Friday, March 30, 2012

Mt. Makiling (MakTrav) | Inside the Realm of Mariang Makiling

Finally, I managed to cross-out Mount Makiling (or Mt. Maquiling in old Tagalog) from my bucket list of mountains. One of my biggest childhood dreams was to enter and experience this mountain, the realm of the famous Mariang Makiling. I never imagined that its densely forested trail would be loved by my itchy feet so much and would become Batang Lakwatsero's most favorite trail.

If you don't know who Mariang Makiling is, check out my previous post regarding this mythical protector of Mt. Makiling: The Story of Mariang Makiling.


Oh yes, MakTrav finally. Thanks to Mami Ced (my adoptive mom in mountaineering) for inviting me in their MakTrav dayhike last March 3, 2012.

Batang Lakwatsero meets Pinoy Mountaineer

Call time was 04:30 am at Buendia-Taft. I never wanted to be late so I arrived 30 minutes earlier and waited inside 7-11 (as always). However, the silly me forgot to get any contact number from fellow mountaineers on this climb. I was afraid I won't be able to meet them so I just decided to head straight to the main assembly area at Sto. Tomas Market where others (including Mami Ced na tanging kakilala ko sa climbing group) were waiting. 

When I stepped out of 7-11, I saw Sir Gideon Lasco of Pinoy Mountaineer who was also waiting for his climbing buddies. Of course, I was starstruck. He's one of the many online personalities that I look up to. I approached them and asked if it is ok to have a picture with him, and he said yes. (#fanboymode)

He asked me where I'll be climbing that day, I told him it's MakTrav. Then he said they'll be climbing Mt. Daguldol (kung makapal lang talaga mukha ko baka sumabit na lang ako sa kanila, hehe).

I quickly bid goodbye after the rare photo opportunity with him. (haha. nahiya ako bigla). 

Batang Lakwatsero meets Pinoy Mountaineer
Moving on, 

At around 4:20 am, I jumped into one of JAM Liner's Lipa-bound bus as it will pass by Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The fare was just P91.00, and the travel time was about an hour.

By 6:00 AM, I reached Sto. Tomas Market, other climbers were already there, some were still on their way to Sto. Tomas (buti na lang). Only at 06:30 that our group was finally complete. I would be doing my first MakTrav with 21 other mountaineers. yeehaa!

the main drop-off point from Manila.
From Sto. Tomas market, we traveled by tricycle (P50 per trip) to the main jump-off point and registration site at the Barangay Hall of Brgy. San Bartolome.

The jump-off point.
registration site
the wide open space in front of the Barangay Hall is an ideal place for doing this - warm-up exercises

Mt. Makiling Traverse aka MakTrav (Sto. Tomas to UPLB)

Our trek commenced at 07:10 AM. We took the Palanggana Trail. We passed by the Kambingan (Goat Farm) as we walked for about 15 minutes along a wide dirt road. When we reached a steep side trail of the Palanggana, the trail masters decided to split the group into two (para mas mabilis, kasi nga madami kami, 22 lahat). The first half still took the main Palanggana Trail while the other half (including me) turned right to the steep side trail.

Mt. Makiling viewed from the start of Sto. Tomas trail
the dirt road that led us to the Kambingan
That 20 minutes steep assault was the most grueling assault I ever did in my entire mountaineering career (tama, kina-career ko na ang mountainering). We had a number of "take 2s" (2 minute rest) during the assault. Everytime we're stopping, very nice views of Mts. Maculot and Malipunyo appeared before our eyes.

It was around 08:00 AM when we reached again the main Palanggana Trail which is now fenced with bamboo. There's a lesser chance that trekkers would get lost in this trail because the bamboo fence now blocks the side trails.

the fenced Palanggana Trail
many of this signs are scattered around the Palanggana Trail

By 9:00 AM, we reached the grassy area with scattered rocks (Palanggana Ridge?) where Maculot and Malipunyo are perfectly seen. We were blessed with good weather, thank goodness. We rested there while others were having a good photo opportunity.

Mt. Maculot seen from the Palanggana Ridge
Malarayat Range also seen from the Palanggana Ridge
one of the rocks in the grassland. this spot offers a great viewing point for a number of Batangas towns and mountains.
After 10 minutes, we continued the trek towards the grassy Melkas trail which then led us to Melkas Ridge (where Mt. Makiling's rainforest starts). Mossy trunks, humid air, large roots, moist soil - I'm definitely inside a rainforest. Along the Melkas Ridge, we passed through a series of ascents and descents and it was rooty all throughout.

dense forest of Melkas Ridge
At 10:00 AM, somewhere in the middle of Melkas Ridge, I met the other resident of Mt. Makiling's rainforest - the limatiks. It was my first time to see an actual living blood leech, and I really like them, they're so cute.

We were constantly checking ourselves from limatik infestation from the moment we met them at Melkas Ridge. Grabe lang, parang bawat yuko ko merong limatik sa paa ko. It's as if we're the invaders intruding their realm. We were being attacked by an army of limatik, haha. In fact, I removed a total of 28 limatiks from my body starting from Melkas ridge to the campsite. We reached Melkas campsite at 10:40 AM. After a few group shots, we proceeded right away to Haring Bato.

limatik again, I was bitten by this one but it did not suck up anyblood from me. Alcohol spray does works
an old tree at the Melkas Campsite
Pa-halik sa Bato, that's what they use to refer when passing through the challenging roped segments of Haring Bato because you will literally kiss the rock as you go through it. Views on top of the rock were also great. We passed through a total of 4 roped steep trails before we finally reached Peak 3 (the first Makiling peak you'll encounter from Sto. Tomas trail).

Haring Bato
the first roped segment of Haring Bato
We had our good lunch at Peak 3 since it is also a good campsite.

Clear view from Peak 3: Batangas towns and Taal Lake
photo from sir Alvin. Lunching at Peak 3
By 12:40 PM, we resumed the traverse via the Wild Boar Trail - my most favorite part of the whole MakTrav. The wild boar trail is one big muddy obstacle course (connecting Peak 3 to Peak 2). Low lying vines and fallen trees (all covered with thick green moss) make this trail a challenging one. You will have to duck, hop, split, mud slide, rappel, mud slide again and more ducks and hops, it will really test your acrobatic skills. It was a fun experience really, I totally felt in this trail that I'm no longer doing a minor climb, yahoo (level up na). We spent 1 hour and 20 minutes inside this wild boar maze.

Wild Boar Trail
mud slide here
Mossy Forest of the Wild Boar Trail
no one can get out of the Wild Boar Trail without getting his hands dirty
At Peak 2 (we arrived at 02:00 PM), while waiting for others, we kept ourselves busy by removing all the mud that got stuck on our shoes and pants. Biglang gumaan yung pantas ko.

one of the three wooden crosses at Peak 2.
photo from sir Chester. Group photo at the summit (Peak 2)

We started the descent towards UPLB at 02:30 PM. The trail was a lot easier compared to the ones we passed through from Sto. Tomas, though it was as muddy as the Wild Boar Trail. There were ropes and ladders at some part of this muddy trail. The trail became less muddy as we passed by Station 19.

Mt. Kalisungan seen from the trail while we're descending
still a muddy trail
When we reached the Wilderness Zone signage at 3:30 PM, we started to run the trail. We ran non stop, would walk fast if we grew tired then ran again until we finally reached Aguila Base at 4:00 PM.

From Agila Base, we just walked until we reached the first sari-sari store to buy the best softdrinks in town. Sarap talaga!

The softdrinks wasn't enough, on the next store we treated ourselves with buko juice naman, your natural gatorade. Sarap talaga!

At this point, we had two options to reach the Station 1 (liguan): either we ride a habal-habal which costs P80 or trail run the more-or-less 3.5 kilometers trail from Station 9 to Station 1. I don't wanna spend so I chose the latter.

fresh na freash na Buko Juice - P15.00
habal-habal waiting for customers - P80.00
Liguan Station :)
Before 05:00 PM, we were already at the liguan station. yeeha. My first MakTrav was completed :)

To reward ourselves, we ended this dayhike with a dinner at Sulyaw Restaurant, located outside the UP Campus. What was special in this resto is that they have a P10 Unli Iced Tea, and the food prices are student friendly.

After the meal, we traveled back to Turbina then back to Manila.

This was my FB status after our MakTrav Dayhike.
Well, Robbie, eto na yung post ko :P

* I did not expect that I would be back to this mountain so soon. Just a week after this climb, I accompanied my blogger friends Dane and Agnes of Tramping Philippines and also Darwin of for another MakTrav Dayhike as a training climb for our Mt. Ugo 2-days traverse.



  1. Ivan, I will never forget our trip, nakakapagod!! sa 7 bundok na naakyat ko, eto pinakamahirap!!haha! pero masaya!

  2. @darwin - mejo matagal pa siguro bago ka makahanap ng mas mahirap. haha. kaya dont worry kasi mahirap naman tlga ung pinasok pero masaya naman e. hehe..

  3. Gusto kong maranasan to! I hope soon... :)

  4. Inggit ako! sana maakyat ko rin yan... (nagjjoke)

  5. Some sections of the trail are no trail at all! Wala bang nag-aalaga sa daan, maski papaano? Isa pa naman iyan sa pinaka-madalas puntahan ng mga mountain hikers na tulad ninyo.

    1. what do you mean no trail at all? naku po, don't expect a trail na paved and super maganda in a mountain like Mt. Makiling.. in as much as possible, mountaineers don't want to change anything from the mountain.

  6. yan ang isa sa mga trek na pasimula sa mga matitinding treks.

  7. ang bilis niyo! nakaabot pa kayo ng may liwanag sa uplb :) kudos sa akyat. namimiss ko na rin yang bundok na yan.

  8. Next time you call something cute, tataas kilay ko kasi na-cucute-an ka sa mga limatik :P hahahaha

    grabe, sobrang muddy ng trail. sobrang nagfrfreak out ako pag muddy kasi sobrang madulas, lagi akong nahuhulog nung umakyat ako ng batulao

    1. hihi. cute kaya ng mga limatik.. hehe. lalo na kapag gumagalaw sila.

      tuyong-tuyo ang batulao nung umakyat ako last time.. ganda dun. tara akayat tayo some time.

  9. Ang bongga lang ng Biologists Zone! At ang ganda talaga nung mossy forest! Huhuhu. Kung ikaw nga nahirapan dito pano pa kaya ako?!?

    Pero aakyatin ko din to balang araw!!!

    1. haha. sabi nga ni Darwin, aawayin mo lang daw ako pag niyaya kita diyan. hehe

  10. Complete package and Maktrav mo, bro. Kudos!

  11. "It was my first time to see an actual living blood leech, and I really like them, they're so CUTE." ---Objection your honor! Hahahaha!

    Very nice Maktrav experience tukayo! Keep on climbing! ^.^

    ~Ivan of The BACKPACKERS

  12. ....ikaw na sir.....

    ....san ka pa, MAKTRAV na...

  13. ASTIG! lufet nito... sana maakyat ko toh =)

  14. Hi, Ivan! Salamat sa pagshare ng hiking experience mo sa Mount Makiling. I-share namin yung blog mo sa Facebook page namin ha. :)

    Ingat at enjoy sa susunod mong biyahe!

  15. Good day! Sir ask ko lang po, my group is planning to climb Makiling (maktrav) this comming March 9, 2013, open po ba yung from mountaineers to climb day hike, may contact po ba kayo dun to confirm? kasi parang sarado yung sa UPLB trail. Thanks po and more power! Geo of GILAS mountaineering

  16. Hi sir! salamat sa pagshare nyo ng experience nyo ng MakTrav.. plano pa lang po namin akyatin to, kaya inaalam ko lahat ng dapat kong matutunan dito. may tanong lang po ako, bakit po pagdating sa wilderness zone eh tinakbo nyo na po ng walang hinto? maraming salamat sir! Good day!

  17. Sir Ivan, were planning to take maktrav this month.. overnight. ang prob no one from us have an experience in makiling. may i ask if there is a guide that we can pay? and what is more easier? palanggana or sipit? hoping for your response and advice. thanks..

  18. Hi Sir,, we were planning to take maktrav (overnight) this month. MAy i ask for your advice. what is more accessible? sipit or palanggana? is there any guide we can pay for.? this will be our first maktrav so were getting confused. thanks in advance sir..

    1. Palanggana trail has been closed since last year pa.. so you have no other option but to take the Sipit trail. Please check out my updated blogposts on my Makiling hikes.

    2. Thank you sir ivan.. by the way, sigurado kaya na may makuha kming guide over sipit trail.

    3. SIr last question,,overnight kasi plan so may i ask if what time dpat mag start ng hike,may nabasa kasi ako na dumating cla sa kubo around 9am,hnd n cla pinayagan tumuloy,pinalipas sila ng isang araw bago payagan..kinda confused po..

    4. actually sir, depende tlga yan sa inyo. kung gusto nyo abutin ng night trek, start late. kung gusto nyo naman mag-hayahay sa campsites/trail, you should start earlier.

      masyadong maaga ang 9am para mag-stay at mag-camp, it's not ideal.



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