What do Maculot, Romelo and Manabu have in common? - Part 3

This is the third of a series of posts, and I really hope will be the last, about ‘peculiar’ things that I have experienced in the mountains.

So I am/was fond of climbing alone, but only in mountains that I already know the trail of, and which I label as ‘safe’ because of easy trails.

Two mountains that I climb alone (and without a guide) were Maculot and Manabu Peak. I already blogged about what happened during my last Maculot climb which actually triggered my desire to write about my ‘peculiar’ experiences. You can also read about my Mt. Romelo experience here.

This time, however, I’m gonna write about a very strange thing that happened to me in Manabu.

I arrived at the jump off past 1:00pm of September 20, 2012. Based on previous Manabu climbs, I only needed at least three-and-a-half hours for a ‘round-trip’ (that doesn’t include the ‘summit time’) so I was sure I’d be back at the jump-off way before 6:00pm.

It had just rained the previous night so the trail was wet and the stream to be crossed was a little deeper (below the knee) than usual. It had always been muddy in Manabu, anyway (or at least every time I went there), so the slippery trail was nothing new.

A few meters past the last occupied house (Mang Pirying’s hut not included) but before the split in the trail that will lead you either to the grotto or to Mang Pirying’s hut, I noticed a very thin dog off to the right. He (instinct told me it was a he) ran away as he saw me, but only far enough that he could still see me and bark. His voice was weak and kinda muffled. I think there was something wrong with his tongue. My guess was that it was cut off because his bark was very unusual-sounding.

dog along the trails of Manabu Peak

Being a dog lover, my heart almost broke at the sight. He was so thin so I guess no human was taking care of him. Or perhaps he was disowned. I had in my backpack three pieces of boiled eggs that I bought from the vendor on the bus on my way to Lipa. I decided to give one to the obviously starving dog. He was still barking nonstop at me, but he didn’t go farther away as I dared to get near.

I already have an HRIG shot anyway so I’d just need a booster if ever he was rabid and bit me.

About three feet away, I softly tossed the peeled boiled egg his way. He started to run away perhaps because he thought I would hurt him, but then he saw the egg and stopped running . He still kept on barking at me and I realized, given his situation, that it was hard for him to trust me, or anyone for that matter.

I gathered he wouldn’t eat the egg with me there so after saying goodbye, I walked on so he could eat the egg in peace.

I wanted to take the trail that would pass by Mang Pirying’s hut, and go down that way as well because there was this dark part in the other trail (the one with the gigantic boulder) that just gave me goosebumps everytime.

(I would like to build up suspense on this part but really, I wanted to just get this post over with because I’m having a hard time writing this. So without further ado:)

But lo and behold! I just found myself looking at what I didn’t want to believe was the grotto already!

I literally stopped in my tracks and looked around. How could it be the grotto when I haven’t yet passed that split in the trail that would lead me to either the grotto or Mang Pirying’s? Could I have missed it, really, despite the bench and directional signs? And on my numerous trips to Manabu Peak both alone and with K, walking up to the grotto couldn’t have taken that short a time!

I didn’t wanna scare myself so I just continued walking, past the grotto, past that eerie boulder, and onto that little grassland where that Cooperative Planting Project banner could be seen.

I walked fast, focusing on how to catch my breath as I didn’t want to think about how I was “teleported” some 30 minutes forward. I didn’t wanna entertain the idea but later on, I asked myself if it was the dog. It may be funny to think and I initially didn’t want to write about this thought but, was the Virgin Mary at the grotto pleased at my actions that she made my trek faster by cutting the trail short towards where she was?

It was a lonely hike overall, and eerie for that matter, because not even Mang Pirying was in his hut when I passed by on my way down. I found a black cat and a black dog in his house, though, which made the experience eerier (although we at home also own a black cat).

Mang Pirying's black cat and black dog

And then there was this caged “wild cat” also:

Mang Pirying's caged wild animal

As I got near that split in the trail on my way down, that Twilight Zone theme (I am a fan) was playing in my head. I almost didn’t want to look. But it was there - the bench, the signs. How could I have missed them on my way up?

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