Sunday, December 9, 2018

Mt. Makiling Traverse Hike (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 draws 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.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Nalayag Rocks (a.k.a Mt. Nalayag/Nalayag Monolith) Batangas, 552+ MASL

At the the top of the smaller monolith of Nalayag 

Just a week after revisiting Mt. Parawagan and more than a month after I was initially invited, I was finally able to see the famous monolithic rocks of Nalayag. Locally referred to as Mt. Nalayag, these rocks are nestled along the ridge that forms part of the slopes of another well-known hiking destination in Lobo, Batangas - Mt. Masalakot. Located in the coastal area of Lobo, there are several side trips to choose from - the pebble beaches of Malabrigo at the top of the list. Since my hike at Mt. Parawagan was kind of "bitin", I went ahead and joined this hike.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Revenge Climb: Mt. Parawagan (Rizal, 480+ MASL)

At the summit of Mt. Parawagan with Mts. Pamitinan, Binacayan, Hapunang Banoi and Ayaas in the background

A drizzling Sunday morning together with some friends from the office, we found ourselves at the gates of the DENR registration site in Sitio Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal. We have previously planned a dayhike of Mt. Binacayan and a side trip to Wawa Dam after the hike. However it seems like the weather has a different plan for us - the rains had left the mountain trail muddy with perilous, slippery jagged rocks, at the same time had muddied the clear waters of Wawa River. So after careful consideration, we decided to hike the trails of the neighboring Mt. Parawagan.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mt. Natib Dayhike (Bataan, 1,287+ MASL)

Sea of Clouds at the summit of Mt. Natib

Located just around 21 kilometers away from Mt. Mariveles, Mt. Natib is another great dayhike destination within the province of Bataan. Like Mt. Mariveles, Mt. Natib is also a dormant but potentially active volcano with an extensively weathered crater forming a caldera complex. Located in the northern portion of the Bataan Peninsula, the usual jump-off is at Brgy. Tala in Orani, Bataan, although hikers can also approach the summit from Sitio Kanawan in Morong, Bataan. Rising to about 1,287+ MASL, Mt. Natib can be safely and comfortably dayhiked from Orani, Bataan, usually taking around 4-5 hours to reach the summit.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Seven-Peak Hike to Mt. Kalbo (Rizal, 660+ MASL)

At the summit of Mt. Kalbo

More than a month after my last hike and just a week after the Skechers half marathon run, I was finally able to hike again. A slight reprieve from the torrential rains brought about by tropical storm Karding (international name Yagi) and the southwest monsoon allowed me a small window of opportunity to finally quench my thirst for hiking. Mt. Kalbo, located in the same area as the Laiban Quatro trail and the Multi-tiered Laiban Falls in Brgy. Laiban, Tanay, Rizal offers a great opportunity to experience a multi-peak hike with a side trip to a waterfall, all in a relatively short and easy trail close to the cities of the Metro.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Mascap MultiPeak Hike - Espadang Bato (455+ MASL) Bulaklak Peak (510+ MASL) and Sipit Ulang (210+ MASL)

Atop the Espadang Bato, Mt Ayaas in the background

The mountains of Rizal are a welcome respite to us hikers living in the Metro. With such wonderful destinations right at the doorstep of the city, hikers are treated to a variety of options to choose from. Rodriguez, Rizal (formerly Montalban) is one of such places. From mainstream hiking trails like the famous twin mountains of Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan, the more challenging Mt. Hapunang Banoi, the rocky and craggy Mt. Lagyo and the stately Mt. Ayaas to the less-crowded trails of Mt. Oro, Mt. Sipit Ulang and the distant Mt. Rayak, Mt. Magloko and Mt. Kapananan, the possibilities are numerous and varied.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mt. Irid Dayhike (Rizal, 1,467+ MASL)

Perched at a rocky crag at the summit of Mt. Irid

Said to be the highest peak of the Sierra Madre mountain range within the province of Rizal, Mt. Irid stands proudly at 1,467 meters above sea level. Located near the tri-provincial boundaries of Rizal, Bulacan and Quezon, the area is home to the native Dumagat people, whose sitios hikers would have to pass in order to hike the mountain. Famous for its 11 river crossings and a continuous steeply ascending, thickly forested trail riddled with towering crags and sharp limestone formations from the foot of the mountain up to its summit, it is rated as a major hike with a usual 2-day itinerary, but can also be dayhiked with either a moderately fast pace or a very early dim-hike.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Expectations of an Event Joiner

Two weeks of hiking hiatus and the onset of the rainy season have got me itching to write something. A break from my usual writing style and content, be warned that this post is somewhat of a rant. 

Organized hikes be like... so unorganized!

Every single time I check my facebook account I always get slapped in the face, left and right, with various organized hikes and other outdoor events offering everything from pabebe climbs for n00bs to multi-day, 9/9 climbs for the harkors and feeling harkors. Using colorful and playful language to entice joiners, organizers promise everything from forgetting your two-timing ex, meeting new beshies to finally getting to meet "the right one". And with such affordable packages and exciting destinations, who wouldn't be tempted to try one of these organized hikes?

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mt. Purgatory/Mangisi Dayhike Traverse ( 2,290+ MASL Mt. Pack; 2,080+ MASL Mt. Purgatory)

At the signage near the summit of Mt. Purgatory

The endless mountains and mountain ranges as far as the eye could see in the province of Benguet offer numerous great and exciting hiking destinations. Among these is the Mt. Purgatory/Mangisi Forest Eco-Tourism trail. Situated between the towering peaks of Mt. Pulag and Mt. Ugo, the hiking trail features several peaks and viewdecks offering stunning views of the mountains of Cordillera Central, as well as resplendent and luxuriant pine and mossy forests. The trail is said to be comprised of six "mountain peaks" including Mts. Mangagew, Pack (Banskila), Purgatory (Mangisi), Bakian, Tangbaw and Komkompol. Ideally hiked on a 2-3 day itinerary, the circuit can also be dayhiked on a moderately fast pace.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Mt. Tapulao Dayhike (Zambales, 2,037+ MASL)

At the campsite of Mt. Tapulao looking over the cliffs

The highest of all the peaks of Central Luzon, Mt. Tapulao is both a wonderful and a challenging hiking destination. Well known for its extremely rocky 18-kilometer trail to the summit, hiking Mt. Tapulao will surely put any hiker's feet, legs and knees to the test. Located in Zambales, the mountain used to be a site of chromite mining which thankfully has already ceased operations. Usually hiked on a 2-day itinerary, a dayhike is also possible with a moderately fast pace. With a total of 36 kilometers to the summit and back to the jump-off, hiking Mt. Tapulao is a true test of endurance and patience.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mt. Ugo Dayhike (Nueva Vizcaya/Benguet, 2,220+ MASL)

At the clearing near the summit of Mt. Ugo

A major hiking destination in the high Cordilleras bordering the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet, Mt. Ugo is famous for its stunning views of the high mountains, impressive pine forest, long circuitous trails on the ascent and descent, and the warmth and hospitality of the local people. The site of the PAL aircraft Flight PR206 crash on June 26, 1987, search and rescue efforts in the wake of the plane crash paved the way for the trails of mountain to be established. With a total trail length of about 33 kilometers, Mt. Ugo is ideally hiked on a 2-day itinerary. On a moderately fast pace, however, Mt. Ugo can also be dayhiked, usually taking about 12-14 hours to complete the traverse from Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya to Itogon, Benguet.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Twin Dayhike (Rizal) - Mt. Tan-awan (415+ MASL) and Mt. Kayangkangan (525+ MASL)

At the summit of Mt. Kayangkangan

Among the several mountain trails in Tanay, Rizal are the lesser known trails of the Sto Niño Circuit located in Brgy. Sto. Niño. Compared to the hiking staples of Tanay like the famous Mt. Batolusong in Brgy. San Andres and Mt. Masungki and Nagpatong Rock in Brgy. Cuyambay, the mountain trails of Brgy. Sto. Niño are virtually deserted and far removed from the usually overcrowded and buzzing trails of the more famous hiking destinations mentioned . As such it is perfect for those who wish to be alone with the mountain and to commune with nature.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mt. Arayat Dayhike via the TKO Quad Peak trail (Pampanga, 1,030+ MASL)

View of the Peaks of Mt. Arayat from the TKO Peak

Situated in the middle of the vast flat agricultural plains of Pampanga, Mt. Arayat rises proudly at 1,030 MASL. The legendary home of Apu Sinukuan (or Mariang Sinukuan according to other sources) the mountain is considered sacred by many. An inactive volcano, the crater has several peaks, the most prominent of which are the North Peak, South Peak and Pinnacle Peak. Aside from the three well-known peaks is another newly discovered peak curiously named as the TKO peak. As a new trail has been blazed connecting the TKO peak to the Pinnacle Peak, a new hiking trail has been created, aptly named the TKO Quad Peak trail.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mt. Paliparan and Tungtong Falls (Rizal, 562+ MASL)

Mt. Paliparan viewed on the descent

One of the mainstay attractions of Brgy. Cuyambay in Tanay, Rizal, Mt. Paliparan features several fantastic attractions most if not all hikers would appreciate - grassy rolling plains, forested trails, steep assaults and scrambling on rocky crags, breathtaking views, majestic waterfalls, clear, freely flowing streams and a quaint and rustic Dumagat village. Said to be named after the fact that the mountain used to be the playground of the native Dumagat where they would fly their kites, Mt. Paliparan is replete with these features. All of these await anyone who would be willing to take head on the trails of this wonderful hiking destination, all just a couple of hours or so away from the cities of Metro Manila.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Revenge Climb - Overnight Camping at Mt. Ulap (Benguet, 1,846+ MASL)

At the Gungal Rock - the second peak of the Mt. Ulap Eco-trail

Perhaps one of the easiest and most picturesque minor climbs near Baguio City, Mt. Ulap has risen to prominence among hikers since the trails were opened back in 2015. With such refreshing views of the high mountains and crisp, fresh mountain air saturated with fresh pine scent, the trails of Mt. Ulap are wonderfully invigorating. Although usually just dayhiked (which I did last October) due to its relatively short and easy trail, overnight camping at Mt. Ulap offers a great opportunity to experience the frigid nights and amazing sunrises the Cordilleras are known for.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Mt. Mariveles Dayhike (Bataan) - Tarak Ridge (1,006+ MASL) and Tarak Peak (1,130+ MASL)

On Tarak Ridge, behind me is Tarak Peak

Arguably the most famous of all of Mt. Mariveles' peaks and ridges, Tarak Peak and Tarak Ridge collectively is a perfect hiking destination for a major hike that can be safely and comfortably completed within a day. Located in the western flank of the Mt. Mariveles' caldera, Tarak ridge and peak offer panoramic views of Manila Bay and its islands as well as the distant mountains of Cavite. The wind-swept ridge and peak also have several picturesque and rocky crags and outcrops perfect for snapping those postcard-perfect pictures. Ideally hiked on a 2-day itinerary, a dayhike is also very much possible for this hiking destination, the hike taking around 10 hours to complete from start to end. As such, it is a perfect destination for introducing a novice hiker to a major hike.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Multi-Tiered Waterfalls of Laiban - Tagpuan Falls, Mahangin Falls, Panat-in Falls and Kalaparan Falls (Rizal)

At the Panat-in Falls (3rd Tier of Laiban Falls)

Located within the lush forests of Brgy. Laiban near the exit point of the Laiban Quatro trail is the multi-tiered waterfalls collectively known as Laiban Falls. The waterfalls in themselves are a sight to behold that a lot of visitors opt to only visit the falls and not hike the mountains. The four tiers of the falls are individually named like the waterfalls of the Maynoba Circuit, namely Tagpuan Falls, Mahangin Falls, Panat-in Falls and Kalaparan Falls. Coming down from the mountains, the highest waterfall is the Tagpuan Falls and the lowest near the exit point in the Kalaparan Falls. As part of my circuit hike in Laiban Quatro, we visited the waterfalls to rest and swim after hiking the mountains.

Three-Peak Hike of Laiban Quatro (Rizal) - Mt. Lubo (488+ MASL), Mt. Ngusong Kabayo (602+ MASL) and Tangwa Peak (625+ MASL)

At the Ngusong Kabayo Rock Formation 

Among the numerous peaks and towering mountains of Rizal lies one of the newly opened mountain trails in Brgy. Laiban. Known as the Laiban Quatro, this trail passes through 4 mountains within the locale of Laiban, namely Mt. Lubo, Mt. Ngusong Kabayo (rock formation and Tangwa Peak), Mt. Matang Ulang and Mt. Toyang. Although the trail has been blazed and mapped already, at this time only two of the quartet of mountains have been opened to the public, Mt. Lubo and Mt. Ngusong Kabayo. The other two are still closed and are still in the works to allow hikers on its trails.  Accessible either via Antipolo or Tanay proper, Brgy. Laiban is about 3 hours away from Manila. The jump-off of other hiking trails such as the trails of Mts. Sapari and Binutasan, Mt. Masungki and Nagpatong Rock and Mt. Paliparan is just a stone's throw away, located at the adjacent Brgy. Cuyambay. At the end of the trail is a great side trip to the four-tiered waterfalls of Laiban.