Conquering Limits – Montalban Trilogy

Rodriguez, Rizal
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

Rodriguez, Rizal
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA (Pamitinan): 14°43′51.7′′N 121°11′29.2′′ E 426 MASL
LLA (Binacayan): 14°43′30.5′′N 121°11′26.1′′ E 424 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 1.5-3 hours (P); 2-3 hours (B)
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (P); 3/9 (B) / Trail class 1-4
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province

The author has visited Brgy. Wawa in Rodriguez, Rizal twice. And upon seeing feats of Tri, Quad, Pentalogy climbs, they answered to the challenge and tried to conquer their limits. This is the third time that he’ll climb it’s mountains, but this particular climb, his group of three people will try to summit three peaks in one day, as they say, third time’s always the charm.

To The Dragon’s Head

It was around 5am when we met up at Gateway, Cubao, supposedly this is a five member group, but only three of us showed up. We immediately took the UV express that goes straight to Eastwood in Rodriguez (50php/pax). By 5:45am we were already at Eastwood and hailed a tricycle that will take us to Brgy. Wawa (60php/trip). And as soon as we arrived at Brgy. Wawa we registered first, paid the corresponding fees and secured a guide, then we started the trek.

Because in the mountains, the terrain dictates our path.

First on our list is Mt. Binicayan, the other half of the Montalban Gorge, and the yin to the yang of Mt. Pamitinan. At 6:15am we started the trek. After passing some concrete pavements on the way to the footholds of the mountain, and boulders along the trail with a slightly steep incline, we reached the viewdeck by 7am.

But right now these moments aren’t stories.

The sun has finally risen from the horizon but upon seeing the view from where we were standing, remnants of the early morning sea of clouds is still present. What a treat and what a way to start your day.

We carried on into our hike and a few minutes later, the Dragon’s Head showed itself, a rock karst standing along the top that resembles that of a giant dragon head.


Some tricky walk along sharp stones that can cut real bad, and another 30 minutes of scrambling, we were finally at the summit of Mt. Binicayan at 424 meters above sea level.

Someday we will forget how it is to be young.


We descended back to Brgy. Wawa immediately to save time, and by 9:30am we were already back and had a quick rest. By 10am, our trilogy hike resumed again.

To Where The Eagles Are

We arrived at the junction after 45 minutes, and we also decided to have our lunch there
together with quite a horrifying number of people at the junction. The junction that I remember before only have wooden benches for tired hikers, but this time, a lot has changed over a year. The once quiet resting place is now composed of several huts that sell souvenirs, rice meals, a sari-sari store, and even a juice stand.

Scrambling all the way.

And what is really surprising is that along the trail we met American Mormons, in pants and tucked-in long sleeves with neck ties (not joking), a group of middle aged teachers, teenagers having quite a pictorial, and a mass climb. No one answers back whenever you greet them a good morning, not even a smile. We are not against any of their reason so as to why they climb, but we have to admit that it is quite a fiasco up there.

Peace, love, and respect.

Going back, after our lunch by 12 noon, we decided to take it easy on the trail up to Mt. Hapunang Banoi, since the afternoon heat is punishing. By 1pm we took a much needed rest at the kamagong tree near the rock wall since our friend suffers from cramps and can’t continue without resting first. When he felt that he is now ok, we continued and eventually we reached our second peak for the day, at 2:30pm.

Mountains keep us humble, it reminds us that there is more to life, to living.

The trail is now more established but the rocks are not as sharp as before. But the trek to the top is still quite a challenge, and the views up there is rewarding as ever like how the Philippine Eagle appreciates the rocky summit back in the days. We descended back to the junction, by 2:45pm and arrived by 3:45pm.

2 of 3!

One Last Push

But sometimes circumstances can be quite dissapointing. After resting at the junction, we carried on with the hike, and I advanced quite far from the pack since I know the way up. But as I waited for them to pass by, only our guide, Mang Fernan showed up telling me that one of them could not carry on due to his leg cramps and the other also deciding not to continue to help. So it is only I and Mang Fernan finishing the trilogy, and man, our guide didn’t showed any sign of breathlessness and quickly dragged me up to the summit of Mt. Pamitinan in 25 minutes. Sweet victory indeed for finishing the trilogy!.

It is nice leaving certain things to chance.
Happy kid.

A quick rest and taking of pictures on it and we then got back down to the junction in 30minutes. (Lesson learned: a wolf pack does not leave anyone behind)


Then Some Things Just Happens

Although the two of my friends came short from finishing the trilogy, we promised to come back and finish what we started. So after few minutes of rest at the junction. We prepared on our way down. But a call on the radio broke the silence of the place; a woman on the Pamitinan trail received a deep cut on her leg after sliding into one of the sharp rocks on their way down. With Mang Fernan being the nearest that time, immediately scrambled his way up to where they are and quickly responded to the distress call. A few minutes later, guides with a hammock ambulance came and carried the woman aboard the ambulance, who was still smiling inspite of her wound that was well taken care of by first aiders. We got back at Brgy. Wawa by 6pm and by 8pm we were back at Manila, tired but fulfilled.

Unexpected things just happens on the trail, we should always be prepared and always take care whenever doing a hike and have all your senses present all the time. Always challenge yourself but never conquer a mountain, because it is the mountains that conquer you in ways you can not fathom and tests as to where your limits are.

Sometimes you just have to let moments wash over you instead of burn you.

Itinerary and Budget

0500  –  Gateway, Cubao, take Rodriguez, Rizal Bound UV Express (50php/pax)
0545  –  Arrival at Eastwood, take tricycle to Brgy. Wawa (60php/trip – 20php/pax)
0600  –  Arrival at PPL, register, secure guide
Registration Fee – 2php/pax
Guide Fee – 1200php/3pax for 3 mountains
0615  –  Start trek up Mt. Binicayan
0700  –  Viewdeck, sunrise and sea of clouds
0745  –  Mt. Binicayan summit
0800  –  Descend back to Brgy. Wawa
0930  –  Back at Brgy. Wawa, rest, breakfast
1000  –  Start trek to Mt. Hapunang Banoi
1045  –  Arrival at junction, early lunch
1200  –  Resume Trek
1300  –  Rest
1330  –  Resume trek
1430  –  Arrival at summit of Mt. Hapunang Banoi
1500  –  Descend back
1545  –  Arrival at junction
1600  –  Start trek up Mt. Pamitinan
1625  –  Arrival at summit of Mt. Pamitinan
1700  –  Back at junction
1730  –  Descend back to Brgy. Wawa
1800  –  Back at Brgy. Wawa, tidy up
1830  –  Take tricycle back to Eastwood (60php/trip)
1840  –  Take UV Express via Litex back to Cubao. (50php/pax)
2000  –  Back at Cubao

Budget (for 3pax)
FX – 100php/pax (Cubao-Eastwood-Cubao)
Tricycle – 40php/pax (Eastwood-Wawa-Eastwood)
Registration – 2php/pax
Guide – 400php/pax
Brgy. Donation – 20php/pax

Total Damage: 562php/pax (800php-safe budget)

– Hodor, A Song of Ice and Fire


3 thoughts on “Conquering Limits – Montalban Trilogy”

  1. Hi Rex! I found your blog from the DIY group in Facebook and you really have great blog posts! I just started mine. Would you mind following back? I am working on a few drafts and will publish them soon! Thank you!


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