Text by Karen Quesada; photos by Marion Arnie Esguerra
Tired of the usual beach getaway? Or strolling the usual summer hotspots such as Baguio or Tagaytay? Then it’s time to try trekking and climbing a mountain, and one of the easiest and convenient places to start is at Mount Manalmon.
The mountain can be found in Barangay Sibul, Sitio Madlum, San Miguel Bulacan. This is an ideal mountain for beginners, as it is only 196 meters above sea level. At the jump-off point you can cross to the registration either by the monkey bridge or the balsa.
At the start of the trek, you will pass by the Madlum Cave and would have to cross Manalmon River. It would take only an hour or two to reach the peak, depending on your pacing and fitness, and of course how long you stop to take pictures.
After taking "buwis-buhay" selfies at the summit, your guide will direct you to the campsite by the Manalmon River, where you could swim, camp or try cliff diving.
You could opt for a day hike or camp overnight. Guides are required for either. I suggest that you spend the night in the mountain, though, as the place is so enchanting and one day is hardly enough to admire its beauty.
Going to this place is not complete without trying the monkey bridge and cliff-diving. Time and energy permitting you could also climb the adjacent Mount Gola. You also might as well try spelunking the eight-cave system of the Bayukbok caves.
HOW TO GET THERE
It only takes about two hours to get to Camias, San Miguel Bulacan via buses going to Cabanatuan. From Camias, it takes another 45 mins to 1 hour for a tricycle ride to the jum-off point (Baranggay Sibul, Sitio Madlum).
The mountain was the location for the teleserye Mulawin and the late teen star Julie Vega’s last movie, Lovingly Yours, Helen. Some say enchanting mountain is also enchanted, but the guides are better sources for such stories.
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Soak up the sun in Bantayan Island
Back to basics in Calaguas Island
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