutes and took another bus to Seoul for around 2 hours and another bus going here in our place for 1 hour. Actually Pookie bear is kinda angry with me because when we are in Seoul, the lady in the ticket office gave us a 9:30 PM (last trip) bus so he asked me to ask her if there is an early bus but I am too hard headed to follow as I can’t speak Korean so he did it, the lady in the window I purchased can’t really speak English so the lady in the next window was the one who answered. I didn’t hear what she says all I know we still got the same bus ticket, when we reached the platform we found out there’s a bus that will left right this time, 7:30 PM. So I told Pookie bear maybe he could ask the driver if we can get inside as it looks like it is not full, that’s the way I see in another bus station where the driver allowed other passenger with another schedule, he asked me again if I can do it but again I said I don’t know what to say, in short I did not follow him so he did it again and voila we are allowed to take the bus as it is already leaving and there’s a vacant seat at the back.

When we reached home I just take a bath and eat my dinner while my foot is soaked in hot water with little salt then sleep with a wet hair. I am really sleepy and dead tired as we just sleep three(3) hours before our hiking tour. Pookie bear wake me up though he asked if I cooked rice for his breakfast as I didn’t I have to wake up and cook with a sleepy head.

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So right now my lower body is sore,  oh yeah if I forgot to say I had a fever last night, I walked like a zombie (lol) and  Pookie bear is angry with me, I had a cold treatment from him, as what he said last night, much better if he left me in the bus station (lol) he will took the bus and I will wait for the bus scheduled in our ticket.

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