Mountaineers who wanted to challenge fear should scale Mount Cristobal, better known as The Devil’s Mountain. Named after the patron saint for travelers San Cristobal, the mountain is located in Dolores, Quezon along San Pablo and Nagcarlan, Laguna in the Philippines.
Mount Cristobal as opposed to Mt. Banahaw which is considered by trekkers as the Holy Mountain, rises more than 1,470 ft. Many hikers and mountaineers shared their stories on how challenging the mountain, not just the climb but the mysterious forces that envelops the environs.
Thick forest of old trees, ferns and spikey shrubberies covered the mountain. Aside from the abundance of flora, the area is rich with wildlife such as the musang and animus that stray at liberty in the jungles.
The sharp ascents of the mountain pass through an ancient volcanic basin. In the early morning and even at night, the moss-covered trees are draped with strange vapor. The fog added strangeness to the mountain. Claims of inexplicable voices and apparitions were recounted by climbers and even the locals. Some even narrated their encounters with the creature called Tumao.
Here are stories shared by mountaineers.
Cristobal Caper by Freelancer
Never climb Cristobal alone. Even if with a group, don’t stray away from your team. I learned this the hard way. In 2005 I went to Dolores with the mountaineering club of my friend. When we arrived at Dolores it was already 1400 H with all the delays. I took the lead, and because I found the path straightforward, I went on and on.
I realized that I had gone ahead too far and I waited for them, but they didn’t arrive. I began to panic. Only after an hour did they arrive. I asked, “What took you so long?” And they said, “Huh? We were just following you. We saw you just a few minutes ago!”
I began to wonder if that’s why they call it a spooky mountain. But I just shrugged it off until later that night, after the socials. Being a freelance climber, I had my own tent, and I got out to pee.
When I looked back to my tent, there was something glowing inside. It was like the light of my flashlight.
But my flashlight was with me!
Too scared, I woke up my pals but when we took a look the second time, the light was gone.
“You must be imagining things,” said one of my friends. Suddenly, however, a bright light flashed from behind us. It was the same light that glowed on my tent but when we looked it was gone.
2:00am and I decided not to sleep anymore. My pals did the same and we had the longest socials I’ve ever experienced.
The Couple Hikers by ghost_of_you
We all met at the jump off point one Tuesday morning in July of 2004. We did a little prayer of guidance and started the hike at around 12:00 noon. We have a guide because the trail that we chose was not that common yet. A couple of hours later, one of the hikers, Reggie, had an asthma attack, so we had no choice but to stop and let him rest. By the time we reached half of the destination, it was almost 4 in the afternoon.
The guide told us that he can only go as far as the first half of the trek, for he never felt good once he ventures farther. So we thanked and paid the guide and followed his instructions as to which trail to take. It was beginning to get dark when Reggie, had another attack. We were more worried about his condition than the fact that it was getting dark that we decided to just camp on that spot for the night, but he refused and asked for just 30 more minutes of rest.
Finally, when Reggie told us that he is better (again…) we decided to hike a bit faster and we cannot have any other stop overs. We reached a part of the trail where the guide forgot to mention. There is a forked trail with a huge tree in the middle, and has a left and right trail. We never remembered him telling us which of the two trails to follow. We all sat down and decided that half of the group would go and check the right trail, half of us will check the left, and we talked about meeting back under the tree after 15 minutes.
We were about to venture out, when this two hikers whom we never noticed, probably because we have been busy debating which path to take, appeared and asked us if we are lost. Mark, the talkative one said yes. The two hikers said that they have been using this trail ever since they first hiked Mt. Cristobal, so they both offered to join and guide us. Anyway, we all said yes, thinking that they saved us more time, besides it’s already 7:00PM, for the debate had delayed us, so we took out our flashlights and went on.
We took the left trail. While we were hiking we all became noisy and we all started fooling around, telling jokes and stuff, but the two hikers, who we’re walking ahead of us we’re both quiet. I noticed that they we’re holding hands and figured that they probably prefer to just keep their thoughts to themselves, so we never bothered them anymore. I think an hour had passed and we all became exhausted.
The trail was full of steep slopes and we literally have to dig our fingers on the dirt floor while climbing. It was almost 9:00PM and I was getting hungry, so I took out one of my Jelly Snacks and offered them to everybody, including the couple but they declined. A few moments had passed when the girl said, “Malapit na tayo…” (Translation: “We’re almost there…) So we all walked a bit faster, eager for some sleep and food. It started to rain, so, aside from being tired and hungry, we we’re cold.
Raymart, the wackiest of all, was the one walking just a few feet behind the couple and he kept on asking the couple questions every now and then, but all he got as a response is “uh-huh, yes, no, maybe…” He looked funny because was holding a huge flashlight that almost looked like what Coast Guards used for Search and Rescue. The couple turned left and so we followed. We reached a small path, full of tall, sinister looking trees and plants with thorns, some of them scratched my face and my arms.
The guy then said “Andito na tayo, bilisan nyo bago pa lumakas ang ulan.” (We’re here; hurry up before it rains harder). Fortunately, the rain stopped after a few minutes. We we’re all walking in silence when, suddenly, Raymart’s flashlight went off, as well as the rest of us. There were 5 of us holding flashlights and it was just weird that every single one of them just went off at the same time.
Raymart was hitting his flashlight, to make it go on again. The sky above could not be seen that much because there we’re lots of trees, and the moon lay hidden behind the clouds, so it was really dark. Raymart just kept on walking behind the couple while trying to make his flashlight turn on again. It was hard to walk on the path because it was already muddy and slippery from the rain, so we tried to ask the couple if they have spares, but we can’t see them, and neither of them answered as well, so Jake thought they already went ahead.
We we’re slowly walking, one step at a time and we we’re all groping for each other’s arms, when all our flashlights turned on again.
Raymart shouted triumphantly, then, he suddenly cursed and shouted, “Sh*t, #@!%&! Huminto kayo! Hinto! Teka lang! #@!%&!” (Stop guys, stop! Wait!)
We we’re startled by his behavior and I said “Tol, wag ka mag mura ng ganyan kalakas dito, baka may magalit!” (Bro, don’t ever curse that loud in this kind of place, “SOMEONE” might get mad at you.”)
So, we stopped and asked him why, but he never answered back. So Miggy shone the flashlight on Raymart to see clearly. What we saw almost made us jump… We saw Gee-Boy, the youngest one, struggling as hard as he could to keep his hold on Raymart’s backpack strap as Raymart was dangling and about to fall on a 250 or God knows how many feet ravine.
We helped Gee-Boy and Raymart, and when we finally got them, we asked him what happened. Raymart was literally shaking from head to toe, from being cold and shock. He said that he was trying to follow the couple when his flashlights came back to life, and just saw he was about to fall. Fortunately for him, Gee-Boy managed to grab his backpack, and save his life.
We all walked slowly back to the old path we took before turning left and we we’re all panicking, thinking that the couple might have fallen as well. But Mackoy said that we should have heard them scream, if they did fall down. We never heard any kind of noise except for Raymart’s shouts. We just thought that they probably took a path which we never noticed, seeing as it was very dark, and they probably thought we were still behind them. What puzzled us is the fact that the couple never even bothered to look and check if we are all okay. After all, I’m pretty sure my scream reached as far as the neighboring country because it was so LOUD.