Trilogy Hike: Mt Gola, Mt Manalmon and Mt Matinik

“I hope you remember that my laughs and smiles are 100 times healthier when I am with you.”

      • Fakir into the Mountains

 

The smells of summer cast happiness to our old dying nation. The heat of the sun is burning all the way, from city to the provincial fields. The mountains are delightful for the brim light coming from the star. It was time to unfathomable adventures until the summer last.

 

I wish this will be the best summer for me. One of our unimaginable summer. My no more tears formula from loneliness of the warm climate bring sad memories from the ghost of my own past. Now, I want to change and leave nothing but happay memories. After exploring the Burot Beach in Calatagan,Batangas. Still on my 5-day vacation leave, I came to continue my exploration without getting tired to the peaks of San Miguel, Bulacan. Originally, it was a planned hike to Mt Maculot but after learning that overnight seems to be impossible. The plan changed abruptly to Twin Hike for Manalmon and Gola.

Ruining the Batangas escapades, after tanning in Burot (See Related Article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/04/14/burot-beach-going-solo/). I went back to Manila, slept a bit, change my pack from beach attires to climbing stuff. Meet up with the group and went straight to Cubao Terminal. Hola, from South to North! From Cubao to San Miguel, Bulacan, you can hopped in to bus bound to Cabanatuan via Sta Rita for Php 100-120.00 / $2.00 – 2.70. Day hike is very applicable but you need to be very early. After exiting Sta Rita NLEX toll, you must be an HOKAGE to bypass the traffic.

 

There will be a bus stop in San Miguel proper, hire a tricycle to Sitio Madlum. Fare is around Php 70.00 – 80.00 / head for a group of 4 or 5 in 1 tricycle. It will take 20 – 30 minutes tryke ride to the Sitio. It was mid morning when we reach the registration hall. We met our guide, Tatay Carling and Tatay Tonyo which were very pleasant to mountaineers. They even have equipment brought to them by hikers. Humidity is high but the dancing bamboos give fresh air around the river.

 

Registration fee cost Php5.00 and guide fee is Php300.00 day hike or overnight. We started trekking in high noon. The infamous Madlum River, several horror stories were provided to us upon starting the climb. Yes!! It’s killing me softly. I hate horror movies, stories and the monsters below the bed. Madlum have it all. Anyway, back to the trail. The air is refreshing, 10 – 20 minutes later, we arrive near a creek where water source is available. We dipped into the cold water, dive to the murky abyss. After TAKE 30, we decide to continue the hike hitting MT GOLA as our first mountain.

 

 

Mt Gola is good for beginners, the trail is diverse with rock formation sulfuric acid seems to melt on the boulders. Reaching the summit will take less than an hour. The sun sets down and the twinkling sky line is on the surface of the Earth. The pretty natural light from the moon is giving us faint light and give calming ambiance to the entire trail. Mulawin trees are all over the place, summer gashed out their leaves and the effect is splendid. Since the darkness started to run unto us, we trek down and start to hike to Mt Manalmon to set our camp.

 

We reached the camp at full darkness. Nothing beats the night sky during summer over the mountain. It very hard to describe how pretty the stars. Million of stars above dancing with the moonlight. Another FEELS when you climb a mountain. You cannot pay for the beauty seen beyond the city lights. Moving forward from my poetic damnation, we cooked dinner, ate it and socials started once more.

 

 

The worst nightmare of the cowardly ME, they started to talk about the headless priest, the big bird who eat humans and the endless river killing. I got enough of it and decided to sleep. I cannot sleep, I can feel the stories lurking from my restless body. It was hot inside my tent, too cold to sleep outside. I transferred to another tent with my buddy because I cannot bear sleeping alone, its haunting me. The cruelty of having vivid imagination, too much horrors can bring worst nightmares.

 

 

I can hear the wind whistling all around the camp area, we were the only one who camp out here. The rest of the hikers ducked near the water source. The howling sound of the animals suddenly stop and later I was sound asleep. The morning sun is the greatest of all. I can finally breath properly. LOL! Breakfast serve, chomped the remaining food on our packs and head to our 2nd summit. MT MANALMON peak is wonderful, the entire trail easy to trek and the view can amaze you. After going bananas in the summit it was an official declaration to trek down and finish the last G of the day. Spelunking in Bayukbok Cave (See related article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/06/25/bayukbok-cave-do-the-body-language/)

 

 

But, our guide is very proud of us and asked us if we wanted to trail another mountain. MT MATINIK is privately owned by a local which is our guide’s relative. The trail is not officially open to hikers because they are still waiting for the private transaction being dealt with the owner of the property. Since our guide is a relative, he introduce us this mountain. We are happy to be part of the few hikers that were able to climb this closed trail. YIHAAA! Feeling HARDCORE! HEHE

 

The mountain do not have permanent trail, locals climb here to get fruits and sad to say Kaingin. Our guide cut out few bushes to create new trail and the name really fits this mountain. MATINIK which means THORNY. Thorns from wild grass immediately scratched us while we hike up. Thorns and heat were not an ideal combination. GRRRR! It was scorching hot, we were in the middle of April’s warmth and thorns everywhere. This peak is the highest out of the 3 summits. We were able to climb after an hour or so. The view differs from every corner of Sitio Madlum.

 

We trek down on another trail with luscious wild grass and humidity. I managed to drink all my trail water and my throat starts to ache. We reached the field back to the river and WHAAALALALA, finish 3 summits in mid morning. Filing up my bottle from the water source, we head back to the jump-off to rest before starting the caving activity.

 

Lunch is served, I need to rest for a while now before starting another trail. I find this hammock hanging in between bamboos. It was the most relaxing part of the trip, the sway and the cold wind makes me want to sleep and forget the cave. Of course, my hike mates won’t allow me to sleep and I need to finish our escapades here in Madlum. So we headed to the cave after resting for a couple of minutes! POWER!

 

My first trilogy was full of surprises and one of the most memorable hikes I had. Remembering it brings bittersweet smiles. But things happen for a reason, and the REASON IS YOU. LOL!

 

  • HUGOT TEAM

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Bayukbok Cave: Do The Body Language

Enter the DUNGEON
Enter the DUNGEON
Spelunking is not my kind of adventure but I still try it for the sake of exploring the wonders of the Philippines. It will be very uncomfortable for me to go inside a cave alone. I hate the idea of being alone in a cold, dark and deep environment. Mentally, it will kill me.
This will be part of the trail before you can enter the MAIN ENTRANCE of CAVE
This will be part of the trail before you can enter the MAIN ENTRANCE of CAVE
Sarah tried to sport out REAL WALL CLIMBING. 5 MASL. Hehe
Sarah tried to sport out REAL WALL CLIMBING. 5 MASL. Hehe
It was not a good idea but if I will in a group, I will survive the thoughts and just be mindful of what is happening around us. Bayubok Cave exploration became a side-trip after our successful Trilogy climb in San Miguel, Bulacan. After trekking up and down the mountains of Manalmon, Gola and Matinik. We still have that unlimited energy to finish the spelunking activity.
I cannot skip this PHOTO OP!
I cannot skip this PHOTO OP!
The REAL DEAL started
The REAL DEAL started
Since, we already ducked in the place. It was initially part of the itinerary, Gola and Matinik were just out of the blue decision. After camping out in Mt Manalmon, the next following day we trek the stretched all the to Mt Matinik. Then, decide to take a rest and pull out all those reserve energy to walk, climb, bend and rope down to the cave.
Gel's turned to be BRAVE
Gel’s turn to be BRAVE
Our guide climb down like 1 2 3
Our guide climb down like 1 2 3
Reaching the main entrance challenged us to climb down using a rope. It was around 5-7 meters down, full house rocks and extremely dangerous spiky ground beneath us.
The DARK narrow path
The DARK narrow path
Still SMILING though. :)
Still SMILING though. 🙂
One at a time, we manage to go down. Going down is very difficult for me. I like to think that I am better when its an uphill climb. With head lamps on we enter the cold, damp and dark sanctuary. Most of the paths are narrow aisle, allowing one person at a time.
Smooth White Rock
Smooth White Rock
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You need to be a on a average size to passed through the natural-made tunnel otherwise you wont fit some passage. There are several unique rock formation inside. It was the “MUSIC ROOM” that mesmerized me. If you tap the rock there will be different tunes you can create.
Inside Bayukbok Cave
Inside Bayukbok Cave
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I am extremely exhausted and dirty from the 2-day activity. It was a tough day, slipping through the rocks, heavy breathing, numb leg muscles and my back is now killing me. My shoes were murdered in this trip. The sole were half ripped from the toe part and my clothes are sweaty. I can feel the running sweat all over my body.
Yes I have all the time in the world to take that dangerous SELFIE
Yes I have all the time in the world to take that dangerous SELFIE
It was an experience of a lifetime. The body language movement made me want to think about my current weight and go back to being a skinny human. I swear that if I am a kilo heavier I will not fit the damn rocks.
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Oriented by our brave guide, after hugging and kissing those rocks we manage to find our way out. It was tedious, a bit short spelunking trip but it one of the best caving experience I had.
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I envelope a tremendous self-respect after finishing all the activities without a broken bone but with several knee, elbow, hands and legs scratches. I know, it is more fun in the effin PHILIPPINES!!!
Madlum River Wire Bridge
Madlum River Wire Bridge
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Sample Itinerary:
0500: ETD ES Bus Terminal in Cubao (Can take any bus from Cubao or Pasay to Cabanatuan. Traffic hazard any time so it will be easy to take the early tour than being stuck for hours of traffic jam in Bulacan exit)
0730: ETA Bus Stop-Over in San Miguel, Bulacan (Rent a tricycle for Php 70.00 / $2.00 per pax to Barangay Kamias Jump Off)
0815: ETA Barangay Kamias Jump Off (You can asked the driver to take you straight to the bridge passed through then arranged Guide and registration fee)
0830: Arranged Guide and Register (Guide fee is Php 400.00-500.00 / $9.00-11.00 per 5 pax)
0900: Hit the trail to the Bayukbok Cave
0915: Start Spelunking
1030: Hit back to the registration site (You can actually finish in less that 30 minutes but take as many pictures as you want.)
1100 Swim in Madlum River and try to cross the Wire Bridge made by locals
(Tables are Php 50.00 only. Convenient Stores are available and comfort rooms to clean up
1300: Pack and go home
Budget:
Cubao to San Miguel Bulacan Fare: Php 90.00 – Php 120.00 / $2.00 – $3.00
Tricyle From Bus Stop-over to Barangay Kamias Jump Off: Php 70.00 per pax / $1.50
Registration Fee: Php 5.00 – 10.00 / $0.12 – $0.23 / $9.00 – $11.00
Guide Fee: Php 400-500.00 per 5 pax /
Table to Rent: Php 50.00 / $1.50
Comfort Room Fee: Php 5.00 / $0.12
Shower: Php 10.00 per pail of water / $0.23
This is a usual side trip after hiking Mt Manalmon which I will review later. I just want to highlight the beauty of this cave if your not into hiking stuff then you should try 2 more available cave in San Miguel Bulacan.
The Madlum River of San Miguel Bulacan
The Madlum River of San Miguel Bulacan
Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.