Mt. Balagbag-Maranat Range Traverse

Adventure memoir: August 1 – 2, 2015

For our second hike together, it was Princess who suggested joining this organized event with me. I got interested with the idea of traversing two mountains. I’m skeptic at first. Traverse? As if one mountain is not enough to make you really exhausted. Out of curiosity, I joined her in the group named  Hikayat Mountaineers – they’re my first outdoor enthusiast group and I’m really proud of how far they’ve come (Kudos to Sir Mark for keeping the spirit of camaraderie alive within the group!).

In the end, I learned the meaning of the word “traverse” in a hard way. Well, an unforgettable one.

About the mountains:


Mt. Balagbag offers considerable view of Ortigas and some parts of Metro Manila, as well as the Ipo Watershed. Mt. Oriod and neighboring mountains of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range can also be seen from the summit. It is also popular to mountain bikers because of its open wide trail. Trekking in this mountain can be debilitating during summer because of the scorching heat of the sun, so it is advisable to start early on your hike.

Maranat Range, a part of Mt. Oriod in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, boasting flamboyant vegetation, rolling terrain, pools, stream, and waterfalls.

Unknown to many, “Maranat” is actually the name of the falls, which belongs to Mt. Oriod. It is so majestic and challenging – with big boulders one can climb by hand or with aid of ropes, trees and fallen logs framing up the views, and cold water that is so refreshing upon every dip. It truly offers such a wonderful experience for outdoor enthusiast.

Experience

It’s good to have a friend whom you could tag along with trips like these and it’s also a nice experience meeting people who shares the same interests with you. That’s what I get from our activity with Hikayat Mountaineers. Up to now, I still keep in touch with some of them.

The group was formed June 18, 2015 during their Buntot Palos falls exploration. I wasn’t able to join them, but they were kind enough to welcome me in the group.

Going back to Mt. Balagbag, the trail en route to its summit was wide and open. If you would hike late morning to noon, definitely it will be hard as the scorching heat of the sun may add up to your exhaustion. We started our hike early in the morning and arrived at its “helipad” summit around ten in the morning. We have stopovers along the way to tank up some water on our system. On one of our stop, we met bikers resting under the tree as well.

One of the highlight of our hike was meeting Mt. Balagbag’s kitty cat named Garfield. I love cats and really, nakakagigil siya. Shoutout to Da who told me his name was Monette. Lol For a year I thought his name was really Monette.

Garfield. “He’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!” – Agnes

We had our lunch on the kubo near the summit and rest for a while. Afterwards, we continued on with our hike, now traversing to Maranat range, through the Sirko-Balentong trail. We were actually not aware that the trail we’re going to take that day was a more technical one compared to the usual route. There have been misunderstandings with the guide and my co-mountaineers who have been there before. This is around 12km trail not suitable for beginners which we end up finishing after eight (8) hours instead of four on the normal route for traverse. Glad all of us survived the trail, beginners and all.

First leg of the Sirko-Balentong trail.

Upon arriving at Tatay Nestor’s campsite in Maranat, we were at last glad to put the day to rest by setting up our camp. I was fascinated with the dreamcatchers hanged in the hammock area. The vibes is homey and we all felt really tired. Half of our group proceeded going back to the jump-off and some of us stayed for an overnight stay for we planned to explore the waterfalls the next day. In Tatay Nestor’s folksy abode, he had Chuck “the camera shy dog” and Jerry “the sleepy cat”. Also, we met trail runners who were pretty close to Tatay. It was my first time hearing the term “trail runners” and was amazed by their strength and endurance in power hiking, and of course for their speed.

The next day, we were guided by Ms. Darcy and Kap Dadex, they are seasoned mountaineers and trail runners, in exploring the Maranat waterfalls. It was beautiful, challenging, and magnificent. We started from the foot of the waterfalls all the way up. It was definitely adventure-filled!

Up Next: Maranat Waterfalls Circuit

 

 

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