Sunday, January 8, 2012

Linabo Peak: We Came, We Climbed, We Conquered

We Came

I ushered the new year by conquering Dipolog’s highest summit. At 463-m above sea level, Linabo Peak commands a 360-degree view of Dipolog and Dapitan from different vantage points. If you’re going around Dipolog, Linabo Peak is the looming mountain where 4 communication towers are perched. Before it was developed in 1994, it was a massive stone-ground mountain slope with scattered boulders leading to the summit. Due to extensive tree planting activities, the once stone-ground mountain slope was turned into a massive verdant forest.

Linabo Peak is one of the premiere eco-tourism sites in Dipolog. It is famous for its 3003 steps marked with the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross. The annual Lenten“Katkat Sakrispisyo” (Sacrificial Climb) is the most-attended religious re-enactment of Jesus’s death in the city. For adventure-junkies (wanna-be!) like me, I am more interested to reach the summit and tick one mountain off my non-existent list.

The jump off point of the climb is in Barangay Lugdungan,  6 kilometers away from the city. I and Person A left my parent’s house at 6 in the morning. After traversing 20 mins of concrete and 1-km stretch of unpaved road we finally reached the first step towards the peak.

If you plan on commuting, there are trucks from the public market or you can hire a “habal-habal” (stretched motorbike) anywhere around the city to take you to the starting point. Do haggle for the lowest price.

We Climbed

With its remote location, water and food are hard to come by so bringing your own provision is a must. Although, there are small sari-sari stores at the foot of the steps and at the end of the 3003 steps you can go to for emergency supplies. A bottle of energy drink and a banana would also come in handy once your body needs electrolytes during the climb.

Climbing steps is no easy feat. 

Trust me. It is also important that you prepare yourself by doing cardio at least a week before and wearing comfortable sports attire. If you just want to conquer the steps, a pair of regular trainers would do. However, if you intend to trek to the top, mountaineering shoes/footwear is a must to provide traction when going through the slippery rocks.

Off we started the ascent. The steps are whimsical early in the morning.

The first four stations were conquered in a jiffy.

With the lush vegetation, battling the sun is not a problem, although I can’t really say considering that it was an early morning climb and the sun was still rising behind us.

Interesting geological formation

By the time we reached the 7th station, we were tired so starting at that point, it was purely mind game and encouraging each other. Person A concluded that if he lives in Dipolog, he would do cardio once a week conquering Linabo’s 3003 step. I consider that a brilliant idea.

And finally, the 14th station! 

There’s no view of Dipolog and Dapitan in this area but you get to see the community. Makes me wonder how do they get all their supplies up those steps! Well on the positive side, these people must have extra toned legs and nice butts!

There’s a school

A piglet getting a tummy rub from the monkey. Priceless.

Nothing like a bottle of coke to quench Person A’s thirst. 

I had water.

We Conquered

With our tired legs we pushed ourselves to get to the peak. 

By this time, it took us an hour and 30 minutes to finish the steps, much longer than most climbers time: an hour. We took our sweet time, held hands climbing the steps, took pictures on the side … namamasyal lang sa parke ang drama.

We came so unprepared. First off, we did not expect that the way to the top be laden with rocks, slippery rocks as it rained the night before. 

Second, we had running trainers on, no traction. Climbing up was easy but requires wall-climbing skills and extra care. A minimum of 3-point contact is necessary.

Going down is totally a different story. With the steep, slippery rocks and cliff, it is a DIFFICULT DESCENT. For amateur (and unprepared) climbers like us, extra care should be taken unless you want to seriously injure yourself. We accomplished the descent with at least 4-point contact, mostly on 6-point contact (including our butt-cheeks) and that did not stop Person A from slipping and falling hard: big, black bruise and a strained shoulder.

After 30 minutes of sweating it out and promising to obtain basic rock climbing skills, we conquered the top.

Got a good view of Dipolog

And Dapitan

Shared our sandwich with the communication tower’s guard dog, which I named Shaider. It was very shy yet very curious.

Cheers to conquering peaks in 2012 and beyond.

In Summary

1. Linabo Peak’s 3003 Steps is a worthwhile climb. The lush trees, Stations of the Cross and the cardio exercise are reasons enough to give it go. It is an easy climb as long as you don’t have muscle-bone limitations and cardio problems so this can be done with anyone: with your kids (at least 7 y.o. unless you want to carry them to the top!), friends, significant others or family bonding activity.

2. Reaching the top is an entirely different story due to the slippery path. If you want to conquer the peak, come in footwear with sufficient traction and arm yourself with basic rock climbing skills. If you want a good view from the top, there’s a spot a few feet from the end of the steps that doesn’t require difficult climb. You can consider this as an alternative.

Linabo Peak/3003 Steps
Lugdungan, Dipolog City

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