Date: February 27-28, 2016
So, it’s my first time to climb a mountain, second time to organize a DIY trip (yippie for me hihi), and third time to go out with my college blockmates— although we were only five in this trip. Nevertheless, it was a fun and memorable experience!
Before I proceed, here’s a little info about Mt. Batolusong:
Major jumpoff: Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, RizalLLA: 645 MASL / 780 MASLDays required / Hours to destination: 1 day /1.5h (Mapatag); 3-4 (Susong Dalaga Peak)Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3Features: Grassland slopes, views of Laguna, Rizal, and Quezon— Source: Pinoy Mountaineer
DESTINATION: MT. BATOLUSONG
We (my college girlies and I) all met in Cubao at around 11:30am. Actually, the original plan was to meet at 8am, but after seeing other updated itineraries with schedules starting in the afternoon, I decided to change ours a bit. We left Cubao at around 12:30pm via FX, which only cost us P35/pax to Cogeo Gate 2.
(Fueling ourselves up)
Upon arriving at Cogeo Gate 2 (near Jollibee and Mercury Drug Store), we met up with my boyfriend and proceeded to our next mode of transport: jeepney to Batangasan. Their terminal is near MOA (Mall of Antipolo)— just ask some locals for the exact direction. The jeep fare is P42/pax, and you have the option to do topload (which I badly wanna do, but wasn’t able to because, well, it was a long ride).
Less than an hour later (which was surprising because, according to some of the itineraries I’ve seen, the travel time is over an hour), we reached the quiet town of San Andres. From there, we rode a tricycle to the registration site, which cost us P30/pax.
(The tricycle driver’s son is just so adorable!)
Ten (or more, I kinda lost count) minutes later, we finally reached the registration site/tourism info center of San Andres. From there, we paid the P20/pax registration fee + P20 for the Rangyas Peak. We were also introduced to our guide, Kuya Jonel.
After a little bathroom break (we had to haha), we started our trek. It was around 3:30pm.
(Ready— and still fresh. HAHAHUHU.)
IT’S THE CLIMB
We were kinda confident that our first climb will be a “walk in the park,” because the difficulty is 3/9, and as we started to walk to our destination, we were amazed at how easy the trail was.
Little did we know, we were just getting started.
It was a refreshing switch from the hustle and bustle of the city. Trees, fresh air, clear water flowing from rocks to rocks— we were panting and all, but we were too distracted by the natural ambiance of the place, and we couldn’t care less if we were already running out of oxygen. Hahaha.
Few minutes later, we stumbled upon a mini resting place, with 3-in-1 coffee, drinks, snacks, and cigarettes sold to hikers. Honestly, you’ll never run out of food at Mt. Batolusong. Haha.
(Photo-op at that mini resting place)
After resting for a couple of minutes, we continued with our journey. We were all beginners, and even though the mountain was included in the “minor climb, 3/9 difficulty” category, we felt like it was a major climb with a 5/9 difficulty. Haha. There were some steep assault, which required us to step up our game and hold on to various stuff, such as bamboo, rocks and grass.
(Oh, BTW, be careful with those bamboos— they have some rough parts that, when touched, are REALLY itchy. Wear gloves if you want.)
(Also… there are two water sources within this trail, for a quick wash or to quench your thirst (if your stomach’s not too sensitive, because the water comes from the mountains))
Two hours later (judging by the number of stopovers we had AND our climbing abilities; I repeat, we are first-timers), we reached a spot high enough for us to see and be amazed by this view:
Not too long after these photos were taken, we reached an awesome rock formation, which is perfect for sight-seeing (if you’re brave enough to stand on top of it) and picture-taking.
(It’s quite high, FYI… haha)
After that, we went on with our trek and finally reached Duhatan Ridge. Actually, it’s a nice camp site on its own— spacious enough for a couple of tents.
(The view is just… amazing)
From there, we continued our trek to Mapatag Plateau, which is the official camp site of Mt. Batolusong. It took us roughly 45 minutes to get there, and it was already dark. Oh well… good thing we brought flashlights!
We set up our camp on the lower part of Mapatag because the wind on the upper part is CRAZY! If we insisted on camping up there, the wind might have blown us somewhere. Haha. Seriously, though, we didn’t risk our tents.
One hearty dinner and few ghost/election stories later, we all went to sleep… if one really slept. Personally, I wasn’t able to, because of the strong winds knocking our tents like mad men. I wonder how campers felt in the upper part of the campsite… :O
TOP OF THE WORLD
The next day, we woke up at 5:30am to (hopefully) witness the famous sea of clouds. I’ve seen one already (at Kiltepan Peak in Sagada), but I was still excited to witness it again. Unfortunately, all we saw was fog… fog everywhere. *cries*
(People going to the upper part of the campsite to see the sea of clouds)
Setting our slight disappointment aside, we just ate light breakfast and went to our next destination: Rangyas Peak.
(FYI: it’s okay to leave your belongings inside your tents— just make sure to lock your tents and take some money and gadgets (and other precious belongings, if you will) with you)
It took us only 30 minutes and one heck of a view!
Now, to reach the peak, you have two options: take the easy way (a not-so-rough trail, which requires you to go around the summit in, approximately, 15 minutes) or the hard way (rock climbing, about 5-10 minutes, depending on your bravery lol). What do you think we did?
YEP. For an acrophobic like me, climbing those rocks was HARD. I even got to that part when there was not much space to step on, so I hesitated and just hang in there for a few minutes. Haha! It was quite embarrassing for me, but with the help of my boyfriend and Kuya Jonel, I made it to the top. *whew*
Here are other snaps of my friends in the same situation:
At approximately 7am, we were on top of the world (err, I mean Rangyas Peak). Woohoo!
We also got a glimpse of Susong Dalaga Peak from the summit. We were told that the trail going there isn’t open yet, so I guess we have another reason to come back here.
(Yeah, I know. Very mature.)
After basking in the glory of the mountains, we descended from Rangyas Peak using the “easy way trail.” The first part wasn’t easy, though— we either had to sit down or do the crab walk while holding on to grasses and railings. Thanks to another group’s guide for, well, guiding me on my way down. Haha.
We may haven’t seen the majestic sea of clouds, but Mt. Batolusong’s fantastic scenery and picturesque grassland made up for it.
The windy grassland of Mapatag Plateau made the perfect backdrop for our Instagram-worthy photo-ops:
Well, after our photoshoot (haha), we packed our stuff and said goodbye to what was once our home… for a night. The campsite looked so bare when we left— majority of our fellow travelers already left, so there were almost no tents to be seen in the vicinity. We were all headed to one direction: Kay Ibon Falls.
HINDI SA’YO, HINDI SA’KIN… KAY IBON
(Not yours, not mine… Kay Ibon)
Well, the trail to the falls was different from the one we took when we first climbed the mountain, and it wasn’ that difficult. In fact, I enjoyed the scenery even more.
There was also a nice and cozy stopover for the hungry and thirsty, where some of my buddies finally had their cup-noodle fix. Hahaha.
(A nice, hot mug (not paper cup!) of coffee for me!)
After that quick “chill and eat” session, we resumed our trek. Muddy trails and more than 30 minutes later, we reached Kay Ibon Falls.
Yep, we figured we won’t be the only group there. Haha. So much for that Instagram shot that I’ve been planning to take.
The falls was magnificent. It truly is the ultimate sidetrip when climbing Mt. Batolusong. Haha. *thumbs up*
We didn’t waste any time and took a dip in the clear AND cold waters of Kay Ibon Falls, and I have one thing to say about it: I LOVE THIS PLACE! The temperature of the water is just right! I have experienced ice-cold falls before, but this is my favorite. I swear, you wouldn’t wanna get out of the water once you’ve submerged your whole body in it. Honestly, I was prepared to be left there at peace. Haha!
(So far, the best falls I’ve ever been to!)
But, all things must come to an end. I know I can’t live there forever (sad), so after almost an hour, we dried ourselves a bit and proceeded to go home home.
BACK TO THE REAL WORLD
From the falls, we walked to the highway for a good 40 minutes. Then, we rode a tricycle to take us back to San Andres (reg. site), which cost us P30. Kuya Jonel was kind enough to let us use their comfort room for washing up. We even met her adorable one-year old daughter, Janel. 🙂
After all that, we rode another tricycle back to the highway. From there, we were supposed to board a jeepney going to Cogeo Gate 2, but the ones passing by were always full and the interval between jeeps is 30 minutes, so our friendly tricycle driver offered to take us at least to another jeep terminal (near Palo Alto). He literally ran after a jeepney (with matching honking signals haha) just to get us settled. Thank you, kuya!
(Isaw and other street food while waiting for Cogeo-bound jeeps)
It was past 3pm when we reached Cogeo. After having lunch (unli-rice cos we want AND have to), we boarded an FX to Cubao and, from there, went our separate ways.
This is the second official event that I proudly organized (did the DIY itinerary, research, budgeting, etc.), and here is our actual itinerary:
1100H – Meet up / lunch
1240H – ETD Cubao / FX to Cogeo Gate 2
1320H – ETA Cogeo Gate 2
1350H – ETA jeep terminal (near Mall of Antipolo)
1400H – ETD terminal / jeep to Sampaloc (drop-off: Batangasan)
1450H – ETA Batangasan / tricycle to San Andres (reg. site)
1500H – ETA San Andres / secure guide, etc.
1530H – Start trek
1715H – ETA rock formation
1745H – ETA Duhatan Ridge
1830H – ETA Mapatag Plateau / set up camp
1900H – Dinner / socials / sleep
0530H – Wake up call / breakfast
0630H – Start trek to Rangyas Peak
0700H – ETA Rangyas Peak
0730H – Start descent
0800H – ETA Mapatag / photo-ops
0820H – ETA campsite / eat again / break camp
0920H – ETD campsite / start descent to Kay Ibon Falls
1040H – ETA Kay Ibon Falls
1135H – ETD falls / back to highway
1215H – ETA highway / tricycle to San Andres
1230H – ETA San Andres / wash up
1350H – ETD San Andres / back to highway
1400H – ETA highway / jeep to Cogeo
1515H – ETA Cogeo / late lunch
1630H – ETD Cogeo / FX to Cubao
1715H – ETA Cubao / bye bye
This is our actual expenses:
FX to Cogeo Gate 2 – P30/pax
Jeep to Batangasan – P42/pax
Tricycle to San Andres (reg. site) – P30/pax
Registration fee – P20/pax
Fee for Rangyas Peak – P20/pax
Guide fee for a group of 5 (we were six, so P208/pax) – P1250 for overnight (P500 for dayhike)
Tricycle from highway to San Andres – P30/pax
Tricycle to highway (again) – P30/pax
Tricycle to Palo Alto – P30/pax
Jeep to Cogeo Gate 2 – P21/pax
FX to Cubao – P35/pax
Total: P496.00 (food expenses and tip for tour guide NOT included)
TIPS AND STUFF
- It’s really cold at the camp site (Mapatag Plateau), so bring a jacket and a blanket (if you’re staying overnight).
- When going to Rangyas Peak, take the hard way (rock climbing)— it’s faster and more rewarding. 🙂
- Pack light. Just do it.
- Make sure to bring a sturdy tent— the wind situation there can be strong, especially at night.
- Bring extra food and share them with your tour guide and other locals who will be staying near you. It’s common courtesy and a way of showing your gratitude. 🙂
- In line with the latter, you’ll notice how nice and welcoming locals are in Mt. Batolusong (and other mountains, I’m pretty sure). They’ll greet you when you pass by, and it’s not just the locals, but fellow visitors/mountaineers, too. It’s very heartwarming, actually. 🙂
- Let’s always practice the “leave no trace” and “take nothing but pictures” policies! Bring your own garbage bag and take it with you.
(We’ll be back!)
Happy blogging (and travelling!)
(Note: All photos used in this post are raw/unedited. Please don’t use without my consent. Thank you.)