Tag Archives: mountain

Arayat: the case of the missing trail

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And I thought guides are supposed to know and lead the way. Up until this climb.

An ambitious dayhike traverse from the Magalang to Arayat trails ended on a rather mischievous note as we learned from the lead pack that our juvenile brothers from Brgy. Ayala on the Magalang side seemed to have lost the trail while already at the foot of Mt. Arayat.

Nevertheless, our group of nearly 25 reached Brgy. Baño at the Arayat side in under ten hours.

Through established trails to the North Peak, we traversed through an exciting ridgeline to the South Peak and continued on to a dense hunter’s trail until we got to the base of the mountain. The descent becomes a test of patience as one negotiates aimlessly through paths covered with trees, vines and roots.

It took the group only three hours to reach the first peak where one finds a communication tower and an army detachment. The peak, at 1,026 MASL, has a campsite and a great view of the flat agricultural lands of Pampanga. The Pampanga river can be seen snaking through the rice fields. After a half-hour lunch break, we resumed the climb. The trek to the second peak (1,008 MASL) takes only about two hours. We passed by White Rock before reaching the southern peak where we stopped for the customary photo ops. It then progresses to a three- to four-hour descent via the Arayat trail.

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Manabu for a day

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Manabu Peak

Short for Mataas na Bundok, Manabu Peak is an easily accessible dayhike destination. It has an MASL of 760+ and a total trail length of 4.7 km.

The trail is interestingly shaped like a rosary with Manabu’s signature big white cross aptly capping the peak.

Perfectly manageable for beginners. The trail is visible and established. Save for a few forks here and there, it is possible to trek Manabu without a guide. If my memory serves me right, just remember to always take the right forks when going up, and (logically) the left forks when going down.

To get there by public transportation, ride the Lipa- or Tanauan-bound JAC or JAM Lines and specify that you will be alighting at the Fiesta Mall (more specifically the Lipa Memorial Park along the highway). A 100-peso tricycle ride will take a group of three to Sulok, Brgy. Sta. Cruz in Sto. Tomas. It will take you twenty minutes on the tricycle to get to the jumpoff point. Alternatively, for bigger groups, you can hire a jeepney to take you to Sulok.

A registration fee of Php15.00 is collected by the barangay. (Un)Fortunately, since our hike was on a Sunday, the tanods were enjoying their (work)day-off. :) Some useful pieces of information about the tanods: 1. pay the exact amount as some regulars say they are not in the habit of giving you change for big bills; 2. take down with a shroud of doubt the mobile number they will give upon registration as it is apparently a dummy according to my friend, and; 3. sympathize with the famous barista, Mang Perying, as he launches a spiel on how seemingly useless the collection of registration fees is since it is not the barangay who maintains the trails to the peak, but the residents like himself.

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Daguldol hiking and beaching

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San Juan, Batangas

A beach and a bundok. How can I resist it?

After an impromptu invitation by a UP friend and a frenzy of are-we-going-or-not conversations, last weekend, my office friends and I found ourselves in yet another weekend getaway. From our initial plan to go to the Hundred Islands in Alaminos to the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, we finally settled at the last minute to go to San Juan, Batangas for a beach and a mountain climbing trip.

Mt. Daguldol is located in Brgy. Hugom, San Juan, Batangas. It is a small mountain range with an MASL of 670+. Classified as an easy climb, the mountain along the coast of southern Batangas is a popular trekking destination. Accessible via private and public transportation, Mt. Daguldol appeals to both tourists and mountaineers. Apart from being only four to five hours away from the metro, San Juan is also popular for its beaches in Laiya which is a nice side trip.

To get there by public transportation, ride the RRCG buses in Buendia bound for San Juan. Unlike the Lipa- or pier-bound JAC or JAM Lines, these buses will take you directly to the town proper where you can alight at the town market. They leave at 4:00 AM, 6:00 AM and 8:00 AM. Their buses can be found near the MRT or LRT stations along Buendia in Pasay. From the town market, your group can either take the public jeepney (Php40.00 per head) or rent a van (Php650.00 per way) bound for Laiya or Hugom.

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Tirad adventure

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The summit looks pretty tiny from the saddle.
But really, it’s not.

I almost missed this climb. If not for the heavens who conspired to reschedule an exam and to give me my boondocks. Nope. I wasn’t off to a good start.

Last February 6 and 7, my 2 girlfriends and I joined the 2nd Annual Charity Climb of the Pinoy Mountaineers. Last year’s charity climb took us to Mt. Pulag (2,922 MASL). This year, the published destination of the trip is Tirad Pass (G. Del Pilar, Ilocos Sur) with a traverse to Quirino.

The destination piqued my interest as usual. The site is very historical and commemorates the courage of Gregorio del Pilar’s “Battle Above the Clouds”. At 22, the Philippines’ youngest general, along with about 60 guards fought the Americans who were pursuing then Philippine President Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The Pass traces the lonely trail and the numerous caves used as refuge by our Filipino soldiers in the battle. Eerie and poignant at the same time.

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