Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA: 14°44′25.3′′ N, 121°11′30.4′ 517 MASL (+460m)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3.5 hours
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-4 with limestone scrambling
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province
Where Eagles Come To Dine
A supposed to be chill day for a twin hike of the mountains of Montalban, Rizal turned out to be one of those climbs that we’ll definitely tick off from our bucket lists. Mt. Hapunang Banoi is one of the relatively unexplored mountains near the Montalban Gorge, and during the time of our visit we had no idea that we are in for an adventure. Hapunang Banoi when translated into the common tongue means where the Eagles(Banoi) come to perch (Hapon) and/or to dine. This shows how extensive the breeding grounds of the Eagles were ages ago.
An hour away from Cubao, we rode an FX going to Montalban from Farmer’s Market and alighted at the town proper. Then we hailed a tricycle going to the DENR office, upon arriving we are greeted by the people of the DENR Pamitinan Protected Landscape. After securing our permits and guide, the trek commenced. We passed by a hanging bridge and into a forest trail that will lead you to the Banoi Junction. This junction serves as a common trail for the two mountains, turn left for Hapunang Banoi, and right for Pamitinan.
From the junction is where the rock scrambling begins, and no established trail is set since this is newly opened to the hikers. The rocks are still razor sharp compared with Pamitinan and can cut with the slightest graze. And after an hour of hiking and scrambling, we are welcomed by the 10 rock peaks of Hapunang Banoi.
No Room for Errors
According to our guide Sir Arnel Zata, the mountain was rated 7/9 by the local office and was later rated into 4/9. But so far the trek couldn’t be anymore challenging without taking photos at devil-may-care parts of the mountain, no room for errors, just one take.
Jagged, On Point
After taking a 10min rest at the bamboo trail, we headed for the summit. This is where the climb took a notch higher in difficulty as rocks became more notorious, jagged and on point.
Several more mountains are day hikeable around, some are Mt. Ayaas, Mt. Matamis na Luya, and Mt. Irid. Since this is a twin day hike, the descent took an hour and we took our lunch at the Banoi junction before heading at the other side of the mountain, Mt. Pamitinan.
Itinerary and Expenses
Mt. Hapunang Banoi + Mt. Pamitinan Twin Day Hike
0445 – Assembly at Farmers Market Cubao
0500 – ETD, Take UV Express FX with signboard “Rodriguez”, alight at Eastwood. (50php/pax)
0615 – ETA, Eastwood, take tricycle to DENR station at Brgy. Wawa. (10php/pax)
0635 – ETA, Brgy. Wawa, eat breakfast. Pay fees and register. Secure guide. (Fee – 2php/pax, Guide – 500 per group of 5/per mountain)
0730 – Start Trek.
0830 – ETA Banoi Junction
1030 – summit
1215 – Back at Banoi Junction, eat lunch, rest
1300 – climb Mt. Pamitinan
1345 – Summit
1415 – Start Descent
1630 – Back at Brgy. Wawa, sidetrip to Wawa Dam
1700 – Tidy up
1730 – ETD to Cubao
2000 – ETA Cubao
2100 – Post Climb Dinner, Cubao Expo
Guides and fees: 800php/3pax – 267php/pax
Total Damage:587php – 700php safe budget.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Go, Carve that Niche,