Travel

How to Conquer Montalban Trilogy v.1 Solo

March 21, 2019
Montalban Trilogy for Solo Traveler

Montalban Trilogy v.1 refers to the three mountains of Montalban, Rizal called Mt. Pamitinan (3/9 Difficulty), Mt. Binacayan (3/9 Difficulty), and Mt. Hapunang Banoi (4/9 Difficulty). Conquering 3 mountains in 1 day was a challenge I posed for myself for my upcoming 31st birthday. Since I am into challenging myself lately like how I finished 100kms of virtual run last December, I decided to conquer Montalban Trilogy v.1 even if that meant I had to go solo.

Montalban Trilogy for Solo Traveler
Mt. Pamitinan’s “buwis-buhay” rock formation is spot that’s as famous as this mountain’s summit.
Montalban Trilogy for Solo Traveler
Mt. Hapunang Banoi got its name from the banoi (eagle) which used to consume its prey on the rock where I was sitting.
Montalban Trilogy for Solo Traveler
Mt. Binacayan, the mountain that completes the trilogy has its separate jump-off point from the two mountains above, which is at the barangay hall.

At first, I didn’t intend to do this alone. I was a joiner for Akyat Respeto Tiwala hiking group until the organizer cancelled on the day before the hike. Apparently, I was the only joiner who reserved for that Tuesday. I already arranged activities at work in preparation for my Tuesday vacation leave so I decided to still do the trilogy, solo, DIY-style.

It took me 10.5 hours to finish the three mountains. I started at 5AM, 30 minutes after the earliest allowed start time, because I had to wait for my guide to arrive. I logged out at the DENR office at 3:30PM. I know other people can finish the three mountains faster. I took too many rests along the way but those stops allowed me to finish all three mountains in one day. According to DENR, I was the only person who accomplished the trilogy on that day. I am what some dub as “pro hiker” – puro pahinga.

I did this solo like most of my travels but I’m never alone. I’m always in the company of angels and on that day, one of them was Kuya Lheit Zata, my cool and casual guide who took all of my amazing photos, documented a good 30 minute-video of my hike including the slips I made, and who encouraged me to go on by saying, “Tara na, nang matapos na ‘tong kalokohan mo!” Contact him through 0947 168 5841 before you go to Montalban.

Montalban Trilogy for Solo Traveler
Guide for Montalban Trilogy. He’s cool, trust-worthy and highly recommendable (Lheit Zata – Cellphone No. 0947 168 5841)

My guide, of course, could have assessed my fitness level on the first few meters of the hike. I thought I would pass out after the 90-step concrete stairs at the very beginning of the hike. Palpitating, panting, feeling like I was about to throw up, I, myself, doubted if I could even make it to the top of the first mountain. My guide suggested I do the twin peak of Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Hapunang Banoi, then afterwards have hydromassage at Wawa Dam instead of doing Mt. Binacayan. I took the time to gather my strength, prayed harder, ate some food and thanks be to God, I finished all three!

I’m proud to say that I made it! It was pure heart after my body told me I can’t do it.

How to Conquer Montalban Trilogy v.1 Solo:

  1. Ride a van bound to “Eastwood” from MRT Cubao Station Northbound. Tell the driver to drop you off at the tricycle terminal bound to DENR. Fare is Php50 as of this writing.
  2. Ride a tricycle to DENR office of Brgy. Wawa which is at Php90 per trip.
  3. Register at the DENR office (Php50) and meet your contact guide or have an accredited guide be assigned to you. Guides are at Php500 per mountain.
  4. Register at the barangay hall located just a few meters away from DENR office for Php20.
  5. Start the trail. Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done! But don’t forget to take a rest and listen to your body. Safety should always be the priority.

Tips:

  1. Hike on a weekday instead of weekends or holidays. Montalban Trilogy’s spots for picture taking-which means not just the summits of these three mountains but also includes interesting rock formations, monoliths, caves, etc. – can get really crowded on weekends and holidays (Holy Week is their peak period). Each group is allowed 10 minutes at the summit, so when there are 6 groups before you, that means you would wait for 60 minutes for your turn on the summit.
  2. There are restrooms on the jump-off point. Jump-off point is the same for Mt. Hapunang Banoi and Mt. Pamitinan, the two mountains that make up what is colloquially known as the “Twin Hike”.
  3. There are sari-sari stores at the jump-off point where you can have hot noodles, coffee, and refill of cold water. So as not to make your load heavier than necessary, I suggest you bring 1L of water then just refill on the jump-off points.
  4. The jump-off point for Mt. Binacayan is at the barangay hall. If you want to conquer at least two mountains in a day, consider Mt. Binacayan to be the last.
  5. Mt. Binacayan sometimes feature a sea of clouds. Most probable times to sea these are during early mornings between September to January, our country’s colder months.
  6. T-shirt souvenirs and bag tags of Montalban Trilogy can be bought. Just ask your guide.
Montalban Trilogy for Solo Traveler
This store owned by a man, formerly from Bulacan, is a big help for hikers.

I’ll be sharing more details of each mountain on my next posts.

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