Unbearable Lightness – Mt. Ayaas (627+)

MT. AYAAS
Rodriguez, Rizal
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
Minor jumpoff: Brgy. Mascap, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA: 14°45′3.38′′ N, 121°12′27.5′ 627 MASL (+570)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 3-4 hours
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3 with river trekking
Features: River trekking, scenic views, waterfalls
(www.pinoymountaineer.com)

Rodriguez and Mascap, Rizal has been home to the historic Pentalogy climb, succeeding the Quadrilogy climb that was done a few weeks prior to the latter, moreover, this several mountains was all finished in a day (epic, right?). And it was just simply amazing, the teams who have finished this course deserves a really big round of applause.

Having finished a twin day hike of Hapunang Banoi and Pamitinan, the author decided to take his family (who insisted to have him take them) into another newly opened mountain, which is a nice addition to the rocky mountain clusters of Rodriguez, Rizal, Mt. Ayaas, that is.


This Is Halloween
It was a day before the All Souls Day when we scheduled our climb. Around 6am we are already at Cubao, it took us an hour to reach Brgy. Wawa. Had our breakfast, secured our guide and registered, after some final preparations, we are on our way to visit Mt. Ayaas by 8am.

Contrary to the popular trail being taken by other hikers, which is several river crossings after the Montalban Gorge, we took the less taken route. It was fairly easy, taking into consideration of the safety of our companions who are beginners. The trail starts after crossing the hanging bridge, into the community then a continuous ascent into open trails without much tree covering.

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This trail encompasses the whole length of Mt. Hapunang Banoi, and once you reach the other end of it, an open grassland with several Banana trees appears and Mt. Ayaas is a stonethrow away from it.

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After two hours of relaxed paced, we are already at the transmission tower, had some quick rest before our final assault to the summit.

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This Time, No Rocks
The trail up to the summit is really different from the other mountains around, no rock scrambling and death defying trails, just a longer route, open grasslands that is similar to those of Batangas’ mountains, and no tree covering at the least.

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To top it up, the weather was really forgiving, cloudy (but no chance of meatballs) , and with breeze that blows softly into the mountain side.

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Around 10:30am, we are already at the summit of Mt. Ayaas, such grand views and a good vantage point to see several mountains of Rizal at once: Binacayan, Pamitinan, Hapunang Banoi, Sipit Ulang, Kapananan, Lubog, and the highest of all in the province, Mt. Irid.

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Karugo Falls
After having our lunch, and enjoying the cold weather up there, we went down and traversed to Karugo Falls by 11:30am. If not for the light drizzle and chilly wind, we could have stayed a little longer at the summit. We took the same trail down to the transmission tower and descended to the end of Mt. Hapunang Banoi, before we took a fork that leads to the river trail, passing at the back of Hapunang Banoi and Pamitinan. After several crossings and two full hours, we are already at the Karugo Falls.

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We spent half an hour in the area before we decided to finish the whole leg of the trail.

Montalban Gorge
Before reaching the Wawa River, you will be passing by some coffee trees in the area, and several minutes from it is the Mahogany Forest. This area really packs a lot of surprise. You could ride a boat to cross the river, but we opted to cross it by foot since the river current is not that strong.

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And by 3:15pm, we are back at the Wawa Dam, then tidied up before we said goodbye to this awesome place.

Inhale Then Exhale
With all the hype of climbing mountains recently, the author came to think about why are we really climbing mountains. For some, it is a lifestyle and to others: a way of relaxing, an escape, and to heal. But for some, god knows what they really are up to.

But sometimes the essence of mountaineering is lost when you compete with yourself and other fellow mountaineers. Take time to inhale and exhale, appreciate the view and reflect on it. Also, if you only came for peak bragging, but completely disregarding LNT principles, then you should have not been there in the first place. Just a few of his cents at the least. Peace out. Happy Hiking!.

Itinerary
Mt. Ayaas Traverse to Karugo Falls
0600  –  ETD Gateway Cubao
0645  –  ETA  Eastwood, Montalban, Rizal
0700  –  Arrival at Brgy. Wawa, register, eat breakfast
0800  –  Start hike
1030  –  ETA Mt. Ayaas Summit, lunch, take pictures
1130  –  Traverse to Carugo Falls
1415  –  ETA Carugo Falls, Swim
1445  –  Descend back to Wawa Dam
1515  –  ETA Wawa dam
1530  –  DENR PPL Office, tidy up
1615  –  Back at Eastwood
1900  –  ETA Manila

Budget
Transportation:
FX – 100php (Cubao-Rizal-Cubao)
Tricycle – 20php (Eastwood-Wawa-Eastwood)
Fees:
Environmental Fee – 2php
Guide Fee – 200php/pax (800php/4pax)
Food: 200php

Total Damage: 522php/pax (700php – safe budget)

“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”

Go, carve that niche.

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