You’ll definitely want to go to Mt. 387
To see some mustard, brown and black colored mountains.
As a newbie in hiking, I have a little knowledge of Philippine mountains especially those that are located in the north. I just say yes whenever I am invited to a hike because the experience of escaping Metro Manila excites me.
I never heard of a mountain named in number. Have you? Unhesitatingly, I joined Jecica, my officemate, and her friend Chadd to their hike of Mt. 387 in Nueva Ecija, which for me is the farthest I have ever been in Northern Luzon.
We took the 11PM schedule of a bus going to Santiago, Isabela from Cubao and asked the bus conductor to drop us at the Iglesia ni Cristo in Puncan, Carranglan. Because it was a midnight travel, we arrived in Puncan an hour earlier from our expected four-hour travel. We were met by one of the fellows of Kalinga sa Kalikasan ng Puncan, the environmental group protecting the mountain. We were introduced to Sir Roy who told us the beginnings of Mt. 387.
Why the name 387?
The Kalinga sa Kalikasan ng Puncan adopted the mountain, covering about 387.9 hectares, hence the name Mt. 387.They entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in order to protect and preserve the mountain. They opened Mt. 387 to mountaineers in January 2017. Since then, a number of mountaineers have already visited the place to which the group was thankful because mountaineers are part in the preservation efforts by way of planting seedlings in the mountain.
The Trail to the Summit
We started our trail at 4AM, as planned. It was dark, cold and quiet. The silence was only broken by our footsteps and the occasional chirping of the birds. Usong, our guide, told us that the trail to the summit would take two hours with several rests included.
At the Summit
The summit is named Batong Amat Peace Park (Ghost Rock Peace Park). According to Sir Roy, the area was part in the events of the World War II as evidenced by many large holes caused by bomb explosions. Recently, they even found a human skeleton inside a cave.
When we arrived at the summit at 6AM, we saw light brown mountains around us. They even look mustard yellow mountains under the bright morning sun. Unfortunately, some mountains were black in color because according to Sir Roy, locals have burned them for economic purposes. There is cogon grass everywhere which is perfect for an Instagram-worthy picture. Black rocks vary in sizes. We also saw campers who had set their tents near the lone pine tree in the clearing below.
I asked Usong how to say “it is beautiful here” in their language. He said he would say “Napintas ditoy.”
The ascent was slightly exhausting and challenging because of the dark but we have reaped our rewards when we reached the summit. We were just in time to witness the sun rise behind the mountains. The grasses were still damp from the morning dew. The wind was cold enough to combat the increasing heat. The view of mountain range was beyond beautiful. It was captivating in all the senses.
After an hour of bliss at the summit, we decided to start our descend. We were told that there was a traverse where one can pass by a waterfall. But since we were not ready for the waters and longer walk, we didn’t mind taking the back-trail at all.
When we arrived at the foot of the mountain, we were greeted by the caretakers of the seedlings being nursed by the Kalinga sa Kalikasan ng Puncan. There were three women selling lunch who really expected that mountaineers were hungry after the climb. We ordered sinigang and rice which we really enjoyed.
How much did I spend?
Bus fare (Cubao-Puncan)- P239
Tour Guide- P150 each
Lunch- P121 each
Morning Coffee- P10
Environmental Fee- P20
Tricycle fare (Puncan-San Jose)- P30 each
Bus fare (San Jose-Cubao)- P262
Total = P852
Photos were taken by Jecica Coronel. Please check out her Instagram @jecica