After my travel/wallet hiatus in March, I scanned my travel list again to look for a quick Saturday getaway.

Been digging to trek as it’s been ages since my last one. So I checked for easy trail and found Mount Maculot. It’s located in Cuenca, Batangas, which is quite near GMA, Cavite.

4:00AM, I left our house.

HOW TO GET THERE

  1. From South Station Alabang, ride bus going to Lipa. Fare is P94. (Tip: It is better to ride a Lemery-bound bus. There’s none from Alabang so I took Lipa instead).
  2. Alight Tambo exit.
  3. Ride a Lemery-bound jeep. Fare is P22.
  4. Alight Poblacion Highway. If you rode a Lemery-bound bus, you can directly alight here (that’s the advantage).
  5. From highway to registration area, you can either walk (about 15 minutes and can serve as your warm up) or ride tricycle (I read on some blogs, it says P40).

7:30AM, I reached the registration area. Then I suddenly felt the excitement! So I lined up and paid P20 for registration fee.

RATES
Campsite/Rockies – P400 1-5 persons. P50/head excess
Campsite to Summit Back trail – plus P50
Traverse – P800 1-5 persons. P100/head excess
Overnight (Campsite) – P800 1-5 persons. P100/head excess

I said I was doing solo so they offered if I wanted to go along with the other hikers. There’s a couple, Joyce and Von, lining up prior to me and they’ve agreed to make me their chaperone. We all agreed for the Traverse, and were asked to pay after the trail.

From registration area to jump off, I rode our tour guide Kuya Mon’s motor while the couple rode theirs.

To Rockies

8:00AM, we started our trek to Rockies. The initial road is easy to deal with. As you go along, it becomes harder, especially for me who have stopped with my strenuous activities for over a year already. During that time, the weather was stable sunny and grounds were dry. I think that’s better compared to a damp road.

The path’s very luscious green. The sun’s exaggerating them. If I was not climbing, I’d prolly just be looking at everything and relaxing. But I was climbing so all I can do is thank the trees for the wonderful shades they’re giving.

There are sari-sari stores as you climb up. If you need energy, buko juice would definitely help. Note that the items there are pricey.

We’ve also bumped into more trekkers up ahead catching their breaths before continuing.

9:30AM, we reached the other side of Rockies, the one overlooking it. What a satisfying feeling! Several times during our ascend, I felt like giving up already because I was really having a hard time. But then, I already saw the Rockies, and my fatigue worn off.

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We had to wait before climbing the actual Rockies because there were still several trekkers taking pictures.

10:30AM, oh here’s the view from Rockies. It was cloudy at that time, sadly.

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I didn’t brave to sit on the buwis-buhay spots for picture. I’m still scared of heights and might not able to get hold of myself that much. Maybe next time. At that time being, I just enjoyed the very nice view I was seeing, and was already satisfied.

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11:20AM, we started to climb down and nursed ourselves on the nearest sari-sari store for a quick break. Then we hit the road again to, this time, Summit.

To Summit

I have read that Rockies is 706 MASL (meters above sea level). Now it’s time to ascend more.

11:40AM, my legs were still sore from the Rockies climb, but it’s better to move on already as the sun was at its peak. Sunburn!

I felt at first that the trail to Summit was manageable. But again, I ate my words. It is steeper than the Rockies’ and more ropes (which is an indication that the section is very high). I didn’t notice any stores on the way to Summit, just buko sellers.

12:45PM, and we’re here! 930 MASL!

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Again, I almost gave up several times during the ascend, but well. You see, I made it. And I can’t describe my happiness for this achievement!

The sun was on its angriest rays, so we didn’t stay very long. Besides, the Summit was very rowdy because of many campers staying.

1:00PM, off to start our descend to Grotto. I thought I’d do a good job because it’s already descent. I was right. I was taking every step cheerily because one, I reached Summit! Two, no more climbing.

Nope. I was wrong. After 30 minutes of continuous descend, I felt my knees were bit by bit getting stiffer. I was not grasping for air though; it’s just my knees were getting weaker. There were lots of boulders on this side of the trail. There was even a section where we had to rock descend (opposite of rock climb, okay?). I got excited and all but it was tiring, too.

Slowly, we’re getting a view of Grotto. That meant we’re getting closer.

2:00PM, while the sun was burning my neck and arms, my heart was celebrating for reaching the 510 MASL part of the trail.

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We got more eager to finish the trail so we started our last descent. We had to pass by the seven stations of the cross, which involved stairs all the way down.

3:00PM,  we reached the last station and that marks the end of the trail. That marks the end of traverse.

Wow, I’ve never been more thankful to see a tricycle, which would bring us back to jump off.

At the jump off, stores are offering paid showers. The one I took was P35, unlimited water. Before stripping my dirty clothes and splashing myself with cool water, I gave my share for the tour guide fee to Joyce and Von. We did traverse so that costs P800. I shared P300. You see, I saved P500!

They decided to go home afterwards since they only live nearby. Me? I took a bath first while thinking of Mang Inasal.

When I was done, Kuya Mon drove me all the way to highway and hailed a jeep for me going to Lipa.

Kuya Mon, the Tour Guide

I enjoyed Kuya Mon’s company despite his several taunting of me while trekking. He is very helpful and made sure to give us heads up on what we’re about to see while trekking. He is funny, which is nice because it made our trekking more enjoyable and lighter. I highly recommend him.

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ITINERARY

4:00 Leave. To Alabang
5:00 Alabang to Lipa-Tambo Exit
7:00 Tambo Exit to Cuenca
7:30 Cuenca to registration area
7:45 Reg Area to Jump off
8:00 Start trek
9:30 Arrival to Rockies
11:40 Rockies to Summit
12:45 Arrival to Summit
13:00 Summit to Grotto (descent)
14:00 Grotto. Descent to Jump off
15:00 Arrival to other side of Jump off
15:30 To SM Lipa
16:15 Arrival to SM Lipa
16:45 To Alabang
19:00 To GMA

BUDGET

P 94 Alabang to Lipa-Tambo Exit
P 22 Tambo Exit to Cuenca
P 20 Registration Fee
P 300 Original Traverse fee = P800. Shared with a couple.
P 200 Tip to tour guide
P 25 To SM Lipa
P 94 To Alabang
TOTAL: P 755 Note: Food is exclusive, and depends on you

 


BATANGAS EARTHQUAKE

I climbed April 1, 2017. Then the first earthquake that hit Batangas happened on April 4, 2017. It was reported that Mount Maculot climbers were somehow affected by it when it struck. To be honest, I was momentarily horrified with the news. Hey, I just climbed that mountain, and they are reporting something bad about it. I thought I was very lucky because I was able to climb Mount Maculot on its good state (no offense nor harm meant to anyone affected). I didn’t hear anyone reported dead so that’s somehow pacifying.

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