Skip to main content

A Sunday Adventure - Makiling Day Hike Traverse

"There is a place like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger. Some say to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter." Alice in Wonderland

I’ve always been amused with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland - falling into a rabbit’s hole and finding a magical place surrounded with enchanting trees and animals that can talk. That surreal feeling of amazement – close to a dream is what I crave on a regular basis. That’s why every now and then, I disappear from the city and go to the mountains in search of breathtaking views.

Last weekend, I had another one of those dreamlike experiences in a place barely two hours away from Manila. Armed with information downloaded from the internet, I met with my companions at past 3AM and boarded a Lucena-bound bus. Our destination was the Batangas entry point for Mt. Makiling. We planned to traverse and go down at Los Banos, Laguna.

We arrived at the Sto. Tomas (Batangas) public market in less than an hour. From there, we rode a tricycle that took us to the barangay hall of San Bartolome where we registered. The fee was very minimal – 20 pesos/head. They have restroom facilities where you can take a quick break and a huge lot where you can stretch and fix your stuff.

We started hiking at 6AM. The mountains that lured from afar excited us. It's been  weeks or maybe months since I last hiked. I don't really remember. There were only four of us and we were all friends so it was more like a get-together. The terrain at the start was easy but we missed the first turn so we had to retrace our steps to find the right trail. There weren't much ascents on the first hour but it eventually got tougher. We encountered several boulders where ropes were installed to assist the climbers. There were tight spots where we had to crawl under the trees, slippery trails that made us clung to vines and tons of other surprises. Since all of us were mountain lovers, we had the time of our lives - despite all the sweat and dirt.  




The mossy forests and sharp rocks reminded me so much of G2 in Romblon and Mt. Tapulao in Zambales, while the twisted tree branches were similar to what I saw in Mt. Matarem, Batanes. Still, this mountain has its own charm - a combination of challenging terrains and rewarding views of nearby mountains and towns. I don't know much about the whole flaura and fauna thing but I was very amused with what we have witnessed.  We past an area that had white flowers scattered on the ground which looked like fairy's haven. There was also this metallic green insect perched on a boulder a but I  found it  while I was clinging for dear life with one hand on a rope and the other on a rock so I wasn't able to take a picture. I also saw something I recognized - pitcher plants because I once stayed in an eco lodge in Bukidnon and the owner toured me around  his garden that had about hundreds of those. 


I cannot count the number of times I fell and the slashes I incurred because I wasn’t wearing arm sleeves but I didn’t care. I was happy the entire time except for that one brief moment when I fell and thought I broke my hand. Aaah, the pain was so bad, I had to close my eyes. Thank God I recovered after a few seconds and continued hiking as if nothing happened.

It only rained mildly and the limatiks, which Mt. Makiling is notorious for, seemed to favor only one person in our group,  so the rest of us were spared from those slimy little suckers. (I don't know if the Off lotion we slathered all over our body was the one that saved us). 

Though we got lost twice and had mud all over our bodies,  we got down the mountain in high spirits. See that's what I love about climbing with good friends, it's so much fun! A MakTrav fix totally fed my lust for a weekend adventure!

And since I had so much fun, I am sharing with you our itinerary. It's actually the one we got from the Pinoy Mountaineer website. I just edited the costs and the time. For those who are interested in doing a MakTrav for the first time, here's a friendly advice - do train so you can focus on enjoying the scenery than trying to catch your breath. :) As for the trail water, I am no expert but I brought 2.5 Liters and I was fine the entire day. Do bring packed lunch and don't leave your trash behind.
Oh and one final thing, whoever established the MakTrav trail, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart! It's an amazing trail!

MT. MAKILING (VIA STO. TOMAS)
Sto. Tomas, Batangas
Jump-off: Brgy. San Miguel, Sto. Tomas
LLA: 14.13°N 121.20°E, 1090 MASL (Peak 2)
Hours to Peak 2 / days required: 1-2 days / 7-8 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 3 with roped segments

ITINERARY
Via Palanggana (West) Trail
330 Meet up at  KFC Buendia
0400 Board a bus to Sto.  Tomas (Signage of the bus is Lucena) at the Jam Terminal (91 Pesos)
0500 ETA Sto. Tomas public market,take tricycle (50 pesos/trike, can fit 4 people with day packs)
0630 ETA jump-off Brgy. San Bartolome. Register (P20), then proceed to water source
0700 Start trek (3 hours to Palanggana Peak)
1000 ETA Palanggana Peak, snacks.
1130 ETA Melkas ridge campsite. Commence Melkas Ridge crossing.
1200 ETA Peak 3. Follow Wild Boar trail to Peak 2.
1400 ETA Peak 2 (Mt. Makiling summit)
1415 Start descent via UPLB trail (We eventually flagged a habal-habal in one of the stores and paid 50/head for one motorbike each, it was a bumpy but nice ride down!)
1600 ETA - UP College of Forestry, Wash up, relax a bit
1800 Walk down the road and wait for jeepney (P8/Head)
1830 Dinner at Chowking near UPLB 
1930 Head to HM Transport Terminal via jeep across Chowking (20+ Pesos each)

2030 ETA HM Transport Terminal, Board a bus to Buendia (68 Pesos/Head)
2130 - ETA - Buendia

Popular posts from this blog

Hiking in La Trinidad : Mt. Yangbew

To kickoff 2017, I  returned to the Cordillera region with one of my closest friends, Jules. We wanted to take it easy  so we decided to try a couple of short but very scenic trails in Benguet I found online (References posted below). 

Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad,the capital of the province of Benguet  is less than an hour from Baguio city and features several accessible, scenic mountain trails - Mt. Yangbew (also known as Mt. Jambo), Tayawan view deck and Mt. Kalugong. These are all beginner-friendly or as the younger Pinoy millenials would say, pabebe-friendly. :P
Since we were taking a super early bus ride,  (1:30 AM early! :P), we made sure  we got nice, comfy seats. Fortunately, with 3 days prior to the trip, we were able to book online via iWantSeats.

In five hours, we arrived in the City of Pines and walked towards Session Road to hunt for a hotel. Fortunately, a vacant room was immediately available at Benguet Prime Hotel so we were able to leave our bags.  We took our sweet t…

Part 2 : Bataan Adventures | Where to Eat in Bataan (Updated 2017)

Being an avid hiker and foodie, I've grown very fond of visiting  Bataan.  This province offers several hiking trails (check my post here) passing verdant forests and nicely decorated cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a proper cup of coffee and affordable comfort food. It is also highly accessible from Manila via land travel, making it a good option for a short but rewarding out of town adventure. 

Here's a list of restaurants in Bataan where you can enjoy satisfying meals. 

ANGELITOS (Orani)
The restaurant's name which means little angels (male) was inspired by the owner's 3 young boys, Miguel (after St. Michael), Rafael and Gabriel.This 2 year old family owned restaurant has a homey ambiance and serves any type of food that the family enjoys.

Dishes are flavorful and priced affordably -100 Pesos above for the main dishes and 20 Pesos above for the desserts.Specialty includes, pork binagoongan and creamy tofu (my fave!). The restroom which has a mini garden is als…

12 Useful things to Bring on your First Mountain Hike

Hiking has become very popular in the Philippines that it's now easier to find a mountain and come up with your own itinerary  or join an organized group. (Read 10 Tips on How to be a Good Climb Participant
If you're heading out to your first mountain hike and thinking of what to bring, here are a couple of tips. Note that this list was created as a guide and not a mandatory checklist. The items featured are based on what I observed to be  useful when hiking in tropical weather.

7 Hiking Tips for Beginners | 8 Essentials for Rainy Day Hikes by Basekamp PH

1.  Footwear
Footwear should enhance your experience outdoors and protect you from injury. There are shoes designed specifically for hiking but I encourage you to research the mountain  first before purchasing hiking shoes. Will there be sections where you need to cross rivers? How long will you be hiking?If the mountain has a clear and established trail that normally won't take more than 4 hours to complete, you can very w…