It Begins – Maynoba Circuit

Every now and then, Rizal province just keeps on surprising everyone of its natural attractions. As ecotourism hype took a notch higher this year, the impact has to be spread evenly.  Now, Tanay stole a little bit of limelight from Rodriguez; with Mt. Batolusong and its newest addition to the Sierra Madre cluster is Mts. Cayabu and Maynoba which opened its trails to the mountaineering community just a month ago.

Brgy. Cayabu, lies several more kilometers from the Brgy. San Andres jump-off of Mt. Batolusong. And so it begins.

Kay Ambo, Ba Yan?

Around 2 in the morning, our group assembled at Aurora Boulevard in Cubao to catch the earliest jeepney that goes to Cogeo Gate 2, we were able to ride one after 15minutes of waiting. It took 45 minutes before we alighted at Gate 2, but no Sampaloc bound jeeps are present. Instead of waiting for the first trip to come, we haggled with several tricycles to take us to Batangasan, and we got two, that is 450php per tricycle. It was a long ride indeed, and as we neared Brgy. San Andres, the air turned chilly, and the city lights were seen from where we are. But unexpected as it was, we stopped by Brgy. Cuyambay to realize that we passed by our destination several kilometers from it. But then we got back at San Andres where we rode another tricycle for 200php per trip and took us at Brgy. Cayabu after 20mins.

Kuya Ronald, the vice-president of their local tourism council welcomed us at Marning Resort where we will also register. By 5 in the morning, we started the trek, in high hopes of catching the sea of clouds.

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Around 30 minutes in the open trail, where you will be passing by sleeping cows, we are already at Mt. Cayabu, which came from the word “Kay Ambo”. A local who lives in here back in the days was called Ambo, and whenever people pertains to what this place is called, they usually respond with “Kay, Ambo” (it’s Ambo’s property), and generations passed it turned into “Cayabu”.

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We only passed by at the side near the summit since the summit trail has not been trailblazed, and its height still not determined.
Where The Rivers Merge

The trail is really ideal for beginners since assaults are hardly noticed and really similar to Mt. Sembrano and other Batangas Mountains. With cogon grass and little trees all through its length, the sun slowly peeked through several layers of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

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There were no sea of clouds, but to see the fog slowly creep through mountain tops, and witness the small streaks of light break through the unending horizon was a welcome change.

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We waited a little bit more at the trail to see the sun rise above where it initially hid itself before we summited.  And after an hour from Mt. Cayabu, the peak of Mt. Maynuba is now within our reach. At 720MASL, it is an open area with a flag hoisted at the top of a bamboo pole, cogon grass is all over and a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains.

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“Maynuba” came from the local tongue which means “where the rivers merge” because of the appearance of the ridge where the slopes have small rivers that flows down into a larger one where they ‘merge’ at the larger river at the bottom of the mountain.

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This is not really the true summit of Mt. Maynuba, since the higher one at the far end of the mountain is utilized as training grounds for military personnels, so entry is strictly prohibited.

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We had our breakfast and took a little rest before we proceeded on our descent to the 8 wonderfalls of the Maynuba Circuit.

Chasing Waterfalls

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Our guide recommended that we make haste on our way down since it will be a lot hotter when the sun shows up. We took another ridge trail before we saw a mountain that has a lot of vegetation in it, after an hour of trekking from open grasslands to forested area, we are now at the first waterfall on our list, the Natatagong Paraiso Falls.

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The second one is named as such due to the presence of Catmon trees in the area.

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Back in the days, locals used to wash out the gold ores in this part of the river to extract pure gold from their mining activities.

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A gargantuan rock that looks like it is ready to roll down anytime, that is Gugulong Na Bato Falls. We did a little cliff jump into its waters as we cooled down in its basin.

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The time it takes to finish the waterfalls depends on how long your group plans to stay at each waterfall and how many members there are.

Let us spread the impact, take the trails less taken, and experience outdoors in a whole new level. Climbing is not just for the sake of summit selfies, who climbs faster nor about who has the most complete gears. But this is about the camaraderie and real stories we get from the journey.

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Itinerary and Expenses

0230  Cubao, take jeep to Cogeo Gate 2 (24php/pax)
0315  Arrival at Cogeo Gate 2, take tricycle going to Batangasan (450php/tricycle)
0430  Arrival at Batangasan, Brgy. San Andres, take another tricycle to Brgy. Cayabu (200php/trip)
0450  Alighted at Marning Resort, Brgy. Cayabu, register, meet guide, final preparations (500php/5pax, 20php Envi Fee)
0500  Start trek
0530  Pass by Mt. Cayabu
0630  Summit of Mt. Maynoba
0730  Resume trek, descend to 8 waterfalls
0830  Arrival at Natatagong Paraiso Falls, explore remaining 7 waterfalls
1100  Back at jump-off point, lunch, tidy-up
1300  Travel back, take tricycle to Palo Alto (500php/tricycle)
1345  ETA Palo alto, take jeep back to Cogeo Gate 2 (30php/pax)
1430  Back at Cogeo Gate 2, take jeep back to Cubao (24php/pax)
1530  ETA Cubao

Ideal Itinerary

0100  Cubao to Cogeo Gate 2 (24php)
0200  ETA Cogeo Gate 2, meet service van from Cayabu tourism (2000php-2400php, max of 22pax)
0330  ETA Brgy. Cayabu, register (500php/5pax, 20php Envi Fee)
0400  Start Trek
0600  Mt. Maynoba summit
0700  Descend to 8 waterfalls
1100  Back at jump-off point
1230  ETD to Cogeo Gate 2
1400  ETA Cogeo Gate 2, take jeep to Cubao (24php)
1500  ETA Cubao

Notes:
Kuya Ronald, Vice-President Cayabu Tourism: +639084330444
Notes:
– Permits for dayhikes are not needed, but necessary for overnight climbs.
– As of April 2016, only 26 guides are in the roster, 27th group will no longer be accomodated.
– Van service by Cayabu Tourism meet-up will be at Cogeo gate 2, price ranges from 2000php-2400php.
– Signal reception at Brgy. Cayabu is weak and it is advised to contact key persons days before the scheduled climb.

Total Damage: 550php/pax (safe budget: 700php)

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Go, carve that niche,
Rex

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