|February 2020 - Mt. Manalmon, San Miguel, Bulacan, Philippines|
I got invited by my office friends, Chip and Phoebe, just two days before the hike and I decided to go for it the next day. Long before, I already planned to hike Mt. Manalmon since I read that it was just an easy climb. It was perfect for me because I am always certain that I am not really physically fit to do a major climb, I don't workout at all and the last extreme activity I had was four months ago, LOL (that was our canyoning adventure in Cebu). Anyway, we assembled altogether at around 4:30 am, we were a group of ten people: me, Dani, Chip, Eula, Sinco, Phoebe, John and Weng, along with our tour coordinators, Matt and Ray. The hiking trip was organized and coordinated by Trail Adventours, yay! The travel time from Manila to our destination was for an hour and a half only, but still we all dozed off to sleep in the van. When we finally reached Biak-na-Bato National Park at around 7:30 am, we were all set to kick it off as we all had our early breakfast, I guess. Right after we did the registration and orientation, we already started hiking with a local guide.
I must say that the trail to the summit was very easy! I was leisurely, relaxed all throughout the trek even there were times when we had to do an ascent. We passed through Madlum cave, where we goggled at some rock formations and stalactites. Then, we crossed a river and continued to march on a few kilometers of gradual slopes.
|Phoebe enchanted by the Madlum river|
We walked through a forest, took a breather at times and enjoyed the flora and fauna. By the time we got to the view deck, we had to wait for our turn to do the assault. There were still people at the summit and for a few minutes, we had our chance to take a lot of pictures, videos and drone shots. We also shared a lot of laughs and didn't notice the time. For a bit, we actually moved to the campsite and had to wait there too.
|Waiting people at the campsite|
The assault to the summit is not that difficult but it would be a challenge for people with fear of heights. It was a huge boulder and you had to climb up using a rope. Eventually, we were able to reach the peak without any problems, lol.
|Thank you, Trail Adventours!|
We lingered there for a few minutes, did our photo ops and enjoyed the view. Then, it was time for us to head back to the jump off to eat lunch! The hike took us around 2-3 hours to and fro. And now, ladies and gentlemen, the highlight of this trip was the scheduled spelunking/caving activity after we were done with our meals! I never did an extreme caving tour before so I was so excited about it.
|Photo: Chip Childers|
It was like a journey to Mordor, lol. We were all "Gollumed" hahaha! A number of times, we had to crawl in narrow ways, pull & push in our bodies through a hole upwards, slide downwards, stretch our legs and reach for rock ledges. I was very nervous especially when I didn't know where to step on, I even imagined myself falling into darkness. Good thing, we had our caving heroes! Our local guides helped each of us get through our struggles in life, lol. It was a challenging activity but at the same time, it was really fun and exciting when with friends.
|Photo: Chip Childers|
To celebrate our victory, we had a mini after-party. We had our snacks, drank beer and of course, Chip's home-made mentos lambanog! CHEERS!!!
|Chip's mentos lambanog|
For more hiking destinations and private trips, check out Trail Adventours!