|Mini falls less than an hour from the jump-off , seen on our way up Mt. Malipunyo
The traverse on the other hand, is done by those who are up for a little challenge. On the average, it takes 10-12 hours to complete. For people like me who enjoys lengthy quiet hikes, it's a half day well spent. :)
The trail features several highlights : reaching the summit of Mt. Malipunyo, stop-over at Biak na Bundok's beautiful view deck, getting to Manabu Peak and lastly, a visit to Tata Tino, an old man living in a hut near the summit who offers free Alamid coffee to hikers.
The trail passes through a labyrinth of tall trees and plants. It can get very slippery especially after rain and is steep on some parts. Lipa, a plant that cause itching on contact is also present on the way up Mt. Malipunyo until a portion of the traverse. (A discussion on Lipa plants + first aid treatment is on Pinoy Mountaineer.
|Trail to Malipunyo's summit
The second major stop - which for me, has the most remarkable viewpoint in the entire route is Biak na Bundok. "Biak" in Tagalog means a crack or gap. Our guide Kuya Mario told us that there was a plan to create a highway that was supposed to connect Lipa, Batangas to San Pablo, Laguna. However, it was not completed, leaving behind a partially eroded mountain. Tall grasses have grown since and you'll hardly notice traces of the abandoned project.
Here, you can see towns and mountains in Southern Tagalog. With cool wind swirling around this wide vantage point, it is a great place to rest! :)
|view at Biak na Bundok
The summit of Manabu is marked with a large white cross. It offers views of other mountains and nearby towns but it often gets foggy in the afternoon.
The last highlight of this route is visiting Tata Tino's hut, located 20 minutes from the summit. He generously offers freshly brewed coffee and chats with passing hikers which is why most consider this a mandatory stop. The coffee he serves is aromatic and strong. I consume around 2-3 cups on each visit so I buy some beans after as a gesture of gratitude for his generosity. The ground beans are worth your money too.
There's also a humorous reason that makes this an interesting stop. Placed in various areas around the hut are carvings of penises of various shapes, which makes a very good conversation starter. :)
|At Tata Tino's hut. That's him in a blue jacket. :)
You'll be passing the city of Lipa on the way back to Manila. Here, you can find various joints where you can eat lomi, a type of noodle soup dish with a thick sauce Batangas is known for. I prefer to eat rice after a hike and often crave for comfort food so my go-to place Bigg's Diner in SM Lipa. It's a leading food chain in Bicol with just two branches in the Southern Tagalog region so I make it a point to eat here whenever I'm in the area. I love their interiors more than anything, an American retro theme. Menu is mostly American dishes catering to the Filipino palate. I wish their serving sizes are bigger though. :P I often end up ordering a chicken meal with rice and then a burger. Hehe!
This route may not have the same eye-popping views as the Cordillera trails or offer a sea of clouds at the summit but if you're someone who enjoys long hikes, dense forests and don't mind some uphill sections, then this is a worthy addition to your adventure list. :)
Here's a copy of our itinerary. Hike was last December 2014.
Entry point: Brgy. Talisay, Lipa
Exit point: Sulok, Brgy. Sta Cruz, Sto. Tomas
04:30AM - Assembly Fiesta Mall, Lipa, Batangas City
05:00AM - ETD Fiesta Mall (take trike to Jump off)
05:30AM - Arrival at the Jump Off
06:00AM - Meet kuya Manuel (guide) and final preparations
06:45AM - Start Trek
07:30AM - Arrive at the river, first water source.
08:15AM - Arrive at Peak 1
08:45AM – Arrive at Peak 2
09:15AM – Arrive at Peak 3, Mt. Malipunyo Summit (Rest)
09:30AM - Start descent
10:00AM - Arrived at Balete park
10:20NN - Start descent
10:50PM - Arrived at River. Water source - Take early lunch
12:15PM - Arrived at Biak na bundok
01:00PM - Start descend
01:50PM - Arrived at Manabu Campsite. Rest
02:00PM - Set foot on Mt Manabu Peak (killed our time)
03:00PM - Start descent
03:30PM - Coffee Break at Manong Pirying (killed our time)
05:00PM - Arrived at Mt Manabu Jump off. Rest. Tidy up
06:00PM - Take tricycle to SM lipa Bus stop, Dinner and post climb
07:45PM - Take bus to Manila
*Thanks to Franz Sandoval for preparing this.
Guide : Kuya Mario - +63 998-409-4899 (updated Sept. 2016)
Expenses : This is a backpost from last year, unfortunately, I can no longer recall how much we spent but I found a blog for your reference which detailed the expenses. Click here for the IT and expenses, do factor in the inflation as this is a post from 2013:)
Related Post :
I did the same route with other friends in 2012 and blogged about our experience here.