*update 03/12/2012 - Maktrav today as compared to the one in this article finally has established trails full of trail signs. Debris scattered are lessened and crawling on mud army style is not needed in the wild boar trail.
Mt. Makiling is one of the most well-known landmarks in Laguna. While driving through SLEX, the sight of this mountain standing prominently will never escape your eyes.
More so, the enchanted and magical aura of the mountain adds to the whole charm. Different tales from the locals vary from the famous Maria Makiling to other types of underworld creatures. Indeed, this mountain is alluring.
Our group decided to tackle the more mysterious trail in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. With army of leeches attacking from every known and unknown locations and dense vegetation that can make one disoriented, this trail is not for the faint of heart.
We opted to do a day hike for this traverse. The 1 day climb gave us reason to go light and bring only the essentials; so we would have a good rest the next day.
We started early at around 6:00 AM. For about 2 hours, the hike was a bit easy. The trails were established and the ground was firm. We thought for a moment that this trail would continue on up to the summit but, we were very wrong.
After passing a ridge with overgrown grass, the trail became slippery and steep.
Rock faces were scattered along the way, needing us to be more guarded on every step that we would take.
The steep trail continued on until we reached the 1st peak on the Sto. Tomas side of the mountain.
After 4 hours of both easy and precarious climb, the peak was a much deserved reward.
We rested for a bit and prepared for the infamous wild boar trails. As we looked on, the sight of the summit gave us enough encouragement to continue with the climb.
Regaining stamina from the brief rest, we moved on to our summit assault. At this point, the trails were almost impassable.
Fallen trees and dense vegetation were obstacles we had to hurdle with every step we took. The slippery mud added to our burden.
We crawled, scrambled and slipped. It was indeed a very tiring ascent but after an hour and a half of trying, we finally touched the summit of Mt. Makiling.
The garden like campsite served as our refuge from the warzone-like trails.
We rested, ate lunch and mingled with other climbers who came from the friendlier UPLB (UP Los Banos) trail.
The hike down to UPLB was an easy 4-hour stroll. It was an exact opposite of what we had encountered that morning. It was a very relaxed trek down to the campus.
We completed the day hike at around 5 PM. It was a tiring 11-hour hike but it was worth it.
There always comes a time when we pass by a mountain and someone asks me if I have completed that certain summit.
Knowing that Mt. Makiling is very prominent in the SLEX area, the likelihood of somebody asking me that question is a bit high. It is just good to know that whenever it happens, I can answer in confirmation that I have certainly stepped on top of it.
Summing my experience, as a climber the traverse of Mt. Makiling was a very proud moment for me. In the past, only stories from other mountaineers gave me an idea on how hard the trail really is.
Stories ranging from getting lost to being bitten by insects, the obstacle one must pursue here is truly unimaginable.
But after my recent experience, I am now part of that group who will tell the account on how challenging but, at the same time, how inspiring climbing this trail can be.
Mt. Makiling is indeed a wonderful mountain to scale.
New itinerary (Palanggana Trail 03/11/2012)
03:30 - meet up 7-11 Buendia
04:00 - board DLTRB co. bound for Lucena
05:00 - drop by Sto. Tomas market, arrange tricycle to Brgy hall
05:15 - register brgy hall, wait for sunrise
06:00 - start trek
06:20 - arrival at the start of ascent
08:00 - arrival at grassland, queen rock
08:30 - arrival at Melkas ridge
09:00 - arrival at Melkas campsite
09:20 - arrival at Haring Bato viewpoint
10:00 - arrival at peak 1, early and heavy lunch
11:00 - start trek wild boar trail
12:30 - arrival at peak 2, rest
13:10 - start descent
15:00 - arrival at Aguila base camp, photo ops, rest
15:30 - arrival at first sari sari store
16:00 - arrival at jump-off, tidy up
17:00 - departure from UPLB, dinner
18:00 - departure from Olivarez mall
20:00 - arrival at Buendia
Old itinerary (Old Palanggana trail 02/19/2011)
03:00 - meet up at Jac Liner Buendia
04:00 - departure from Manila to Sto. Tomas, Batangas
05:30 - arrival at Sto. Tomas Market, arrange tricycle
06:00 - arrival at baranggay hall, log in, start trek
06:30 - trek dry river bed
07:00 - arrival at kubo
08:00 - arrival at ridge that starts the rock faces
09:30 - arrival at Melkas campsite
10:00 - arrival at Melkas Ridge
10:30 - arrival at Peak 1
12:00 - arrival at summit, lunch, rest
13:00 - trek down UPLB trail
16:00 - arrival at Nursery, refreshments are available
17:00 - arrival at ranger station, tidy up, rest
18:00 - board jeep to Olivarez, dinner outsite UPLB
19:00 - board jeep to Turbina
19:30 - board bus to Buendia
21:30 - arrival at Manila
(you can actually board a bus from Olivarez straight to Manila)
Take a Lucena Bound bus at Cubao or Buendia Bus Stations and get off at Sto. Tomas Market. Then take a Tricycle to Brgy San Miguel.
You can contact 09162637079 for guide arrangements.
For JAC Liner Lucena Bound Buses, you can check their schedules and terminals here: http://www.jacliner.com/
*we would like to thank Agnes Navales for Organizing the climb and for all the photos in this article