May 6, 2017
Probably the most procrastinated mountain I’ve had the pleasure of finally climbing, Makiling is truly a wonder to behold. Even I can’t believe that I haven’t climbed this mountain especially since almost everyone in my circle of friends have done so. And they have even asked me to come with them on their return, but alas, no Makiling re-climb has taken place. Taking matters into my own hands, I found a free weekend and decided to DIY my way to this magical mountain.
There was a lack of organized hikes to Makiling on our chosen day, but with info from my friends, I got all the necessary details. Initially, it was just me and Khat, but we were joined by a few more DIY hikers who we found through CLIMBER. We assembled at McDonald’s in Buendia before riding a bus bound for Lucena.
I woke up when the conductor called for us to alight at San Felix in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Here, we bought some last minute resources at a 7eleven before taking a tricycle to the jumpoff. There we got our guides and I got my last poop in before starting the trek.
The initial trail was through some local settlements until we reached the first and last water source, this was early on in the hike so we didn’t really need to refill yet. We continued on through trails that looked like those of Mt. Arayat. The weather was still beautiful though the top of the mountain was covered in a thick layer of clouds and fog.
After some time, the trail turned into a breathtaking assault at around station 9 up until we broke through the forest and got a nice view of the surrounding landscape. It was very very green and the slopes looked like they were covered in broccoli. Here, it started to drizzle so we continued on. I have a love-hate relationship with this trail because i enjoyed the fact that it was quite challenging, but i was really miserable during the parts where we had to squeeze ourselves in narrow and tight situations.
We reached the part with the rope segments and we had to use them to ascend the rocky surface. I think this is what hikers call “haring bato.” At the top we had early lunch while waiting for the others. When we were complete, we continued on until station 19 where we got some naptime while the others ate near station 20. After this part, we entered the beautiful mossy forest of Makiling. It was very enchanting and I really like mossy forests when the trail is established. There was a cool feeling in the air while we walked inside it.
Finally, we emerged into station 30 or Peak 2 as they said. I don’t really have any idea with what people call the places and our guide was also inexperienced so we didnt know where “peak 1” or “melka’s ridge” was. Here, we got some rest and took some group pictures before finally descending.
The way down was slippery and muddy, though I know that if it was in a better condition, it would be very nice to run down. It reminded me of the old trail of Pico de Loro as well as a greenier Tarak. It started raining hard so we just ran down the trail as the Los Baños side was a very gradual slope. We encountered some hikers from UPLB who were just going to Peak 3 and back again. We also caught up with some hikers who left Sto. Tomas earlier than us.
At the end of the trail, we reached the famed Agila base and here we saw the other hikers taking the habal habal to the jumpoff in UPLB. Because we were cheap, our group decided to just walk all the way. After saying goodbye to our guides, we started the long walk through paved roads and into the forest. The way was really beautiful just as it was very long. We walked for about an hour before we finally reached the jumpoff where we washed up.
When we were clean and dirt-free, we hailed a jeepney inside the UPLB campus to take us to the highway. Here, we got some Mang Inasal inside us before taking the bus back to Manila.
Thank you to our fellow joiners, Kutter, Allan, Jay, Father Ernie, Elaine, and Alfred for joining us in this quick hike. Also to our guides, Buchog (Mak-mak) and Louie for not letting us get lost. And of course, big thanks to my one and only #MyTrailLove for being with me in this hike. You always give me strength to finish difficult hikes like these. And to the Big Guy, thank you for the favorable conditions. AMDG.
Watch a video made by my companion here.
Itinerary and Budget breakdown:
- 04:45 ETD Buendia-Taft, Bus to Lucena (Alight at San Felix)
- P102 per head
- 06:30 ETA San Felix, Trike to Jumpoff
- P20 per head
- 07:00 ETA Jumpoff, Secure guides
- P1200 for two guides
- 07:30 Start trek
- 10:45 Station 19, lunch time
- 12:00 Station 30, Photo ops
- 15:00 Agila Base
- 16:10 UPLB Jumpoff, Jeep to highway
- P10 Exit fee
- Donation, Ligo
- P8 per head
- 18:30 ETD Los Banos, Bus to Cubao
- P99 per head
Total Budget: P404
Safe Budget: P600
Finally, I have finished the Arayat of the South. Lels. This climb has been a long time coming and I’m glad to tick it off my list. I’m not sure if I really want to return here, it depends on who invites me, I guess, but this is definitely one beautiful mountain!