Category Archives: RIZAL

See With New Eyes – Mt. Batolusong (780+)

MT. BATOLUSONG (MAPATAG & SUSONG DALAGA)

Tanay, Rizal
Major jumpoff: Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, Rizal*
LLA: 645 MASL / 780 MASL
Days required / Hours to destination: 1 day /1.5h (Mapatag); 3-4 (Susong Dalaga Peak)
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Grassland slopes, views of Laguna, Rizal, and Quezon
(www.pinoymountaineer.com)

The thing with night treks is that you won’t be able to see what lies ahead of you, for it is dark, but as the easy morning dawns on you the following day, you’ll see with new, better eyes.

For the Night is Dark and Full of Frogs

It was really late in the afternoon when we arrived in Cubao to catch the Cogeo bound jeeps. Though the jeepney ride was all good, one can still opt to take the UV express vans which is way more faster. Light rains welcomed us as we arrived at Cogeo Gate 2 after almost an hour of travel. We made some final supply run for our dinner before we got to the Mall of Antipolo which is on the right side after passing Jollibee. Arriving at the far end of the Mall is where Sampaloc bound jeeps are located, last trip is usually at 7pm.

Almost an hour of jeepney ride along the winding roads of Tanay before we alighted at the Batangasan/San Andres Arch. From here we took another tricycle ride going to Brgy. San Andres Tourism, the ride took 15mins. Upon arrival we were received by Kuya Derek, the tourism officer, we paid for the corresponding fees and met with our guide and off we go.

The trek started by 8:15pm, we initially passed by the San Andres community before we hit the rice fields. Frogs were everywhere and be careful not to step on them by chance since it is dark. But the highlight of the walk is the lone tree at the center of the paddy that is flocked by fireflies, the tree is in ever glow and it was really uhm ..magical (it really is).

Duhatan Ridge

After 30 minutes we arrived at the first water source and is also where the incline of the mountain increases. The trek was only gradual and again took us another 15minutes before we arrived at the last water source, it was all foggy up in there. The last assault will only be 5 minutes before we reached the Duhatan Ridge campsite. What surprised us is that the sea of clouds is now present and is just waiting for the sun to touch its billowing sea of cotton.

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We set up our camp and prepared our dinner before we called it a night.

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We woke up real early just to catch the milky way but to no avail, the moon was beaming high up in the horizon that the band was not visible. We had our campsite to ourselves so we had an early morning coffee and the clouds are now thicker and flowing than ever.

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We had been to Mt. Pulag just last week but we failed to witness the sea of clouds at the rooftop of Luzon, but who knows that you don’t really have to go far enough just to witness such a phenomenon when all along Rizal province has it all for you.

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Islands in the Sky

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Around 6:20am we started our trek to the Rangyas Peak, we reached the Mapatag Plateau by 6:55am and the clouds were like the sea, and the once mountain tops became islands floating in this sea of flowing white.

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Batolusong came from two words, “Bato” and “Lusong”, back in the days the mountain is called Batonglusong because of the presence of a rock formation near the river that resembles that of  a stone rice mortar.

Rangyas Peak

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After a little rest at the Mapatag Plateau we then continued at the Rangyas Peak. And we were back at our campsite by 7:30am.

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We descended back after breaking camp and did a little sidetrip at an underwater cave called the Sangab Cave that is around 20mins from the jump-off.

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We got back at the tourism hut by 9:00am and prepared for our next mountain. The Mt. Paliparan Circuit.

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Budget and Itinerary:

Mt. Batolusong/Duhatan Ridge/Mapatag Plateau/Rangyas Peak – Overnight Camp

Day 01
1735  – Cubao take jeep/fx bound to Cogeo Gate 2 (26php(jeep)/46php(fx)- per pax)
1835  – Arrival at Cogeo Gate 2, supply run, take jeep bound to Sampaloc (42php/pax – terminal located at Mall of Antipolo)
1900  – ETD to Sampaloc
1945  – Alight at Batangasan (Brgy. San Andres Arch), take tricycle to Batolusong Tourism (120-100php per trip/3-5pax)
2000  – Register, secure guide
●500php – dayhike, 1250php – overnight
●20php – duhatan ridge + 20php – rangyas peak
2015  – Start trek
2045  – 1st water source
2100  – 2nd water source
2115  – Arrival at Duhatan Ridge

Day 02
0330  – Wake up, Catch Milky Way, Sea of Clouds, Sunrise
0620  – Start trek to Rangyas Peak
0640  – Tibag
0655  – Mapatag Plateau
0705  – Arrival at Rangyas Peak
0730  – Back at Duhatan Ridge
0750  – Campout, start descent
0847  – Arrival Sangab Cave
0900  – San Andres Tourism Office
0930  – Take tricycle back to Highway
– Alternately take tricycle to Brgy. Cuyambay if it will be twihiked with Mt. Paliparan on Day 02(200php/trip)

Budget for 3pax:
Transportation: 216php/pax
Fees: 440php/pax

Total Damage: 656php/pax (safe budget: 800php/pax)

Notes:
• San Andres Tourism Officer – Sir Derek ( +639360100628)
• Tourism is open 24/7, guide is mandatory.
• Guides are available at the tourism hut, you can not get a specific person to guide you since they are queued.
• For more info you can also contact our guide Kuya Lito Aran (+639360100042)

• Cogeo bound jeeps pass by every 30mins, and one can try Pico De Pino’s Lomi and many more.

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley

Go, carve that niche,
Rex

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Up There – Mt. Pamitinan (426+)

Since my friends from the trilogy didn’t made it to the top of their third mountain last time, we rescheduled a “revenge” climb to finish what they started. This time, an hour earlier before the sun rises to catch the morning sea of clouds.

Vanilla Twilight

We arrived at Brgy. Wawa before 5am to make sure that we will be at the summit by 6am. Some final registration and meet-up with the guide, a little prayer, and the dim trek started. A little dark here and there, and the coldness of the morning felt new to us, since we are used to hiking Wawa during the day. Half an hour passed and we are already at the junction. We wasted no time and pushed through with the hike in the now rocky trail of Mt. Pamitinan. And after 20mins of fast paced climb, we already reached the first summit and waited for the sun rise.

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Transition period
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Sunrise

And as soon as little rays of the morning sun broke out from the sky, the clouds began to settle below us. It was a sea of cotton amidst the vanilla twilight. Who would have thought that you don’t have to go far enough to witness such an amazing phenomenon.

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Flowing

Overflowing

We then proceeded to the second summit of Mt. Pamitinan, where you have to go down a limestone cliff that has sharp rocks all over then a more trickier one as you ascend again to the tall rocks that marks the summit.

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Real sharp

Then as the sun got a little higher, the clouds began to overflow like a river from where we were standing and that was one of the best moments that we are going to remember from Wawa.

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Then we got back to the first peak to have have some rest and do those buwis-buhay shots for the 3rd time.

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Team RAK

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We descended down by 8am and reached the DENR office mo later than 9am. That was a quick but fulfilling climb. We were back at Cubao by lunch time.

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Itinerary and Expenses

0330  Take UV Express Van bound to Rodriguez (50php/pax)
0430  Arrival at Eastwood, take tricycle to Brgy. Wawa (60php/trip)
0445 Arrival at DENR-PPL Office, Register, secure guide (Reg. Fee: 2php, Guide Fee: 500php/5pax)
0500  Start trek
0530  Arrival at junction
0550  Mt. Pamitinan summit 1
0630  Mt. Pamitinan Summit 2
0800  Descend back to Brgy. Wawa
0845  DENR-PPL Office, breakfast, tidy up
1030  take tricycle back to Eastwood (60php/trip)
1045  Take Van going back to Cubao (50php/pax)
1130  Cubao

Expenses:
(For a group of 3pax)
Transportation: 140php
Fees: 170php + 20php Brgy. donation
Food: 100php

Total Damage: 430php/pax (safe budget: 600php/pax)

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
– Henry Miller

Go, Carve That Niche,
Rex<
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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

Conquering Limits – Montalban Trilogy

MT. HAPUNANG BANOI
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

MTS. PAMITINAN AND BINICAYAN
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
(www.pinoymountaineer.com)

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.

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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.

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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.

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Dracarys.

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.

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Someday we will forget how it is to be young.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Karsts
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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.

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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!.

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It is nice leaving certain things to chance.
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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)

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Three-logy!

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.

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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)
Transportation:
FX – 100php/pax (Cubao-Eastwood-Cubao)
Tricycle – 40php/pax (Eastwood-Wawa-Eastwood)
Fees:
Registration – 2php/pax
Guide – 400php/pax
Brgy. Donation – 20php/pax

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

HODOR, HODOR……HODOR
– Hodor, A Song of Ice and Fire

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.

Free Spirits – Mt. Sipit Ulang (252+)

MT. SIPIT ULANG
Rodriguez, Rizal
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Mascap, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA: 14°45′20.7′′ N, 121°10′38.2′ 252 MASL (+210m)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3.5 hours
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (Paniki Trail), Trail class 1-4 with limestone scrambling
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Wawa
(www.pinoymountaineer.com)

Last July 02, 2015, the officials of Brgy. Mascap in Rodriguez, Rizal formally opened the trails to a gargantuan rock formation up in the mountains of their vicinity called the Sipit Ulang; one of their best kept secret is out now.

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Started From The Bottom
By 6am we were already at Brgy. San Rafael after a quick UV Express ride from Gateway, Cubao. Had breakfast with the gang before we hailed a tricycle that will take us to Brgy. Mascap. After 30mins of travel in concrete paved roads, we were welcomed by the tourism officers of the barangay, some picture taking, registration, final preparations, and then off we go.

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Everyone in our group were beginners in hiking mountains that the author made sure that it was known by our guide, but we guessed that our guide haven’t heard that one clearly. After passing a small river, the hike started. Our guide said that he will be introducing a new trailblazed route and we were one of the first groups to use it. The ascent was mostly rock scrambling and intersects into the snake trail. Never underestimate a mountain by its height, the hike was challenging.

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Then after a little bit more scrambling, the bamboo forest will welcome you together with some plants with prickly thorns.
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Into Narrow Crevices
After some initial forest trails and trees, next part of the trail is by passing through narrow crevices inside some intimidating boulders. This is also a fun hike wherein a little spelunking is included in the trail.

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Challenging crawling and slipping under some rock formations, and clawing your way up some sharp boulders along the way, that’s the sipit way. Only in Rizal province can you experience a uniquely challenging climb of rocky trails that ends up into limestone decked summits that gives sheer splendor to the hiker.

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Into The Bat Cave!
Right after passing some small holes in the snake trail, Paniki trail will start. If you will ask why it was named Paniki, it is because of the presence of fruit bats taking refuge in the ceilings of some caves near the trail, and even in the trail itself.

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Make sure to wear appropriate footwears when climbing Mt. Sipit Ulang for rocks in it and even the bamboo bridges can get real slippery to real sharp.

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After several minutes, the bamboo ladder of the Paniki trail. Quite steep, but feeds your fear immunity bigtime and leads to the Kabibe (Clam) rock formation.

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And the Paniki Trail will be augmenting into the Balete Trail, since a hundred year old Balete Tree (Strangler Fig) stands proud among the other trees. Locals say that this tree was tried to be cut down by some, but for strange reasons some of them died or were inflicted with diseases of unknown nature. Other stories tell of a Santelmo (St. Elmo’s Fire) or a fireball that chases anyone who comes close to the tree. Creepy isn’t it?.

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Then, There’s The Rain
Almost three hours on the trail (since everyone in the group are beginners), rain started pouring down. We took refuge inside a small cave and had some rest and had our lunch before a quick ascent into the much awaited rock formation.

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Now We’re Here
The rain couldn’t stop us from reaching the summit, and though it is quite a downpour, we managed to get our asses to the top. Upon reaching it, the rain subsided a little.

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It was named Sipit Ulang which means crab claw, since it resembles the claws of it jutting out to the sky reaching for something.

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And as the fog cleared up a little, the view became rad and showcased Sipit Ulang’s other neighbors.

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Then we waited for our turn to have a good photo atop the rock formation, but some of the groups in it were a little inconsiderate that time because half an hour of waiting is still not enough for them. Rain poured hard again, we waited but still they’re having the time of their lives so we opted to just have a nice photo with the Sipit as the background.

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The descent was a challenge too. We took the Banayad trail going down and man, it was also slippery because of the mud, if not for the rain the descent could be an easy one. After an hour, we were already down, we decided not to push through with the falls, since the river is swollen and could be a hazard to all of us.

MT. SIPIT ULANG DAYHIKE
0500  Take van from Cubao to Brgy. San Rafael, Rodriguez, Rizal (50php/pax)
0600  ETA Brgy. San Rafael, Rodriguez, Rizal; Breakfast, take tricycle to Brgy. Mascap (30php/pax)
0700  Arrival at Brgy. Mascap. Register at barangay hall (40php/pax)
0730. Start trek up Sipit Ulang via Snake-Paniki-Balete Trail
1100  ETA summit. Explore rock formations
1300  Start descent via the Banayad Trail
1400  Back at Brgy. Mascap. Tidy up.
1430  Head back to Brgy. San Rafael
1500  Back in Eastwood, Rodriguez. Take van back to Manila
1530  Back in Manila.

Budget
Transpo: FX – 100php (back and forth)
Tricycle – 60php (back and forth)
Fees: Environmental Fee – 40php
Guide Fee – 150php (600php/4pax)
Food: 200php
Total Damage: 550php (600php, safe budget if 4pax)

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T. S. Eliot

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Off The Grid – Mt. Lubog (955+)

MT. LUBOG
Rodriguez, Rizal
Trailhead: Sitio Lubog, Brgy. Puray, Rodriguez
LLA: 14°50′10.4′′ N, 121°14′12.9′′, 955 MASL (+337)
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-4 with rock scrambling
Feautures: Limestone formations, scenic views of the Sierra Madre
(www.pinoymountaineer.com)

Hard roads often lead into beautiful destinations, and really, this is true after a visit at one of the new hiking destinations in Rizal: Mt. Lubog, and we can attest to that. Situated in a far flung area named Sitio Lubog, it is only reachable by “habal-habal” style tricycles and 4×4 vehicles, it just opened this year to the mountaineering community and outdoor enthusiasts.

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The limestone-decked summit of Mt. Lubog

A Ride To Remember
We boarded a UV Express which is bound to Montalban, Rizal at 5am and we asked to be dropped off at Brgy. San Rafael (Total Gas Station as landmark). After an hour, we reached the said place, had breakfast, and waited for our contact to fetch us by 7am. The said time came but no Kuya Hernan showed up, only to be notified that his ride was busted and gave us another contact. An hour we waited again, before another driver showed up and by 8am we were in for a sweet ride on a habal-habal.

Mt. Lubog is only reachable by a one to three hour habal ride (yes you read it right) on weather dependent rough roads. The initial part of the ride is quite the rough road you will expect, and after 20 minutes, the ride came to a halt, with the driver saying that the engine needs to cool down before the ascent.

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The tricycle style habal-habal.

And this is where things got exciting, as the ride will be mostly uphill on really rough and muddy roads.

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Mud pools along the way that is sometimes as deep as half of the tricycle's wheel.
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Uphill after a roller coaster ride on a rock strewn path.

After almost an hour we reached the welcome arch of Sitio Macaingalan, Brgy. Puray which is also a good hundred meter altitude gain since the mountains of Montalban are visible at most parts of the ride.

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The perfect balance of uncertainty should not be something we should be scared about. Let's explore uncharted waters.
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The welcome sign, after an unwelcoming trail.

It was a series of dusty, bumpy, and muddy ride, that really needs a good driver to navigate this type of terrain. We had to go down several times and push the thing due to the wheels getting stuck in the mud, or the ride can’t manage to rise up from a deep trench on the road going uphill. The challenge of hiking this mountain really starts on a the transportation to its foot. 

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The rains have visited here days ago but the trail is but a muddy wonderland, how much more on a weeklong typhoon.

Behold, The Sierra Madre
After almost two hours of a heck of a ride, we were at long last, at Sitio Macaingalan proper where the wife of Kagawad Peter’s wife welcomed us. We immediately registered and payed the corresponding fees before we started our hike. After securing our guide, we once again rode the habal-habal and again: series of more rocky terrain. After thirty minutes the ride came to a halt since this is as far as the habal can go and we need to go on foot to reach the foot of the mountain.

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Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

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"Kita mo 'yan? Iyan ang Sierra Madre, napakaganda niyan nung bata pa ako." (See that? That is the Sierra Madre mountain range, it was indeed beautiful when I was a kid) said Kuya Danilo"

Ironically, Lubog
On initial observation, there is no electricity in the area, but houses have solar panels on their roofs. Most grown up men in the sitio sports a machete wrapped around their waists, Kuya Danilo was a good example. We thought that it was named Lubog, because of the fact that your shoes will be in constant mud immersion considering the terrain is really caked. And ironically it is named lubog but it stands at 955 meters above sea level, our guide said that there is a body of water inside the mountain that cause the former peak to split into two because the soil in between gradually caved in.

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A good view of the mountain near the foot.

The sun was up in the horizon, and its heat started to sting. From afar we noticed a rock formation somewhere in the bottom of the mountain, and it is called “Simbahang Bato” (Rock Church) owing to it’s formation of rocks that end on pointed shapes that resembles that of a cathedral.

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Simbahang Bato

To get a good view, our guide said that we can enter the backyard of a big house near the foot to catch a good photo of it. The house was owned by a man who will be running for Brgy. Captain of Puray, and also the one who might be giving shelter to the military detachment to the sitio. He greeted us politely and even said that we can have photos shot with the rock formations as the background and an M16 rifle as a prop. No man could refuse that badass offer. (No cartridge is loaded into the rifle.)

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Big Bro as Ben Tulfo, but has no plans to join the ISIS in the near future.
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When your legs don't work like they used to before. (Babalaaaa..)

And also some rocks are scattered on a private property before the ascent.

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Rocks on a private property.

The Assault
The mountain is a welcoming sight, dense foliage of trees that provide covering from the sun, and mossy rocks that is reminiscent of Mt. Pamitinan. The forest floor is muddy with scattered leaves and insects. After several minutes of ascent, a first rest area will be seen that is also fronting the entrance to the Lubog Cave.

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Hike with care.

The cave and its three levels is open to the public, but we decided not to enter since we started late and catching the dark going home is not a good idea. After forty minutes, we reached the second and also the last resting area, from there the summit is only ten minutes.

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The forest being a protected area is still in threat from illegal logging.

The hike was kind of exhausting, but reaching the summit is really an energizing experience. It was indeed a cherry on top, the challenge to reach it is all worth it, since the rock formations in it is one of a kind, a haven of rocks clustered in one summit, plus scenic views of the mountain range with Mt. Irid visible from afar.

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Haven of rock clusters.
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New heights and memorable experiences.
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As I took a deep breath in, I felt my cells dancing.
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A sense of peace surrounded me.

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And it felt like home.

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Sometimes in all its glory, you just have to absorb everything.

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What if this is one of the happiest moments that you will forever remember?
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'grats on your first climb, brotha.

To Panintingan Falls
The photo opportunity at the summit is really countless, but always take good care since a small error can be fatal (read: YOLO). We had lunch at the second rest stop and after thirty minutes we descended down. After thirty minutes we were back at the military detachment, and did a sidetrip at the lagoon, or as they call it, Panintingan Falls.

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A mini falls that ends into a lagoon.

It is only a ten minute walk from the trailhead and you will reach a small stream that cascades down into a round lagoon. Kuya Danny said that is can be as deep as ten feet, we just did a quick dip and immediately trekked down to where we left our habal-habal since it is already 2pm.

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It is not high as you expect a waterfall can be, but the water is enough to cool you down.

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Happy Kid.

The Sad Truth
As were descending down on the muddy road, Kuya Danilo recounted the days when the road we were walking into was once a lush forest and how birds and different faunas once roam the area. Illegal logging is still perpetuating in the area, one will be able to see large wood planks hauled down to town which came from large trees from the area.

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What if one day, the only thing you knew as your source of income, will one day cause your nature's source of destruction, and eventually damages the surrounding communities nestled in the vicinity. Do you want a future where nature unleashes her wrath upon us?.

And also due to lack of information, the people who trailblazed the mountain, said that they were carrying mallets when they explored the area. Clobbering the sharp rocks along the trail to prevent hiking related injuries, and it was late before they found out that it is really a bad practice.

The 2 hour ride going back to the town opened new insights on how beautiful the mountain range of Sierra Madre can be. Even though tiring, the experience was worthwhile.

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You can never get tired looking at this place.
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And as the sun was setting, I couldn't help but to think of how lucky of a person I am.
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Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you alive and, go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. - Howard Thurman

Itinerary and Expenses
Mt. Lubog Dayhike

0500  –  ETD Gateway, Cubao, Ride UV Express to Montalban (50php/pax)
0600  –  ETA Brgy. San Rafael, alight at Total Gas Station, Breakfast, wait for habal-habal (1000php/5pax)
0800  –  ETD to Sitio Macaingalan, Brgy. Puray
0930  –  ETA Sitio Macaingalan register (50php/pax) and secure guide (400php/5pax).
0945  –  Resume habal-habal ride to Sitio Lubog jump off
1015  –  ETA Sitio Lubog, start trek
1200  –  Summit
1215  –  Eat Lunch
1245  –  Descent to jump-off
1330  –  Back at jumpoff explore Panintingan Falls, swim, rest
1430  –  Trek then habal habal to kagawad Peter’s house
1515  –  Ride back to Brgy. San Rafael
1700  –  ETA rodriguez highway,tidy up, post climb meal
1800  –  ETD to Manila
2100  –  Manila

*You can contact Kagawad Peter at +639284647447 a week prior to your climb, since signal is scarce to none at Sitio Macaingalan. (We tried to call but they are out of coverage area, you should wait for his text message)

Budget:
Transportation: 100php (FX, back and forth)
                            250php (Habal-habal, group of 4pax)
Fees: 100php (guide fee, 400php/pax – 4pax)
          50php (Environmental Fee)

Total Damage: 500php/pax – 800php/pax (safe budget)

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
– Confucius

Weekend Warriors – Mt. Hapunang Banoi (517+)

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
(www.pinoymountaineer.com)

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.

Relatively Unexplored
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.

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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.

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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.

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One slip comes a hundred foot drop.

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Take nothing but memories.

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Behind the author is death and an awesome rock wall.

After the rock scrambling, the trail will be adjoined by a bamboo and rock trail with thorny flora all around.
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Yoloooo.

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.

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After a quick rest.

And finally, summit!.

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The serpentine Wawa River as viewed from the summit.

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Mt. Pamitinan from Hapunang Banoi's view point.

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This was really fun and challenging, and a good alternative to Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamitinan to lessen the foot traffic and impact on the twins.

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Rough and sharp.

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See you at the peak!.

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


Estimated Budget:

Transportation: 120php
Guides and fees: 800php/3pax – 267php/pax
Food: 200php
Total Damage:587php – 700php safe budget.

 “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Go, Carve that Niche,

Rex

On The Rocks – Mt. Pamitinan (462+)

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

After our stopover at the Banoi Junction, since this was a Rizal twin day hike, we commenced the trek to summit Mt. Pamitinan. From the junction it was a good 20 minutes of hike from where we were.

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Why so cirrus?.

Bernardo, Who?
The mountain was coined from the word bitinan/pamitinan due to the presence of hordes of bats clinging into the ceilings of a cave at the footholds of this Sierra Madre mountain. And this place is known from the local folklore about a man named, Bernardo Carpio. He was trapped inside a gargantuan rock, and due to his sheer force, he managed to break free from being held and splitted the rock into two. A river formed in between this rocks and as of today is more popularly known as the Montalban Gorge, made of mountains, Pamitinan and Binacayan.
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Mt. Pamitinan from Hapunang Banoi's view point.

And Again, Rock Scrambling
The trail is somehow similar to that of Mt. Hapunang Banoi but the rocks along are less jagged and sharp, might be because of the foot traffic this mountain experiences during weekends. And along the hike you’ll be seeing foliage of amor secos, augmented with bamboos, and thorny bushes and also an ancient balete tree stands tall and firm. Rocks are always present and rock scrambling is the only option.

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Some almost 90 degree rock scramble.

And after several minutes, we reached the summit.

On Hands Akimbo
What makes the mountains here in Rizal stand out from other destinations near Manila, is the rewarding summit themselves that showcases limestone formations that can be really death defying if you scale it.

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The neighboring Mt. Binacayan

Appreciate the scenic view of the Sierra Madre mountain range and the serpentine Wawa River flowing to the lower parts of Rizal.

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Success kid!.

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In the shadows, I am the Kung-fu mastah.

Your hands will go akimbo as you will be in awe just seeing the view from the top. All the effort we did was really worth it.

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No better way to appreciate the surroundings than by standing on the edge.

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Yasssssssss.

What Lies In Between
After resting, we descended for almost an hour and did a sidetrip to a more visited place in the Montalban Gorge that would complete the twin hike, the Wawa Dam.

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Antidote for the stifling summer heat.

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And here we are riding in the mandatory "Walang Forever" bandwagon.

The mountains called and so we heed to their calling. Another weekend to tick off from our bucketlists.

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
2030 – ETA Cubao
2100 – Post Climb Dinner, Cubao Expo

Estimated Budget:

Transportation: 120php
Guides and fees: 800php/3pax – 267php/pax
Food: 200php
Total Damage:587php – 700php safe budget.

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.” – Babs Hoffman

Go, Carve that Niche,

Rex

Leave No Trace – Mt. Daraitan (739+)

Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Daraitan (village centre), Tanay
Minor jumpoff: Sitio Cablao Brgy. Pagsangahan, General Nakar
LLA: 14°36′48.5′′N 121°26′19.5′′ E, 739 MASL (+600)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2.5-4 hours 
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Tropical forest, limestone formations, river trek
(www.pinoymountaineer.com)

Located at the heart of the relatively unexplored Sierra Madre mountain range in between Tanay, Rizal and Dolores, Quezon. Mt. Daraitan has a difficulty of 4/9 and a moderately steep climb that is enough to keep your heart pumping. After two hours of travel from manila and another two hours into the rough roads of Tanay, a quaint municipality will welcome you. Secure a guide and permits from the barangay hall.

Nature’s Rendezvous
Ancestors from ages ago called this Daraitan which when translated to the local tongue means rendezvous point, “kitaan” or “tagpuan”, since aborigines who inhabited this part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range often used this as their meet up points for different purposes which we don’t know. A rendezvous point of people and also of nature where mountains, river and caves meet.
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Don't you think its time we also grow up.

The trail is relatively covered by dense foliage of floras and will keep you from the heat of the sun and thus a really cool hike up.

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After an hour and a half, finally summit!. Limestone viewpoints are one of the attractions of Daraitan and a view of the meandering Tinipak River snaking around several hills.

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Do not be deceived by trees around this limestone formations, one wrong move and you’ll be plummeting straight down.

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From Cataclysm to Life
And after the summit, the group head straight down to Tinipak River, traverse took two hours to reach the river. Tinipak means crumbled, fragmented, etc. It might have been due to an eartquake that led into a rockslide, the cataclysm then brought this white limestones from the cliffs into the river.

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This is the cleanest inland body of water in the region, caving and camping are the activities that can be done here aside from swimming around the lunaresque river.

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Itinerary & Expenses
Mt. Daraitan Traverse to Tinipak River 
Dayhike

0430 – Take UV Express FX from EDSA-Shaw to Tanay, Rizal (75php/pax)
0645 – ETA Public Market Tanay, Rizal (150php/pax + 30php for bridge crossing)
0700 – Breakfast
0830 – ETA Barangay Hall, Brgy. Daraitan, Tanay. Register and secure guide (Registration Fee: 20php, Guide Fee: 600php/group)
0845 – Start trek up Mt. Daraitan
1130 – ETA summit then take pictures at viewpoints / Lunch
1300 – Descent to Tinipak River
1500 – ETA Tinipak River, swim, rest
1630 – Proceed to Brgy. Daritan via riverside trail 
1800 – ETD to Tanay, Rizal, Take a jeep (100php/pax)
1900 – ETA Tanay, Rizal, take FX to Edsa (75php/pax)
2015 – ETA Manila

Estimated Budget:
Transportation: 415php/pax
Guides and Fees: 20php (Reg. Fee) + 120php/pax (guide fee)
Food: 250php

Total Damage: 805php – 1000php safe budget

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

Go, Carve that Niche,

Rex