Mt. Maranat Day Hike
On August 31, 2013, I prepared my things for my 2nd climb for this year. A friend of mine, Richard, tagged along with me on his first hike. The next day, September 1, because of excitement that I lacked time for sleep, I woke up at 4am when the meeting time at Jolibee, Tungko was supposedly at 5am. Since I live in Pasig, it would take me around 1 and a half to 2 hours since I’ll be meeting with Richard in Cubao before we go to Bulacan together. So much for the excitement! Anyway, from Cubao, we rode an ordinary bus (without the aircon) going to Tungko. It costs around 40 pesos and the trip lasted for around 45minutes since it was pre-dawn and a weekend. Imagine the trip going to Bulacan from Manila during weekdays! It would take you 2-3hours. Upon arriving in Jolibee, Richard and I just bought our trail food and breakfast then we went to the terminal of jeeps going to Licao-Licao (which will be our jump off). The fare is 27 pesos per person and the trip took us around 30 minutes. At the jump off, some bought their water supply while the others are preparing their gears for the hike. Upon our departure, we were already greeted by approximately 45-50˚ angle uphill ascent. We’re not even starting with the trails yet, if I may add. Reaching our 1st stop, the rest of the sabit-sabit mountaineers socialized with each other while our hosts negotiated for our guides.
We had 2 guides and a girl named Julienne. While I was having a little slippery trouble on our way to the last store on the trails, I was really curious of our guides, especially the girl because they manage the terrain wearing slippery slippers. Just, WOW! I experienced unlimited sets of steep ascents and descents and get breathless at some points of the 1st 2 hours of hiking.
And for one thing, I was the only brave one and out of place for wearing shorts on a hike. There are tall bushes and the plants that brush off on my exposed skin leaves their mark… yes, I got unlimited scratches on my legs and since I love holding on to the tall grass and branches, my hands and fingers got their share of cuts and bruises. Along the way, we encountered muddy paths, endless streams, boulders and bamboo bridges.
Some of which we had to “take 5” because of what seems like a very long walk for us. I personally got my Vibrams shoes submerged in mud and water a lot of times and I keep on sliding off the mud and rocks trying to descend.
The first attraction we passed by is the plant nursery. It’s just a simple place with a “bahay kubo” and surrounding it are various plants in a nursery. Then we went past some streams and steep and narrow trails.
At some point, Carlene played some music to cure our endless assault. Mind you, it was really hard talking while hiking because we were going on a fast pace. We reached our first destination, the first falls.
It has a somewhat mossy color, not as clear but it was, at some point, 12 feet deep. The current was fast but it was manageable. Oh, and the main attraction was to either cross the river by swimming or take the rope challenge. Actually, you can opt to be pulled to the other side with the harness but there won’t be any thrill to it because you didn’t cross it using your own core strength. We met sir Ace Modar there and he offered to take us to some of the parts of the falls after this one.
The first one to try was Ms. Analene Grace who was so excited. Next in line was sir Mon Quinsai. He crossed the other side without the harness and made it there in about a minute. Some of our group opted to dive in and enjoy the coldness of the river.
Sir Erwin Sy, Sir John Sotto, Sir Al Veloria, Sir Robbie, Sir Daryl Bulos and Ms. Grace Olayao decided to stay in the river for a while taking pictures and swimming and watching some of us take the rope challenge.
It’s my turn on the rope challenge! I’m so nervous… It took me almost 5 minutes just trying to cross it and finish the challenge. In the middle of rope challenge, I got so scared and intimidated by the fact that I feel like I’m so heavy, my hands and legs got so tired because my core was too weak, the water below me was 12 feet deep and the gap between the water and I was about 15-20 ft. deep. Nonetheless, I still finished the challenge. Ms. Analene, went back to try again for a couple of times but when seeing us enjoying our swim and picture galore, she decided to follow us and mingle with us. Ms. Carlene Fabros patiently waited for her turn and wowed us with her sweet finish as well. Sir Richard Akol went for the ropes and tried out crossing it with his hands alone instead of the crawling position. He followed us to take a dip in the river and have photo ops with me and Ms. Analene near the falls. Risky thing we did but it’s all worth it.
After a little over 2 hours on our 1st destination, we braved the next few hundred meters to a local’s “bahay kubo”. We were greeted by unlimited 50-75˚ angle trails and only a few flat terrains. This is the reason why after a few meters of uphill, looking down on where we’ve gone through, we couldn’t anymore see the falls or the river below us. But wait! Pause for a photo ops on this beautiful view of the falls on the other side!
We stayed at the local’s humble abode for lunch. We were offered “kamoteng kahoy” by the locals in turn we offered them our packed lunch. I brought a whole loaf of bread and bottles of chocolate peanut butter and the original lily’s peanut butter. But wait! Before we eat, photo ops first with this tree trunk. And rested on a hammock.
We were made to choose. Originally, on our itinerary, we were supposed to go to Mt. Maranat then to the Helipad aka Mt. Balagbag but because we enjoyed the first few parts of the falls, we stayed longer and found more promising sites.
We experienced bouldering where we had to go up or down the big rocks to get to the falls. One of the highlights of our 2nd destination was the natural rappelling rope. The branch of a tree was sturdy enough to carry our weight one by one down the big rock.
Then we went to this part of the falls where the challenge was to jump off to the water below us which is around 12 ft. deep as well and the height of the jump off to the surface of the water was a little over 15-20 ft. I enjoyed the jump because the few seconds delay made the anticipation grew stronger and the water consumed me like I was some kind of food, I managed to swim right back up anyway.
We encountered this part of the falls where it’s like a mini Jacuzzi and the part where we could stay inside the water for a long time but could still breathe. We went up some more and found a perfect spot for picture taking. Our guide/photographer even has her own selfie! Ha ha!
After a very long day, we went back to where we came from and got the rest of our stuff from the local’s house. I think his name was Mang Nestor? Anyway, we had to hurry back so the storm/rain or the dark wouldn’t catch us. We came across the ropes for the last time and this time Sir Al tried to cross the ropes without the harness. He lost his grip from the rope and fell to the waters. They said he lost himself after falling from the river, he didn’t swim right back up. He was hauled to the surface first before he found himself again.
We anticipated that we’d reach the last store at the trails so soon but the rain caught us upon reaching the nursery. Upon reaching the store at last, we stopped for a short break to eat some more of our trail food and buy some soda. We continued our trail after a short break and some of us got lost but got back to us after a little over 10-15 minutes. On the trails, since it’s so wet and muddy, I slipped and hurt my left ankle but I’m alright. We finally reached the jump off around 5:45-6pm. Upon reaching the guide’s backyard, we waited for the rest but we were told to go ahead to the terminal and wash off so that we wouldn’t be waiting too long for our turn to wash up. By 8pm we were all done washing up and we chanced upon some of our host’s friends from Sabit-Sabit Mountaineers family. The guides we hired cost us 1000 pesos minus the food expenses. So dividing it by 12 it’s around 80 pesos per person and washing up costs 15 pesos.
We rode the last jeep returning to Tungko with the other group and after a 30-minute ride, we were all so hungry we ate our late dinner at Jolibee. Almost all of us ordered “the Ultimate Burger Steak” and had a couple or more extra rice. We’re all like PG’s (patay gutom) after a draining day hike at Mt. Maranat. It was around 10pm by the time we were all done eating and we rode an aircon bus going home. The fare cost around 55 pesos going to Cubao. It was an amazing experience with new friends! We didn’t reach the summit because as of now there isn’t a trail to the summit because it’s still a virgin mountain. It’s not been commercialized yet and only a handful of mountaineers have gone to it. It’s an unrated mountain in terms of difficulty and trail. Hoping to explore it more soon! I will be back again one of these days.
Photo Credits to Ms. Analene Grace, Ms. Carlene Fabros, Sir John Sotto, Sir Daryl Bulos and Ms. Grace Olayao, Sir Richard Akol
Day hike budget:
Bus from Cubao to Tungko: (Aircon) P55 (Ordinary) P40
Jeep from Tungko to Licao-Licao: P 27
Guide/s: P1000 (depends on your guide but for this trip we had 2 and a girl who tagged along with us)
Wash up: P15 at the terminal of jeep (the jump off)
Jeep from Licao-Licao to Tungko: P27
Bus from Tungko to Cubao: (Aircon) P55 (Ordinary) P40
Estimated budget: if /12 persons= P260 per person
Safe budget: P1000 per person (with food allowance and other incidentals)