“The mountains are calling and I must go…”
The above quote was once said by John Muir, one of America’s most famous and influential outdoor enthusiasts, which in his era were called “Naturalists”. That famous quote came from Muir’s letter to his sister Sarah.
The Mountains Called Me
Lately, I got so burned-out with my typical daily routine (as you can read it here). One day, while I’m contemplating on what should I do to add some
spice adventure in my life, I heard the mountains calling me.
I’m not a hiker or mountaineer
yet but I felt like that I was born to do this. (Maybe I was once a mountaineer in my past life eh?) I haven’t climbed any mountain in my entire life except by those hills that I need to pass through when I’m still in the province. But I know, this is what I want. This is what I need. This is what I have to do.
And so, without any proper hiking gears, I went on and conquered not just one, but two mountains in a day!
For my very first hike, I conquered Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamitinan.
Mt. Binacayan and Pamitinan Plays a Role in Both Philippine History and Folklore
Our guide shared that the mythical folk hero Bernardo Carpio is behind in the creation of the gorge, the Wawa river and the rock formations. It is said that he separated the two mountains using his brute force in an act of self-liberation.
For our brief history lesson, our guide shared that Andres Bonifacio once sought refuge in Pamitinan Cave in 1895, along with eight other katipuneros. He said that they declared the Philippines independence from the Spanish empire inside of this cave. The walls still bear inscriptions of “Viva la Independencia Filipinas” from the time of the Philippine Revolution. (Note to myself, I have to explore this cave one day.)
For our first hike, we climbed Mt. Binacayan, with an estimated height of 424 MASL it is rank as the 25th highest mountain in Rizal. It’s difficulty is specified as only 3/9. Mt. Binacayan offers an agricultural terrain, followed by rock and bamboo ascent. The final leg is through a ridgeline with thick foliage, requiring long steps and reaches from one limestone formation to another. The summit offers an extensive view of the meanderings of Wawa River – and of course a profile picture of Mount Pamitinan, which partially eclipses Mount Hapunang Banoi. The jump off is located in Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal. We started our ascend at 5:30 in the morning. With so many rest in between, we have reached the summit at around 8:20.
We spend like an hour queueing to climb the summit because there are lots of hikers on the day we climb. Our guide told us that this is typical on weekend.
Mount Pamitinan is 426 MASL mountain peak and rank as the 22nd highest mountain in Rizal. Though it has the same difficulty as Binacayan , it has a more established trail that takes roughly 1.5-2.5 hours going up. We start the ascend after our lunch at the jump off around 12:30 PM and reach the summit by 2 PM. You will have to pass a hanging bridge over Wawa river to get to the foot of the mountain. a flight of stairs marks the initial part of the trail. You need to have a good endurance because there are little to none level ground.
After the flight of stairs is a forested part, passing through some attractions such as an ancient balete and a wall of rock where rock climber enthusiast was scaling on the day we climb. If you are too tired to climb the summit, don’t worry as there is a rest area they call The Junction. It is where the shared trail to Hapunang Banoi and Pamitinan ends and the start of the rocky trail part to the summit of Mt. Pamitinan.
The second part of the climb is a bit challenging for beginners. Need not worry though for it will be manageable, but requires a good concentration and care. To those who are used to rock climbing or bouldering it would be enjoyable and a walk in the park.
The rocks are surrounded with bamboo trunks, some of which have alternating sections of holdable green and thorny brown trunk segments. Wearing gloves is recommended to ensure a comfortable grip on the jagged edges of the rocks and keep your skin off thorns. There are several viewpoints along the trail, culminating in the summit which has a 360-degree view. To the North, one can see Mount Hapunang Banoi and a distant Mount Arayat, and from northeast to south, a vast swath of Sierra Madre mountains. To the west on the other hand are the rapidly-growing towns of Rizal, and the more immediate scenery of Wawa River and Mount Binacayan.
Desk Warrior Adventurer: Lawrence Corpuz
Renz is a full time graphic artist, part-time adventurer, novice blogger, and an amateur photographer. He is everything but tourist when he is traveling away from home.