The Mountain Climbers Club of Engineers together with the 3rd year Engineering students of the Technological University of the Philippines at Cavite had conducted its Second Tree Planting and Campsite Cleaning at Mt. Manabu in Batangas last February 25-26, 2009.

    It was a beautiful Wednesday morning when we, the entire cast (4 faculty & 32 students), aboard our rented jeeps from Walter Mart-DasmariƱas to Brgy. Sta. Cruz a.k.a. "Sulok", the jump-off to Mt. Manabu. Upon reaching the barangay outpost, we registered and ask permission to conduct tree planting and at the same time revisit the seedlings we planted a year ago. We entered the base camp at around 10:00 am and prepared for an early lunch. Everyone brings out the previously packed "baons" and we all enjoyed a festive atmosphere there. By 11:00 am, the group has to prepare for the trekking so I advise them to packed things up and to gear up for the climb. A prayer ends our stay at the base camp and we headed towards our first destination. The Calbaryo.

    The ascend begins being  me and Alex as the head while Law and Aldrin as the tail. Along the trail, you will hear conversations and sometimes uncontrolled yelling and noises among the students. I just overlook their "misbehaviors" for that instance and understood their excitement knowing that it is their first time to experience an overnight camping in mountain summit. Besides, I believe that they are going to learn the proper behavior in place like this sooner.

    We reached Calbaryo by 1:00 pm. The first thing I did was to check the Acasia seedlings we planted last February 29, 2008. Among the 10 seedlings we planted there, I only saw 3  fresh and healthy new trees making its way against shrubs and grasses. Somehow, I felt satisfied knowing that the 1st Tree Planting activity contributed to new trees for the next generation. I wish that they will be preserved and allowed to gaze up the sky in the years to come.

    It is now time for us to do our tree planting with the 12 new Mahogany seedlings we bought from Silang, Cavite. Each pair had to find their place within the bounds of Calbaryo for their seedling to be planted. Thanks to my little garden shovel, at least it helps the group in digging hole for the new tree. The ceremony was sealed by an ID bearing the name of the donors together with a souvenir picture. How pleasant it is to see fresh sprouting seedlings in their new habitat.

    Calbaryo is also our last source of water. We have to refill our containers for our scheduled dinner and breakfast the next day. From here, the trail will be via the NE part and we expect to reach the summit first before descending to the designated campsite. The trail now begins to become a bit steeper passing through a short forested area. At  600MASL, we reached an open and cogonal area where you can clearly see the tip of the white cross which is the Manabu Peak. Along the trail you will see alamid dung bearing coffee beans lying on the ground. This reminds me of the coffee  alamid which Amadeo and other part of Cavite is exporting because of its distinction as exotic and  sell at high price.

    The last leg of the trail is entering another forested area en route to the summit. Finally, by 2:05pm, we reached the Manabu Peak where my altimeter watch registered an unofficial elevation of 745MASL. Our reference itinerary recorded that it is just 720MASL. I saw the feeling of fulfillment to the faces of my students having themselves standing proudly at the summit and embracing the white cross. Much to our delight when we saw the "tail" with Hazel "Babby" Olaes summited after few minutes, with her two buddies.     
    After some pictures, we decided to proceed to the campsite to set camp and to prepare for our next meal. It's all sunny at the campsite and the view is spectacular. A couple  of hours after we set camp, the weather condition dropped and the next thing we know, it is raining. Some panicked and begun to enter their tents avoiding to get wet. But there are few who instead of saving themselves from rain, get undressed and took their bath under the rain. As I hear their laments because of water entering their tents, including ours, I secretly prayed and ask to grant us a good weather for my party to have a pleasant overnight mountain climbing experience. I felt blessed and answered when after a while, the rain stopped and the clouds hovering us disappeared. They cooked and ate their dinner, although we (faculty) are already done even before the rain stops.

    The next activity is socials. They all enjoyed the night full of fun and showdowns. Thanks to the beautiful weather the whole night. Six o'clock is our wake up call. I got up quarter before six to prepare for our coffee. Soon, I saw one by one coming out of their tents and preparing for their breakfast. I know they are still aware of our next objective.. campsite cleaning after breaking camp. It is sad to note that plastics, liquor bottles are littering at the campsite during our arrival there. How I wish that these "climbers" will soon realize the damage they are causing to mother nature. After packing up, the group started to do campsite cleaning including our own waste. We collected almost 5 black bags of solid waste.

    After our last set of group souvenir pictures, the party is now ready to descend via the SW trail passing Station 5 where we just made a short rest and proceeded immediately to Station 2. At last, we felt refresh and rejuvenated after drinking fresh buko before finally arriving back at the base camp. We took our bath next for P15, taken our lunch and headed home by 1:30pm.

    I personally congratulate each member of my party for a very successful Tree Planting and Cleaning Activity at Mt. Manabu, Batangas. God bless us all.