Travel Guide: Mt. Lubog 923+ MASL

I’ve been wanting to climb Mt. Lubog for a long time and for it to be part of my 2017 project, The 100 Mountains Project. So I joined a group of hikers that is set to climb Mt. Lubog on a date that I have a free schedule.

Our group is composed of 11 awesome hikers, and we met each other at Commonwealth Market, this is where the terminal to Brgy. San Isidro is located and also where the habal-habal we rented waited for us.

When we arrived at the jeepney terminal in Brgy. San Isidro, we immediately transfer to a habal-habal which can accommodate 4-5 passengers including the driver. Expect a 1-2 hour bumpy ride from the terminal to the registration area, so bumpy that we need to get off the vehicle multiple times and push it up just to pass by those deep gaps on the trail.

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habal

After that excruciating ride, we reached the registration area where we met up with our guides and register ourselves. Few minutes later, we started our long journey to the foot of Mt. Lubog.

It is about 1-2 hours foot journey going to Sitio Lubog, the place where the real hike to the summit of Mt. Lubog will start. The trail from the registration area to the main jump off is bearable, rolling hills with few assaults. There are some water sources that you’ll be passing by, so if you ran out of water, just ask your guide to stop and fetch water to the sources.

After almost 2 hours, we reached Sitio Lubog, we took a few minute rest, bought some drinks and snacks at the store which open that time and then continued for the final assault going to the summit.

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Prepare yourself for a continues rocky assault going to the summit. The trail is composed of sharp rocks which can be so slippery during rainy seasons, so be mindful of your steps and be cautious all the time.

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We reached the summit within an hour and the rock formations on top welcomed us with its astounding beauty. Even though we did not have a clearing that time, we still enjoyed taking photos with the rock formations on different sides and angles of the summit. On a clear day, you’ll get a view of Mt. Oriod and other mountains of the Sierra Madre.

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We went down after almost an hour of appreciating the summit’s beauty, and then reached the jump off in less than an hour. We then proceed to the Blue Lagoon, where we had our lunch and rest. We did not stay for a long time because it was raining hard and most of us wanted to reach the registration area.

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The Blue Lagoon

After 1-2 hours of trekking, we finally reached the registration area. We had some snacks, coffee and noodles while we wait for our other team members to arrive at the area. When the whole team arrived, we rode the habal-habal again going back to the jeepney terminal. It was a super bumpy ride again, but we where thankful that none of us got hurt and we were all in one piece when we reached the jeepney terminal. From the jeepney terminal, there are jeepneys waiting for you that will bring you back to Commonwealth Market.

Suggested Itinerary

  • 04:00 –– Meetup at Commonwealth Market
  • 05:00 –– ETD to Brgy. San Isidro Jeepney Terminal
  • 06:00 –– ETA to Brgy. San Isidro Jeepney Terminal, transfer to habal-habal
  • 08:00 –– ETA to Registration Point (Caingalan), Register, Guides
  • 08:30 –– Start trek going to Sitio Lubog
  • 10:00 –– ETA Sitio Lubog, prepare for summit assault
  • 11:30 –– ETA Mt. Lubog Summit
  • 12:00 –– Start Descent
  • 12:45 –– ETA Sitio Lubog, Lunch
  • 14:00 –– ETA Blue Lagoon
  • 16:00 –– ETA Registration Area (Caingalan)
  • 18:00 –– ETA Jeepney Terminal
  • 19:30 –– ETA Commonwealth Market

How to get to Mt. Lubog (Commute)

  • Ride a jeepney bound to Brgy. San Isidro at Commonwealth Market.
  • Transfer to Habal-habal going to Caingalan (Registration Area)

Budget and Expenses

  • Commonwealth Market to Brgy. San Isidro –– Php 25.00 (Php 50.00 Roundtrip)
  • Habal-Habal –– Php 1,000.00 (Roundtrip, can accommodate upto 5 passengers including the driver)
  • Guide Fee –– Php 500.00 (1:6 Ratio)
  • Registration Fee –– Php 50.00

TOTAL BUDGET PER PERSON FOR A GROUP OF 4 MEMBERS: Php 475.00

Contact Persons

Kagawad Peter Idala –– 09284647447 / 09074913840, please make sure that you contact him before hand because he will be the one who will be arranging your habal-habal ride to and from the jeepney terminal of Brgy. San Isidro.

Sidetrips

There are some caves, waterfalls, and lagoons that can be part of your sidetrip, just tell your guides in advance.

Conlcusion

Hiking Mt. Lubog can be very satisfying especially when you will have a clear view of the surrounding mountain ranges from the summit. It was one of those long treks that can make some newbie hikers reach their limits. Prepare yourselves to the bumpiest ride you’ll ever have, and keep holding on for you not to fall. 😛

A traverse going to Mt. Balagbag is possible, just make sure you coordinate with the right persons, and also make sure that you have a ride back going to Tungko from Licao-licao.


Special thanks to Sir. Daneth Obongen for sharing the contact persons and budget breakdowns for this itinerary. He is hosting some budget friendly hikes, you can check him out if you are interested to join his fleet.

Day Hikes Near Manila For Under Php 500.00 Budget

Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you enjoy the experience. We’ have been receiving inquiries on where to go hiking with a budget of Php 500.00*, so here’s a list to day hikes near Manila which you will spend a little less than Php 500.00*.

DISCLAIMER: * This budget hikes are possible if you are a group of 5 or more.

1. Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez, Rizal — 777+ MASL

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Famous running route for trail runners, Mt. Balagbag serves a training ground for them with its proximity to Manila and with the challenge it gives to prepare them for their upcoming races.

Mt. Balagbag, standing 777+ masl, is an ideal day hike for beginners due to its wide trail and mild assault. Hikers usually start their trek at the afternoon to witness the beautiful sunset and then camp at the summit overnight. At the morning you’ll get to experience the cool breeze as the warmth of the rising sun touches your body.

How to get to Mt. Balagbag

  • From Cubao, ride a bus going to Tungko.
  • Alight at Jollibee Tungko and the ride a jeep going to Licao-licao
  • From Licao-licao you can already start your hike to the registration or you can opt to ride a trike going to the registration area. I suggest you start your hike at Licao-licao because from the registration area, it is just 20-30 mins away to summit, so enjoy the hike from Licao-licao to summit if I were you.


Expenses

  • Cubao – Tungko: Php 55.00 (Bus)
  • Tungko – Licao-licao: 27.00 (Jeep)
  • Registration + Other Fee: Php 30.00
  • Optional: Trike from Licao-licao to school: Php 30.00

To read more about Mt. Balagbag, check out our dedicated blog entry for this mountain here: itinerary.ph/MtBalagbag


2. Mt. Ayaas, Rodriguez, Rizal — 627+ MASL

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Mt. Ayaas, standing 627+ masl, is considered as one of the highest peaks in Rodriguez, Rizal, a minor climb ideal for beginners as their first hike.

Main jump off this mountain is in Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal, but our group took the second one which is in Brgy. Mascap, Rodriguez, Rizal. One should start their trek as early as 5AM to avoid the heat of the sun, Mt. Ayaas does not have much trees to cover you up when sun’s heat strikes.

After hiking this mountain, a waterfall side trip can be arranged with you guide. Tell them that you want to swim and chill at the Payaran Falls, where you can also have your lunch. Wawa Dam is also one optional side trip.

How to get to Mt. Ayaas

  • From Cubao, ride a UV Express bound to Eastwood, Montalban. Tell the driver to drop you off the trike terminal going to Brgy. Mascap.
  • From Eastwood, Montalban, ride a trike going to the barangay,


Expenses

  • Php 100.00 – RT Cubao-Montalban-Cubao (Van)
  • Php 60.00 – RT Montalban-Mascap-Montalban (Trike Php 150.00/5px)
  • Php 30.00 – Registration fee
  • Php 80.00 – Guide fee (400/5)


Contact Persons

  • 0917 9790 477 – Marianito Nicasio
  • 0919 8821 487 – Kuya Mark
  • 0905 6705 943 – Ms. Jessica Francisco
  • 0946 6970 054 – Sir. Jhon Ibay

To read more about Mt. Ayaas, check out our dedicated blog entry for this mountain here: itinerary.ph/MtAyaas


3. Mt. Paliparan, Tanay, Rizal — 562+ MASL

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Tanay has been making names when it comes to adventure destinations, home of the famous Mt. Daraitan, Tinipak River, Daranak Falls, Mt. Maynoba and so many other hiking destinations and now, just few months ago, a new mountain trails has been opened for hikers, the Mt. Paliparan.

Mt. Paliparan, with an elevation of 562+ MASL resides at the peaceful community of Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal. One can experience the picturesque view of the rock formations, limestone, and a panoramic view of the Laguna de Bay, Pililla Wind Farm, and Mt. Banahaw. It is named paliparan by the Dumagats mainly because it is a venue of a kite-flying competition by their youths. The lush vegetation at trail going to the mountains made the climb more interesting and challenging.

Side trip to Tung Tong Falls is one of the highlights trekking Mt. Paliparan.

How to get to Mt. Paliparan

  • Take jeep to Cogeo from Cubao
  • From Cogeo, ride a jeep going to Brgy. Cuyambay
  • Ride a Habal-habal going to the Barangay Hall


Expenses

  • Cubao to Cogeo — Php 25.00
  • Cogeo to Cuyambay — Php 48.00
  • Habal-habal to Brgy. Hall — Php 25.00
  • Registration fee — Php 20.00
  • Donation for seedlings — Php 10.00
  • Guide fee — Php 500.00 (Day Hike), Php 800.00 (Overnight) guide ration 1:5


Hiking Notes

Exercise caution when hiking especially at the rocky parts of the mountains as it tends to be slippery on rainy days. Wear gloves if possible, always follow the guides, if they said no, it’s a no. Leave no trace, and listen carefully when they are conducting an orientation at the jump off point. Lastly, enjoy the climb. Be nice to everyone, and respect one another.


To read more about Mt. Paliparan, check out our dedicated blog entry for this mountain here: itinerary.ph/MtPaliparan


4. Mt. Talamitam, Nasugbu, Batangas — 630+ MASL

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One of the easiest hikes in the province of Batangas and is just 3 hours away from Manila. A chill hike recommended for beginners. This easily accessible day hike offers a 360 degree view of the town of Nasugbu and its beautiful landscape.

If you are aiming for a twin hike, this can be paired with Mt. Apayang or Mt. Batulao if you want more of it.

How to get to Mt. Talamitam

  • Ride a bus from Coastal Mall South Bus Terminal going to Nasugbu, Batangas.
  • Tell the conductor to drop you off to Sitio Bayabasan


Expenses

  • Costal Mall Bus Terminal to Sitio Bayabasan — Php 120.00
  • Guide Fee — Php 300 (You can opt not to hire a guide if you already know the trail.)
  • Registration Fee — Php 40.00
  • Sidetrip to Layong Bilog River
  • Entrance fee – Php 20
  • Shower fee – Php 20

To read more about Mt. Talamitam, check out our dedicated blog entry for this mountain here: itinerary.ph/MtTalamitam


5. Mt. Romelo, Siniloan, Laguna — 630+ MASL

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If you are the type of person who loves waterfalls, you definitely should visit Mt. Romelo. Mt. Romelo, situated in Brgy. Macatad, Siniloan, Laguna is an adventurer’s choice when it comes to easy chill hiking and its waterfall side trips. There are at least 7 waterfalls that can be found here in this area.

Day hikers can usually visit 3 to 4 waterfalls, starting from Samaploc Falls, Batya-Batya Falls, Buruwisan Falls, then ending it to Lanzones Falls. If you want to visit all 7 waterfalls, it will require you to stay overnight and start trekking to the last 3 waterfalls early morning.

How to get to Mt. Romelo

  • We had our meetup at DLTB Bus Station near LRT Buendia. First trip to Sta. Cruz, Laguna departs at 3:00 AM or whenever the bus gets full. It’s a 3 hour ride from Buendia to Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
  • At Sta. Cruz, Laguna, we ride a jeepney going to Siniloan, Laguna. It’s a 30-minute ride from Sta. Cruz to Siniloan. Tell the driver to drop you off near the Jollibee going to Buruwisan.
  • From Siniloan, ride a tricycle going to Brgy. Macatad, Siniloan, Laguna. Tell the tricycle driver to drop you off the road to Buruwisan Falls. A 15-minute ride going to the jump off of Mt. Romelo.


Expenses

  • Php 140.00 — Buendia to Sta. Cruz, Laguna (V.V)
  • Php 40.00 — Sta. Cruz, Laguna – Siniloan, Laguna (V.V)
  • Php 20.00/head — Siniloan – Brgy. Macatad  V.V)
  • Php 50.00.00/head — Registration fee
  • Php 600.00/8 (We’re group of 8) — Guide Fee 10:1
  • Php 20.00 — Shower Fee


Things to Remember

  • Where comfortable trekking shoes/sandals and outfit.
  • Practice LNT (Leave No Trace) Principle
  • Bring down your trash
  • In case of limatik encounter, don’t panic. Alcohol spray can easily take it off. Read further information about limatiks.
  • Respect the mountains, the guides, the community, and other hikers, visitors, and mountaineers.


Contact Person

  • You can contact Kuya Teroy if you are planning to go here. 0949 891 2918

To read more about Mt. Romelo, check out our dedicated blog entry for this mountain here: itinerary.ph/MtRomelo


6. Maysawa Circuit, Tanay, Rizal — Mt. Sapari (592+ MASL) and Mt. Binutasan (577+ MASL)

Mt. Sapari
Mt. Sapari

There’s another mountain circuit which has been recently opened to hikers a few months ago which offers a beautiful view of the sea of clouds and a refreshing waterfall sidetrip after descending the mountain.

The Maysawa Circuit features two mountain-hills, the Mt. Sapari and Mt. Binutasan and a creek at the end of the hike. One should register first at the barangay hall of Brgy. Cuyambay, same registration area of Mt. Paliparan. After registration, hikers will go straight to the trailhead, which requires them to ride a vehicle in order to arrive there quickly. As of July 2016, registration area is still at the barangay hall, but they said that they are planning to put a registration area at the start of the trail to the circuit.

At the summit of this mountains, you will be able to see Mt. Batolusong, Mt. Maynoba, and other neighboring mountains along the Sierra Madre mountain range.

How to get to Maysawa Circuit

  • From Cubao, ride a jeep going to Cogeo
  • From Cogeo, ride a jeep going to Cuyambay. Brgy. Cuyambay is just 5 mins away from Batangasan and is on the right side of the road.
  • From there, hire a habal-habal going to the Barangay Hall, then after registration, ask them to take you to the trailhead of the Maysawa Circuit


Expenses

  • Registration: Php 30.00
  • Guide Fee: Php 500 (1:5) Php 1,250.00 Overnight
  • Cubao to Cogeo: Php 25.00
  • Cogeo to Cuyambay: Php 42.00
  • Habal-Habal: Php 50.00


Contact Persons

  • Jeep rental (Rene) – 09127570867
  • Brgy. Cuyambay – 09124795185
  • Brgy. Cuyambay (Rose) – 09093379673
  • Van rental (from Manila) – 09269702947


Hiking Notes

  • Trail can be super muddy and slippery during rainy days. Bring gloves, and wear your most comfortable trekking outfit, and be careful while descending down the two mountains.
  • For you to witness the sea of clouds, I suggest that you go there via private vehicle and leave as early as 2AM from your meeting point.
  • There are few limatiks along the trail, so brace yourselves for a bloody trek during rainy days.

To read more about Maysawa Circuit, check out our dedicated blog entry for this mountain here: itinerary.ph/MaysawaCircuit

#OnTheList: 5 Travel Destinations You Can Visit With Php 22k!

First off, this post has nothing against Coldplay or people who are willing to pay for the VIP price ticket to watch their concert. We too are fans of the band, we’re just listing at least 5 travel destinations that you can visit with that amount of money, so cheers and let’s get started!

1. Mt. Pulag, Benguet

#OnTheList: 10 Travel Destinations You Can Visit With Php 22k! Mt. Pulag
View of the Sea Of Clouds from the summit of Mt. Pulag

Mt. Pulag, the highest peak of Luzon at 2,992 MASL. It is one of the most popular weekend destination of most hiking enthusiasts and mountaineers because of the majestic view if offers. One of the main reason why hikers flock to this mountain is because of its magnificent sunrise plus a view of the sea of clouds. It is also coined as the “Playground of the Gods” by most hikers.

There are a lot of travel groups and organizers who offers a two to three day tour/hike to Mt. Pulag ranging from Php 2,000 to Php 3,000 depending on the trail you want to take. But if you want to do it as DIY, you must at least form a group of 10 for a less expensive trip. Budget for DIY trips from Baguio city ranges from Php 1,500 to Php 2,000 depending on the number of members in your group.

Hiking Mt. Pulag is via reservation basis, allowing only 500 hikers per day for all of the trails. So you might want to call the tourism office to reserve your slots before going there.

Budget:

  • Php 2,000.00 – Php 3,000.00


Contact Number:

  • DENR – 09196315402


Expenses:

  • Guide Fee – Php 500.00/guide good for 1-5 persons, additional person is Php 100.00. Maximum of 10 persons per guide.
  • Registration Fee and Orientation – Php 225.00 per person
  • Monster Jeep Renta – Php 7,000 to Php 8,000 and can accommodate upto 18 persons. You can ask the DENR personnel for contact numbers of their accredited jeepney rentals.


Organized Event:

We are having our Mt. Pulag Year-End Climb this coming December 28-29, 2016. If you are interested to join, we are offering it for only Php 2,799 inclusive of transportation, all fees, dinner and breakfast. You can find more details by clicking this link: Year Ender — Experience Mt. Pulag


2. Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

#OnTheList: 10 Travel Destinations You Can Visit With Php 22k! Nagsasa Cove
A less than 30 minute trek in Nagsasa Cove where you can see a really nice view of the Island. Best for sunrise and sunset watching. Entrance fee here is Php 40.00

One of the best beach getaway my friends and I have been to is the Nagsasa Cove in Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. It’s just a chill and laid back getaway for the weekend just to be far away from the stress in the city. For a budget for Php 1,800.00 ALL-IN, we get to enjoy a relaxing and fun weekend getaway.

There’s not much to do here but to just relax, swim, play with the waves, cliff jump, and visit Capones and Camara Islands. If you are a more adventurous type of traveler, you can hike Mt. Balingkilat traversing to Nagsasa Cove.

Budget:

  • Php 1,500.00 – Php 1,800.00


Contact Number:

  • Jesus Bansales III – 0920 274 4651 | 0977 321 7900
    You can contact Sir Jess if you want to visit and camp in Nagsasa Cove. You can also choose among the other two coves, the Anawangin Cove (the more crowded and commercialized one) and Talisayen Cove.
  • Van rental – 09063395064 | 09178618672
    In all of our trips, we are renting vans from them. If you want a convenient transfer from your place to Zambales, you can contact them for van rentals.


Expenses:

  • Van rentals can range from Php 8,000.00 to Php 9,000.00
  • Nagsasa Tour ranges from Php 500.00 to Php 650.00 per person inclusive of everything you need in the island, entrance fees, round trip boat transfer and island hopping.
  • Food sharing is up to you, our group shared Php 300.00 to Php 500.00 per person for supplies and cooking materials.

3. Mt. Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal

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The famous rock formation on top of the summit where most hikers take a selfie.

A popular day hike destination in Tanay, Rizal which is just 2-3 hours away from Manila. A quick escape from the busy streets of the city. On top of the summit, you’ll see a wide view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range and a bonus sea of clouds if you’ll do a night trek and if you are lucky enough to witness it.

Tinipak River is also one the main attraction in this places, usually made as a side trip of most hikers by doing a traverse from the summit of Mt. Daraitan. You’ll also get a chance to see the beautiful rock formation in the river, you just have to pay Php 25.00 as entrance fee which is used to maintain the place. If the weather condition is good, and the current is not that bad, you can also take a dip at the natural pool inside the Tinipak Cave. Though they are limiting the amount of time to stay here for 15 minutes due to the number of people who wants to experience it.

You can check our travel guide to Mt. Daraitan for a more detailed blog: Travel Guide: Mt. Daraitan

Budget:

  • Php 500.00 – Php 700.00 for a day hike

Contact Number: 

  • Head Guide (Willy): 0906 953 3470


Expenses:

  • Guide fee – Php 500.00 good for 1-5 persons
  • Registration fee – Php 20.00
  • Entrance fee to see the Rock Formation – Php 25.00
  • Van Shaw to Tanay – Php 70.00 to Php 90.00 (1.5 hours of travel)
  • Jeep from Tanay to Sampaloc – Php 26.00 (45 minutes)
  • Trike from Sampaloc to Extraction point – Php 100.00 per person (30 minutes)
  • Raft to cross the river (Optional) – Php 10.00


Organized Event:

We are having a day hike to Mt. Daraitan this coming December 04, 2016. If you are interested to join, we are offering it for only Php 700.00 inclusive of transportation and all fees. You can find more details by clicking this link: Dayhike — Mt. Daraitan


4. Mt. Ulap in Itogon, Benguet

#OnTheList: 10 Travel Destinations You Can Visit With Php 22k! Mt. Ulap
Parallax view along the trail of Mt. Ulap

A fun chill day hike in Benguet which offers a picturesque view the Cordillera’s mountain range. A relatively easy hike which can be recommended for first time hikers. You will get to experience a breath taking view while trekking to the summit and a chance to see the sea of clouds.

One of the main attraction in this mountain is the Gungal Rock which serves as the landmark of this mountain.

Budget:

  • Php 400.00 to Php 500.00 from Baguio

Contact Number:

  • Brgy. Ampucao Tourism – 09989589549

Expenses:

  • Registration Fee – Php 100.00 per person
  • Guide fee – Php 400.00 good for 10 persons Php 800.00 overnight
  • If you are going to camp, you’ll need to pay addition Php 500.00 for the camping fee


Organized Event:

We are having a day hike to Mt. Ulap this coming December 17, 2016. If you are interested to join, we are offering it for only Php 1,200.00 inclusive of transportation and all fees. You can find more details by clicking this link: Dayhike — Mt. Ulap


5. Buscalan Village in Tinglayan Kalinga

Apo Whang-od

Experience a traditional culture of the Butbut tribe in Kalinga. Relax and enjoy the company of the villagers and learn new things from their cultures and tradition. Wake up to the wonderful view of the mountains. Take a dip to the chilling waters of the water falls. All that for a budget of Php 3,000.00 for a ground of 5!

Buscalan is almost a 19 hour travel from Manila, so if you love long commutes and enjoys transferring from one mode of transportation to another for almost one whole day, this destination is for you.

One of the main reason why people from different parts of the globe visits Buscalan is  because of the living legend, soon to be a National Artist (hopefully), Apo Whang-od. Believed to be the last “Mambabatok” (traditional tattoo artist) of her generation. She offers traditional tattoos to visitors for a price ranging from Php 200.00 to Php 1,000+ depending on the size of the tattoo. She is accompanied by here grand daughters/nieces Grace and Elyang.

Budget:

  • Php 2,000 to Php 3,000 group of 3 to 5 persons


Contact Person

  • Guide Gilbert – 09084792012
  • Guide Oliver – 09397741477
  • Guide Raffy – 09279853681


Expenses:

  • Manila to Baguio – Php 455.00
  • Baguio to Manila – Php 455.00
  • Baguio to Bontoc – Php 195.00
  • Bontoc to Baguio – Php 195.00
  • Bontoc to Buscalan – Php 100.00
  • Buscalan to Bontoc – Php 100.00
  • Homestay – Php 250.00
  • Registration Fee – Php 75.00
  • Guide – Php 1,000


Organized Event:

We are having a tour to Buscalan next year January 13-15, 2016. If you are interested to join, we are offering it for only Php 1,200.00 inclusive of transportation and all fees. You can find more details by clicking this link: Year Starter — Experience Buscalan


So there you go! These are some of the destinations you can visit if you are thinking twice on whether you should buy a VIP ticket to Coldplay’s concert, or just go to places you’ve never been before, explore and learn new things from you adventure.

It’s up to you, just do the things that makes you happy and don’t let other people dictate you on your own happiness. Live the life you want to live and be happy on whatever the result may be.

We’ll be adding more destinations in this list in the coming days so stay tuned for our updates. Cheers!

Travel Guide: Mt. Daraitan

Mt. Daraitan, standing 738+ MASL, is a gem at the heart of the great Sierra Madre mountain range. Just a few hours away from Manila, Mt. Daraitan is one of those mountains that can be climbed in one day. The major jump off is located in Brgy. Daraitan in Tanay Rizal.

With a trail class of 1-3 and difficulty of 4/9, this mountain can be challenging for beginners. Our local guide told us that the trail up to the summit 80%, and he’s somehow right and it get’s harder because it is raining when we get there. The most challenging part of this climb is the descent. We are very careful and cautious on our way down to Tinipak River. The trail is very muddy and slippery that most of us slipped down the trail. Luckily no one was injured.
There’s a mini store located near the way to Tinipak River where we rested for several minutes, drank coffee and ate our trail foods. We also washed our muddy shoes and outfits at the stream flowing down the mountain.

We reached Tinipak River at 3PM. The scenic view of the river, is so rewarding after a 2-3 hours trek down the mountain. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to swim to the river because of the strong current due to the heavy rainfall on the past few days. But luckily, we were able to explore and relax for a short time inside the Tinipak Cave! Just a few minutes spelunking and we reached the pool inside the cave.

After our long walks and tiring ascend and descend from the mountain, we reward ourselves with one of the best Lomi in Daraitan! I think it is really one of the best Lomi I’ve ever tasted, for just 25 pesos.

Planning of doing a day hike at Mt. Daraitan? Here’s our Itinerary for Mt. Daraitan (Day Hike) + Side Trip to Tinipak River and Cave

Suggested Itinerary
0300 — Assembly McDo StarMall Shaw Blvd.
0400 — Take jeepney from EDSA-Shaw to Tanay, Rizal
0530 — ETA Tanay, Rizal. Take jeep to Sampaloc, Tanay (P26)
0615 — ETA Sampaloc, Tanay. Take tricycle to Brgy. Daraitan (P100/person)
0700 — Arrival at Daraitan River. Cross with raft and take trike to barangay hall
0730 — ETA Barangay Hall; Register and secure guides
0800 — Start trek up Mt. Daraitan
1130 — ETA summit. Explore the viewpoints / Lunch
1300 — Start descent to Tinipak River
1500 — Arrival at Tinipak River. Explore the area
1630 — Proceed to Brgy. Daritan via riverside trail
1800 — Head back to Tanay, Rizal via tricycle

Our guide has a friend who happen to have a jeepney, so we ride his jeepney from Daraitan to Tanay for Php 100/person, we saved the fare for Daraitan to Sampaloc

Transportation
Public (1) Jeep or van, EDSA-Shaw Crossing to Tanay [70-90 pesos; 1.5 hours]
(2) Jeep, Tanay to Sampaloc [26 pesos, 45 minutes) (3)Tricycle, Tanay to Brgy. Daraitan [100 pesos/person; 30 minutes] (4) Raft, Daraitan river [10 pesos; 1 minute] (5) Tricycle, Daraitan river to Brgy. hall [10 pesos/person; 5 minutes] *Alternatively for 1-2, take jeep from Cogeo to Sampaloc *Alternatively for 2-3, if going overnight, take jeep from Tanay to Daraitan that leaves at 1300H and 1500H (and returns from Daraitan to at 0900H and ~1200H) Approximately 3-4 hours travel time because of various stops and delays.

Registration
Logbook at the barangay hall of Daraitan. P20 registration fee.

Guides
Available, assigned at the barangay hall (500 pesos for the dayhike)

Sidetrips
In Tanay, Daranak and Batlag Falls can be visited before visiting Daraitan, especially if you plan to take the regular afternoon jeepney. In Daraitan, Caves and Tinipak River exploration can count as side trips.

Alternate trails
There are hunters’ trails that go deep into the Sierra Madre mountains. One of the nearby peaks, Mt. Lugang, is being considered as another ecotourism site.

Facilities at jumpoff
(+) Sari-sari stores (+) Carinderias / paluto (+) Wash-up / shower places

Estimated budget
500-700 (dayhike)

Contact Numbers:
Head Guide (Willy): 0906 953 3470

For more information please see Pinoy Mountaineer

More photos here

Discover Cagayan Valley’s hidden treasures!

Cagayan Valley is more than just Palaui Island hopping and beach bumming. These are the awesome but lesser known locations in Cagayan that will help satisfy your adventurous soul:

Duba Cave: I think a more appropriate name for this cave is The Bat Cave. This is a submerged cave that has an enchanting appeal. We had to use ring floaters led by our guide to enter this cave. Since the water is high at this time of the year, our guides deemed it unsafe to take us to the end of the cave which has a waterfalls. We waited until 5pm to witness the circadian flight of the bats which was really amazing! We had the best seat in the house for a really close encounter with their flight as we waited for our guide to retrieve my gopro which fell in the 5-meter deep water inside the cave. All is good. 🙂

Blue Water falls and cave: I lost count of the numerous cascading waterfalls that we passed as we headed to the Blue Water cave. As soon as we reach a picture-perfect spot we would overlook a falls one after the other and we reacted with increasing awe and excitement each time.

The cascading falls ends at Blue Water cave. Well, actually it extends inside the cave. Most parts of the cave, if not all, is submerged in flowing water with some areas having strong current and and some have still water that only god knows how deep. We managed to reach the area of what they call “Olympic Pool” (water basin literally as big as an olympic pool) which took us about an hour out and back.

There’s this small waterfalls hole on the at the Olympic Pool wall which has to be climbed/entered that leads to the cave’s 1st pitch. You’d have to do a seemingly endless swim and a 13.5m vertical climb before reaching this area (appx. 2hrs) — this is what we’ll go back for on a summer because currents are too strong during non-summer months!

Lipit Canyon: I have a theory that this was a former cave that was literally cracked open from the ceiling! The narrow stream is walled with formations just like what you see inside caves! This is a 5km stretch that has to be swam (flowing water, some parts has strong currents) to reach the caves at the end. They have around 5 caves in the area. Again, it is best to do this during summer.

Sierra Cave: this lesser known cave just sits beside Callao Cave. This is not really open to public though… The cave’s entrance and exit has locked gates which is only accessible to SMOC (Sierra Madre Outdoor Club) members. Thanks to the hospitality and generosity of the SMOC president and senior member, we were privileged to enter this cave. (Without us even asking for it! Yey! It seemed like having bonus level in a computer game. Hehe).

They have closed this cave to avoid having the same fate of the dead (but still wonderful) Callao Cave. They plan to open this in the future, but with closer monitoring and control of tourists.

It does seem that summer is the best time to visit Baggao, but during non-summer months the cascading water falls is in full glory! They might not be as appealing as they are during the rainy season. So might as well got there now and go back for the summer! 🙂

Itinerary Cagayan Valley (Baggao, Peñablanca, Sta. Ana) travel adventure during the APEC Holiday, November 17 to 21 (5D4N)

Day 0: Duba Cave | Laglagto River

0800 – ETA Tug (coordinate with SMOC for guides and transpo; rented van going to San Jose, Baggao)
0900 – Breakfast – Fefang’s panciteria (60-90php / Pancil Batil)
1000 – off to San Jose, Baggao
1130 – check in @ Country Inn
1230 – off to Laglagto River & Duba Cave
1800 – circadian flight of the bats @ Duba Cave
1830 – go back to hotel | dinner

Expenses:

guide: 500php
salbabida: 320php for 4pcs
entrance fee: 20php/pax (10php laglagto, 10php duba)
gears: (helmet & life vest) 40php/pax
transpo: rented van from TUG to San Jose – 1,500php
transpo: rented pick-up from country inn – 600php RT
Country Inn – 1,200php/night for 2
Day 1: Blue waterfalls & cave | Lipit Canyon

0530 – breakfast @ Country Inn
0630 – off to Blue Water falls & cave via rented van
0745 – eta jump off
1030 – lunch @ blue water cave entrance
1130 – explored cave until “Olympic Pool”
1230 – off to Lipit canyon
1300 – ETA Lipit canyon
1500 – back to Country Inn via rented van

Expenses

rented van RT – 2,000php
Blue Water entrance fee – 20php/pax
Country Inn – 1,200php/night for 2
Tip: bring packed lunch from hotel (for yourself, the guides and driver)

Day 2: Sierra Cave & Callao Cave

0630 – breakfast
0730 – ETD to Tug-Callao via rented van
1000 – ETA Sierra Cave
1100 – exit Sierra Cave / wash up @ river side of Callao Cave
1115 – enter Callao Cave
1230 – exit Callao Cave / change clothes
1330 – Lunch @ RGT Bulalohan
1445 – ETD to Sta. Ana
1815 – ETA @ Sta. Ana – Eden’s Lodge
2000 – Dinner

Expenses

guide – 600php
rented van – 2,500php (Baggao-Peñablanca-Tuguegarao)
parking fee – 30php
Callao Cave entrance – 20php/pax
public van from Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana – 180php/pax
Eden’s Lodge – 1,200php/night for 2 (with AC and hot shower)
Day 3: Island Hopping

0530 – breakfast
0700 – start of island hopping

Cape Engaño
Punta Verde – Batatubot Falls
Anguib beach
Puzo Robo – via van (less than 10mins from Anguib Beach)
Crocodile Island
1630 – ETA an departure from Port San Vicente (picture @ last KM marker
1700 – ETA Jotay for merienda
2000 – Dinner

Expenses

3500 boat + 50/pax day pass + 20/pax environmental fee
cape engaño – 600php for 2 guides
punta verde – 100php for 2 guides
punta verde – 100php for 2 guides
anguib to pozo rubo RT – van 800php (Sir Arnold’s brother own the van) – you can opt not to go here
Pozo Rubo entrance fee – 50php/pax
tricycle to eden’s – 120php
Eden’s Lodge – 1,200php/night for 2
Day 4:

Flight to Manila

van to Tug – 200php/pax
terminal fee – 150php/pax
Net expense per pax for a group of 6 = appx 5,325php
Exclusions: food, tip for guides and drivers, manila-tuguegarao-manila fare

TIPS:

There are different tour packages offered by CV Traventures for a hassle-free Baggao tour. Please coordinate with SMOC – Ma’am Karen, who will tirelessly help you out and respond to all your queries. 🙂
we’ve been renting transpo since it is more convenient. They don’t have a standard rate for this, but they offer the best price they could so be generous. (Wag na tumawad. Support local. Nahihiya pa sila magsabi ng price sa amin. Don’t forget to include their meals (and the guides’ as well) because they pick you up really early in the morning and wait for you the whole afternoon.
during your dinner at Country Inn, ask to have your breakfast served at your desired time in the morning and order already for your packed lunch. (Look for Chris – sobrang maalaga. Hehe)
it is best to do caving in Baggao during the summer, but if you also want to enjoy the waterfalls go there during non-summer months. (Pwede naman balikan depending on the activity that you want to do)
when you contact the referred persons please mention my name and that we’re the group who went there during the APEC Holiday. 🙂
Notes:

Sobrang ganda po ng Baggao. I hope when you go there you keep it as it is. LEAVE NO TRACE.
This is an adventure so be ready to go hiking, river crossings, swimming, spelunking, rappelling, drenching in bat poo and pee, encounter wild animals inside the cave (don’t harm them, mas takot pa sila sayo kesa ikaw sakanila) and many more. Enjoy lang and keep safe smile emoticon
Salamat sa group na biglaan ang pagsama sa amin at sobrang game lang sa pagpapaubaya ng itinerary sakin (kahit kailangan nila gumising at bumangon ng maaga. Haha) more adventures to come Edmon, Mark, Dex, Joel.

Sobrang salamat din sa SMOC (Ma’am Nida, Sir Francis, Ma’am Karen, Ma’am Joan and DJ) na hindi kami pinabayaan at nag assist all throughout out stay in Baggao and even in Sta. Ana. God bless these people. 🙂

Contact number/s:

Van: Kuya Renz – (0935) 497 9750
Kuya Victor – (0915) 948 0469
Boat operator/owner: Sir Arnold Peralta – (0915) 467 0964
Country Inn, San Jose: (0917) 685 2837
Eden’s Lodge – (0917) 881 5129

More photos here!

Travel Guide: Mt. Manalmon and Mt. Gola Twin Hike

If you are looking for a chill hike near Metro Manila, San Miguel, Bulacan is the right place for you. Mt. Manalmon and Mt. Gola is best for chill hikers and beginners. You can hike these two mountains half day and then you can explore and go spelunking in Madlum Cave and Bayukbok Caves.

We first hiked Mt. Gola, which almost at the same level as Mt. Manalmon (196+ MASL). We reached the summit in less than 2 hours. It has an easy trail, just need to be careful with sharp rocks. We descended after 30 minutes and the we proceed to Mt. Manalmon.

Mt. Manalmon has more little assaults than Mt. Gola, and it will give you a better view of Mt. Arayat from afar. We reached the summit also in less than 2 hours, took some photos and descended after 30 minutes.

We still have plenty of time because we finished both mountains at around 11 AM. We decided to have lunch first and then we went straight to Bayukbok Cave 1 & 2.

The most challenging part of this adventure is the spelunking. We first explore the Bayukbok Cave 2 because it is a little easier that Bayukbok Cave 1 but cave 2 has more crawling and sliding. Bayukbok Cave 1 is more challenging because there are rappelling and helicopter ladder trails and more crawling and sliding.

After finishing the cave, we descended back to the jump off point and rest, some of us swam to river and crossed the monkey bridge and did some photo ops.

We’ve had so much fun and this adventure is really worth it!

Here’s a suggested itinerary if you are planning to go here for a day trip adventure.

PS: You might want to hire a private van if you are a group of 12-15 members so that you will not have a problem finding a ride back home.

Suggested Itinerary
0300 Cubao – Jollibee (Farmers) (Assembly)
0400 ETD to San Miguel Bulacan
0730 ETA Brgy. Kamias, San Miguel; take tricycle to jump-off
0800 Arrive at jump-off; register and get guides at community
0900 Start trek
1030 ETA summit of Mt. Manalmon; take pictures
1100 Start descent
1200 Back at community; lunch
1300 Visit Madlum and Bayukbok Caves
1530 Swim at Madlum river
1700 Back at jump-off; proceed back to Brgy. Kamias
1740 ETD Manila
2000 ETA Manila

Expenses
Guides (Required): Php 300.00/Guide/Mountain
Caving: Php 40.00/Pax/Cave
Parking Fee: Php 25.00/Van
Registration Fee: Php 10.00/Pax
Van: Php 5,000/van can accommodate 15-16 pax

Update There’s an additional Php 20.00 fee before you can proceed to the jump off/registration area. This is being mandate by the local officials.

Guides:
We had 4 guides since we are 32 pax.
4 Guides (Php 300.00 x 2 Mountains) = Php 2,400.00
Php 2,400.00 / 32 Pax = Php 75.00/pax
Additional Php 40.00/pax/cave. Since we visited 2 caves, that would be additional Php 80.00/pax for two caves.
So our total guide fee per pax is Php 155.00

Transportation:
We hired two vans since we are a big group. The price of the van we hired is Php 5,000.00 each, so That would be Php 10,000 for two vans that accommodates 16 pax each.
So, Php 10,000.00/32 = Php 312.50 + the food of the driver (Php 150.00/driver = 300)
Total cost of transportation + Driver meal = Php 325.00*/pax

Grand total of our expenses/pax
Guide Fee + Transportation Fee + Registration Fee = Php 490.00*

Van Contact Number
Van For Hire – +63 906 339 5064

How to get there via public transportation
Take any Cabanatuan-bound bus from Cubao or Pasay (Baliwag Transit, ES Transport, and Five Star Transport).
Tell the conductor to drop you off at Brgy. Sibul, San Miguel, Bulacan. Fare is around P130.
Then from Brgy. Kamias, you can take a tricycle to jumpoff at Brgy Madlum (P200/tricycle, max 4 persons). This trike trip takes 40 minutes.
Food
There are food being sold at the jump off.

Tips!
Secure a permit at least 5 days before the activity date. You must send your letter of intent with the names and contact numbers of the participants. You can send your request to the following email addresses:

sanmiguelbulacan1874@yahoo.com
rrboyflorencio@yahoo.com
m.a.d.l.u.m.inc@gmail.com
Wait for the reply of the Municipality of San Miguel Bulacan or the Municipal Tourism officer for the approval of your permit or you can call these numbers to follow-up your permit:

0447640154 – Municipal office of San Miguel Bulacan,
09053726148 – Boy Florencio (Municipal Tourism Officer of San Miguel Bulacan)

Please Inform them if your permit has been approved. You can call these numbers to make your arrangements before entering the park:

09195746470 look for Mr. Carlito (tata Carling) Carpio President M.A.D.L.U.M. Inc.
09434440033 look for Mr. Rexel Marketing and Promotion officer M.A.D.L.U.M. Inc.

That is all! Have fun and remember the LNT rule!

Note from the Municipality of San Miguel, Bulacan
As per municipal instruction, minors are not allowed to climb mountains so only those of legal ages will be permitted to climb. Intoxicating drinks are not allowed, and of course dangerous drugs and other illicit substances are strictly prohibited. If there are strong rains or typhoon, the permit issuedis automatically cancelled and deferred to another date for the safet and welfare of all concerned.

Another destination in our place is a part of Biak na Bato National Park accessed through R. Magsaysay National Road going to barangay Biak na Bato. It is a nature heritage and historical place to visit. It has man-made improvements there too. Our local products such as minatamis, i.e. yema, pastilyas, ube, and others are store-available along our highways plus the crispy chicharon. Restaurants can be found also along Cagayan Valley Highway