Connecting with nature doesn’t have to be very expensive and time-consuming. In the Philippines, there are many destinations that will allow someone to have a quick trip and enjoy the beauty of nature. One of these destinations is Mt. Maculot where one can have a good hike within a day.
When To Go
One can go at any time of the year. Since weather are forecasted in advance, no big planning is needed for a day hike from Manila. The best time to start the hike is early in the morning, and the best time to go is on weekdays when there is less number of visitors (taking a picture if there’s a lot of visitors can consume your time).
Hiking Reminders and Fees
Mt. Maculot has three destinations or parts which are the Rockies, Summit, and Grotto. All three make-up the traverse. Be sure to wear comfortable garments and shoes. Mt. Maculot have a difficulty level of 3/9 for Rockies (since one can just hike up to this point) and 4/9 for the traverse. It has a trail class of 1-3 whereas when hiking, one will need to use both hands and feet to hold as the terrain is steep in some part (class 3) although most part has a well-established trail where there not much steep. Also, bring extra clothes to change after the hike.
There’s a registration fee of Php 20 person. Registration is located at the site before the jump-off point of the hike. Tour guide is mandatory for the following: Php 400 for Campsite and Rockies (1-5 persons, Php 50 for every excess person), Php 800 for Traverse (1-5 persons, Php 100 for every excess person), and Php 800 for overnight in Campsite (1-5 persons, Php 100 for every excess person). Tour guides are assigned to hikers upon registration. They basically wait there.
Mt. Maculot is a 3-hour ride from Manila and getting there is fairly easy. There are several options but these two are the easiest way:
From LRT Buendia Station Bus Terminal or Cubao, take the bus going to Lemery. Tell the driver that you will get-off in Cuenca town proper (to Mt. Maculot) for Php 130. Right after getting off the bus, ride a tricycle to the registration area for Php 8 each (or 25). From this point, one can either walk to the starting point of the hike or take a tricycle for another 8. This option is more convenient.
Street View of Jam Transit in Cubao
From LRT Buendia Station Bus Terminal or Cubao, take the bus going to Lipa City AC Tex/SM City Lipa. Tell the driver that you will get-off in Tambo Exit for Php 124. Ride a jeepney with a signboard “Lemery” or “Cuenca” from this point (along the highway) and to get off at the town proper for Php 24. Ride a tricycle to the registration area for Php 8 each (or 25). From this point, one can either walk to the starting point of the hike or take a tricycle for another 8.
Street View of DLTB Transit in Buendia
Things To Do
Basically, hike. Enjoy the “rockies” and take an “instragammable” shot while standing with an adrenaline rush in this exciting narrow tip on the other side of the mountain. From here, you can have a good view of Taal Lake and Volcano and the province of Batangas. Then continue hiking to the summit and enjoy a greater view of the province, its bay, and Taal Lake. If not in a hurry, camping is also one of the activities popular on this site. After hiking, a side trip to Lipa City is an option to see some old houses and churches.
Where To Stay
After the hike, one can shower at some of the homes in the area. Several homes offer their bathroom and toilet for a small cost, usually Php 5- 20. If staying for the night, camping is an option. There is designated campsite in Mt. Maculot. Toilets are also present in the campsite. There are also hotels and inns in Lipa City-one jeepney ride away from the town proper of Cuenca. Check out properties with discount here.
Where To Eat
Since Mt. Maculot is hiking site, the only option to buy food is at the town proper or the starting point of the hike. There are stores in the starting point where one can buy packed food for lunch. Along the trail, there are several vendors selling snack like banana fritters and boiled egg and drink like bottled water and coconut water. Upon descent, one can feast with lomi, a local specialty noodle soup dish.
Experiencing nature doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many places to visit where one can enjoy the beauty of nature while spending a little amount of money. Mt. Maculot is an example, a good place to start stretching muscles, hike, feel and see nature.