It has been a while since we went on a day hike. It was a relief to not carry a bag filled w/ 4 liters of water on your back and ascend for more than 4 hours. We started our trek at 6:30 in the morning after taking the first bus bound to Lipa/Tanauan from Buendia. It was a muddy trek as the rain was graciously pouring all over the metro all week, except for that specific Sunday.
Considered as the easiest and most accessible mountain from Manila, Mt. Manabu is often climbed by pilgrims. There are 8 stations that starts from the jump off to the summit and back. Our plan was to ascend via the Grotto trail and go through the Lubid trail on our way down.
|We registered here because the trike driver didn't drop us at the Brgy Hall|
The Grotto Trail
This trail has a longer route. It was short, gradual walk in the beginning and most parts are covered with trees making the climb enjoyable. There are clearings in between which offers a nice view of the surrounding slopes and municipalities. Halfway through the ascent is a spot where most tree planting activities are held. Here you need to make sure you wear the correct protective clothes from tall grasses. You also need to watch out for those plants armed with thorns as some of them occupy the trail. From here the trail becomes more challenging as you near the summit. The reward at the end is a mountain top view of some of the key cities of Batangas.
We reached the summit at 8:30 and were surprised to see people climbing the cross to take pictures and make funny poses. I just kept the disappointment to myself and didn't utter a word. After around 15 minutes or so, they finally left and we had the summit all to ourselves. I just told myself that there are just people who make fun of everything thinking it will make them better persons. Lunch was rewarding and quiet as a group of 30 people already started their descend.
The Lubid Trail
We started our descend at 9:45AM through the Lubid Trail. Ropes are placed alongside the trail which aids climbers. This trail is muddier than the first so the descend could have been so hard if not for these ropes. One thing a climber must do when climbing Mt. Manabu is stopping by Mang Pirying's hut for his famous Alamid coffee. The coffee is harvested from feces of the Alamid. Read below:
The animal called alamid in the Philippines is actually a civet with the scientific name Paradoxurus hermaphroditus. It is known in English as the Asian Palm Civet or the Philippine Civet Cat (though it's not a cat). It is a nocturnal animal that is called musang in southern Luzon and balos in Davao del Sur and South Cotabato. The alamid uses its nose to find ripe, sweet coffee beans. Coffee beans harvested from the feces of the civet called motit in the northern part of the Philippines are considered top grade. After cleaning, the coffee beans are sold for as much as a thousand American dollars per pound. -TagalogLang.com
Mang Pirying is known as the keeper of the mountain and his hut has been a pit stop for all climbers. While we were there, his brother - Tata Tino and his wife Ate Gina welcomed us since Mang Pirying just came out of the hospital and was still recuperating. The couple shared stories of how and when they started living there, why there was a cross at the summit (I won't share the story, it is for you to find out) and pretty much how they get by everyday. It was humbling to know that they can live there with no neighbors, no electricity and relying on natural spring water for their daily consumption. They also sell avocados (P20/kilo), lanzones and Alamid Coffee for P100/pack.
Tata Tino and the Boss
After a nice coffee chat, we decided to continue on our way down. We arrived at the jump off after an hour and rested. There are a couple of shower cubicles where you can rinse off for just P15. We hired another trike to bring us to the highway. We were joined by a new friend - Jubi who was rushing her way back to Manila. The trike charged P120 for the three of us.