Major Jump-off: Brgy. Macatad, Upland Siniloan
Elevation: 300 MASL
Days required / hours to summit: 1 day, 2-3 hours
Specs: Minor Climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail Class 1
Features: Waterfalls, Rain forest
And to cap off our celebration month for passing the board exams, my college friends invited me for a quick hike somewhere near Manila, and we decided to visit Mt. Romelo which is situated in Siniloan, Laguna.
We took the Raymund Bus Lines going to Infanta, Quezon at Legarda, Sampaloc, Manila near Arellano University and Nagtahan Bridge (one can opt to take the LRT line 2 and alight at Legarda station, or take the jeepneys passing through Nagtahan). It was around 6:30am when we were en route to Infanta, and we asked to be dropped off at Buruwisan jumpoff (This is the only bus company that passes through the Siniloan jumpoff).
The bus takes the Manila East Road that passes through several municipalities and cities of Rizal from Ortigas, then at Laguna which is on the other side of the Laguna de Bay and took us 4hrs before we reached the jumpoff point. At 10:30am we were at the jumpoff, Kia-3 Restaurant at the left side and the Buruwisan Multifalls signage at the right.
We were welcomed by Kuya Rey who said he was a guide of Mt. Romelo and lead us at the small registration hall, you will be passing by a mini dam then into a concrete walkway. (I recommend to contact guides prior to your climb since the registration hall is 5mins from the highway).
Then There’s Mud
Mt. Romelo is a good training climb near Manila for newbie hikers out there since the trail is mostly straightforward . We reached the registration hall and paid the fee and logged our names in. After preparing our stuff, we started the hike by 11:00am. The weather was quite unforgiving on our case, rain started pouring hard as we alighted at the jumpoff until we started, and man, the trail was all muddy all throughout.
My friends had no choice but to have their shoes submerged in deep mud puddles than to slide down into it. It was not what we expected but the difficulty made the climb more exciting.
A Breath of Fresh Air
You will be passing by two small resting areas before the so called summit, and after an hour of trekking into the notoriously muddy trail, we reached the top of Mt. Romelo by 12:00nn.
And as soon as we descended down to reach the multifalls of Siniloan, we were again battered by the rain.
Into The Falls
And as we ascended down Mt. Romelo’s summit, the trail got more notoriously muddy than before, but we have no choice but to pass through it to get to the waterfalls. And after an hour of sliding and slipping into the puddles, we reached the campsite. Surprising It was like a small village, with several erected cottages, houses, and even sari-sari stores. locals said that during weekends, hundreds of visitors camp in the place, no wonder the commercialization here is beyond what an impact can become.
We can even have a kilo of rice cooked for a fee as soon as we finished exploring the falls. From the campsite you can see the river that feeds the Buruwisan falls as the water gravitates downward into a freefall in its catch basin.
From the campsite we trekked down to witness the grandeur of the new Buruwisan Falls by taking its steep trail downward, really exciting.
New Buruwisan Falls
And after a brief climb down to reach the falls, she unravelled her self and she is really a sight to behold. A stream of water is flowing from its mouth that passes through enclaves of moss and ferns and some vines that goes down into a wide catch basin. Not far from the left is a small cave with curtains of roots. The word Buruwisan came from a specie of tree that once thrived into its riverbanks back in the days, but as of today there is little to none.
There are several waterfalls around the area, the Old Buruwisan Falls which is only accessible by rappeling, Twin Falls, Batya-Batya, Lanzones, Sapang Labo, and Sampaloc Falls. The water was cold, and one must swim with precaution since the catch basin can suddenly get deep.
Not far from the Buruwisan Falls is Lanzones Falls to the right, while Old Buruwisan to the left. The falls is accessible in 5mins from the first waterfall and has her own unique characteristic. And she was named after the fruit that grows abundantly from September to December, Lanzones which was peddled by some people boarding the bus before we alighted.
Upon reaching the Lanzones Falls, instead of moss and ferns, this one is flowing through dark and sharp rocks as the water goes down into a 70ft drop before the shallow catch basin that is ideal for swimming.
By 2:30pm we decided to go back to the campsite and have our lunch, it is ideal to stay overnight if you want to explore the several remaining falls in the area, but in our case we are doing a dayhike, so we must be at the jumpoff before dark. After having our lunch, we trekked back into the jumpoff point and by 4:30pm we were back. Rains were prevalent again that the mud covered trail was unforgiving. By 5:30pm we were at the highway and waited again for the bus that goes back to Legarda. The travel time took 4hrs.
The locals welcome almost everybody at anytime and any day of the week, that several huts are open during the weekend along the trail. And the campsite was like a small village full of stores and and cottages. It helps the locals to get through their everyday life, but imagine the impact of hundreds of visitors during weekends. It is once said that fireflies swarm the trees at night and animals roam free, but none can be seen today aside from snakes.
“Thousands of nerve-shaken, over civilized people is beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a neccessity..” – John Muir
(But what if that neccessity is also slowly being killed by these kind of people?)
Visiting the basins of the falls can be quite dissapointing since garbages are tucked over there, right here, and under here. Is it really hard for people to keep their litter for a while?. Even vandalism is prevalent, like they can write on it ’cause visiting the place is their bragging right. Come on, let’s be responsible enough.
Budget and Itinerary
Mt. Romelo Dayhike + Buruwisan Falls + Lansones Falls
0530 – Meet up at Legarda
0630 – Take bus at Raymund Bus Lines, Legarda to Brgy. Macatad, Siniloan, Laguna (117php)
1030 – ETA jump-off point. Register (P50/person) – guide at 600php
1100 – Start trek
1200 – ETA Mt. Romelo Summit
1230 – ETA Campsite. Visit Buruwisan. Lunch.
1330 – Explore Lansones Falls
1430 – Start descent
1630 – Back at jumpoff. Clean up
1730 – Head back to Manila
2130 – ETA Manila
*Kuya Rey (Guide) – 09213160113
Expenses per Pax
Bus – 234php
Tricycle – 26php (80php one way/3pax)
Guide – 200php per pax(group of 3pax)
Fee – 50php
Food – 200php
Total damage – 690php (800php safe budget)
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert
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