The CuriousPages Sketchbook

Mount Talipuso

Each morning, while breakfasting on our balcony, we looked out on a distant mountain. After a few days, this mountain started to call out to me; I began to feel that I had to visit it.


In a local store, I managed to find a fairly detailed map of Tagaytay and the surrounding area (Cavite), which was not easy to find; while doing my research before the trip, it seemed that detailed maps of this area did not exist. I opened out the map onto our balcony table, and directly North of the guest house was listed Mount Talipuso. I seemed that this must be the name of that mountain that had been calling out to me for so many days. On the map, it seemed to be only about thirty minutes drive. And nearby, there was also the Malubiclibic Falls, which was listed as a tourist attraction.

We packed up a picnic and showed the map to Roger, our driver, who had lived in the area all his life. He had never heard of these places but we set off, tingling with expectation.

Roger ignored my suggested route, and took a detour through Alfonso, simply because he knew that area, and he suggested that the might be able to take a short cut back across to my route. It turned out to be market day in Alfonso and the traffic was at a standstill, and once we’d passed the log jam, he had to stop several times to ask directions, and about forty minutes later, I had managed to direct him back onto the route I’d originally suggested, so that we had only lost about thirty minutes due to him taking his shortcut (this was the Philippines, and by now I was used to not expecting things to be happening in a timely fashion; that morning, Roger had turned up forty minuets late to pick us up, claiming that he had had a flat tyre).

Along the route, we could see the distant mountains on our left, appearing to be only marginally closer than they did from our balcony. We passed the area on the map where Mount Talipuso was marked and we had seen no mountain. How could you miss a mountain, we wondered. We doubled back, and after stopping to ask several locals, Roger came back to the car and announced that a slight hill which we could see a few hundred yards off the round was “Mount Talipuso”. He had also asked about the “tourist attraction” Fall and had been told that they were reachable via a thirty minute trek along a dirt track, were inaccessible by car, and were not that popular with the locals, since they were not particularly impressive. If the map had not misinformed us, it had certainly been “economical with the truth”.

On the way back, we did cross over an impressive ravine.


And then found a suitable place to stop for our picnic, where Rhyan seemed to take it upon himself to start to direct the non-existent traffic. At this point, I could tell that his sanity had been tested by our strenuous efforts to discover the non-existent Mount Talipuso.



Despite there being only a tiny hill where the map claimed a mountain to exist, I did find the whole journey fascinating. We passed through many “suburbs” on the flat lands (which in the Philippines are called Barangays: a small town, or a part of a town), some of them seeming idyllic to my eyes; and others seeming to be burdened with poverty.

On the road back, we passed a beautiful spot with crops of sugar cane before a backdrop of the actual mountains, those elusive mountains that we could see from our balcony, and which had so far remained elusive to us.



31 December 2009



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