#GetAwaytoAdventure at Mt. Gulugod-Baboy with Merrell’s Moab 2

Like what most millennials would say, “I’m G’ all the time for an adventure. It just so happens that in recent years, most of my travels have taken me exploring every nook and cranny of new cities – urban and quaint towns, and isolated islands to boot. The mountains, where I found my first love of the great outdoors when I joined the UST Mountaineering club back in college, took a backseat.

Jemille Carolino

Excuses ranging from not enough camping gear and “My sneakers won’t cut it” to simply; a lackluster stamina had me preferring long walks over paved roads and fine white sands more often than steep trails leading to marvelous peaks. This year though, something happened as I also started a new physical fitness routine that strongly involves cardio training. I decided to rekindle my passion for mountain climbing once again.

Jemille Carolino  hiking at Gulugud Baboy

As if the heavens heard my plans, an opportunity to join the team of Merrell and Trail Adventours, Inc. on a hiking trip fell on my lap. The trip’s main goal is to trail test the new MOAB 2 shoes. Many hiking enthusiasts are familiar with the first MOAB. I had used it in my many trips before and it lasted my feet for more than 4 years. This is why being sent out on a writing assignment to try out the new MOAB on a great outdoor jaunt, is a check for an awesome day. 

Chill Hike to Mt. Gulugod-Baboy

Situated in Anilao, Batangas and is rated 2/9 for difficulty, Mt. Gulugod Baboy requires 2-3 hours of hiking at the most. This relatively easy mountain overlooking Balayan and Batangas Bay is nothing to write the mountain climbing junkies at home about. However, the trails provides a good preview on what to expect at other peaks in the Philippines. The hike towards the top took the sole of my feet negotiating a transition of trail conditions consisting of; loose to rocky terrain and a grassy hill. Mountain elements that are enough to trail test your foot hardware.

Named as such because the curve of its peak and neighboring hills evokes the shape of a ‘pig spine’ (Gulugod ng Baboy), it is a part of the slightly higher Mt. Pinagbanderahan and is considered as one of the favorite day-hike destinations of hikers nowadays. Likening to the Get Away to Adventure campaign of Merrell, the path to the mountain’s peak presents an ideal escape from the looping and toxic big city life. An idyllic scene greets you at the trails leading to the hilltops. Farm animals along with a number of varying tree species loads up the scenery along its paths.

The lawn covered peak is sizeable enough to pitch half a dozen tents and offers a sweeping 360 degree view of verdant hills and the twin bays of Balayan and Batangas. A short distance away, one can spot Sombrero Island almost floating along the blue horizon of the seas and the sky.

Wearing Merrell’s MOAB 2

While our hike was brief, it afforded me enough time to test this new foot hardware from Merrell. As an avid user of the brand before, I’ve known what to expect already and the new MOAB still surprised me with its added features. MOAB stands for ‘Mother of All Boots’ – and for it to earn that bragging right, it has to meet the standards of hikers – both newbies and veterans – in these various categories; comfort, fit, waterproofing, breathability and traction.

Using it for at least four hours hiking up and down Mt. Gulugod Baboy, I felt my feet right at home with MOAB 2 in terms of comfort. It reminded me of my previous Merrell shoes. Breathability and traction goes hand in hand, as I felt my feet having enough space to wiggle inside, while at the same time giving me confidence in smoothly stepping over even the loosened soil and rock sections of the trail. The Vibram TC 5 sole clearly did its job.

The weather was hot and dry during our climb so I wasn’t able to test the waterproofing feature of the MOAB 2. During in my next hiking trip though, I was able to wear the MOAB 2 again taking it along as we cross several river streams. While it isn’t completely waterproofed, the GORE-TEX® waterproof membrane offered strong water resistance to splashes and coupled by a strong sole traction, I was able to avoid dipping my feet into the water completely – as it helped me effortlessly stepped over the big and small boulders on the river bed.

Isa Rodriguez

If I have to take a dig at the MOAB 2, it would be how the shoe laces get untied so easily. Make sure to always check and string it tightly while on the trail. Over-all, I have now one less reason why I shouldn’t get away to more outdoor adventures. Merrell’s MOAB 2 had me giddy with excitement for future hiking trips.