July 2, 2015
According to Philippine folklore, mythical strongman Bernardo Carpio was trapped in between two mountains, forever forced to keep them from colliding with each other. Those two mountains, Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan, are the subject of my first ever twin hike. Let’s go!
This climb has long been one of my goals because, well, I haven’t had the pleasure of climbing two mountains in one day before. I have already done two consecutive hikes in two days but to conquer two summits in one day seemed too tiring for me. But the challenge is still there and I love a challenge. So when the opportunity came up, I couldn’t refuse!
Mt. Pamitinan (426masl) and Mt. Binacayan (424masl) are two mountains neighboring each other and situated in sitio Wawa, Montalban, Rizal. They are perfect for budget twin hikes because of their very close proximity to each other.
I woke up at around 03:15 in the morning and it was raining. Great, I thought, if it continues like this, the climb will be cancelled and I’ll have to think of something else to do today. Fortunately, the rain subsided quickly and I was on my way to the meet up place in Sta. Lucia Mall by 04:30.
After meeting up with my fellow hikemates, we took the Montalban-bound jeep and I fell asleep along the way. We alighted at Eastwood (not Eastwood City), and took a trike to sitio Wawa, the jumpoff. We immediately registered and secured a guide, Kuya Ronnie. After that, it was the start of the trek!
The first part of the trek was a steady ascent through some residential areas. As the houses began to disappear, we were swallowed by the trail. We passed by a wall of rock that Kuya Ronnie said was accessible to climbers if they brought their own equipment.
We scrambled through some rocks going up to a clearing where Kuya Ronnie advised us to wear our gloves. Being the masochist that I am, I didn’t wear gloves through the whole trek, but I advise those who are pabebe, clumsy, or have supple and delicate hands to wear gloves because the rocks are sharp. Once the group was gloved (aside from me), we went on to the rocky part of the climb.
I actually enjoyed the rock-scrambling part of the ascent. Aside from the risk of falling on the rocks and cutting yourself open, having to hang on to boulders and pull yourself up was a welcome change to just walking up. Along the trail, I had a good view of nearby Mt. Hapunang Banoi and Mt. Parawagan.
It’s a good thing that along the way to the summit, there were already very good places to take pictures. And even if we haven’t reached the summit yet, there was a really good view of the landscape below. It even reminded me of Jurassic World.
We know that we were nearing the summit when the rock faces we were climbing were getting steeper and steeper. Finally, we reached Summit 1 of Mt. Pamitinan. As expected, pictures were taken.
Then it was a short trek to Summit 2! Again, a lot of pictures. There were really so many places to have pictures taken in this mountain.
From the summit, one can see Wawa river, Mt. Hapunang Banoi, Mt. Parawagan, the nearby Mt. Binacayan, and Mt. Ayaas, the supposedly tallest mountain in the area.
Finally, after an eternity of photo ops, we hurriedly descended. We were more careful with the descent because of the sharp rocks and the semi-wet ground because of the recent rain. As soon as we arrived back on lower ground, our guide led us straight to the karinderya were we had lunch. Even at a moderate pace, we were still very hungry on the way down and we immediately chowed down on the food. Yum yum!
After the meal, we rested for a bit and prepared ourselves for the next part of the twin dayhike.
Unfortunately, one of our hikemates hurt herself in the Mt. Pamitinan descent and decided to just go home early and rest instead of coming with us to the second mountain. It was her first time to climb and she was already glad to have finished one. So it was only two of us and Kuya Ronnie left to hike Mt. Binacayan.
The road to the start of the trail was a steep uphill up a concrete road and through residential houses. After that, it was more uphill climbs through a cornfield and other farm plants. It was very steep and with the sun shining down directly above us, we were already sweating a few minutes in!
I didn’t take pictures until we reached the end of the rocky assault because it was very tiring and I was already very thirsty.
Most people think that because the two mountains are close to each other, they have the same terrain. But I beg to differ. Although there is still the rock scrambling part, Mt. Binacayan is certainly much more challenging! The rocks were sharper and the assault was even more deadly. Here, one wrong step could not only lead to cutting yourself on the rocks, but falling off a rock face and being shredded by the sharp boulders below. Oh what fun!
After more minutes of careful scrambling, we finally reached the summit. I have to admit that the summit of Mt. Pamitinan was prettier, but Mt. Binacayan also had some views to offer. The top was smaller and could accommodate only a few people at a time. Good thing we were the only ones at both summits that day! We were able to explore the area thoroughly and enjoy the afternoon breeze.
After some more picture-taking, we descended carefully. The way down is even more dangerous than the ascent and this is applicable to both mountains. As soon as we arrived back at the jumpoff, we tidied ourselves and commuted back home, where I promptly collapsed on the bed and fell into a coma.
Itinerary and cost breakdown:
- 04:55 ETD Sta. Lucia Mall, Jeep to Montalban, Rizal
- P30 per head
- 05:40 ETA Eastwood, Tricycle to sitio Wawa
- P10 per head
- 05:52 ETA sitio Wawa
- P2 per head, DENR registration fee
- P30 per group, Baranggay donation fee (no minimum and maximum)
- P400 per day, up to 8 people, guide fee (we paid extra for the twin hike)
- 06:02 Start trek, Mt. Pamitinan
- 07:45 ETA Summit 1, Photo ops
- 08:10 ETA Summit 2, Photo ops
- 08:55 ETD Summit 2
- 10:15 ETA sitio Wawa, Lunch time!
- 11:00 Start trek, Mt. Binacayan
- 12:18 ETA Summit, Photo ops
- 12:55 ETD Summit
- 13:50 ETA sitio Wawa, Fix up
- 14:15 ETD sitio Wawa, Tricycle to Eastwood
- P10 per head
- 14:25 ETA Eastwood, Jeep to Cubao
- P28 per head to Santolan LRT Station
- P26 per head to Sta. Lucia Mall
- 16:00 ETA Santolan LRT Station
Total Cost: P410
Safe Budget: P600
- DON’T WEAR SHORTS! I promise you, your legs will thank you.
- Bring gloves. Even if you think you won’t need them, it’s good to carry a pair in case of an emergency.
- Wear thick-soled shoes. I promise, the mountain will literally chew through your footwear.
- Bring a first aid kit or band-aids for cuts from the rocks.
- Carry at least 1.5L of water.
- If you plan on hiking just one of the mountains, you can do a lot of other things afterwards like
- Explore the bat cave
- Explore Pamitinan cave
- Go swimming in Wawa Dam
You can contact Kuya Ronnie, our guide at 0907 239 5042. He has been climbing the mountains in the area since I was born and knows almost everybody in the baranggay.
Thank you to Ma’am Tin, Ma’am Lizel, and Kuya Ronnie for accompanying me in my first ever twin dayhike! It feels good to say I was able to exceed myself and try something new. I would surely recommend this to anyone moderately fit and has time to spare. Both mountains offer their own special hiking experience and there isn’t any dull moment. Also, thanks to the big guy for stopping the rain just in time.
And that’s mountain #8 and #9 conquered! Hooray to twin hikes!