Location: Tanay, Rizal
Hours to reach the summit: 1 to 3 hours
Visited on: July 2016
Side trips: Kay-ibon Falls and Sangab Cave
Trying our luck amidst waiting for the monsoon season to start its reign in the Philippines, my office friends and I decided to hike Mt. Batolusong. Famous for its sea of cloud features, Mt. Batolusong is located at San Andres, Tanay, Rizal and is quite near to Mt. Daraitan and Mt. Irid. It is rated 3/9 based from pinoymountaineer.com, whereas its terrain consists mostly of green fields and rocky roads.
We decided to start our hike early to get a glimpse of the sea of clouds. I’ve read in other blogposts that the sea of clouds is still visible even at around 9 in the morning. It was quite hard to find the place, especially since we tried a route different from the usual way. Most blogs mention the Cubao-Cogeo-Sitio Batangasan-San Andres way, but one certain blog post warned that the first jeepney ride available from Cogeo to Sitio Batangasan starts at five in the morning, diminishing the chance of the hiker to witness the sea of clouds. At the very same post, it was mentioned that Shaw Boulevard is an alternative way, and since we have hiked other mountains in Tanay through the Shaw Boulevard route, we took note that this is highly feasible.
We left Shaw Boulevard and about 4:15 in the morning because the UV Express needed to be filled with passengers before leaving the terminal. I’d like to advise future hikers not to listen to jeepney drivers haggling about your ride, because as per experience, they would likely add charges on top of the price agreed upon if their jeepney is not yet full, using the hikers’ desire to arrive at the jump off immediately to their benefit. However, the UV express driver asked us how much it would cost us if we commute from Tanay Public Market (the UV Express’ drop off point) to our destination. The driver agreed to take us directly to San Andres at our expected commuters’ fare.
At about 5 in the morning, the UV Express driver dropped us temporarily at Rambull’s Bakahan sa Tanay so he can bring the other passengers to Tanay Public Market. After about 20 minutes, he came back and we drove our way to Brgy. San Andres.
Since the highway was still deserted by that time, we had to ask the few locals about the way to San Andres. The entrance to this barangay is very rocky at the beginning, and the fog is very visible. Driving carefully in its rocky and curved roads is highly recommended. From that point also, telecom signals, both for Smart and Globe, is no longer available.
We reached our destination at about 6:30 in the morning and registered in their logbook with a fee of 40php per person. Since there were 13 of us in the group, we were told that we should have 3 guides since protocol allows only a maximum of 5 or 6 hikers per guide. After some warm ups, we started our trek at about 6:45.
We passed by paved and flat roads, as well as shallow rivers. We also passed by a great stretch of palay fields (if what they told me is real) before arriving at the residential area at the foot of the mountain. Early in the morning, many locals were already up and about with their business, but they were kind enough to allow us in our minor intrusion.
And so we faced the steep and rocky trail to the Duhatan Ridge. We were fortunate because the trail was not slippery; in fact, it was very dry. Occasionally, there were loose soil that may cause one’s foot to slip. We took minor stops to let the others catch up, and had a refreshing rest near the source of fresh potable water.
Upon arrival at the Mapatag Plateau around 8:30, the sea of clouds was still apparent. The sun was particularly shy that morning, and the plateau catered to a number of hikers. The well-known Susong Dalaga (Lady’s Breast) peak was already visible from there, as well as the Rangyas Peak which was the summit of Mt. Batolusong as of writing. Before, hiking was only allowed until Mapatag Plateau, but now, tour guides are already creating a path from Rangyas Peak further up the mountain.
Rangyas Peak is actually intimidating when one is at the Mapatag Plateau, so 7 out of the 13 of us in the team decided to stay instead. Only six of us continued to pursue the Rangyas Peak.
I was surprised because the trail from Mapatag Plateau to Rangyas Peak is actually quite easy, if not because of the foot ache I’ve had from the assault to Duhatan Ridge.
I had read a blog post about the challenging rock climbing necessary to reach Rangyas Peak, but it was actually easy and “bitin”.
You may think that this is because I am a good hiker; I’d have to say no. I had hiked a great number of mountains, eight as of the moment, but I still am a slow in hiking up. The good thing about me as a hiker is that giving up is never considered; I am always determined to reach the final destination. The bonus is that I am really quick when hiking down as I tend to jump and/or run on the trail down, provided the trail is not slippery or muddy.
And so that was what I did on our way down. I was the one nearest to our guide and he was throwing a lot of corny jokes but he’s got a good audience, that is me, who laughs at almost any joke. Haha.
We took a different route on our way down because we were to take a dip at the Kay-Ibon Falls. Take note that the guides will ask you who owns the falls. Lol. We passed by a store selling fresh buko, halo-halo, and mais con yelo. My friends said the buko and the corn were very fresh; just picked out from the coconut tree and the corn crops respectively.
Kay-Ibon Falls Side Trip
Arriving at the falls at around 10:45, we filled our stomach before immersing ourselves in the cool waters of the falls. The falls is actually low but the water that comes down seemed to massage the back.
The water at the basin of the falls looked a little stagnant, but it actually flows. The water is a bit clear, but is very cold. The rocks are slippery or sharp so better bring aqua shoes or slippers. Also, the waters might look shallow, but there is a part surrounded by the big rocks where the water goes suddenly deep so better be careful.
By lunch, we decided to head back to the registration office, but we were enticed to visit the nearby cave instead.
Sangab Cave bonus side trip
Sangab Cave is an underground cave filled with cool waters. The waters should’ve been clear if there were no heavy rains prior to our visit. Entering the cave requires a different set of guides because land tour guides have a different training from those who do water tour, but still, one of our tour guides swam with us inside the cave.
For a fee of 700 shared by 11 of us who went inside the cave, we were given two lifebuoys and one life jacket. I picked the life jacket because nobody wanted it, whereas my companions held on to the shared lifebuoys for their dear life. The guides were really kind to let us borrow their slippers while they went barefoot as we went inside the cave.
Since I was more free with the life jacket that looked as if it would not float on the water, I got the chance to chat with our cave guides. The guides were not depending on the floats, but rather, they were pulling on the lifebuoys . Out of curiosity, I asked one guides about it, and with his smile, I learned that they were walking on the rocks on the side of the cave. It was a trick. Lol.
Anyways, there really were parts where the waters are so deep, and at the end of the cave, it was quite eerie especially when everyone turned off their lights to scare us, the cowards.
The cave was actually a fun side trip, so better tell your guide to bring you to the place. Plus, you’d be able to take a bath for free, instead of paying 20php if you decided to take a bath by the registration area.
(1) There is no signal from the highway to San Andres proper. Signal atop the mountain is also not very much reliable.
(2) Wear leggings and long sleeves as much as possible. I only wore shorts and a t-shirt and my skin felt so itchy until it was a bit red. The waterfalls helped relieve the itch.
(3) Slippers or aqua shoes is highly recommended if you want to visit the Sangab Cave. Headlamps will also come in handy, because it is really dark inside the cave.
You may also view the itinerary here.