Independence Day Hike to Mt. Batolusong

Hi everyone! It has been a while since the last time my feet stepped on the trails. Because of this, I decided to organize a quick day hike back to Sierra Madre, particularly in Mt. Batolusong in Tanay, Rizal which also happens to be my 19th mountain. I picked this specifically because I wanted to see the infamous view of the sunrise and sea of clouds and because I wanted to go back to Sierra Madre.

Mountain Stats:

Location: Tanay, Rizal

Elevation: 645+MASL (Mapatag Plateau) / 780+MASL (Rangyas Peak)*

Difficulty: 3/9

Trek to Summit: 2 hours (Mapatag Plateau); 2 ½ hours (Rangyas Peak)

Our group had to go through some unfortunate and unforeseen events during this climb but overall, the hike went well and all of us were still grateful for the experience.

Below are the transportation and cost-breakdown details of our hike:

Transportation Details

Going there

VEHICLE FROM TO FARE TOTAL PER PERSON (10 pax) ESTIMATED TRAVEL TIME
Jeep Ali Mall – Cubao Antipolo (Shopwise) Php 34 Php 34 1 hour
Jeep Antipolo (Shopwise) Tanay Market Php 32 Php 32 1 hour
Tricycle Tanay Market Mt. Batolusong Jump-off Php 500 per tricycle Php 150 2 hours
TOTAL Php 216 4 hours

 

Going Home

VEHICLE FROM TO FARE TOTAL PER PERSON (10 pax) ESTIMATED TRAVEL TIME
Tricycle Mt. Batolusong Jump-off Veterans Php 300 per tricycle Php 90 35min
Jeep Veterans Santolan LRT Php 35 Php 35 1hr 30min
TOTAL Php 125 2hrs 5min

 

Other Expenses

DESCRIPTION AMOUNT TOTAL PER PERSON (10pax)
Guide Fee (1:5 – Php500 for dayhike; Php1,250 for overnight) Php 1,000 Php 100
Registration Fee Php 40 Php 40
TOTAL   Php 140

 

SAFE BUDGET: Php 500 – Php 700


The group chose to go to Mt. Batolusong via Antipolo instead of Cogeo as suggested by a friend due to safety purposes at the time of travel. We all gathered in Cubao and took the jeep bound for Antipolo at around 12AM. And even though it was already late, there were a lot of passengers also bound for Antipolo so we had to really outrun them whenever an empty/a relatively empty jeepney arrived (took us about three attempts because we had to make sure that the ten of us would be able to ride the same jeepney).

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Quick group photo before heading out

Because most of us still have not slept, we tried to get powernaps while on transit. Sadly, I was not able to sleep at all during the jeepney rides. When we got to Antipolo, we took another jeepney bound for Tanay – this time around, we did not have to outrun people. As soon as we got down, tricycle drivers gathered around us and asked where we were headed (Most of them guessed Mt. Daraitan). Because there were ten of us, we chartered three tricycles to take us to Mt. Batolusong.

After almost two hours, we stopped by an opened store where we saw hikers eating breakfast. Some of my group mates got down the tricycle to pee while I stayed and tried to sleep but to no avail. Shortly after, we resumed our trip to what we thought was the jump-off of Mt. Batolusong. At around 4:00AM, we got down the tricycle only to find so many groups of hikers. As I was registering all of our names, one of my group mates suddenly asked the guy at the register if we were really at the jump-off of Mt. Batolusong. Everyone looked at us, puzzled, as to what we were doing at (apparently) the jump-off of Mts. Maynoba and Cayabu! I decided to just go with the twin hike if we are not able to find a way back to the jump-off Mt. Batolusong in ten minutes. Fortunately, lady luck was on our side and we saw that our chartered tricycles have not left yet. The right jump-off of Mt. Batolusong was where we stopped over to pee and where we saw the hikers eating breakfast. I got really bummed upon realizing this because that meant wasting our time travelling back thereby ruining the itinerary I made and possibly the reason why we were so early to begin with – to watch the sunrise.

While heading back, we saw a lot of vans going to where we just came from. We lost count of how many vans there were but more or less, around ten (excluding the vans that were already there when we arrived). Wonder how their hike was like considering the swarm of hikers that day.

As if missing the right jump-off once was not enough, the universe decided to play with us again to miss it the second time around – we were back at the highway which was not supposed to happen because we were still supposed to be at a dirt road. After (wasting) about an hour, we got down at the right jump-off. I registered our names while the others were doing their final preparations. We were given two guides, kuya Dany and ate Teresita, because the system there is one guide per five hikers. After saying a short prayer, we started the trek.

 

It was still dark when we started but not too dark that we needed to use headlights (which of course disappointed some of my group mates who were looking forward to doing a ‘night’ trek). We were already an hour late from our itinerary and as much as I tried to push our pace, the assaults proved to be challenging for some of my group mates who were first-timers. Everyone was still bummed at the tricycle drivers who brought us to the wrong jump-off considering we clearly told them where we were going. Fortunately, our guides were very optimistic and jolly and that helped clear the negative air away.

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We did not use our headlights at all. Bottom right photo shows a bit of assault along the trail.

True enough, we were not able to make it on time to watch the sunrise but we made it to Mahiyaing Bato just in time to take photos of the sun while it was still relatively low. Seeing the beautiful landscape lifted my spirits up even more and seeing how excited my group mates looked made me really happy.

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The group enjoying the view at Mahiyaing Bato

We took an ample time in Mahiyaing Bato before resuming our trek. We arrived at Duhatan Ridge after five minutes and we saw a lot of Duhat trees (thus the name Duhatan Ridge) and a lot of pitched tents. We then continued our trek to Mapatag Plateau under the scorching heat of the sun considering it was still early in the morning. Nonetheless, the view of the Sierra Madre mountain range and the sea of clouds made the hot trek worthwhile.

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The pitched tents at Duhatan Ridge (upper left), The hot trek to Mapatag Plateau (upper right) and the view of Sierra Madre and sea of clouds (bottom)

After thirty minutes, we arrived at Mapatag Plateau which is considered to be the “summit” of Mt. Batolusong. There were several hikers gathered around the area but the space was enough for everyone. As soon as we found a spot, we put down our bags and some of us started taking photos while the others either ate or took a nap.

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The group at Mapatag Plateau. I got a great view of Sierra Madre here. Also my 19th mountain by the way! (lower right photo)

Two of our group mates; however, did not make it to Mapatag Plateau because they chose to stay behind one of the stores since one of them suddenly did not feel too well. I got worried for my friends but kuya Danny assured us that they will be fine because ate Teresita was with them.

We resumed our trek to Rangyas Peak which is about 20-30minutes away from Mapatag Plateau. The best part of the trail here would probably be the short rock climbing segment before reaching the peak. Here, we started to feel the cool breeze which made me feel really sleepy. So after I was satisfied with my photos, I put down my bag and took a 20-min nap before we started our descent.

 

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Upper left photo shows the short rock climbing segment before reaching Rangyas Peak. Lower right photo shows the three, sleepy girls. Lol.

Originally, my plan was to do a traverse to Kay-Ibon falls but knowing the condition of my group mate, I decided to go with my other plan – a back-trail to Sangab Cave. I had fun running down the mountain with kuya Danny setting the pace. After about 15min, we found the spot where our other two group mates were resting. Fortunately, they were both feeling well enough to continue the trek. We all decided to have an early lunch before heading down to Sangab Cave.

We encountered a lot of people along the trail because there was a “tree-planting” event that was happening and it made me smile to see so many participants each carrying their own tree seedlings to plant.

I was pretty much running throughout the descent because of some of my group mates’ very competitive pace. Lol. When we arrived at Sangab Cave, we were told that there was a separate guide if we wanted to take a look inside (it does not appear like it but apparently the cave is very big). Some of us swam while the others went straight to the bathroom to fix up.

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Sidetrip to Sangab Cave

Because the jump-off was still a 20-min trek away from Sangab Cave and everyone was all clean, we took extra caution in trekking in order not to get dirty from the muddy trail. Upon reaching the jump-off, our guide recommended that we pass by Cogeo this time. We rode the tricycle until Veterans where we rode a jeepney back to Santolan LRT. This jeepney ride was so long, most of us were able to enjoy a decent sleep.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following:

Our guides, kuya/kagawad Danny and ate Teresita for entertaining and keeping us safe.

To my hike buddy, Jen/B3, for helping me gather participants to the climb and for assisting me with the transportation details. Missed hiking with you! Hope to complete BBB soon.

To Jena S for the jelly ace! Lol. Thanks for being game to go on such short notice!

To Jepoy for bringing my camera and taking our photos and for being my fun tricycle buddy.

To ate Kyle for taking care of me during our commute. Hope you still enjoyed the hike!

And to the rest of the group, Nice, Jena C, ate Sarah, Marnell and Veejay for the good company! It was great to meet you all.

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Complete group photo with our two guides

Notes:

  1. There is no signal there! We were completely off the grid. Lol.
  2. Reserving a guide in advance is prohibited as there is a guide schedule they are following. Guides are available upon registration.
  3. The jump-off/registration is open 24/7 so hikers can go to Mt. Batolusong any time.
  4. The trail is open from Mahiyaing Bato until Mapatag Plateau. Prepare accordingly.
  5. A hiker got bitten by a leech while bathing in Sangab Cave. Watch out for limatiiiiiks!
  6. The trail going to Mt. Susong Dalaga was still closed when we hiked but it should be open by now

Below is a short video that summarizes our hike to Mt. Batolusong:


Itinerary:

12:10AM – Jeep to Antipolo

1:00AM – Jeep to Tanay Market

1:50AM – Tricycle to Mt. Batolusong jump-off

3:45AM – ETA jump-off. Secure guides. Final preparations

5:00AM – Start Trek

6:05AM – ETA Mahiyaing Bato. Take photos.

6:30AM – Resume trek

6:35AM – ETA Duhatan Ridge

7:10AM – ETA Mapatag Plateau. Rest and take photos.

8:10AM – Resume trek

8:30AM – ETA Rangyas Peak. Rest and take photos.

9:30AM – Start descent

9:40AM – Back in Mapatag Plateau

10:00AM – Lunch

10:20AM – Resume descent

11:30AM – ETA Sangab Cave. Fix up.

1:200PM – ETD Sangab Cave

1:45PM – ETA jump-off. Take tricycle to Veterans

2:20PM – ETA Veterans. Take jeepney to Santolan LRT

3:40PM – ETA Santolan LRT


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Three of my favorite photos from the hike. Happy Independence Day!

This was my first hike coming from my most difficult hike to date, Mt. Amuyao. It was also the first hike of my new pair of pink shoes (finally broke these babies in)! It felt so refreshing to be able to successfully organize a dayhike in Sierra Madre. Hopefully this and my other fitness activities will be enough to prepare me for another major hike back to the Cordilleras soon.

These past few weeks have been really tough on me and being able to hike brought back my much needed happy fuel. You really cannot go wrong with nature.

Thanks for reading!

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