Travel Guide: Nueva Ecija Trilogy

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We love living our lives the craziest way possible, so we hike three mountains in Nueva Ecija in three of its municipalities. There are three mountains in the province of Nueva Ecija which were recently opened and introduced to hikers like us, thanks to the Nueva Ecija Backpackers & Mountaineers Community Inc. (NEBMCI) for their effort in exploring such beautiful mountains in their home province.

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A View Deck before going to the summit of Mt. Sawi

The first mountain we hiked was the Mt. Sawi also know as Mt. Sawing Balite located in Brgy. Malinao, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. Contrary to its name “sawi”, the view on top of the mountain is “wagi” offering you a panoramic view of the mountain ranges of Nueva Ecija and its landscapes. On an average hiking pace, we reached the summit in less than two hours, warming us up for our trilogy hike.

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At the summit of Mt. Sawi

On our decent, we took a peek at the “Simbahang Bato” which is a rock formation that looks like a chapel. Just ask your local guide to take you here as part of your hike.

After a morning hike at Mt. Sawi, we proceed to Brgy. Mapaet in Palayan, Nueva Ecija to taste the bitter-sweet hike of the small but terrible Mt. Mapaet. It is about 400 meters above sea level and can be hiked in less than an hour. But hiking it at 10AM with the striking heat of the sun took us two to three hours reaching the summit. Ascending to the summit is not easy, aside from the hot temperature, the steep assaults will give you a hard time reaching the top. Once you reached the summit, a 360 view of the scenic landscape of Palayan, Nueva Ecija will make that bitter-sweet ascent worth it.

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Ascending to the summit of Mt. Mapaet

Before proceeding to the last mountain of our trilogy, we took our lunch in Laur, Nueva Ecija. There are eateries that offers delicious meals for a cheap price, a meal with one dish, two rice, and a drink only costs around Php 50 to Php 60.

After taking our heavy lunch, we bought the final sets of supplies that we need for our camp to the Mt. 387 (Batong Amat) in Brgy. Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, our last mountain for the Nueva Ecija Trilogy. We reached the jump off of Mt. 387 by 6PM, and start our trek at around 7PM. It is a gradual ascent going to the summit, and we manage to reach the campsite around 9PM.

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Milky Way at 3:00 AM at Mt. 387

We camped at Mt. 387 on a new moon, and the absence of the moon made the stars shine brighter making our hike even more memorable. I was able to take some shots of the milky way at 3AM to 5AM.

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The Lover’s Tree

We woke up to the amazing view of Mt. 387’s mountain range and saw the rolling hills dubbed as the Chocolate Hills of the North. A truly amazing view that will make you appreciate nature even more.

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Mt. 387 Campsite
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Grassland traversing to Aloha Falls
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Almost 90 Degree traverse at the Bamboo Forest going to Aloha Falls
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The steep descent to Aloha Falls

This trilogy will not be complete without having a dip to the refreshing water of the Aloha Waterfalls, which can be traversed from Mt. 387’s campsite. Traversing to the waterfalls is not easy. If the ascent’s difficulty is 2/9, going down to the waterfalls is twice as hard because of the steep decent which is almost 50 degrees. Thanks to the trees, bamboos and cogon grass, we were able to get down safely.

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The Aloha Falls

We reached Aloha falls after 2 hours of that struggling descent, and that stress going down was taken away when we had our bodies dipped to the cold and fortifying waterfall. Going back to the jump off, we rode a pickup truck which was probably the highlight of this trilogy hike.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 0

  • 11:00 PM — ETD to Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija for Mt. Sawi

Day 1

  • 04:00 AM — ETA to Brgy. Malinao, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija
    • Last minute preparation
    • Register
    • Secure guides
  • 05:30 AM — Start Trek
  • 07:30 AM — ETA Summit
  • 08:00 AM — Start Descent
  • 09:30 AM — ETA Jump off
  • 10:30 AM — ETD to Brgy. Mapaet, Palayan, Nueva Ecija for Mt. Mapaet
  • 11:30 AM — ETA to Brgy. Mapaet, Palayan, Nueva Ecija
    • Last minute preparation
    • Register
    • Secure Guides
    • Proceed to Trail head
  • 11:15 AM — ETA to Trail Head
    • Start Hike
  • 01:00 PM — ETA Summit
  • 01:15 PM — Start Descent
  • 02:00 PM — ETA to Trail Head
  • 02:30 PM — ETD to Brgy. Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija for Mt. 387
    • Lunch along the way
    • Buy supplies for camp
  • 05:30 PM — ETA to Brgy. Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija
    • Last minute preparation
    • Register
    • Secure Guides
  • 06:00 PM — Start Trek
  • 08:00 PM — ETA Camp Site
    • Set camp
    • Eat dinner
    • Star Gazing
    • Socials
  • 10:00 PM — Lights out

Day 2

  • 05:00 AM — Wake Up Call
    • Prepare breakfast
  • 07:00 AM — Break Camp
  • 07:30 AM — Start descent to Aloha Falls (Traverse)
  • 10:00 AM — ETA Aloha Falls
    • Rest
    • Swim
  • 11:00 AM — Trek back to jump off
    • Ride a pick up truck (Optional) — 20-30 minute ride
  • 12:00 PM — ETA Jump off
    • Rest
    • Wash up
    • Lunch
  • 02:00 PM — ETD to Manila
    • Miryenda along the way
  • 07:00 PM — ETA to Manila

Hike Expenses

  • Mt. Sawi
    • Registration — Php 30.00
    • Guide — Php 500.00 (1:5 Negotiable)
  • Mt. Mapaet
    • Registration — Php 20.00
    • Guide — Php 300.00 (1:10 Negotiable)
  • Mt. 387 (Batong Amat)
    • Registration — Php 30.00
    • Seedling Donation — Php 10.00
    • Guide — Php 500.00 (1:5 Negotiable) Overnight | Php 300.00 for Day Hike
  • Transportation
    • Doing a trilogy hike in Nueva Ecija is easier with private vehicle or rented van, because you will be transferring from one municipality to another. So we rented a van for two days which costs us Php 11,500.00 all-in.

Total budget (Excluding Food) — Approximately Php 1,100.00

Landmarks for Waze/Google Maps

  • Mt. Sawi
    • Malinao Elementary School
  • Mt. Mapaet
    • Barangay Hall of Mt. Mapaet
  • Mt. 387
    • LAT 15.90506  LONG 120.99212

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