To cap off 2022, I went for a hike in Mt. Manabu, a 760+ meter peak in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Easy to reach by private or public transportation, with plenty of nice food stops on and off the trail, it has become of my favorite hikes near Manila.
It was a holiday. Thankfully, traffic was pretty light. By 9:20 AM, I was making my way up the mountain. Although you're required to register at Barangay Sta. Cruz, guides are not mandatory which is also one of the reasons why I enjoy going to Manabu.
Note : If you're going for the first time, hiring a guide is recommended. The first 15 minutes of the trail can get confusing. Near the base of the mountain, there are several houses and farms so you'll find paths that lead somewhere else. To save time and help bring more business to the locals, secure a guide. Plenty of them are waiting at the registration area.
|Tibig tree indicates a nearby water source. |
True enough, along the trail, you'll pass by a river.
The weather was cold and gloomy - dark clouds everywhere, my kind of weather. But, when hiking in Mt. Manabu, it's not exactly a good thing. Rain made the trail very slippery and muddy. Normally, I wouldn't mind, but I had forgotten to bring a trekking pole and my overused shoes had lost its traction. I got so annoyed navigating through the muddy sections, I decided to head back after 1.5 hours of hiking, about 30 minutes from the summit. I'll visit the peak some other time.
|My shoes made squishy sounds as I hiked |
which was entertaining.
On my way down, I made my usual stop to relish the brewed coffee offered by Tata Tino for free. While he usually stays at his hut in Station 5, about 15-20 minutes from the summit, today he was at his relative's who owns a store, close to the jump-off. Here, I met a family of 3 and they treated me to fried lumpia. Yum! I also bought passion fruit so I can juice it. It was so cheap at 50 Pesos/kilo (less than 1 USD!).
|One of the resting areas along the trail where you can get snacks |
or buy fresh produce.
After washing up at the jump-off, I hurried home, taking a bus from SM Lipa so I can help prepare for our family's New Year's celebration. Thankfully, traffic was just as smooth as going here!
Hiking InformationHow to get to Mt. Manabu
When you arrive in Lipa, ask the bus conductor to let you off near Fiesta Mall. There's a tricycle stand nearby. Just inform them you're heading to Mt. Manabu and they'll bring you to the registration area where you'll pay (30 Pesos). It's a popular destination so most tricycles would know how to get the jump-off in the area called "Sulok" in Barangay Sta. Cruz. You can refer to the jump-off's Google link above. From here, you can secure a guide. I don't know the exact rate but 500 Pesos for a group of 5 hikers is a reasonable rate when doing a short hike. The entire hike will take an average of 4 hours to complete (2 hours to the summit and roughly 1.5-2 hours down) .
Note : Fees may change depending on local guidelines.
Where to Eat After Your Hike
Ijo Bakery is a popular shop offering delicious croissants, Danish and other pastries. It's in Big Ben Complex, along the highway in Lipa. There's no option to dine in as of December 2022.
You can also go to SM or Outlets in Lipa and check the food court or one of the restaurants.