It was another achievement for me and for a newly met friend of mine. I have been looking for people who could join and accompany me in this particular hike, but it seemed everybody was so busy, but my zeal to do it was so great. Finally, I got one.
My buddy and I met at about 3:30AM at Farmers Cubao. We took our breakfast first prior to departure as not to be hassled by time.
We departed Cubao at exactly 4:30AM. We rode a van from Farmers Cubao heading to Eastwood, Montalban, for a fare of Php50.00 each. Upon reaching our destination, we flagged a tricycle bound to DENR Office. Tricycle fare is Php30.00 each or Php60.00 per travel. (you just need to divide Php60.00 in your group). I was chilling because the travel was so cold, and I was regretful of not bringing a sweater.
We reached DENR at about 5:30AM, and there were lots of people with the same hype as ours. We registered first for only Php2.00 at DENR Office, and hired a tour guide. Minimum fee for a guide is Php500.00, however, if you wish to do twin hike, you just need to add some more. You can haggle, but I think it’s better to reckon the effort of the guide. In our case, we agreed for Php700.00 for twin hike. You can leave your things at the office and just bring necessary stuff for your comfort.
We started the trek to Mt. Binicayan at about 5:50AM. From DENR, you could see the Mt. Binicayan and Mt. Pamintinan opposite to each other, and they looked creepy that time because their color was black and they looked like a dwelling place of witches.
Location: Montalban, Rizal
Difficulty Level: 3/10
Height: 424 MASL
Features: rock formations, limestone formations and 360° viewpoint
Hike Duration: 1 day
Since it was too early, the air was so thin that made me hard to breathe. We easily got tired in the first part of the trail because of non stop ascend. We had to walk fast as to reach the summit before sunrise. I could say that the assault here is relatively hard and exhausting compare to Mt. Pico de Loro.
We used to stop whenever we feel our legs cramping.
The trail going to the first peak of Mt. Binicayan was intense and rocky. We had to climb huge rocks and jump one rock to another, but along the trail were stupefying view of nature and rock formations.
We have reached the first peak at about 6:30AM, and this is where we encountered the sunrise. It was a jaw-dropping scene of sunrise, and we paused and took shots as the sun dramatically rises and shines. It amazed me so much, and I felt like God is really manifesting in the beauty of the sun.
After taking beautiful shots, we continued our effortful assault to the summit. What made it hard were the sharp-edged rocks with pointed spikes. Not bringing my hiking gloves was another regret for me, and as a result, I got wounded because of the sharp spikes. Good thing that I always bring first aid kit for wound care. (boy scout). Lol
It was 7:40AM when we finally reached the summit. The view from the top was very stunning. There were lots of spots on the summit where you could take cool shots of nature. You could also make a 360° panoramic shot.
The experience from the summit was so amazing and matchless. Pains and efforts were all worth it. Thumbs up!
We finally reached the foot of Mt. Binicayan at about 9:30AM. We were so tired and hungry since it was almost lunch time. Sun completely rose and it started to burn our skin a little.
The view of Mt. Pamintinan from the foot of Mt. Binicayan.
We had our alfresco lunch at about 10:30AM in a very nice and refreshing place. Indeed, we liked the nativity of place; it was a great relief from laborious city life. My buddy brought his own lunch, while I bought mine from nearby eatery. Meals there were cheap; I got my meal for only Php35.00.
After our dainty lunch, we rest for a couple of minutes prior to culminating the summit. My buddy and I joked, “Why are we doing this?” “For instagram sake”. Yeah, it was my question as well, but I believe that reaching the summit is more than just a graphical shots, but it’s more personal beyond imagination.
After an ample time of rest, we started our trek going to the acme of Mt. Pamintinan. It was almost 11AM when we began the assault.
Location: Montalban, Rizal
Difficulty Level: 3/10
Height: 426 MASL
Features: rock formations and boulders
Hike Duration: 1 day
We continued our assault to rocky terrain of Mt. Pamintinan until we reached the Mt. Pamintinan and Mt. Hapunang Banoy junction. There were stores for food and souvenirs in the area, and there were also shaded benches to rest.
After taking a little rest at the junction, we resumed the trek. The trail were getting harder because of tall rocks that we needed to climb. It’s gonna be a challenge for beginners, but manageable still.
One of the best viewpoint of Mt. Pamintinan is the view of Mt. Hapunang Banoy from a distance. You would know if you are almost at the peak if you got a full view of Mt. Hapunang Banoy.
Mt. Hapunang Banoy
We culminated the summit past 12PM. The view from the top just wowed us. On the right side was the aerial view of swade Sierra Madre mountains, and on the left was the advancing towns of Rizal. Our guide said that it is a best place to witness the sea of clouds, but unfortunately, we arrived too late. Nonetheless, it was alright; we could do it next time, perhaps.
If you happen to do this shot, you need to be very careful inasmuch as there would be no harness nor safety straps available.
It was a great attainment for me to reach this summit, and the feeling was heart pounding. Haha, another point to prove my prowess.
We started descending at almost 1PM. While descending from the summit, me and my buddy were considering about going to Wawa Dam as a side trip. Visiting Wawa Dam requires another fee for the guide (flat rate). Not long after, we coincided to sojourn Wawa Dam for Php100.00.
Wawa Dam was established by Americans during their occupation in 1909. It was the only source of water in Metro Manila back then. It has been abandoned when the Angat Dam in Bulacan was built, but due to population growth, there was a great demand to utilize Wawa Dam anew.
Our guide also flaunted us some historic passages along the way.
This is a portal made by Japanese as their refuge. The portal has a mark “1908”, and I assumed that it was the year when this hideout was discovered by Japanese.
A hanging bridge towards the bat cave. On the entrance of the cave, there is a stone tablet with a Chinese characters engraved onto it. According to our guide, this cave was used by Chinese and Japanese when they came over to the Philippines hundred years ago.
I wanted to do spelunking, but unluckily, the cave was temporarily closed.
This is what I like about traveling; when you learn some history and get to know more about your country.
I just rejoiced in the cool and raging water from above. It was vertiginous when you are on the dam itself because you would be sandwiched between the mighty mountains of Mt. Pamintinan and Mt. Hapunang Banoy, but I loved the astonishingly beautiful view of the two mountains.
The structures of the dam exhibits ancient architecture which made it a heritage.
I don’t know what should I call to this place, but it has small swimming pool, karaoke, shower rooms, store and spa. Shower alone cost Php10.00 and use of pool cost Php60.00 inclusive of shower.
Soon after, we embarked on a jeepney to bring us to van terminal in Eastwood, in lieu of riding a tricycle. Jeepney fare is Php8.00. Upon arrival, we rode a van again going back to Cubao, QC. We arrived safely in Cubao at 8PM already due to congested traffic.
Well, I just had another exhausting, yet awesome experience with mountains. Credits to my buddy for joining me in this kinda impromptu twin hike.
The glory of the great Creator, through His exquisite creations never fails to astound me. Looking forward to more high places to surmount.
BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES
● 50.00 van from Farmers Cubao to Eastwood
● 30.00 tricycle from Eastwood to DENR
● 2.00 registeation fee
● 500.00 minimum fee for a guide. Guide fee for twin hike, trilogy and Wawa Dam depend on the agreement
● 8.00 jeepney from DENR to Eastwood
Fares and fees are based on the time of writing.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”