6.10.2014

Mt. Telakawa - The Other Side of Pinatubo

Capas has been the place for many tourist and travelers who seek the magnificent product of the famed catastrophic volcanic eruption during the early 90's. Mt. Pinatubo is still Capas, Tarlac's main attraction but on the other side of the Crow Valley situated a mountain as magnificent as Pinatubo in its own right. Mt. Telakawa has just started to open its door to mountaineers. Just this weekend we were able to trek Mt. Telakawa with Conquer Outdoor Equipment.



The jump-off point of Mt. Telakawa is the same with Mt. Pinatubo, the Capas Satellite Tourism Office in Brgy. Sta Juliana. From Manila, 5 Star Bus Liner in Cubao offers a direct trip to Capaz Junction  for not more than P200, from here you can take a tricycle directly to Capas Satellite Tourism Office for P300 or you can take a jeep to Capaz town proper (P25 each) and from there take a tricycle to Satellite Office (P30 each). This is the same area where you can request a guide or a 4x4 ride to both Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Telakawa. Guides can be secured for P700 for an overnight trek good for five people, but still it depends on how good your haggling skills are. While 4x4 can be rented for P3500 good for 5pax.

Our trek started from the Satellite Office, we walk the street of Brgy. Sta. Juliana to where the road ends and the Crow Valley or Lahar Express Way and the green mountain ranges welcomes us, while the summit of Mt.Telakawa is already looming from afar.

The conquerors


We cross the Crow Valley river with water just about ankle high, but Kuya Lito our guide explained that waters raise up to waist level during stormy season. After a 40 minutes walk to a mixture of sand, lahar and mud we reached a small community (Sitio Dalig). Here we were welcomed by young locals who were excited to have their photos taken. Some guys from our group shared their candies and trail foods with the locals.

Children of Sitio Dalig

There's a deep well here that serves as the community's water source to where you can refill your trail water.

The hike continue to a forested area with gradual ascent, with plants of berries and vegetation present throughout the trek. After a few minutes we reached a nipa hut where goats are being pastured. We took a short breather here and continue on.



The vegetation on the trail change to a series of banana trees and bushes, just another 30 minutes we reached the last water source, we refilled our bottles for cooking needs and head on until we reached a small bamboo field. After an hour we reached the saddle of the mountain where there's already a spectacular view of Crow Valley below and the summit above.

Spectacular view of Crow Valley behind.

From here the last part of the hike is a long gradual assault in the grassland. Though it's a long way up to the summit the boulders on this area are best place to have your photos taken. Almost halfway to the summit we saw dark clouds slowly moving our way, so we hurried to reach the summit and pitch our tent before the rain falls.

Another view of the Lahar Expressway aka Crow Valley

We reached camp just before dark and rainfall starts to pour, we cooked our meals inside our tent. Sadly the activities set by Conquer were canceled due to the rain pour, but  around 10:00 PM the rain stops and that's when the small socials started for those who were still awake.

Rain is coming. Summit of Mt. Telakawa.

The next day we were welcomed by a sunny weather, the grass were almost dry and there were no traces of rainfall in the summit.  Hoping that we find the same setting on the trail, still we expect it to be muddy and slippery. The descent was relatively easier but the scourging heat of the sun drains our energy and almost empty our trail water, but we cleared the way down from the summit to the saddle half the time it take us going up.

Preparing breakfast.

Just passed the saddle is a small fork to the left that leads to the bamboo trail and water source, unfortunately we missed this and gone straight ahead. This is very confusing as the trails are not yet that established, and the fork is not that noticeable. Thank god that the emergency whistle that we used was able to be heard by Kuya Lito who came back for us. After that short detour it's all smooth descent from the water source down to Sitio Dalig where we regroup. We continue the walk across the Crow Valley and to the Capas Satellite Office.

At the Satellite Office a lunch buffet was already waiting for us, since we already ordered it before we start the climb the previous day. You can ask them to prepare for your lunch as well or eat on small carinderias that stand on the road of Brgy. Sta. Juliana.

Capas National Shrien

After a few activities set by Conquer, we then took bath and load unto our rented jeeps. We took a short sidetrip to the Capas National Shrine where the Bataan Death March was said to end. After a quick photo-op we were back in Capas Junction awaiting buses bound to Cubao or Pasay.

We would like to thank Conquer Outdoor Equipment for this wonderful experience. Til' next hitting the trail!

3 comments:

  1. First time I heard of this one. Definitely added to the list of mountain I would like to climb.

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  2. Good day! I was wondering if theirs an option not to ride a 4x4. Medyo mahal po kasi for 2paxs lng.

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  3. Hi donabelle, yes there is an option not to take a 4x4 ride, and it's just a 30-40 minutes walk into a beautiful crow valley.

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