A week after our Mt. Pulag climb, my friends and I decided to take on another mountain. With thinner wallets from our previous travels, we agreed to climb Mt. Maculot but with a twist: To hike from the jumpoff to the first campsite during night time!
Since Mt. Maculot is situated just near my mom’s hometown of Alitagtag, we decided to drive all the way to Cuenca from Alabang and just chip in for gas.
We proceeded to the jumpoff after buying some food supplies at the market near the main road. There were still hikers who have just finished the trek when we signed up at the registration area. We started the trek at around 8pm.
The climb to the steep, rocky trail was supposed to be a moderate one but the darkness made it more tedious. With flashlights in one hand while the other held on to some rocks for support, we took big steps upon big steps just to make it to each of the resting points along the trail. The abrupt rocky ascent contributed to the fast elevation gain and in just 40 minutes of hiking, we could already see the beautiful Batangas city skyline.
In addition to the challenging hike was the damp ground due to the rain from hours ago, good thing the drizzle stopped when we reached Batangas. It would be a different story if the bad weather persisted during our evening adventure.
It was getting colder as we moved along and I felt the chills every time the wind blew making my sweat dry up. It was a couple of meters to the camp site when we reached the steepest, muddiest, and slipperiest part of the trail. Good thing there was a rope to hold on to for the ascent. It was just a hassle to switch your hands from holding the ropes while juggling with a flashlight. This was the point when I realized that I should have brought a head lamp instead.
After a few more minutes and we have finally reached the campsite! We were greeted by some campers as we pitched our respective tents, it was just inconvenient to settle because of the weather, we also had to put the sheets on the damp, slightly muddy ground but we had no choice.
Strong winds made it difficult for us to setup, I surveyed the place and noticed that the summit wasn’t visible because of the thick clouds. I was hoping for a good weather as we slept for the next day’s traverse. I have also set my expectation that there will be no clearing on the Rockies. We gathered our dinner and helped ourselves while we shared stories and socialized with other campers. The gusts of wind and the cold air didn’t stop us from enjoying the moment.
I woke up at around 4am because of the tidal wave-like sound of winds hitting against our tent hoping that the pegs or the outer sheet won’t come off. I was shivering at this point so I wore my beanie cap and gloves to warm up a bit. I tried to unzip the tent but the wind was too strong and too cold! It took us another hour to finally muster our will to get out of the tent. We quickly rushed to the nearby shelter where the locals were selling coffee.
We decided to climb the Rockies before packing up. We moved on after having a quick breakfast.
I was surprised to find out that hikers were already lined up along the trail going to the Rockies as early as 6am! Good thing we were already there because the influx of visitors during the next few hours was overwhelming!
Since Mt. Maculot is one of the most popular hiking destinations near Manila, and the Rockies as its feature with the breathtaking view of Taal lake in the background, it is often flocked by hundreds of hikers especially during the weekend.
I didn’t mind the crowd as I enjoyed the beautiful scenery. There wasn’t much clearing because of the weather but the view on the top was still magnificent! We enjoyed the cool Batangas air for another hour and then moved on to begin the Summit-Grotto traverse.
- Location: Cuenca, Batangas
- Major Jumpoff: Mountaineer’s Store, Brgy. 7 “Siete”, Cuenca
- Exit point (traverse): Brgy 5 (to Grotto), Cuenca
- 706 MASL (Rockies) / 930 MASL (summit)
- Days required / Hours to Rockies / summit : 1 day / 1-2 hr / 2-4 hr
- Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (Rockies); 4/9 (Traverse) Trail class 1-3
- 1730: Registration
- 2000: Jumpoff
- 2100: Campsite / Dinner / Socials
- 2200: Lights out
- 0500: Breakfast
- 0600: Start Trek to the Rockies
- 0700: Back to campsite to pack up
- 0730: Start hike to summit
- 0900: ETA Summit / Photo op
- 1100: Trek to Grotto / lunch / take photos
- 1200: Start Descent
- 1330: Back to jumpoff
By public vehicle:
- From Cubao, take a bus bound to Lemery Batangas (150php+) and ask the driver to drop you off at Poblacion in Cuenca. You may then take a tricycle going to the jumpoff of Mt. Maculot for 15php
- There is also a trip going to Lipa. You can then take a jeepney bound to Cuenca (around 30php)
By private vehicle:
- Via South Superhighway, head straight to the very end of SLEX going past SLEX Extension and Star Tollway. Click here to view the full list of toll fees.
- Take Lipa exit and then turn left. Head straight passing by SM Lipa. Continue straight ahead until you reach the mountian pass going to Cuenca.
- Registration: 20php
- Guide fee (Traverse): 800/group (required)