Mount Labo – an interesting and remote Ultra mountain – had no peakbagger reports and little information. So we got up early in Daet, met our trike driver, and drove almost an hour to the trailhead near the village of San Isidro. After formal registration, we were introduced to the local guide and soon began our longish hike. We were unsure about the distance; somewhere we found out that the round trip would be 38 km. No problem, except that on the map it looked more like a 20 km roundtrip walk. But this time the maps hid a lot of bends, curves, and roundabouts. In the end, we walked just over 37 km.
At first, we walk through rice fields, farmland, and inhabited areas. I think a motorbike can be used for a few kilometers before the road becomes impassable. The beautiful clear sky in the morning allows us to see the surrounding green peaks and possibly our summit too.
The local guide says we will cross seven rivers, and although I count slightly fewer, it depends on how you define a river. Luckily, our shoes stay dry as all the crossings are on stony paths. The bigger problem is the leeches on the trail; in some places, it’s difficult to avoid them, so the only option is to keep moving. On the way back, a local guide uses a stick to coax a snake out of our path.
Most of the long walk is very gradual and easy. A few kilometers from the summit, we walk on the ridge, which has a few re-ascents, but nothing bad, with a short scramble section. The last part to the summit is a steeper climb in the jungle, but again nothing complicated. At the summit, we find a couple of boundary markers (one is a few hundred meters away), a plaque with the name of the summit, and the altitude. This peak is only 24 meters higher to be classified as an Ultra. There is a small risk that we would find it lower, but all goes well, and we confirm the maps with GPS readings that are accurate enough to ensure a flawless Ultra definition. There are some nice views through the trees to the lower northeast summit. Rob confirms with a hand level – it is lower. After a short break, we head back the same way.
Unspoiled nature and very green scenery for most of the walk. Quite a few miles, but for me, it’s a top-rated hike, definitely worth the effort. We have returned to our rented apartment and will try to catch a bus to Manila tomorrow morning. There we will meet up with Win and head for another ultra mountain – Mount Tapulao.