Monday, July 11, 2016

Mt. Makiling: with side trip to Dampalit Falls

Date: May 29 - 30, 2016
Activity: Mt. Makiling Traverse Hike / Relaxing side trip at Dampalit Falls
Location: MakTrav Sto. Tomas to UPLB / Brgy. Dampalit, Los Baños, Laguna
Highest Elevation: 1090+ MASL (info from
Difficulty: 5/9 (based from

     Mt. Makiling is only around 60 to 70kms away from Metro Manila. This is actually one of the nearest mountains in the metro having high technical difficulty but it took the team 3 years of back and forth planning to complete the traverse  due to fear of “limatik” (mountain leech). Then finally, on 1st week of May the team decided to complete this pending task on our bucket before the rainy season comes, because limatik are more active during rainy season. I thought we have a longer summer this year because of the El Niño that’s why we scheduled it May 29th, but seems unfortunate because PAGASA declared rainy season on May 24th. We observed that weather is already changing and it is raining every afternoon resulting for the other team member to back-out. But me, and ReyM are already decided to do this even with rain or more rain. As we’ve said, “let’s conquer our fear”.

Day 1, May 29: Makiling Traverse Day Hike

       And the long awaited day comes. Me and ReyM met at C5 then went to Buendia to catch the bus heading San Felix, Sto. Tomas Batangas.

     We asked the bus conductor to drop us at 7-11 San Felix but we found that they dropped us at 7-11 in kilometer 69 which is around 5kms away from the correct drop-off. So lesson learned, it is best to tell the conductor to drop you off at Sea Oil in San Felix instead of 7-11. After finding the correct way, we took our breakfast first in nearby “carinderia” (eatery), bought our pack lunch and then rode trike heading Sitio Jordan. Registered, got the required guide and then start trek at around 7AM.

The Traverse:
     Trail is wide at the start and after around 2kms after Makban Geothermal Plant, it became single trail.

     Gradual ascend from geothermal plant up to station 4. The last water source is at station 4 so make sure to replenish your bottle at this point as the next possible water source is in Agila Base after the traverse.

     After station 4, the trail will then followed with continuous steep ascend that will make you heart pump hard. We took this ascend slowly to avoid our leg muscle to get tired early until we reach the resting point at station 7 after 1 hour and 45 minutes from the drop-off point.

     Ten minutes rest just to catch our breath and we continue trekking again. After another 10mins, we've reached this big rock that serves like a view deck and I thought that this is the “Haring Bato”, but our guide told us that it isn’t. They called it “Turing Bato”.

     From here, we were warned by our guide that the trail in front of us is already a “limatik” infested area. So it’s time for us prepare our counter “limatik” weapons. We found that off-lotion is very effective “limatik” deterrent while alcohol is a good reactive weapon to remove “limatik” without holding it.

     Roping segment in between station 10 and station 12:

     From station 12, the forest vegetation is getting thicker and thicker…..

     Until those crawling creatures started to stick on our clothes, pants and arms. I am from Mindoro and I know “limatik” but I’m still afraid of it and it’s giving me creepy feeling every time I felt or I see it crawling on my skin….ihhhh…..

     While getting deeper into the forest, the vegetation is getting thicker that the sunlight can’t even penetrate that keeps the area wet, and this is the type of environment that “limatik” really love. We have very few pictures at this point of the hike as we don’t want to stop which will become a steady target of these blood sucking creatures.

     Around 10:30AM when we reached station 15 which is a known resting point. I was really tired because of the continuous walking in past pace from station 10 to 15. I’m about to take a sit on a log for a rest when I noticed that on this area, there are more “limatik” compare to other area. You can see them in groups anywhere you look, anywhere you go. Just waiting for their victims to come nearer and they will stick into your skin. Ihhh…. really creepy!!! It’s giving me goose bumps while I’m writing this story.

     Because of my fear of being their early lunch, I’ve called to continue trek even without a rest. And to my surprise, the next section is a continuous technical ascend heading Melka’s Ridge. That is the reason why station 15 is a good resting point for you to catch your breath and energy before the technical ascend.

     And due to lack of training and the continuous past pace ascend without a rest from station 10, my muscles gave-in too early. My calf, hamstring and quads are started to cramp. But my buddy ReyM didn’t failed to assist me. He helped me stretched and massaged my legs just to relax a little bit and continue moving forward. Slowly, inch-by-inch and we successfully survived the technical part of Haring Bato and Melka’s Ridge up to Peak 3, safely.

Sto. Tomas as seen from Melka’s Ridge

Peak 3 is the 18th station

     We took our lunch at Peak 3 as this is the best resting point according to our guide, as the next stage heading summit is again a limatik infested area.

     Approximately 30 minutes of rest then resume trekking again heading summit which is Peak 2.

     Past 1PM when we arrived at the summit. Makiling summit has thick vegetation thus there is no good clearing to have an overlooking view. So we just confined ourselves to enjoy our rest at the summit and have a souvenir picture on this tarp.

     Around 1:30PM when we start our descent heading Agila Base. No more pictures during the descent as the heavy rain started to pour and we need to secure our electronics from getting wet. Past 3PM when we arrived at Agila Base.

     Locals in Agila base are selling snacks, drinks, coconut juice and sodas. We had our light snacks while taking some rest. In going down to UPLB, you have an option to take the “habal-habal” (motorcycle taxi), but we opt to take a walk to enjoy more the sceneries and have the chance to drop by at the other side trips and one of them is the Mudspring which is known to be the crater of Mt. Makiling.

     After few pictures, we trek back to the main road and had our “lomi” break at an eatery near the Makiling Rainforest Park

     After the quick rest, continue trekking towards the UPLB gate entrance, rode jeep to National Highway then trike to look for place to stay. We found Andrews Inn to be the cheapest in the area and we ended the day.

     The Traverse Map:

-- End of Day 1 –

Day 2, May 30: Dampalit Falls and back to Manila

      We’ve included this falls as part of our side trip due to curiosity, as we’ve heard that this Dampalit Falls was mentioned in Rizal’s life where he met the first woman in his life named Julia.
      We started our day around 6AM. Prepared ourselves, had a quick breakfast at the nearby eatery, bought our pack lunch then ride jeep to Camp Eldridge near Lalakay Elementary School where the trailhead will start.

     Dampalit Falls is only approximately 1.5km from the highway but it took us more as we missed the fork going inside Dampalit Falls. The wrong fork led us to the wrong falls which the locals called it Talun-talunan Falls.

     The locals we met along the trail gave us the correct direction going to the falls that we are looking for and finally here it is. A mini falls, the Dampalit Falls.

     Had our shower at this looks to be a dripping faucet, had our rest and sleep, then took our lunch before heading back to Manila. Around 11:30 AM when we trek back to National Highway. Rode bus going back to Manila and we are home around 2 in the afternoon.

Our Itinerary:
Day 1: May 29, 2016 (Sunday)
03:00 – Meet-up at C5
03:30 – Taxi to Buendia
04:00 – ETD by bus heading San Felix, Sto. Tomas, Batangas
06:30 – ETA San Felix, took our breakfast and bought pack lunch
07:00 – ETA sitio Jordan, registered and secured the required guide
07:15 – Start trek via Sipit Trail
08:45 – ETA Station 7
11:00 – ETA Melkas Ridge (Haring Bato)
11:30 – early Lunch at Peak 3 (1020 MASL)
12:00 – resume trekking
13:00 – ETA Peak 2 (1090 MASL)
13:30 – Start descent
15:00 – ETA Agila Base, quick rest
15:30 – resume trek heading Mud Spring
16:15 – ETA Mud Spring
16:45 – Had a quick break at Makiling Rainforest Park
17:45 – ETA UPLB gate
18:15 – ETA Andrew’s Inn where we stayed overnight
19:00 onwards – socials

Day 2: May 30, 2016 (Monday)
06:00 – wake-up call
06:30 – breakfast
08:15 – ETA Dampalit Falls, picture taking, shower and lunch
11:30 – ETD heading back Manila
14:00 – ETA Taguig

Our Expenses:
Taxi ( C5 to Pasay Buendia ): P120
Bus  ( Buenda to San Felix, Batangas ): P235
Jeep ( 7 Eleven to 7 Eleven ): P14
Food ( breakfast and lunch ): P380
Tricycle ( 7 Eleven to Station 1 ): P70
Buko ( Agila Station  ): P90
Guide: P800
Merienda ( Station 8 ): P110
Registration ( UPLB ): P20
Jeep ( UPLB to Los Baños ): P14
Tricycle ( Los Baños to Andrews Inn ): P40
Room ( Andrews Inn ): P600
Tricycle ( Andrews Inn to Kainan ): P30
Dinner: P185
Water ( 7 Eleven ): P58
Tricycle ( Kainan to Andrews Inn ): P40
Breakfast : P110
Water and Shampoo: P40
Registration: P40
Bus ( Los Baños to Magallanes: P168.3
Jeep ( Magallanes to FTI ): P20
Tricycle ( FTI to Triump )                : P18
Total for 2 persons: P3202.3
Total Expenses per Person: P1,601.15

How do we get there:
Taguig to Santo Tomas Trailhead:
Taxi from C-5 to JAC Liner in Buendia
Bus ride from Buendia to San Felix, Santo Tomas, Batangas (ask the conductor to drop you off at Sea Oil in San Felix)
Tricycle ride from San Felix to Sito Jordan

UPLB to Dampalit Falls and back to Manila:
Jeepney ride from UPLB to Camp Eldridge
Bus ride from the National Highway to Mantrade

Just proceed to Sitio Jordan and secure the guide. Guides are required and they are available even during weekdays. Just a small note that traverse is not allowed both-ways during Holy Week.

    That's all for now, thank you for visiting this site and until next time!!!...


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mt. Daraitan: with side trip to Tinipak Cave and Tinipak River

Date: March 20, 2016
Activity: Mt. Daraitan Hike / Exploring Tinipak Cave and Tinipak River
Location: Brgy. Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal
Highest Elevation: 739+ MASL (info from
Difficulty: 4/9 (based from

     It’s been a while since my team had a group hike and I think the last hike we did was last August 2015 when we climb Mt. Maculot which I didn’t find time to document and post blog for that. It’s almost 7 months now and everyone is having itchy foot to go out. To relieve the itchiness, as usual, with only a short notice, we planned to climb this mountain on a day hike only. Lots of members shown their interest but only 3 made it to the meet-up point due to different conflicts.

   I and Marione met at C5 and we met Elijah in Guadalupe. We headed up to EDSA Central for a jeep heading Tanay. But prior to that, we took our early breakfast first at Chowking EDSA Central. Around 6am when we arrived at Tanay proper. Lots of trikes are available for a ride up to Daraitan for P500 per 5 passengers, but since we are only 3, we’ve haggled it for P450 and then we go. At first it was approximately a 20kms ascending cemented road until it became bumpy. Approximately 11kms of unpaved and rocky road and I told to myself, “I missed my dual sport bike on this kind of road condition”.

Ascend to Summit:
     Upon arrival at Daraitan Barangay Hall, which is the drop-off point, we registered with a fee of P20 and the registration personnel assigned us a guide which is a required policy with guide fee of P500 for a dayhike. Then we headed up to the basketball court for orientation which is required as well. After the 10 minutes orientation, we bought our pack lunch on the nearby store then begin trekking.

     We chose to use the short trail which according to our guide is the more challenging trail than the long trail. And yes he is correct. It’s only around 2km in distance compare to the 5km of long trail but this trail is a steep ascend from starting point to summit.

Picture at station 1
Mini-cave at station 1

     After few minutes of rest, resume trekking again.

     And after 1.5 hours, we reached station 2. Just had a quick water break and resume trek again.

     30 mins of ascend coming from station 2 and we reached Camp Site 2. Again, we just had a couple of minutes break and we resume ascending heading summit.

At the Summit:
     Two and a-half hours trekking from the jump-off point and we reached the summit of Mt. Daraitan.

Picture taking at the summit

     And for me, the most difficult part on this trip is the waiting game at the rockies. There are more than a hundred of climbers during that time and it took us more than 2 hours to wait for our turn to have our pictures taken at the rockies. This is the thing I hate climbing during week-end. Lots of week-end warriors are flocking on different mountains nearby Metro Manila. I almost gave-up to wait for our turn but we are all first time climbers of Mt. Daraitan so we took the chance.
Mt. Daraitan rockies

FNF Team
Twin heart river as seen from the rockies of Mt. Daraitan

The Descend:
     On our descend we planned to proceed to Tinipak Cave. During the waiting game at the rockies, we’ve heard from the other guides that the line going inside the cave is very long during week-end, so the team agreed to delay our lunch until we secured our slot at the cave and even planned to run down the hill to cut our time.

     But to our surprise, descending is even slower than our ascending pace via the difficult terrain. Heavy traffic from the summit up to Tinipak River. And the lane is a single path lane that there is no way for you to overtake if ever you want to run. Some of them even joking that “traffic is not only in EDSA, there is even in Daraitan.”
This is what they called “human trafficking”
Natural water source

     One and a half hour after, and we reached the campsite near the river. Everyone is already starving and unable to push through towards the cave, so we’ve decided to take our lunch at this campsite. We’ve rented a table for us to have a more comfortable space to eat our pack lunch.

Cave and River Adventure:
     After approximately 45mins of late lunch break, we continue moving heading Tinipak Cave. And as expected, we experienced the “human trafficking” again and the long queue and waiting.

     They are only allowing 3 groups to enter the cave at the same time, then the groups in queue needs to wait for the first 3 to get out before they can enter. And after 1.5 hours of waiting, it’s our turn at last. We just had a quick dip in the cold water of the mini-underground river, around 15mins stay only to give way to others that are still patiently waiting outside.

     Then we just satisfied ourselves and enjoyed swimming in the fresh cold water outside the cave which is in Tinipak River.

     After the sun sets, we fixed ourselves, headback to the jump off, had our dinner and travel back to Manila via public transport. Our guide told us that during peak season, public transportation are available even late night as long as there are passengers that can fill up the jeep.
     We arrived home safe around 12MN.

Our Itinerary:
03:30H – Meet-up at Guadalupe.
04:00H – Breakfast at  EDSA Shaw.
04:30H – Depart Crossing via public jeep heading Tanay.
06:00H – Arrived in Tanay. Rent tricycle heading Daraitan.
07:00H – Arrived in Daraitan Brgy. Hall. Register, bought pack lunch and take orientation.
07:45H – Start trek via short trail.
10:15H – Arrived in summit. Picture taking in rockies.
12:30H – Start descend heading Tinipak Cave.
14:00H – Arrived in Tinipak Camp Site. Rest and took our late lunch.
14:45H - Resume trek heading Tinipak Cave.
15:15H – Arrive at Tinipak Cave. Wait for the long queue.
16:30H – Our turn to enter the cave. Stay inside the cave for 15mins only then continue swimming in Tinipak River.
18:30H – Trek back to jump-off. Tidy-up and had our dinner at the jump-off.
20:00H – Depart Daraitan heading back Manila via public jeep.
23:00H – Arrive EDSA Shaw.
00:00H -  Arrive home safe.

Bus fare from Guadalupe to EDSA Shaw: P10
Breakfast: P99
Jeep fare from EDSA Shaw to Tanay: P58
Trike fare from Tanay to Daraitan: P450/3 = P150
Registration fee at Brgy. Hall: P20
Guide fee: P500/3 = P166.67
Pack lunch: P100
Merienda: P38
Table rental at Tinipak: P20
Cave entrance: P25
Flashlight rental: P15
Trike fare to Brgy. Hall: P30
Bathroom rental for tidy-up: P20
Dinner: P25
Jeep fare from Daraitan to Tanay: P100
Jeep fare from Tanay to EDSA Shaw: P58
Bus fare from EDSA shaw to Guadalupe: P10
Total Expenses per Person: P944.67

How do we get there:
Bus ride from Guadalupe to EDSA Shaw
Jeep ride from EDSA Shaw to Tanay proper
Rent a trike from Tanay to Daraitan

Willy (Head Guide): +639069533470

    That’s all for now, thank for viewing and until next time…..