Mt. Balagbag and Maranat Falls – Rizal (Climb Guide)

Mt. Balagbag is considered as one of the recommended mountains for beginners. It is located in the province of Rizal and is part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. On the other hand,  the trail to Maranat Falls is probably not recommended for beginners unless you have an experienced companion or you’re willing to push yourself to the limits (This is based on our experience XD).

GOING THERE

From Cubao, we rode a bus going to Tungko. Travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. We almost miss the drop off point (BDO Tungko). Luckily, my friend is awake. The conductor didn’t realize that there were still passengers on board. We walk to the market near Jollibee. We rode a jeepney going to Licao-Licao. From Licao-Licao, there are tricycles going to Sitio Balagbag. We were too early for their trip. We decided to walk while it was still dark and think of it as our warm up. It took us 30 minutes before we reach  Sitio Balagbag.

THE ASCENT

We registered at the barangay hall and fetched our guide, Jeric. The trail going to the summit was well established. It was steep and wide as a concrete road (Maybe that’s why guides were not required).

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - RizalMt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - RizalMt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - RizalMt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal
Benches for Sierra Madre Viewing

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal

MT. BALAGBAG

Halfway to the summit, we reached the second registration area and a crossroad. To the left is the way to the summit and to the right is a ridge wherein a beautiful sight can be seen. We proceeded first to the ridge before going to the summit. The view there was magnificent. We were still not at the summit but it already showed a great view. The rest of the Sierra Madre range can be seen from the east side and the cities in Rizal and Bulacan on the west. We spent a lot of time here than in the summit.

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal
Concrete columns for dragon fruits to crawl on

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal
Squad Goals. #bandashot
Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal
Summit

The summit serves as a camping site for those who will stay overnight. We took a rest at a hut before we proceed to Maranat Falls.

MARANAT FALLS

We descended to the other side of Mt. Balagbag. The trail was steep and slippery. Plus, the heat of the sun was starting to exhaust us. Another problem was that our water supply was starting to get low. We were craving to quench our thirst and to get wet.

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - RizalMt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - RizalMt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - RizalMt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal

Thirst was starting to bug me. My mouth and throat were dry. My feet and legs were in auto mode. The only focus I have in mind was to reach the falls.

Finally, after an hour and a half under the sun, we arrived at the pool created by the falls.  I got water from the spring which I’m hesitant to drink at first. I took a sip and kept some for the trail.

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - RizalMt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal

The falls can be reached by climbing the huge boulders beside the pool. We didn’t know how high and far it was but just by looking at those boulders, we knew it will be a challenge reaching it. An obstacle course, wherein our physical strength will be tested.

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal
Maranat Falls. Photo owned and taken by Paolo Montano.

Reaching the falls was worth it. The area was like a garden where everyone can relax. The water was clear and cold. I took my time lying in front of the falls and appreciating the flowing water from above.

THE DESCENT

So far this has got to be one of my hardest climbs. Not because of the elevation but because of the heat of the sun. We left the falls around noon and the sun was high above us. We were exhausted from our boulder climb, plus the trail back to Sitio Balagbag was very steep. There were limited trees to cover us. It was a nightmare; it was a test of our limits.

We reached a spring and rested there for a while. According to our guide, it is safe to drink the water flowing through it. At first, we were hesitant to follow his advice, but out of desperation, we drank the water (Fortunately, we are still doing fine!).

We were very tired, but we have to continue. Our main goal was to reach a carinderia in between the barangay hall and from where we were. We were very hungry and all we can think of were food, water, and shade.

Finally, we were able to reach the carinderia. It was like a Michelin-starred restaurant for us. Everything tasted very good, even the water. It helped us recharge before proceeding to our final trek going to the Barangay Hall.

Mt. Balagbag & Maranat Falls - Rizal

This climb was supposed to be easy but it turned out to be a difficult one. We were exhausted and dehydrated, but thankfully, we finished the climb. We experienced another hardship but despite that, we gained strength and wisdom for more challenges to come. Another mountain conquered; another mountain off of the list. What Mountain Next? 😀

(Shout out to Rammil for completing his 1st climb! 😀 Madali lang d’ba? hahaha!)

 

Check out also my climb guide to Mt. Batolusong, Mt. Binicayan, Mt. Maynoba, Mt. Daraitan and Atburan Rockies.

 

ITINERARY

ACTIVITY
TIME
3:00 A.M.
Left Cubao for Tungko
4:30 A.M.
Arrived at Tungko and took a jeep going to Licao-licao
5:00 A.M. – 6:00 A.M.
Arrived at Licao-licao and trekked to Sitio Balagbag/Registered at Barangay Hall/Started Trek
7:30 A.M.- 8:00 A.M.
Summit and started trek to Maranat Falls
9:15 A.M.
Arrived at Maranat Falls/Swim
11:00 A.M.
Started trek back to Sitio Balagbag
2:30 P.M.
Back at Barangay Hall/Wash-up
3:30 P.M.
Departed from Sitio Balagbag to Manila
5:30 P.M.
Back in Manila

 

EXPENSES

Bus from Cubao to Tungko
55 Pesos
Jeep from Tungko to Licao-Licao
27 Pesos
Registration at Barangay Hall
10 Pesos
Registration at 2nd Point
20 Pesos
Guide Fee (500 Pesos/4 Persons)
125 Pesos
Wash-up Fee
10 Pesos
Tricycle from Sitio Balagbag to Licao-Licao
30 Pesos
Jeep from Licao-Licao to Tungko
27 Pesos
Bus from Tungko to Philcoa
50 Pesos
Food and toiletries
184 Pesos

TOTAL EXPENSES = 538.00 Pesos/person

 

 

REMINDERS/GUIDES/TIPS

How to get there:

  • Take bus from Cubao going to Tungko (Fare = P55, Travel time =  1 and a half hour)
  • Ride jeep at the terminal (behind the market) going to Licao-licao (Fare = P27, Travel time = 30 Minutes)
  • Trek or ride a trike going to Sitio Balagbag (Fare = P30, Travel time = 30 Minutes or less)

 

Fees:

  • Registration at Barangay Hall= P10
  • Registration at 2nd Point = P20
  • Guide Fee = P500
  • Wash up Fee = P10

 

Reminders:

  • The jeepney terminal going to Licao-Licao is located at the back of BDO. The first trip is around 4 AM.
  • Bring enough water and wear proper clothing when going to Maranat Falls. There are not much trees to cover you from the heat of the sun. You might end up being dehydrated.
  • The local government allows tree planting activities.
  • Guides are not required but if you need one, feel free to contact the persons below:
    Contact Persons
    Contact Numbers
    Bong de Luna (Officer-in-charge, Guide)
    0977 273 3539
    Anthony
    0975 593 4059
    Catienza
    0948 526 8072

 

CLIMB DATE: APRIL 12, 2017

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