The activity that I was once considering just for an experience and I only got interested because of the nice photos on the summit is now getting to be a hobby for me and my friends. Not only it’s a good exercise (bending and crawling here and there. Huh!), it’s also a nice way to give yourself a new perspective in reconnecting with Mother Nature (How Climbing Mountains Can Help You)
And last February of this year, I was invited by a good friend of mine to join her in a twin day hike in San Miguel, Bulacan. Of course, I got interested because it was a “TWIN” hike. I haven’t experienced it and the thought of myself having been able to climb two mountains in just a day makes me go like…. Oh, I’m already a legit mountaineer! LOL Kidding aside, there was this sense of levelling up since you will be surpassing your previous accomplishment.
And there, two of my friends and I were a joiner in a group of 14 people. It happened last February 13, 2016, Saturday. From Alabang, it took us 4 hrs (stops included) to get to San Miguel, Bulacan.
Upon arriving at Sitio Madlum, we were welcomed by the beauty of Madlum River that made me thought of not doing the hike anymore and just go swimming. Good thing, I was in a group and it’s really cold during that morning. hihi
7 a.m. when we proceeded to the barangay for the registration and we were oriented of the do’s and don’ts of the hike which took for about 30 mins I guess for both registration and orientation.
The officials of Sitio Madlum gave us two guides because of our large number. Aside from the two guides, Sir Alex also was the lead, Sir Jay was the sweeper and the rest were the in-betweens. So whenever the two crack jokes, everyone laughs.
At the beginning of the climb, there’s a concrete stairs that have crosses along the side.
At first, I thought it’s a bit creepy but as you go through, you’ll get passed a mini Grotto. It felt like you ware being welcomed with safety and prayer for a well-guided hike. 🙂
Then you’ll go through a small cave, the Madlum Cave, where Mulawin (For those who didn’t know that, it’s an old GMA 7 Fantaserye) shot some of their scenes.
You’ll see there some cave bats hanging on the ceiling so we were very careful not to disturb them or else…… haha
Then after passing through the cave, we were then welcomed by a river.
We crossed it to get to the other side and it felt so relaxing. Having your feet being washed by a really cold water…. Aaaah, nature.
Sir Jay’s plan was to start with Mt. Manalmon hike but our guide suggested that we first climb Mt. Gola because there was an area there that we wouldn’t want to walk on when the blazing heat is already up. They call that area as the “Barbeque”. Just by the name itself, we were convinced to do Mt. Gola first while it’s still early.
Mt. Gola was a bit hard since there were parts that we really have to be very careful, like that spider area where, as the guide told us, there were lots of spiders. Lucky us, we haven’t encountered them.
Then there’s this part where we really had to climb a rocky steep slope. It felt like we’re doing wall climbing minus a harness. So, you also have to be extra careful here, because one wrong step, you’ll trip off with a domino effect on those below you.
And then upon reaching the end of that slope was the “Barbeque” area. You’ll walk on a rock field that was black in color (seems like really large blocks of charcoal) which manifested why they named it “Barbeque”, it was like a huge field of charcoal formation.
And then few minutes of walking, we reached the summit of Mt. Gola! Yey!
We just look around first appreciating the beauty atop the mountain, looking through how far we’ve walked and how high we’ve climbed. Then of course, picture taking! I don’t want to miss documenting an achievement. hehe
Since we did a twin hike, we’re a bit sensitive of the time because we knew how hot it can be during the noon so after a bit of rest, photo op and meditating with nature, we immediately proceeded in descending Mt. Gola and aimed the summit of Mt. Manalmon.
We descended on the same trail we took going up until the river cross.
Climbing Mt. Manalmon has two options, easy and hard trail. And since we’re all adventure seekers and wanted to get the most out of the experience, we took the hard trail. As far as I remember, it was a 70 degrees assault so imagine how much suffering our legs and knees had to endure. Good thing, they were as strong as our desire to reach the summit.
I had to stop from time to time to have a quick rest and catch my breath. Signs of aging?! Oh no!
After 30mins to an hour, we reached the summit! Thank you, Lord!
There was a group having photo ops at the summit when we arrived so we sat under the shades first, had a rest while listening to our guide who told us the story of Mt. Manalmon. Of course, I forgot the whole story, what I only remembered was that it’s between two lovers. Haha Well, at least you’ll have another reason to go here and that’s to know the history of Mt. Manalmon yourself. hihi (palusot.com)
And then it’s our turn to appreciate the view atop Mt. Manalmon, overlooking a wide view of greeny Bulacan, the river which is connected with Madlum River and Mt. Gola summit.
Sir Alex was so kind that he volunteered himself to take photos of us, one by one, under the blazing heat of the sun (it was already noon when we reached Mt. Manalmon Summit).
After 30mins I guess, after feeling the fulfillment of reaching the top, we descended the mountain in a more chill trail, but longer. It’s okay since it was shaded and we’re also tired to take a hard route. We arrived back at the registration area at around 1 or 2pm and we had our lunch there. We didn’t bring pack lunch, so we just bought at a carinderia around the area.
3:00 pm, it’s time for side tripping! Spelunking, Monkey bridge and swimming! We first did the Bayukbok Cave spelunking.
We left our stuff in the van and brought only headlights, flashlights and cameras. We were first reminded of the dos and don’ts of the spelunking. I suggest that you listen more attentively and carefully to your guides when doing this because I find spelunking more dangerous and risky if you’re not going to follow their instructions.
From the registration area, we walked for about 10-15mins going to Bayukbok Cave. You’ll see just from the entrance that it’s gonna be hard because the holes to the cave were really narrow, it’ll be hard for those who have big bodies to fit themselves through.
It’s not the kind of cave like that of Sagada that’s really spacious inside. The stretch of this cave is really narrow and only few spaces can fit more than three persons.
There was also a part where we had to climb carefully using a rope. The rope was such a big help because the rocks we stepped on were muddy and slippery.
Since we were a large group, we experienced a bit of a traffic inside since we were very careful because one wrong step, we’re going to fall off. So while we were stuck in our position, we got to have some pictures taken. Look into the bright side, they said. hihi
You’ll see inside Stalagmite and Stalactite formations. Wasn’t able to take pictures, so see it for yourself nalang. hihi Then as we went along, there’s a place where our whole group can finally fit in and have a group photo. Yey!
This place was just a bit scary because the roof was just rocks stuck together that if someone crazy jump over it, it felt like it will fall over us (praning mode haha).
It took us an hour to finish the spelunking and then we walked back to the registration area to do the next side trip, the monkey bridge! Kami na! Kami na ang grupo na walang pahinga! hahaha I guess it’s an adventure rush. hehe
At first, I was hesitant to try this because it was scary but how often do we encounter this kind of activity? So, push! Sir Jay also jokingly said that we’re not gonna leave the place unless everyone has already crossed the monkey bridge. So, I really don’t have a choice. haha
Way back, when the Madlum Bridge was not yet built, the only way to get to the other side was to use a boat and the monkey bridge, and shockingly, harness was not available that time! So if you’re not strong enough to hold yourself together with the rope, you’ll fall off the Madlum River. Ouch! We’re so fortunate that Madlum Bridge and harness were ready by the time we went there!!!
Our group was divided into two for each end of the monkey bridge. A person from the group on one side will cross the bridge, then he will remove the harness and the person from that end will wear it and take his turn to the other side, until everyone from each group was done. The monkey bridge was about knowing how to balance your body with the rope. And the way to do this is to not look down and just look straight.
My motivation here was that I’ll get to swim in Madlum river once I’m finished! It only took 2-3mins per person to finish this activity.
Aaaaand, finally! Our last side trip, swimming! We finally got to relax ourselves after all the activities our bodies had to went through. And I was no longer able to take photos by this time. Hehe
We didn’t have any problem with the bathrooms or shower rooms because a lot were available there. And they clean it every after use. 🙂
We left San Miguel at around 5 or 6pm and arrived at Alabang at around 10 or 11pm. Such a tiring yet fun and fulfilling day!
PUTIK ADVENTURES, OUR HIKE ORGANIZER.
As I said earlier, we were joiners in a group. Putik Adventures is an organizer of different hiking events. And it happened that the admins were former colleagues of my friend. We just paid 900php fee, and it already covered the transportation (van transfers), guide fee, registration fee and a bag tag. Aside from our two guides, it were Sir Jay and Sir Alex who made sure that everyone was safe and having the most out of the adventures. Their group are trusted mountaineers because they are well-experienced and even took some workshop/seminars related to mountaineering. They were also fun to be with and they brought together with them a lot of sense of humor and jokes that made our climb so lively and fun that we got to laugh all the hardships, difficulties and fears away. It made a lot of sense in going in a group of people who are fun to be with because it will make a climb a lot fun, memorable and easy. I highly recommend them to those who are looking for a group organizer. Here’s a link of their Facebook Page. Like them and be updated with their future events! 🙂
1. Be early as much as you can. You can start climbing as early as the sun shines and can already give you light to start your climb. As I said, the blazing heat of the sun is not good for us if we get too much exposure so the earlier to ascend, the earlier you’ll get to go down the mountain.
2. Wear comfy clothes and footwear. I wore clothes that I can already use straight to swimming, so you won’t also have to bring lots of clothes. And use footwear that can be used for water activities.
3. Pack light. It will help your back so it won’t be painful the next day. Bring just enough water. For me, 1 to 2 liters of water is enough.
4. Bring light trail foods. Jelly ace and biscuits are good trail foods. We always bring these whenever we hike.
5. Bring hat and arm cover. Wear sunblock as well, and bring a long towel. Long enough just to cover the sides of your face.
6. Do not forget to bring headlight or flashlight. There are spaces in the cave that are pitch black so you will really need this.
900php – Putik Adventures fee (inclusive of transpo, guide fee, reg fee and bag tag)
20php – Ligo
50-100php – food around the area (this was our budget for the lunch)
P.S. Never ever throw your wastes just anywhere you want. Bring trash bag with you or put your wastes inside your bag and bring it down the mountain and dispose it there properly. Let us all be responsible in taking good care of Mother Nature. Please.
So, that is it! Our Mt. Manalmon hike x Mt. Gola hike x Bayukbok Cave spelunking x Monkey Bridge crossing x Madlum River swimming. Huh! All those activities for just a day! Imagine that!
I really recommend this one for adventure seekers and nature lovers who are time-sensitive because you’ll get to do a lot of things in just ONE day.
Have you tried this before? How was your experience? Share it to us through the comment below. Ciao! 🙂