Sometime in October last year, I invited my Egyptian friend Mina to accompany me in hiking Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Anilao, Batangas. I was not really sure that he’s into activities like this but he agreed anyway, I guess because he is an adventurous guy. So I made the necessary preparations, researched the direction on how to get there, the mountain’s level of difficulty etc. Everything would have turned out perfect, he even woke up earlier than he usually does coz I told him it is ideal that we leave at 9:00 am (he said he normally wakes up at 11:00 am). I never thought that we would end up hiking Mt. Manabu. Anyway, he lives in Boni and I live in Shaw. We agreed to meet in MRT Ortigas Station and wait for Batangas Grand Terminal-bound bus below the MRT station.
I guess I was just too excited to hike because the last time I hiked was May that I didn’t realize we boarded the wrong bus. The blogs I read said to board any bus bound to Batangas Grand Terminal. The bus we boarded had a Lucena Grand Terminal signboard. During that time I thought there is only one Grand Terminal in the south, I don’t know why I didn’t realize that Lucena is in Quezon and Batangas is a different province. Obviously, we were on a wrong bus but I didn’t realize that. When we paid for the bus fare, I told the bus conductor to drop us off at the Grand Terminal. We were charged Php 220.00 each. I was surprised because, in the blogs I read, the fare is only around Php 160.00. Still, I haven’t realized that we were on the wrong bus.
Three hours have passed when I noticed a sign on the road that says the place is in a town in Quezon Province. Mina checked google maps and asked me why we were moving away from our destination. I told him maybe there’s another way. And then it was already almost 1:00 pm and we were not yet in our destination. From what I have read, it takes about 3 hours to get to Batangas Terminal. That’s when I started to think that something’s wrong.
I asked the bus conductor if the bus is going to Batangas Grand Terminal. Guess what, it’s not. Disaster!! We were told that we need to go down, take a Manila-bound bus, go down in Sto. Tomas, Batangas and from there take a bus to Batangas Grand Terminal. So we went down and I apologized to him many times. Good thing he didn’t get mad at all. He just told me that if I am in doubt, I have to tell him and we will decide together. Anyway, not so long after we got off the Lucena-bound bus, a Manila-bound bus arrived. Inside the bus, I started searching for another mountain to hike. I was thinking, it will take another hour to get to Sto. Tomas, and maybe another hour to Batangas Grand Terminal. It will be too late when we get to the jump-off point of Mt. Gulugod Baboy.
While searching, I found posts about Mt. Manabu which is in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. I told him we’re going to Mt. Manabu instead. We got off at Rose and Grace Restaurant which is famous for its bulalo. It was almost 3:00 pm. I asked him if he wanted to eat lunch first but he told me he isn’t hungry so we walked to the tricycle terminal to ask how to get to the jump-off point of Mt. Manabu. One of the tricycle drivers told us it would be very expensive to ride the tricycle from there. He told us to ride a jeepney to Tanauan, get down on a certain street (I can’t remember the street name anymore) and ride a tricycle to Sulok, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas).
We dropped by Sta. Cruz Barangay Hall to register and pay the registration fee of Php 20.00. I have read in a blog that a guide is not required but the people in the barangay hall were telling us we have to get one. I guess it’s because they saw that I am with a white guy, maybe they think he’s got lots of money and he wouldn’t mind paying. When I asked how much guide costs, they told me it’s Php 500.00. Mina thought it’s too expensive and told them we’re not getting one.
They were not able to insist so they just gave us the number of one of the barangay officials in case we get lost. They also asked us if we have a flashlight because we started at 4:00 pm which is a late start, it might get dark by the time we go down. The word flashlight got stuck in Mina’s head that he kept on singing Flashlight by Jessie J the whole time we were hiking.
On the first part of our hike, we saw lots of rambutan trees with fruits. Mina doesn’t know the fruit so I told him to get some and taste it. Moving on, the trail was muddy because it rained the day before our hike. Mina was having a hard time because his shoes are not appropriate for the trail, he slipped a few times. We just followed the trail and in some parts where we had to decide which path to take, he always tells me to follow the path with footmarks. We also noticed horseshoe marks and so we followed it. He said we have to thank the horse if we saw him/her.
The trail consists of 8 stations. The path from stations 1 to 4 is almost all flat with gradual assaults at certain points. We only reached up to station 5. It was getting dark when we got there so we decided to go back. We didn’t want to be walking on a slippery path in the dark.
We were not able to reach the summit of Mt. Manabu but I think it is a very easy hike with a 2/9 level of difficulty according to Pinoy Mountaineer. I’m glad that Mina enjoyed the hike even if he got bitten by tiny ants and he broke his shoes from the very muddy and slippery trail.
By the time we got back to the jump off point, it was already very dark. Wash area and comfort rooms are available in the jump off point. I think they are used to hikers with muddy shoes so they have a brush available in the wash area.
After the trek, we hired a tricycle to SM Lipa because it is where the bus terminal is located. Mina wanted to eat bulalo which is a famous Batangas dish for dinner. Unfortunately, we were told that there are no restaurants serving bulalo inside SM and the restaurants serving bulalo in Lipa are already closed at that time (it was only past 7:00 pm).
The hike and the whole travel was really tiring and it may have been a misadventure at first but we were able to turn it into an adventure.
How to get to Mt. Manabu
- Option 1: Ride the bus going to SM Lipa. Drop off at SM Lipa. Bus fare is Php 124.00. Look for the tricycle station and tell the tricycle driver that you’re going to Mt. Manabu. First, they’ll take you to the Barangay Hall where you have to register and pay the registration fee of Php 20.00. Then they will drop you off at Sulok in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Tricycle fare is Php 200.00 per trip.
- Option 2: Ride the bus going to Lucena and drop off at Brgy. San Pedro, Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and then ride the tricycle to Sulok, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas. Tricycle fare is Php 250.00 per trip.