Sunday - September 29, 2013
In this hike, I was joined by 10 spirited individuals (actually 13 sila dapat, kaya lang hndi nagising yung other 3). We left Manila at around 5 in the morning and arrived at the jump-off of Mt. Romelo in Siniloan, Laguna in no more than 3 hours. It was just a quick drive via the Manila East Road in Rizal Province, and it's very scenic with the view of Laguna Lake to your right.
Nothing big has changed in Mt. Romelo from the last time I visited, registration fee's still high at P50, horses still pass by and join your trek, and the trails are still as muddy as ever. We started our hike at 7:40 in the morning, dropped by at least 3 resting stations (tindahan ng buko), then finally reached the waterfalls at 09:40 AM. There's no tiring steeps or whatsoever, so overall, hiking in Mt. Romelo can be classified as easy and beginner friendly.
|Mt. Romelo's trail, muddy as ever.|
|At 08:30 AM, we passed by the talahiban area which is the highest point on Mt. Romelo's trail system, thus considered to be the summit area.|
|the final kubo before the muddy descent to the waterfalls.|
|approaching Buruwisan Falls|
The Hidden Gems of Mt. Romelo
Although Mt. Romelo in itself is quite unremarkable, it has several hidden gems—the waterfalls—that will surely take your breath away and make your hike a great one. At least seven are known and have already been explored in the area, namely Buruwisan Falls, Lansones Falls, Sampaloc Falls, Batya-Batya Falls, Old Buruwisan Falls, Twin Falls, and Sapang Labo Falls. Of all these cascading beauties, we were able to visit only three.
First is Buruwisan Falls, the biggest and most frequented among the waterfalls of Mt. Romelo. It is here where we spent most of our time, its large pool/catch basin was simply too tempting, swimming is a must. This waterfall is also a favorite for rappelling activities, so don't be surprised if you chanced upon people with ropes, carabiners and and all, in this area (hindi sila magbibigti).
|you will be tempted to swim on the cool pool for sure|
|another beauty shot of Buruwisan Falls|
|this waterfall isn't as big as Buruwisan, nor its catch basin is as wide. But its cascade is powerful enough to give you a good back massage. Also, non-swimmers will enjoy the shallow pool beneath the waterfall.|
|A great obstacle for non-swimmers. There's no other way but through it.|
My Personal Hidden Agenda
September is the season of Laguna's rambutan and lansones.
Last year when I did the same thing, I noticed that the jump-off of Mt. Romelo is a depot for some of Laguna's delicious produce. Baskets of freshly picked rambutan and lansones were being brought down from the mountains and were sold at very cheap prices (P20-30 per kilogram of rambutan, and P40 per kilo for the lansones). To ignore these precious sweet gifts from heaven priced cheaply would be a sin, definitely! So I bought at least 3 kilos of Rambutan (yun lang kasi ang afford ko that time) and promised myself to return for these next year.
Next year is this year. So I returned to Mt. Romelo not actually for its waterfalls, but for the sweet translucent flesh of rambutan and lansones. Oh yes, for the love of rambutan and lansones!
|I went home with 4 kilos of lansones and 8 kilos of rambutan, all for P360 only. Isn't that a steal?|
Thanks to all who joined this adventure, 'til our next hike!