Mountaineer goes missing in Mt. Maculot

Another mountaineer has gone missing.

Victor Joel Ayson

Victor Joel Ayson went on a solo dayhike up Mount Maculot on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. It was 2:30 AM when he left his bag at Mang Manuel’s store.

He successfully reached the Rockies campsite because he was seen buying a bottle of mineral water at the campsite store (which mountaineers fondly call 7-11) around 9:00 AM.

After not being in contact until Monday, his friends and family started getting alarmed. Search and rescue operations have been organized since Monday night but all were unsuccessful in finding him.

According to Mang Manuel, an experienced Mt. Maculot guide and owner of the Mountaineer’s Stop Over & Store in Barangay Tico, there have really been instances when even the locals would get lost in Mt. Maculot due to engkanto or the entities that we do not see with our naked eyes.

I have personally traversed the said mountain twice and has done four solo climbs of the Rockies campsite, and I must say I believe in what Mang Manuel suspects of what happened to Victor.

But the news didn’t say if the missing mountaineer only climbed up to the Rockies or did the traverse. Did anyone know of his exact plans that day? The Rockies is just a one-hour hike and if he climbed at 2:30 AM alone and was still at the campsite at 9:00 AM, he might have found a company (made a new friend or bumped on a mountaineer that he knew) for him to have lasted such long hours up there. That, or he’s a better loner than I am.

Next point, did he buy a big bottle of mineral water? If he did, it could be that he was preparing for a traverse. I’m sure, however, that someone has noticed where he went after the campsite. Aside from the fact that it was a Sunday, and an Easter Sunday at that, the campsite store only operates whenever the place is crowded. And with a crowd at the campsite, someone could have noticed where he headed.

The “barangay” should check with the mountaineers that are on the log book from Black Saturday to Easter Sunday. And just to be sure, ask those that have climbed on Monday, too.

The Rockies can be very dangerous especially with strong winds. And I only stayed at the campsite during those times I was alone. Why? Because I could have easily slipped and fell and disappeared without anyone knowing. Falling to the waters of Taal Lake would be a “better” accident if you knew how to swim, but falling towards the forested area several meters down below would be very tragic because (correct me if I’m wrong) that is an unexplored area (read: no one goes there).

But what if he did the traverse. Alone. That instantly gave me the goosebumps. Why? Because going back to what Mang Manuel said, those entities are indeed true. Read about my scary traverse of Mt. Maculot here:

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photo: Victor Joel Ayson’s Facebook

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