PTB Blog Carnival,  Uncategorized

The Evil that is Cristobal

The Ring, Feng Shui, Shutter, The Grudge, and the list goes on.

These are just some of the films I can hardly forget because of the nightmares they caused me after seeing them. Hands down, I easily get scared by films with macabre, gore, and horror as its theme.

I used to believe that ghosts and monsters exist when I was younger. But as you get older, you’ll realize that it’s just YOU who’s creating the images of these strange creatures. I am still afraid though, but less obvious. A big thank you to those people responsible for the successful horror movies I mentioned above.

Photo by NY Mag

Why did I jump into that assumption? Some friends perceive me and mountaineers in general as witnesses of paranormal shenanigans in the mountains when in fact I haven’t seen one in my four years of mountaineering activities.

Let’s take the dreaded Mount Cristobal in Dolores, Quezon as the perfect example. The so-called mystical and holy mountain Banahaw lies just beside Cristobal, hence the conclusion that Cristobal possesses negative energies thrown away by its neighboring mountain. It is popular among hikers as the evil/bad/devil mountain.

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A view of the mountains Banahaw and Cristobal from Mount Mabilog.

In preparation for a major climb in Mount Dulang-Dulang (second highest peak in the country), my friends and I decided to conduct several training climbs during the first months of 2009. A day hike and traverse of Cristobal was included on our list because of its technical features suited for our training. Having known the frightful reputation of the mountain, I cared less of how steep the trail could be or how difficult the climb would be but instead focused on the spine-chilling stories I’ve read online.

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Mount Cristobal from afar.

The actual trek started an hour past 12 noon after six of my friends and I had our lunch at the jump-off point of the mountain. It was cold, rainy, and slippery all throughout the hike. The perfect weather for our unnerving trek, I thought. During the trek, we spoke of nothing but spooky tales about the mountain. Voices from unknown sources, apparitions of beheaded priests and ghosts, malevolent elemental, and a lot more. Our guide even warned us to immediately take off our clothes and wear it the other way around if, in case, we chance upon otherworldly critters.

We reached the summit of the mountain at around 4PM, less than four hours of trekking. And since it was raining the whole day, we were able to wrap up the climb at 1AM the next day, eight hours of descending the sloped trail of Cristobal to Tayak Hill. Yes, you read it right. The whole activity took us 12 terrifying hours. And within that span of time, we encountered…

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The seven of us (minus the photographer) with smiles and ghostly orbs? No, they were rain drops.

NOTHING. Nothing but stumbles, dirt, mud, chills, and of course, fun. Whatever happened to the ghosts stories?

I finally came to my senses that I wasted too much time thinking of whatever it was I might collide with during the entirety of the climb that I forgot to appreciate how clean and beautiful the forests of Cristobal were. If there are things hikers must be really afraid of, those are the insect bites and bruises one can get from the prickly plants along the trail.

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I therefore call the trails of this mountain, Warakiki. Go figure out why.

There’s this hair-raising tale that was told to us by one of my friends. There was a mountaineer who needed to heed the call of nature and had to excuse himself from the socials just to drop the bomb late at night. With all the paranormal stories lurking in his mind, he finally got to prove that Cristobal was indeed magical in some sort as he couldn’t find the doo-doo he just unleashed. The next morning, the apparently missing poop showed up. And it’s on the hood of the jacket that was wrapped around his waist the whole time. Scary, eh?

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The Evil that is Cristobal is my first ever entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival. In observance of the upcoming Halloween festivities, this month’s theme is Dark Tourism: Philippines in Focus, which is hosted by Gael Hilotin of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.

Kaiz is a stay-at-home mom and currently works as an Operations Specialist for a software engineering company based in the US.

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