Sunday, April 21, 2019

Mt. Toyang and Puting Bato River (Rizal, 667+ MASL)

At the summit of Mt. Toyang, the mountains of Sierra Madre in the background

Barangay Laiban in Tanay, Rizal has been one of my go-to places whenever I feel like getting my quick hiking fix. Home to such wonderful trails as the seven-peaked Rosary Trail of Mt. Kalbo, the multi-tiered Laiban Falls and Laiban Quatro, the barangay is simply replete with these natural treasures. With lush, green forests, open fields, waterfalls, and clear, freely flowing river and streams, the barangay is a hiker and nature-lover's haven. All these in a relatively accessible location just a couple of hours or so away from the cities of Metro Manila.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mt. Tukduang Banoi and Kinabuan Falls (Rizal, 1,258+ MASL)


At the summit of Mt. Tukduang Banoi with Mt. Irid in the background

A name from a bygone era when the mighty eagles roamed the pristine forests of the Sierra Madre, Mt. Tukduang Banoi still bears the same epithet. Named after the fact that eagles used to perch their eyries high on top of the peaks of the mountain where they would devour their prey, Mt. Tukduang Banoi has 3 distinct peaks, the easternmost being the highest, forming the summit of the mountain. A major climb rated at 5/9 difficulty level, the mountain can be safely dayhiked with a side trip to Kinabuan Falls provided the hike is started early and with a moderately fast pace.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Mt. Damas and Ubod Falls Dayhike (Tarlac, 685+ MASL)

At a resting area just below the summit of Mt. Damas

When trying to assess how difficult a climb would be, the first question most hikers usually ask (myself included) is "How high is it?" Being only around 685+ MASL, it is easy to underestimate Mt. Damas. After all, several "easy" hikes are higher in elevation than this Central Luzon mountain. But be warned, this mountain is rated as a major hike with a difficulty level of 6/9. That should give you an idea of what to expect - long and multiple steep assaults with a cumulative elevation gain of over 1,000 meters, not to mention several roped segments on cliff sides and mini-cascades. I have been wanting to hike this exciting destination for quite some time now and finally I was able to experience the challenges of Mt. Damas.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mt. Mapalad (Rizal, 705+ MASL)

A picturesque spot along the trail of Mt. Mapalad

Looking for an easy, beginner-friendly hike that is easy on the pocket? Tanay may have the answer to your question. With a lot of easy and beginner-friendly trails to choose from, it is no wonder why nascent mountaineers and first-time hikers flock to the barangays of Tanay on weekends looking to fulfill their desire to go out, breathe the fresh mountain air and climb to the peaks. One of such trails is located in Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, Rizal, just a couple of hours or so away from the cities of Metro Manila. The trails of Mt. Mapalad, said to be named after a plant with broad leaves growing on its slopes, are easy enough even for a first time hiker yet replete with interesting features such as stream crossings, clear pools and brooks, waterfalls and a cave.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

TapTrav - Mt. Tapulao Traverse Dayhike (Tarlac-Zambales, 2,037+ MASL)

At the grassland of Mt. Mapalan before the descent to Zambales River, Mt. Marabinela in the background

Note: This blogpost narrates my Mt. Tapulao Traverse hike from Brgy. Labney in Tarlac to Brgy. Dampay-Salaza in Zambales. To read about my first Mt. Tapulao hike via the traditional jump-off at Brgy. Dampay-Salaza and backtrail, please click HERE

Known for its continuously ascending, moderately steep rocky trail up to KM 18, Mt. Tapulao has a different side most hikers have not had the chance to see yet. Normally hiked from Brgy. Dampay-Salaza in Zambales, Mt Tapulao can also be approached from its side facing Tarlac. This trail, known as the Tapulao Traverse or TapTrav offers a more rewarding yet doubly challenging hike normally done with a 2-3 day itinerary. A total of 47.4 km (some sources say 48-49 km) this long trail crosses the Labney and Zambales rivers 12 times, passes through 10 mountains and has a cumulative elevation gain of 3,048 meters. Rated at 8/9 difficulty level for a 2-3 day itinerary, imagine the difficulty of doing it as a dayhike. And that is exactly what I did last Sunday.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

MakTrav - Mt. Makiling Traverse Dayhike (Batangas-Laguna, 1,090+ MASL)

Mt. Makiling as seen near the trailhead

Mt. Makiling has always been one of my dream climbs, I'm not sure why I waited this long to climb it. It features prominently every time I go south of Manila - whether to Laguna, Batangas or Quezon, this mountain always seems to loom large and foreboding. Perhaps the tales of Mariang Makiling and the stories of lost wanderers in the mountain or maybe because of the infamous tales of hikers on how limatik-infested this mountain is might be what had made me procrastinate for so long before finally deciding to hike this majestic mountain. As the year draws to a close, this will perhaps be my last hike for this year.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Kilangin Falls/Bukal Falls (Liliw, Laguna)

At the lowest tier of Kilangin Falls

Turquoise blue, ice cold water from the springs at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, thick and verdant forest cover and the relative ease of reaching the falls are what draw people from all over to this little piece of paradise tucked away in a remote corner of Liliw, Laguna. Known by two names depending on who you ask, the people of Liliw refers to this place as Kilangin Falls, said to be derived from the word dalangin as the falls were said to be a former pilgrimage site where devotees of the virgin Mary would offer their prayers. On the other side of the fence, people from the neighboring town of Majayjay refers to it as Bukal Falls, named after barangay Bukal in the municipality. As such, the falls can be reached either via Brgy. Novaliches in Liliw or Brgy. Bukal in Majayjay.