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.

According to Yapak 101's exploratory climb to the rocks, the specs of the hike to Nalayag Rocks are as follows: Minor Climb, Difficulty level: 4/9, Trail class: 2/3; Hours to summit: 3-4 hours; Major jump off: Sitio Punas, Brgy Balibago Lobo Batangas, LLA:  13°37'25.47"N, 121°17'22.12"E, 552 MASL

The Monoliths of Nalayag as seen from the campsite

Meeting up with some new and familiar faces from my Mt. Natib climb in Jollibee Farmer's in Cubao, we left for Lobo, Batangas at around half-past midnight. We reached the Sitio Punas jump-off in Brgy. Balibago around 4:15 AM where we rested and had some warm chicken arrozcaldo with egg and hot coffee for breakfast while waiting for the start of the trek. According to the lead guide, we can start hiking at around 5:30 AM. After filling-out some forms, registering and meeting our trail guides, we started the hike at around 5:31 AM.

Tarp at the roadside near the registration site - Note that they refer to the rocks as "Mt. Nalayag"

Rules and Regulations, and Guidelines

The initial part of the hike runs through the local community with houses lining the trail. A bit past the first kilometer is where the first of the series of river and rivulet crossings starts. This part of the trail is characterized by several river rock bouldering and crossings, with a number of picturesque mini-cascades and clear pools along the trail. After crossing the river several times, we reached the campsite at around 6:55 AM. The campsite is located at a coconut plantation with several stands of sinturis (dalandan) trees, as well as a clear view of the Nalayag Rocks. Here the guide asked us to regroup and wait until all of the joiners arrived. While resting we ordered some fresh young green coconuts and I sampled a freshly picked sinturis.

Denuded slopes a few minutes into the hike

First in the series of river and rivulet crossings

One of the mini-cascades along the trail

Bouldering along the river trail

Clear pools of flowing water along the trail

One of several markers found along the way

At the campsite waiting for the rest to catch up

The monoliths as seen from the campsite

After almost an hour at the campsite, and as the area started getting a bit crowded with hikers, we decided to push on to the rocks at around 7:42 AM. This part of the hike starts at a short flat area then a full assault towards the rocky peaks. The trail in this part is mostly in a second growth forest up to the peaks. There are several steep slopes in these parts with ropes installed to assist hikers. After around 30 minutes of full assault on the slopes of the mountain, we finally arrived at the base of the rocks. There are actually 3 elevated rocky peaks in the area, one of which is just a few meters high with nice views of the surrounding mountains and the sea. The two main rocks are several meters high with even better views at the top. After resting for a few minutes, we started exploring the area.

Campsite getting crowded
Full assault towards the peaks

At the base of the rocks

Ropes and ladders were installed to assist hikers climb the tallest of the rocks. Rope fences were also installed at the top to avoid accidents. The top of the tallest rock is wide enough to accomodate several hikers. Great views of the mountains as well as the smaller of the Nalayag Rocks can be appreciated at the top. The distant Laiya Beach of San Juan, Batangas can even be seen from the top. The peak of Mt. Masalakot dominate the views in this part. After exploring the taller of the rocks, we went to explore the smaller but steeper monolith.

At the smallest of the rocks overlooking the sea

At the top of the smallest of the 3 rocks

Ladders installed to climb the tallest of the rocks

Almost at the top!

At the top of the rock - Mt. Masalakot's summit in the background

View of the smaller monolith as seen from the top of the rock

A few minutes of hike through the forest is needed to reach the base of the smaller monolith. Unlike the taller of the rocks, the smaller rock only has ladders up until about the mid point, the rest of the way you would have to rely on a couple of iron chains to reach the top, passing through an almost 90-degree slope. The top of the rock is small, just enough to accommodate 1-2 persons. Pictures are taken by guides positioned on the sheer cliff face of the taller monolith. After getting our photos snapped, we went ahead and returned to the base of the rocks to wait for the others and have our lunch. After everyone has had their fill of photo ops and after enjoying lunch with our hike mates, we started the descent at around 11:10 AM.

At the top of the smaller monolith

Another pose

Last one

Descent from the top

Lunch break before the descent

The descent took around an hour. The trail is shorter than the ascent trail at just around 2.7 kilometers but is quite steep on the first 500 meters or so, with ropes and steel pipes installed. The rest of the descent trail is quite runnable on a wide dirt road with loose rocks and finally on a concrete road and I did just that on the last half kilometer or so. We reached the end point in Sitio Maligaya at around 12:08 PM. After regrouping and resting for a while we started the short trip to a local beach resort in Malabrigo, passing through the famous centuries-old Faro de Punta Malabrigo. There we enjoyed the pebble beach which Malabrigo is famous for. After relaxing in the beach, swimming and enjoying the views, food and snapping photos to our heart's content, we decided to head back to Manila a quarter past 3:00 PM.

End Point at Sitio Maligaya

Beach resort in Malabrigo

Famous pebble beach of Malabrigo

Selfie at the beach

Group pic with hike mates relaxing after the hike

Great side trip to cap off the hike

Another great hiking destination in the south, Lobo, Batangas offers several of these great places to explore. Hopefully I could revisit this wonderful place and hike her trails once again in the near future.


Useful Information:

Trail Maps: (for illustrative purposes only, may not correspond to actual coordinates)

Trail map to Nalayag Rocks, summit of Mt. Masalakot included

Below is the Relive® video of the hike:



Actual Itinerary:
11:00 PM - Meetup at Jollibee Farmer's Cubao
12:38 AM - Departure for Lobo, Batangas
4:18 AM - Arrival at the registration site in Sitio Punas
5:31 AM - Start hike
6:55 AM - Campsite, rest, wait for the rest of the group
7:42 AM - Resume hike to Nalayag Rocks
8:14 AM - Base of Nalayag Rock, rest, photos, explore the monoliths, lunch
11:10 AM - Start descent
12:08 PM - Arrival at End Point, rest, wait for the rest of the group
1:05 PM - Departure for Malabrigo
1:28 PM - Arrival at a local resort in Malabrigo, rest, swim, photo, eat, wash, tidy up
3:18 PM - Departure for Manila, quick Lomi merienda along the way
7:30 PM - Back in Cubao

Mandatory Fees: (as of October 2018. subject to change without notice)
Trail Guide  - Php.500 per group of 5 persons
Entrance Fee - Php.100.00 per person
Brgy. Donation: Php. 20.00 per person
EUF (environmental fee) - Php. 20.00 per person

How to get there: ( We hired a private van for our transpo so I could not provide fare information): From Cubao, Alabang or Pasay, ride  a bus bound for Batangas City Bus Terminal. From there, ride a jeep bound for Bayan and get off Don Ramos, then ride a jeep bound for Capitolio and get off SM Batangas. From there either ride a jeep or van bound for Lobo Poblacion. Ride a habal-habal to Brgy. Balibago.

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