Three Men and a Volcano

Trip Start Dec 28, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Mt Mayon

Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 1:

Bayron, my guide, picked me up at 5:40 (they like to get up early here!) and took me to his mothers house where he also lives. He cooked me breakfast of rice and eggs as he had already had his hours ago! Filipinos eat rice with every meal and they usually eat 4-5 meals per day! 

Bayron's brother Eugine and his cousin Gino joined us and both carried our kit in huge packs. I felt quite guilty but happy that I only had a small day pack. We left home about 7:30 and hiked to camp 1 - 700 metres. We were intending to  go to Camp 2 - 1400 m but the weather didn't look great, it was very cloudy higher up and looked like it was rainy so we (or they!) set up camp. It only took us two hours to reach camp 1 so we were having lunch by 11 am! I helped cook vegetable Adobo, a local dish which is cooked with garlic, onions, soy sauce and vinegar and of course more rice.

It soon started raining and was very foggy so we were glad we had decided to stop here and get the tents set up. There wasn't too much to do while we were waiting for the rain to clear so we sat undercover by the fire, chatted and drank coffee. Two Americans arrived in the afternoon with some other guides (also related to mine) so we went and chatted to them. Their guides were cooking some strange smelling meat on the fire. I soon learnt that this was a rat they had caught earlier! I had read that it is rude to refuse Filipino's if they offer you food so I thought I had better give it a go. I can't say it was the nicest meat I have ever eaten, hard to describe but quite a strong flavour, don't think I would order it in a restaurant! 

By 5 pm it was still raining and we obviously hadn't had enough food so we had dinner! It was still raining and getting cold so we retired to our tents about 9pm hoping for some better weather to arrive

Day 2:

It poured down all night. Everything is soaked. We were up shortly after 5 even though the weather was still cloudy. More rice for breakfast and also bread with peanut butter. We set off for camp 2 anyway even though the weather didn't look good enough to reach the crater. Not long after we left it absolutely hammered it down. Everything I was wearing, including waterproofs were soaked through. We got as far as 1400m where the path becomes an old lava path. Where it was raining so much, the path looked like a waterfall! Bayron walks quickly and I tried my best to keep up as much as I could so we up and back down to Camp 1 by 9:15! For a few minutes I got really excited because the weather cleared and I could actually see a view of the town and some other islands although still nothing of the mountain itself! I really didn't want to leave without having reach the summit so we decided to wait another day and climb back up to the top tomorrow. 

In the mean time, we ate more food. I think I will have to go on a diet after this trip! We had more rice with chicken for lunch (about 10 am!), then fried sweet potatoes a few hours later. Then for dinner we had spaghetti (not quite the same as we have at home), more rice although I managed to decline and stick with spaghetti. It continued to rain all night, fingers crossed tomorrow will be the day...

Day 3:

I was greeted by Bayron before 6 with hot coffee and toasted bread in my tent this morning although with bad news that it was still raining. Unfortunately we had to pack up and hike back to the bottom without having climbed the whole mountain. I had also learned that they had only opened up a new trail two weeks ago. Prior to that, they only had a trail that reached 'Knife's Pint' at 1800m so if the weather had been okay and we made it to the top, I would have only been the fourth tourist to reach the crater. So annoying!! What made it worse was that later in the day the weather seemed to clear and I could see the top of the volcano. It was like it was taunting me! Now I am determined to climb Kinabalu and may come back to the Philippines next year to try Mayon again - want to join me Nicholas?

The guides offered to take us to some local eateries this evening so we went out for some noodle soup followed by Balut. We had read about this local delicacy in a guide book and straight away said we would avoid it not knowing that we would both end up actually eating it!! It is basically a nearly-developed embryo and looks revolting. We felt quite ill just looking at it but I figured that I had already eaten rat and after I did it I think Phillippa thought she should too! The first part is watery and you drink like soup and did actually taste like soup. Part is like an egg and doesn't taste too dissimilar but the other part is a half developed chicken and you can see the partly formed feet! It doesn't actually taste as bad as it sounds, a bit like chicken but the tiny bones are a bit off putting! I think normal boring food will be on the menu for the next few days!

Tomorrow I am getting a ferry to another island called Samar. Phillippa is heading to the Palawan islands to top up her tan where as I prefer mountains over beaches and I really want to go to Bohol to see the chocolate hills so we will meet next week in Cebu before our flight to Hong Kong...

Emma x

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Mum Tina on

What a shame you had to turn back. Dont think i could have eaten all those strange foods. Looks like you were well looked after by all those men. Roll on you visit next year, you cannot let it beat you. Look forward to next instalment. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Davina on

Oh Erns how annoying you had to turn back but like your Mum said great excuse to go back :) xxx

Shelly on

Hi hun, my god you are nuts!!! What you eat sound disgusting it has turned my stomach and I'm only reading about it. Glad your still having the time of your life I have got a bit left behind on the updates but I have just read the last few. Keep safe lots of love x

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