A week prior to my Solo trip to Baler, I got an invitation from my office mates for another weekend hike. This will be my second mountain/hike with them after Pico de Loro (will be posted soon). With no other plan for the weekend and after they mentioned about the presence of waterfalls, I immediately said yes!
We don’t really know the exact location of the mountain. I did try to do some research about the exact location but I can’t find a concrete answer. We’ll let’s just say it’s somewhere between Bulacan and Rizal.
Living in the south of Manila, our journey started from Mall of Asia in Pasay. We took a bus going to Tungko in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. Passing through the regular EDSA traffic, we finally reached SJDM after about more than 3 hours. From there we hired a jeep going to Licao-licao in Rodriguez, Rizal and another tricycle ride going to our jump off at Sitio Balagbag. After registration and securing a guide, finally were ready for the hike.
The journey to campsite
We started our trek passing through the community in Sitio Balagbag. My initial impression was… “Holy cow it’s really steep!” Knowing it’s an area with residents, I can’t imagine how hard it is to move around every day.
Our group was divided into 2 groups. I decided to be in the one taking the lead. We passed through grass lands with some scenic view of the lowlands. After that we went into a bamboo forest going down to the river. From there we can already see the waterfalls. Upon reaching the river, we crossed on a small wooden plank to reach the other side. The river is so beautiful that we just decided to rest and wait till the other group arrives.
It’s already dark when we got completed, since we started late. From the river, we took few more minutes of hiking up before we reached the camp site. Since I do not know much of Mt. Maranat, I am a bit surprised that there is a house on the camp site with a bathroom available for use of mountaineers. We’ll I think that’s a good thing, I do not want to see some sh*t and smell pee around. Since we started really late, all of the good spots to setup tents were already taken and we were forced to setup on a slanted ground.
The moment we arrived at the campsite I’m already very excited to see the waterfall which is just next to us. But since it’s already dark, we have to wait until morning to explore.
The next day, we went to the waterfalls early in the morning. Since I am the one who’s really excited, I immediately took a dip on the first pool level we saw. After that we climbed up into huge boulder of rocks to see the other levels, took another swim before we went back. I was about to return to our camp but someone told me that the falls down from where I am at is even better. I decided not to waste the opportunity so see it, so without a doubt, I went down together with 3 others from our group.
We went for another swim on one of the pool that’s ideal for swimming and cliff jumping. I think the waterfalls has more levels left going down since we saw few people from there but we didn’t go as far as that and just decided to go back to camp. When we arrive everybody is now ready to break camp and after breakfast, we started our hike back following the same route.
For sample itinerary, please check Jinjo of A Life of Trails’ blog post.
Here’s a short video I filmed for this hike.