It’s been more than a year since my last day hike and I feel so nervous and excited at the same time that I’m finally doing it again. The previous one was Mt. Balagbag and I will never forget that experience. There was a clear trail to the summit so a guide isn’t really necessary. We started out before lunch and it was excruciatingly hot and it served as a lesson to all of us. Crazy!
I told myself in 2017 that I was going to hike regularly but obviously, it didn’t happen. LOL. I’m just so happy this time our schedules worked out and we were able to pull a hike to Mt. Hapunang Banoi. It’s located in Rodriguez, Rizal with a height of 517+ meters above sea level. I got cold feet when I learnt that it’s the highest mountain out of the ‘Trilogy’ together with Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamitinan but oh well, we’re basically already standing on the foot of Mt. Hapunang Banoi and there’s no way I’m going to back out the last minute.
My mantra that day was, “Susuka pero hindi susuko,” simply because I feel like am going to vomit anytime soon while on our way up. We started ascending before 5AM and everything was pitch black. We had no idea that the travel time from Cubao to Barangay Wawa was going to be that quick and so the earlier the better, except the fact that using our phone’s flashlight was a major hassle while traversing.
There are several stations where you can sit down and catch your breath. Once you reached the ‘junction’, you are already halfway to the summit. I would say that the worst part was the first half of the hike ‘coz it’s a test of muscle endurance, the rest is already manageable especially when you make it to the first peak. JUST. KEEP. CLIMBING.
It was nerve-wracking to get yourself right on top of the rock of the first peak but nonetheless, it was a breather. The view of Barangay Wawa and Wawa River surrounded with greens was nothing but perfection. Like what people say, “Nothing worth having comes easy,” and having witnessed this creation is truly one for the books.
The second half of the hike was more challenging in the sense that it will require muscle strength, as opposed to endurance. The latter part of the climb is pretty much a rock/wall climbing experience because of the limestones and other rock formations. Good thing I was wearing the right shoes and so it kind of helped.
The second peak is roughly 30 minutes away from the first, while the summit is within the eyes’ reach from the second. We realized that it was a good thing we started early because when you’re almost at the summit and it happens that there are other people present, then you would have to wait in the narrow rocky and pointy limestone passages. On our way back, there were probably 10 groups who were doing the ‘Trilogy’ or ‘Twin Hike’ and we were thinking that it’s going to consume a lot of time for those people since the area/space in the summit is very limited.
Making it to the summit was an instant pure bliss moment. It wasn’t sunny when we reached the last peak and it actually started pouring but nothing can stop us from enjoying the view. Thank God that rays of sunlight started showering the landscape before we descend. The limestones were a bit slippery when it drizzled so take extra precautions. These pictures you see were literally taken at the edge of a cliff, so you really need to gather a lot of courage to pull this one off. If you have doubts, then it’s safer to not do it because the last thing you wanna see is you falling off from a 517-meter high mountain. LOL.
We started moving down at 8:15 AM and I thought it was going to be easy. LOL. Clearly I underestimated this hike. Our legs were still trembling so basically, the descend was as strenuous as the ascend. While moving, we were amazed that we reached the highest point because it was no joke. We took a 30-minute rest halfway down and I regret that the most! My body felt really tired and I was starting to feel the pain all over my body, though it was all worth it!
The damage is Php 400, give or take.
- Php 50/person | Eastwood UV from Cubao to San Rafael, Montalban, Rizal
- Php 60/trike | Tricycle from San Rafael, Montalban, Rizal to Brgy. Wawa
- Php 50/person | Registration fee/Environmental fee
- Php 50/person | Gloves which I highly recommend!
- Php 500 | Tour guide. The rate is for every mountain and every group of 5
For our tour guide, you may contact Kuya Edmond at 09269455250. He’s really friendly and if you guys need to take your time while hiking, just tell him. He’s super chill like that. LOL.