Mountains are indeed marvelous creations. They are shrouded in enigma which awakens the inner adventurer in us. Once we have experienced the mystery that envelopes one mountain, we can’t help but look for more. One short trip to the summit opens further opportunities for more. And before we realize it, we’ve already fallen in love with the mountains.

It was for my new found love for mountains that I found myself on yet another mountain on another weekend, raring to go for yet another challenge. This is the fourth consecutive weekend that I will be spending my day on a mountain. This time around, I am going back to the mountainous province of Rizal, where my hiking adventures for the year started.

Mt. Maynoba Loop Details

Elevation: 728 MASL
Difficulty: 4/9
Trail Class: 1-4
Days Required: 1 day
Hours to Summit: 2-3 hours

The Moon. In the darkness, I will be your beacon, a guide to your dim path.

A Reunion of Some Sort

I first met John Carlo (JC) six (6) years ago in a RFJPIA quiz bee tournament in Vigan City. It was the first and last time we met each other. Nonetheless, we kept in touch in Facebook and to my surprise, he asked me if I am free on February 11. Because his original plan has been cancelled, he asked me if I could be his hiking buddy to Mt. Maynoba, one of the few mountains on his to-climb list that he is yet to tick-off. Seeing that I have nothing better to do, I readily agreed.

Since JC was busy because he and fellow auditors are in the midst of the busy season, I was the one who scavenged Facebook for an event that will fit our schedule. Luckily I found one. We made a reservation and at 12 midnight of February 10, I was already awake, preparing for our climb. The organized event is to converge at 1 AM. Fortunately for me,  the meeting place is close to where I live.

When all participants were all accounted for, we started the long ride to Barangay Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal at 1:30 AM. It was still dark but the moon was shining brightly above us. After a two-hour drive, we finally reached our destination which will also be our jump-off point. Upon alighting the van, the cold immediately hit us. However, it wasn’t the cold that was our concern, it was the early morning shower.

A Slippery Start

After our coordinator made all the necessary arrangements with the local officials and after being assigned with tour guides, we began our trek at around 4AM. The initial ascent was steep but it was even made more challenging because of the early showers. We had to exercise extreme caution. Had it been otherwise, i.e. it didn’t rain that morning, I surmise that the initial ascent is relatively easy.

After an hour and a half of trek, we finally reached the summit of Mt. Cayabu, the smaller of the two mountains. The summit was shrouded by tall bamboo grass which shielded us from the cold winds that sent shivers down our spines. As we took a breather from our early grind, more trekkers started crowding the very limited space of the summit.

A Trekker’s Mantra. Leave No Trace. This is definitely one of the most important principles in trekking and travelling. 

We then resumed our hike to Mt. Maynoba’s first of three camps.  As we climb up to the first camp, we’ve noticed how Mt. Cayabu was lit up like a Christmas tree. The the trekker’s flashlights zigzagging down the mountain were like Christmas lights shining through the early morning darkness. It was made more perfect by the near-perfect cone shape of the mountain.

At around 6:10 AM, we finally reached the first camp. Our spirits soared on our first achievement for the day but it was immediately dampened when there was no sea of clouds we were hoping to witness. According to seasoned trekkers, Mt. Maynoba is the best mountain close to Metro Manila to witness that magnificent sea of clouds. It was also for this reason that we wanted to trek up this mountain. It’s too bad that we only got to witness a sea of rain clouds.

Tree Shot. Our penchant for pictures to document our travels make us utilize everything that we can see. Sorry Mr. Tree for the minute traces of vanity. 

Fortunately, the early morning shower started to subside. That’s when I saw the beauty of the valley below us. It was somewhat reminiscent of my hometown and I can’t help but feel homesick. To while away the time, we took pictures all over the area, even as the sun was starting to peek over the eastern horizon.

After taking our fair share of pictures, we resumed our hike towards Camp 2. We reached Camp 2 at around 6:45 AM. It wasn’t long before throngs of early morning trekkers started crowding in the area. Aside from being a great resting place, Camp 2 is also a great vantage point for the surrounding areas. The blue skies and the rolling hills painted a pleasant view. Everyone can’t help but be in awe of the surroundings.

A Drastic Transformation

After a couple minutes of rest, we proceeded with the rest of the hike towards the third camp. The trail to the last camp is a grassy one with the grasses taller than us. It was a bit painful whenever the strong winds blow because we feel like we’re being whipped by the grasses.

Blue Skies. Verdant Hills. Just some of the things why I always look forward to climbing a new mountain.
Grasslands. Majority of Mt. Maynoba is covered by grasslands which are as tall as a full-grown individual. It is best to wear long sleeves and pants. 

As we were gaining altitude, I can finally see the lower portions of the mountain. And what I saw mesmerized me. The view is like the pictures I saw of Mt. Pulag. The view of the mountain is also like the view of the grasslands of Mt. Ulap and Mt. Batulao. The view was picturesque to say the least but most importantly, it was serene and captivating.

An hour after reaching the second camp, we finally reached the last camp which is filled with big rocks. A lot of the hikers were already waiting for their turns to take picture on the rocks. Because of this, we opted out and instead continued with the descent to the second section of the climb, the Eight Waterfalls.

To be continued.

Teaser. But the mountain is just half the thrill on this adventure 😉