Enticed by the idea of breaking the Guinness World Record in the largest number of people summiting mountains in 24 hours (multiple locations) we decided to join Freedom Climb organized by the organization Filipino Mountaineers or FiMO.
Under the banner of Society of Lost Explorers or SoLE (composed of 20 people – friends and strangers alike) along with other 6 groups we traversed Mt. Arayat in celebration of Independence Day 2011 and be part of the Guinness attempt.
The Story in Details
June 11, 2011 - First Day
Seven groups (ninety-six people) registered under Mt. Arayat alone. It was around 9AM when we reached the jump-off. Some of the groups were already there waiting for us. The OIC for Mt. Arayat teams wants us to stay and wait for other groups so that we can start trekking all at the same time. The last group will be arriving past 12NN.
Since I can’t get the logic behind waiting for the other teams so we can climb simultaneously, I insisted that we climb ahead since waiting is really not one my skills. I just met some of my group mates on our way to Pampanga. More than half of us are not an experienced mountaineers, (either first timers or haven’t done major climb nor experienced traverse yet) thus I, as an organizer prepared myself for a slow-paced trek.
|SoLE before the trek|
|almost e-camp after quarter of an hour trekking|
10:05AM when we started trekking. We took the trail one step at a time. Sadeck Miguel acted as the lead/guide and I stayed behind as a sweep. I observed our pacing and after sometime I knew that I should adjust our IT. The original IT states that we will reach North Peak 2PM, but with our pace, I can see 5PM.
Instead of late lunch we took our lunch quarter before 11AM. We cooked, refilled our water container, fooled around and ate happily. We took our time. We left 7-eleven (name of that nipa hut turned pit stop for mountaineers) past 12nn.
We continued trekking with a lot of laughter and cam whoring in between. We took it slow, we took it sure. We took 15 minutes rest every 10minutes of walking (okay that’s an exaggeration, but I want you to look at the picture that way). And the last team who arrived 1PM reached us and left us behind!
To make the story short exactly 6:21PM, Society of Lost Explorers reached The North Peak of Mt. Arayat! The supposedly 4 hour trek became 8 hours and 16 minutes! Don’t ask why - we had fun!
|summit at long last!|
The campsite was already full with people and tents. Just envision 7 teams composed of 96 ‘registered’ participants plus I don’t know how many police officers/marshals and other ‘unregistered’ mountaineers up there who climbed Mt. Arayat that very day. Everything and everyone were everywhere!
|North Peak summit/campsite|
After setting up our tents, we prepared dinner. Some of us went to sleep directly after eating and there are some who stayed for the night for socials.
June 12, 2011 – Second Day
After breakfast, gathering for pictures and flag ceremony the other groups started their trek home.
And since SoLE wants twists to everything, here’s what we got for Mt. Arayat Freedom Climb…
|the modern Filipinas|
|ladies and gentlemen in their Filipiniana attire|
We decided to be the last to left North Peak for traverse so we can be more at ease by not thinking of other people behind us who might get bored because we’re taking everything like forever.
We left North Peak 10:36AM, ate our lunch along the trail and reached South Peak 3:17PM. We left South Peak 4:20PM and reached Brgy. Juan Bano 8:07PM
|SoLE reached South Peak|
So from North Peak down to Brgy. Juan Bano we took it for almost 10 hours!
Again don’t ask why - we had fun!
How the Day Ended for SoLE
We bathed at the swimming pool located at Mt. Arayat National Park (P40/head). For some unexpected reason we got the pool all for ourselves. It could’ve been better if it was properly lit and the frogs aren’t in the pool swimming with us!
|pool party after climb|
|Mc-Jollibee dinner before going home|
Indeed this climb is not just memorable, but also one of the greatest and funniest.
Let's do it again!