a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mt. Maculot – Updated Itinerary and Expenses as of October 2016

Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas is one hiking destination that I will tirelessly visit. The easy commute, friendly locals and the tranquil views of Taal Lake from its minor peak called Rockies are the main reasons why I keep on coming back. 

Yesterday, I was here again with my cousin Len, who just survived her first mountain adventure (Wohoo!), Ivan of Batang Laktwatsero and one of my bestfriends - Jules of TheTrail Running Mistress. What made the trip special was our side trip to Taal Lake. Its entry point is in a nearby community, isolated by 1,009 stone steps (as counted by Ivan) from the main road.  

As Mt. Maculot is a haven for a lot of mountaineers, I recommend doing a day tour during the weekend as it tends to get too crowded or if you insist on staying for the night, do it on a Sunday or on a week day. 

There are two main jump-offs – Rockies and Grotto. The latter will lead you directly to the summit but since the views aren’t as spectacular as what can be seen from rockies, it is less visited. The summit trail is through a forest where temperature is much cooler, slippery and a bit foggy. You will also be in for some intimidating rock scrambling about 45 minutes from the grotto where extreme caution is necessary but is worth checking out.  For a full adventure – ascend from the grotto to the summit, rest at the campsite and check out rockies or vice versa. :)



Photo Courtesy of Ivan Cultura - www.ivanlakwatsero.com
ITINERARY 
0530 - Meet up at LRT-Buendia (Possible Meet-up points : Wendy's, Jollibee, KFC, 7 Eleven or at Jam Terminal) 
0600 Board a bus to Lemery from Jam Liner Terminal (P150)
0900 ETA Cuenca Town proper. Hail a tricycle from the terminal near the market. It’s on the same side where the bus will drop you off. Walk or take a tricycle to Rockies jump-off. Tricycle costs (20 pesos/head, can fit 4 people with day packs). The driver will bring you to the registration area where you need to sign on a log book and pay 20 Pesos/head. You can also get their number in case of emergencies. 
0930 Start trek. 
1130 ETA Campsite, head to Rockies. 
1200 ETA Rockies 
1230 Head back to campsite 
1300 Campsite, start descent
1430 ETA - Jump-off; Clean-up and board a Manila-bound bus from the highway or ride a jeep to Lipa City (24 Pesos/head) and eat in one of the food chains there. There’s a bus terminal bound for Cubao, LRT/Buendia and Alabang near Chowking, across Robinson’s Place.  Be at the terminal by 8:00 PM as the trips back to Manila does not run 24 hours. 

Notes:
Guides are now required. You will be assigned one at the registration area. For rates, click here.

- Trail is mostly uphill and covered by trees except the area 20 minutes to the campsite. On a humid day, air would be quite stuffy all throughout. 

- Ideal preparation would be to regularly climb stairs

- Waterproof your belongings (put extra clothes, cellphones in a plastic or waterproof bag)
Prepare for both sun and the rain - bring cap or head scarf

- Don’t leave your trash behind. Bring your own garbage bag.  

- At the jump-off, there are places where you can take a bath. Our favorite is the eatery closest to the rockies jump-off. They only have one toilet and several stalls where you can take a bath. It’s not much but we love ate Thelma who cooks the food. 

WHAT TO BRING :
Water – for a day hike, 1.5ML-2L  
Trail Food - recommended : nuts, chocolate, jelly sticks. 
Insect Repellant (Off Lotion)

If you want to read more about Mt. Maculot, please visit Pinoy Mountaineer's Mt. Maculot

Read about our day hike traverse to Mt. Maculot here.

POSSIBLE SIDE TRIP :
Just 30-45 minutes away by jeep is the heritage town of Taal. Here, you can explore well-preserved old houses, museums and the largest Catholic church in Asia, Basilica de San Martin de Tours. For additional information, click on this guide.




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