Pinoy Phototrekker

Mt. San Miguel, Bataan

Written By: Kaloy - Mar• 24•10

Organized Mt. San Miguel 108as a fund raiser by rig master, coordinator and founder of Spunky Riggers Philippines Jun Garcia, a group of 40 individuals took the challenge in participating on the first ever Mt. San Miguel rappelling challenge at Barangay Sisiman, Bataan. This place is known for the Sisiman lighthouse which is featured in local TV series such as Denis Trillio’s Gagambino and Angel Locsin’s “Lobo”. More photographers come here for the view rather than mountain climbers. But just recently the rock face is a prime site for us riggers to practice our skills and you can admit the view is quite impressive, Jun comments. Jun has 10 years of experience in rigging around the Philippines and has trained numerous riggers in the art of ropemanship.

The activity consists of a fee of P1400.00 per person that includes the transportation to and from Barangay Sisiman, Bataan, a basic ropemanship course where the participants, experienced or not, can refresh their skills and learn rappelling from the masters, and lunch on the last day. You will need to bring food, water and camping equipment to the area as this is an overnight event. Since the site is very near the fishing village of Sisiman there are many places to buy fresh seafood and have them cooked by the local stalls around the basketball court for a full course homemade meal that you just find in the provinces. Fresh water is also available via deep well pumps I advise not to drink the water from the pumps. But you may bathe in them to get heat away. Some cottages along the beach even offer bathrooms for a P10.00 user fee. There are stores around the area where you can purchase bottled water.

We took a special bus ride from the Genesis bus line in Cubao and arrived in the area a mere 3 hours after our departure. However for those of you that want to commute to the area, you can take the Genesis bus line from Cubao going to Marivelles, Bataan which would cost around P272.00 and then a tricycle ride from the market to the Barangay of Sisiman. The fee for the tricycle would range from P50.00-P100.00.

The campsite is located on level ground overlooking Sisiman bay, which is part of the Bataan Peninsula. This provides a twofold event where participants can swim in the ocean to escape the heat after climbing the Dong In Outdoor Society West wall, which is a 900 ft / 274 m above sea level rock face consisting the western part of Mt. San Miguel. This is named after the Dong In group of companies that is based here in Mariveles, Bataan. This is the company that is responsible for making outdoor equipments for big names such as Black Diamond. The team made three pitches that all participants will have to pass by to rappel to the foot of the mountain.

Mt. San Miguel 103But before any jumping is even done, the group is introduced to all the senior riggers and a briefing is held for all in the camp; making things clear to everyone that safety is still the primary concern. A small class is gathered after lunch on the first day and a basic rappelling class is started to orient first timers on the basics of ropemanship. This consist of orientations like how to wear a harness properly and most importantly how to descend from a rope. Safety is always emphasized during these classes. This is done while the riggers haul up gear and ropes to the top of the mountain. To setup anchors and fasten safety and jump ropes for the participants, riggers and jumpmasters climb to the summit which is a short 20 minutes hike along the east side of Mt. San Miguel. From here they will lower a rope 100ft / 30 m to the first pitch. Another 200ft / 60m to the second and finally a 600ft / 184m to the base of the mountain, these will be the jump stations or pitches, each station is manned by a “jumpmaster” a person that secures and fastens the ropes to the participants, and finally a belayer is positioned at the foot of the mountain to control the descent of the participants and assist them in any way they see fit. All of them have a two way radios that relays their status to a controller in base camp. Now that the ropes are done and secured… Let the jumps begin!

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You may contact Jun Garcia of Spunky Riggers Philippines for other rappelling events like this one at jun_spunkyrigger@yahoo.com

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