Nueva Vizcaya's Amazing Mt. Palali

Starting our trek at Barangay Madianggat
My strong fascination with heavily forested trails  has brought me and three other friends to  Nueva Vizcaya earlier this month for an extended day hike. Mt. Palali, which I first read about in Tramping Philippinestowers at 1,715 MASL and is emerging as a favored hiking destination to kindred adventurers  who are up for a long and challenging hike on a steep and thick terrain, maneuvering around a thick maze of trees and plants. 

We left Manila at 10:30 PM from the Victory Liner terminal in Kamias. We took a bus bound for Ilagan (338 Pesos) and after 6 hours, got down at Solano, Nueva Vizcaya. (Note : As an alternate, you can also take those buses to Tuguegarao which has more  trips leaving Manila). We were dropped in front of Jollibee where we also had breakfast 

After eating, we flagged a tricycle to Barangay Madianggat, Quezon. (Note : Before you take the trike, ask them if they know the way to avoid wasting time. ). Fee is at 100 Pesos/tricycle and travel time takes roughly 15 minutes. 

We met with our quiet guide, Roldan Mina at Purok 3, a contact I got from Pinoy Mountaineer's blog.  We rode another tricycle to the jump-off where we had to register. There is also a  fee that needs to be paid, however there was no one manning the area so we paid after the hike. (100 Pesos/head). By 6:30 AM, we started our ascent, passing through rice fields, banana trees and small sections of a river. The early part of the trail reminded me of the Magalang trail in Mt. Arayat - mostly uphill and rocky.

After 4 hours, we made it to Haring Bato - sweaty, tired but smiling irresistibly. It's an  enormous boulder that serves as an excellent viewing deck.  Here, you can see Magat river slinking around mountains and the other municipalities of Nueva Vizcaya, some of which are Bayombong, Solano and Quezon. At that very spot where view was amazing, we had a quick lunch.  

Approaching Haring Bato 
View on top of Haring Bato. It's a thousand times more gorgeous when you see it with your own eyes. :P
The next section of the trail involved negotiating our way around a thick mossy forest. Tree branches twirled above us. Several times, we had to either crawl under or go over a fallen tree. I can't stop appreciating what I'm seeing. This is my kind of terrain! 

We reached the  summit at 3:00 PM, which was much later than planned.  Though the views aren't as magnificent as that of Haring Bato as it's encroached with trees,  I was very much pleased that the guides don't dare cut them off as it's part of a protected area. There's a small section where you can get a good view of some portions of Nueva Vizcaya but then again, reaching the summit and seeing various species of plants and tree is an excellent reward on its own. 

Heading back became more grueling as fatigue has taken its toll on our group and it was only at 2:00 AM, when we got back to the jump-off. We were extremely apologetic to our guide who never once complained, acted above and beyond patient and over the top professional. Guide fee is at 500 Pesos/day but we paid extra due to the extended hiking hours. He and his brother even took us back to Solano with their motorbikes so we can get a good night's sleep at one of the lodges. 

A side trip to Senora Falls which is accessible by tricycle can also be done after the hike. We were told by our guide that there is accommodation and food here. 

Mt. Palali is now a favorite mountain of mine, with its challenging trails and entertaining display of natural wonders. I certainly don't mind going back and trying out a day hike traverse trail which is currently being completed. ;)

Shout out to my good friends Henry, Joy and Arisse for joining this adventure! :) Til the next one! :) 

Notes and Lessons Learned:
1. Attempting a Palali day hike is challenging and if hiking with first time hikers, training climbs are a must. The goal is not to discriminate but to make sure everyone is prepared and to avoid putting other members and the guide at risk. I suggest an Arayat Day Hike traverse/Tapulao Day Hike/MAKTRAV as training climbs. Climbing flights of stairs  with a backpack is also great exercise. Hiking should be a fun and safe activity, done out of passion for nature and not as an ego booster.  
2. If pressed for time, you may opt to terminate your hike at Haring Bato. Last bus back to Manila is at 12 MN and it would be coming from Tuguegarao. Please verify again when you come back. Buses back to Manila can be found at the bus stop along the National Highway in Solano. You may also opt to spend the night in Solano which we did. We got a fan room at Lee Garden Lodge (500/night, good for 5 PAX), situated right beside Chowking and also a few blocks from the bus stop. 
3. Guide's contact number : Roldan Mina : +63-935-292-1029. 
4. There are two water sources along the way where you can get a refill. 
5. Bring ample trail food and emergency supplies. Don't forget your flashlights/headlamps! :)
6. Average time to complete a Palali day hike is 10-12 hours if everyone in the group is in good condition. I cannot emphasize enough that you must not underestimate this hike, nor any other mountain. Keep safe everyone! :)

Check out the following detailed accounts of fellow bloggers who have hiked Mt. Palali :
1. Tramping Philippines - Mt. Palali | The Untouched Mountain
2. Pinoy Mountaineer - Hiking matters #281: A dayhike up Mt. Palali in Quezon. Nueva Vizcaya | Overnight Itinerary
2. Journeying James - Mt. Palali Day Hike with Pinoy Mountaineer

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