Mt. Manalmon is actually just an easy climb. With its beginner-friendly trail, newbies in the field of mountaineering won't find this mountain a pain in the ass.
I arrived too early at Baliwag Trans Terminal in Cubao (sabit lang ako kaya nakakahiya naman na ma-late). It was only 5:00 in the morning so I sat on the waiting shed to snatch some sleep. The next thing I remember was that sir Sonyboy was tapping my shoulder.
We still waited for about 30 minutes before we finally boarded a bus bound for San Miguel, Bulacan. Like what I'm always doing on a morning bus trip, I slept almost the entire travel time (P117 - about 1 hour trip). It was around 7:00 AM when we reached Brgy. Kamias, and there we met half of the climbing group. Of course, we had breakfast first at a carinderia before proceeding to the jump-off.
We then rode a tricycle to Sitio Madlum (P240) which took us about 30 minutes. The road was ok during the first 15 minutes, but it became rough as we near Sitio Madlum. We also passed through a gate that required us to pay P5 per head.
|rough ride to Sitio Madlum|
|the river gives life to the locals|
Before anything else happened, we crossed first the river. Most in our group took the raft to cross the river, while others (including me) chose to cross it via the famous monkey bridge. Crossing Madlum river via the monkey bridge looked simpler at first glance, a person must just grip firmly on the cable, maintain his balance, then cross the river. But when I tried it myself, I realized that its quite a challenging stunt, especially when the cables shake. Also, gripping on the cables could hurt you hands so wearing a pair of protective gloves is a smart decision.
|Monkey Bridge - thrilling!|
|Raft - effortless|
|registered at my 6th mountain|
|reaching the top of the rock.|
Conquering Mt. Manalmon
To start the trek, we traversed the Madlum Cave, a short cave under the Grotto, then another short walk along the river bank of Madlum River. Huge boulders on the river are the usual scenes we saw in this part of the trail.
|mabilisang pag-tagos sa Madlum Cave|
|stone hopping at Madlum River|
We then crossed the shallow rocky part of Madlum River. And from that point, we started the gradual ascent, stress-free trekking to the summit, ugh what a piece of cake.We rested for about 5 minutes in a grassy area before assaulting "the rock summit".
|the trail is established and easy to follow|
|on the right is the peak of Mt. Maanlmon, on the left is Mt. Gola|
In less than an hour, vwalla, we reached the windy summit of Mt. Manalmon. Views of the nearby mountains as well as Mt. Arayat's peak. An eagle (or falcon?) was seen by the group soaring in the sky above the forested area of the nearby Mt. Gola.
|Victoria Peak, where a cave system is located|
gusto sana namin i-explore kaya lang closed daw sa public
|the summit, Madlum River is snaking at the center|
|sumisilip ang Mt. Arayat's peak|
|neighboring mountain - Mt. Gola|
Lunch break at around 11:00 before noon. Picnic by the river that is. Then after lunch, we headed inside a kubo to prepare for our final adventure - spelunking the Bayukbuk Cave.
We walked for about 10 minutes from the registration site to the cave. When we reached the mouth, our guide briefed us a little, buddy-buddy system was applied on this activity.
Once inside the Bayukbuk Cave, we rappelled, we crawled, we ducked, we squeezed, etc. It's just a small cave actually, it took us 30 minutes to venture inside. Nothing so special with this cave, except for the part the guide called "Music Hall" - because music can be created by just tapping the rocks. At around 2:00 pm, we're done with the cave.
|exploring the Bayukbuk Cave to complete our day.|
*for budget and itinerary, check out this link.
Success, another mountain has been crossed out on my list.