26-Dec-2003 -- It was a good attempt at N14 E123 Degree Confluence in the area near Basud, Camarines Norte on December 26th, 2003.
I thought I had a good plan. First, I bought topographical maps from National Mapping Agency (NAMRIA) located inside Fort Bonifacio. A 1:50,000-scale map costs 120 Pesos each but since a degree confluence is at the corner of the map, I bought 4 maps to have all sides of degree confluence covered. Studying the map gave me a good idea of the level of difficulty to my destination. In this case, the map showed roads from the town of Basud, going to Mangcamagong, Matoog-toog and then to Hinipaan, about 15 kilometers from Basud. Confluence website mentioned that the N14 E123 is about 1.8 kilometers west of Hinipaan. Then the map showed a feeder road passing by the confluence approximately 200 meters from its nearest point. This is a piece of cake, I said to myself.
I left my residence in Pasig, Metro-Manila at 2:00 AM hoping to make it to Calbayog City, my final destination for this year-end holiday, by evening, a good 700 kilometer trip requiring sea crossing by ferry boat at Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen, Samar. At about 8 AM, we reached Sipocot town and from there we made a detour to the north towards Daet for the confluence attempt. Soon we reached the forested area of Bicol National Park and it was at this point the first confluence attempt was reported in the website before me. But armed with a map, I did not mind a longer car travel as long as the hiking distance is manageable for near-senior citizens like my wife and me. My wife would celebrate her 60th birthday two days later. Then trouble began when we reached Barangay Mangcamagong. Several persons I showed the map with could not recall the roads I was pointing at near the confluence. We proceeded further but the directions I was following did not matched with the programmed roads in my GPS. It means I was traveling a different road to Barangay Hinipaan. The roads are coastal because I kept seeing the sea at my left.
At Hinipaan, the distance to the confluence is well over 4 kilometers to my right but the roads remains straight up. We stopped at a rice field where several young men were planting rice in the paddies and asked for more information about the non-existent road. We were told that the road did exist and they described it as logging road towards the forested area. The road is now a muddy trail used by carabao sleds and too narrow for my 4-wheel drive Terrano. I guess the trail is passable for a good hike but this will throw a monkey wrench to my well-laid plan going to Calbayog City. Santah even suggested without any trace of hesitation to start the hike. I think she is more hooked to the confluence adventure than me. For now we need to be there in Calbayog City on December 28th for the blessing of our vacation house and 60th birthday celebration of Santah among here relatives and friends. Even worse, the wind and rain were stormy but it was only later that I realized that storm signal was raised in the Bicol Region and Samar. At that moment we decided to skip this visit and went back to Sipocot to resume our journey. We lost about 140 kilometers for the attempt. When we reached Matnog Sorsogon at 3:15 PM, we missed by two cars the 4 PM trip of MV Maharlika, the only ferryboat allowed to operate when the Storm Signal is 1. We left Matnog in its return trip at midnight.
From this experience I will no longer trust 100% the topographical maps that I believed the last updates were done in the 1950s.
For now, N14 E123 has to wait for our future attempt.