Thursday, 1 December 2011

Trek in Sta Lucia Banahaw

The left photo was taken at  Santo Kalbaryo on top of Sta. Lucia in the mystical mountain of Banahaw, referred to as the new Jerusalem or the Holy Mountain of the Philippines.

I've been to Banahaw several times before but I seriously don't remember climbing up to Kalbaryo, one of the puestos of the sacred mountain  A puesto is a natural feature that is considered holy - such as a rock, cave, waterfall and even the summit. The puestos are visited in sequence and at each stop, a candle is lit.

The trek around the holy sites in Sta. Lucia took us 3 hours and 35 minutes (or 1190 calories burned). The starting point was at Boy Fajado's place who incidentally converted his home to a Bed & Breakfast called "Nature Villa".

From the B&B, we decided to do the long way - which is following a small trail to San Bernardo. The property is now  fenced (well, it wasn't during my last visit). According to our guide Gilbert, the property was recently purchased and will be converted into a botanical garden. We went down the newly built stairs and at the bottom, lit our first candle.

at Sta. Lucia falls
We followed the river, wading through knee deep water and cautiously working our way through slippery rocks and boulders. At the end of the river is Sta. Lucia falls where we went under two falls - the stronger, powerful diyos ng ama and  feminine diyos ng ina.

We then climbed the 269 steps up and headed to the next puesto  called the Kweba ni Santong Jacob, a wishing well where we had to enter through a narrow crevice and shimmy through sharp rocks to go deep down. The cave is lit by only candles. There is an underground river where we climbed down a steel ladder to dip three times in the cold, sulfuric water.

Crosses on Kalbaryo
At this point, we were soaking wet from the falls and well. We climbed up to the next puesto, a cave called inang awa.

From there,  it was an uphill climb through a  rocky path to Kalbaryo (Cavalry). The site simulated Christ's crucifixion with three crosses. Next to it though is a  mound with "Jove Rex-Al".

The next time I visit, I'll make sure to go to Durungawan and do Husgado again or try to climb the mountain again.

1 comment:

tips said...

the Himalayas, home of the snow, is the most impressive system of mountains on the earth, and for centuries the setting for epic feats of exploration and mountain climbing / treks, are a world into themselves. Ascending the heights and being a part of the Himalayan landscape is an experience beyond comparison.

treks to himalayas in India