To commemorate my first year of climbing mountains, I decided to go on an easy hike to Manabu Peak with my boyfriend. It was only appropriate — the moment we got to the garden-like peak area, we were granted with unobstructed views of Mt. Maculot, where I began my life as a wannabe mountaineer.
Wow that sounded so formal.
Anyway, as usual, we invited friends to come along with us. It was a weekend hike, so why not , right? But then again we got denied so the group hike ended up as a wonderful “Sundate.”
Justin and I boarded a bus headed to Lipa City and left Pasay around 5:30 in the morning, one hour behind schedule. I remember our Pico de Loro trip and how I tense I was that we were at least an hour behind schedule. The trip to Manabu was quite different. Since it was still early, we decided to take a nap. I woke up at around 7 in the morning to discover that we’re in Sto. Tomas already, and I sort of freaked out.
As any responsible hiker would do, we researched about Manabu Peak days before the hike. The mountain is in Sto. Tomas. Why are we headed to Lipa City? I was torn — should we trust Gideon Lasco’s itinerary or ditch it and alight the bus immediately? We decided to play it safe and stayed in the bus. A few minutes and we were already in Malvar, then other Batangas towns. Then Lipa City.
We got off at SM Lipa City and took a tricycle to the jump-off point; a 15-20 minute tricycle ride. It was pretty chill since the driver was nice and used to hikers going to the area. We stopped by the barangay hall on the way to the jump-off point. There, we paid a registration fee of P40 each. Then we were given saplings to plant in the mountain. The kind lady even joked that we can plant it anywhere in the mountain, just don’t leave it behind and take the plastic off.
As our hike commenced, we encountered several other groups of hikers. There was a little river crossing going on at the first leg of the hike. I was also excited to drop by the rest station where I can purchase civet coffee (an order from my mom who is a big coffee aficionado) for less than a thousand pesos. Note: I didn’t get to buy the civet coffee though because the old man who was selling it wasn’t there.)
All in all, the trek to the peak was pretty uneventful. The trail was muddy but well-maintained and straightforward. There were several rest stops along the way. We were going at an easy pace, and reached the peak after an at least 2 hours of trekking.
The ascent would’ve taken only an hour or so but we took a little break somewhere along the trail to plant our saplings. It took a lot of time! We didn’t have proper tools and only dug the earth using a thin tree branch I got somewhere. But I think we were successful. I’m looking forward to going back just to see if my tree’s growing well. “Our babies!”
Justin and I were pretty excited to eat our packed lunch (my mom’s tuna pesto, asparagus salad, and take-out beef kebab from Ababu) that we only spent a few minutes in the highest area of the peak (marked with a white cross) and hurried to the camping area to look for a nice spot for a picnic. It was an unfruitful quest, however, as a big group of hikers (a family, actually) already occupied most of the shaded area. They were kind enough to clear a spot for us, and even gave us a plastic thingy to make sure my malong won’t get wet.
Anyway, they were really friendly, and loud, and jovial, I guess. They asked us a few questions and would constantly make comments about our food (so nutrients, such wow!) Fortunately, they decided to start their descent after twenty minutes or so and we finally had some peace and quiet. The other hikers seemed to agree but they weren’t as friendly.
After a good hour of resting, Justin and I decided to make our way down past the white cross. We took the other trail (I don’t know if you can count this as a traverse) and made our way down. This trail, unlike the one we took earlier, was less muddy and slippery, so yay!!! It only took an hour and thirty minutes and we were finally back to the jump-off point. After a quick change of clothes, we hopped on a tricycle to take us back to civilization. We were back in Manila by 3 in the afternoon.
- Tree planting – I think it’s a very great initiative to provide hikers a sapling to plant in the mountain as a means of keeping the environment green. It’s not unknown to us that a lot of mountains are hotbeds for illegal logging, and deforestation is rampant. Tree planting is a great way to help the mountain recover. Another bonus is that the sapling is free! But honestly, I wouldn’t mind paying.
- Easy hike – Manabu Peak stands at around 760+ MASL but it is by far the easiest hike I’ve ever done. It’s refreshing, especially if you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker who just wants some time off from the city.
- Great views of Mt. Maculot and Mt. Banahaw
- We met friendly people along the way – Although they were also a bit of a nuisance, the family we met while we were having our “peak-nic” (LOL I SUCK) was really nice and funny.
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
Manabu Peak is great for beginners and even children. If you’re a hiker who’s looking for a breather, Manabu Peak is a great place to take some time off from the chaos of the city. If you’re looking for something much more exciting, however, Manabu Peak will disappoint.