Coming from a one-year hiatus, I'm back with a pretty hardcore post. Go ahead and watch the video at the end.
Naturally, stories of leeches (locally known as limatik) scare the heck out of me. Limatiks are widely known in the local hiking groups and there are thousands of horror stories that give me goosebumps. Last July 4, I had the chance to.. get acquainted with the little bloodsuckers.
Before setting out, I read blogs and asked Christine of Jovial Wanderer for tips. It's my first time at Mt. Makiling and while I know that the mountain is notorious for leeches, I needed to hear it straight from fellow hikers. Leeches are active during the rainy season and have an uncanny preference for warm-blooded creatures. Since the trail we took was unpopular (we were the second group to use the Yakult trail), the leeches welcomed us with all their slimy heart (if they have one). I came armed with isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and wearing arm sleeves, long pants, and leggings. We left for the Yakult Trail around 8AM.
- Wear tight clothing. Wear thick leggings, long pants, arm sleeves, gloves, and a scarf/headwear to cover your ears and head. If you have an extra scarf, wrap it around your neck.
- Have a spray bottle of alcohol or saline solution ready. If you see a leech on the process of attaching itself, spray alcohol on the bloodsucker like a crazy gunman.
- Keep your head down low. At some point during the trail, I looked up on a tree and I think that was the time the limatik jumped to my eye.
- Resist the urge to wipe the sweat off your face. Sweat has a small amount of salt which can drive away the bloodsuckers.
- Do a limatik check with your fellow hikers.
- Have fun! Don't let the limatik get the best of you. In our case, limatik bites were the least of our concerns. The steep, slippery, muddy trail made us forget them for a while.
Thanks to the team for a fun and equally challenging training climb! To more limatik experience in Amuyao!
|Photo from Sir Migs' GoPro H4|
Ride any bus bound to Lucena and ask them to drop you off at Yakult in Turbina, Calamba
Cross the pedestrian bridge and take a tricycle to the jump off at Brgy. Makiling
Around PHP500 for transportation, food, and guide fees