This is a post by THH Louie and THH Jon.
I had previously joined several outreach activities in the mountains of Sierra Madre which takes about 2 hours of hiking. This was the first time Fharen, Trixia and I (Jon has quite a bit of experience in hiking) will be on a proper hiking trip. June 2014, with our bags and a set of extra clothing, we started our unforgettable journey to Mt. Maranat.
As beginners, we only had a vague idea of the do’s and dont’s of hiking. The only preparation we made for this trip was to read blogs about the said mountain. From Cubao, we rode a bus going to Tungko. The journey was quite smooth aside from the occasional (doubt it!) traffic along EDSA. We soon arrived in Tungko and took a jeepney going to Sitio Licao Licao. Sitting inside were 4 mountaineers (Kuya Chino, Kuya Nogi, Kuya Alvin and Rhenz). There bags were really big compared to our jansport bags, we felt like rookies. We learned that they were going to the summit of Mt. Maranat and was going to stay overnight. Our plan was to just visit the twin falls, have a little splash and then go back home.
We first ate our lunch to feed our growling tummies before we started our ascend. We were torn between hiring a guide or not but I felt it was way better to hire one because we don’t know a thing about the place. Not far from the jump off we saw a sign board which said “guide for hire P300” so we took the opportunity. It was a drizzling a little when we started our climb so it made the trail a bit muddy. I had a feeling that it was going to be a long day.
The first leg of the trail was quite easy The ground was flat and the view was very pleasant since there were no trees that covered the surrounding area. As we went further, the trail became challenging. There were parts where the assault were almost 70°. It was even more difficult when we went down the slopes to reach the river. It was really hard for us girls since we don’t have a lot of experience. I was about to give up by the time we reached the other side of the river.
There were 2 ways to cross the river. One is to walk across and the other was to use the ropes above the river to get to the other side. Kuya guide suggested to just walk across it since the river was calm anyway.
The trail going up to the campsite was the hardest and the most exhausting part. My legs were already very sore by then but I cannot afford to give up since we were almost there. I whispered a little prayer for more strength to carry on with the journey. HE never fails me! With just a snap, my energy shot back up and finally after 4 hours we reached Tatay Nestor’s house. We registered our names in the log book and then rested for a while. That’s when our problems started.
It was almost 3 o’clock and we haven’t even had a good look at the twin falls yet. I imagined that by the time we finish, it will be already too late. We were too tired and we didn’t bring flashlights. Heading home would be unwise and dangerous because it was almost dusk. To our surprise, the mountaineers we met in the jeepney going to the jump off were in the same location as us. It looks like the summit and the twin falls are in the same area. They offered us their tents but Tatay Nestor had a better idea. He offered us the attic of one the huts in the campsite. According to him, a monk lives there when he is around the area but he was away during that time. Tatay Nestor also gave us rice and hotdogs to eat for dinner. His generosity and willingness to share what he and his family have shows that there are still some good people out there.
Since going home was not an option, we stayed and just enjoyed the experience. The falls was beautiful, the big logs surrounding it made the scenery more majestic. It was great to finally just sit and rest our bodies.
It was 6 o’clock in the evening and we were already preparing to go to sleep when Tatay Nestor came over to lend us pillows, comforters and a mosquito net. We were really overwhelmed by Tatay Nestor’s warm welcome to rookie hikers like us. Just below the attic was a small drinking area for the hikers. Mind you they were soooo loud that night but the 4 of us slept like babies! The morning came and we discovered that the leftovers from our dinner last night was eaten by a cat. Something to eat before our descent would’ve been nice. We looked miserable after that incident but then kuya Chino’s group came and invited us to have breakfast with them 🙂 I could not believe how blessed we were to have met such wonderful people like Tatay Nestor, Kuya Chino, Kuya Nogi, Kuya Alvin and Rhenz.
We gave Tatay Nestor a token of our appreciation for his kindness and generosity. We told him that someday we will come back prepared haha! He said we can come back anytime and we are always welcomed there. Long live Tatay Nestor!
We joined Kuya chino and the others on the way back to the jump off. We were even in the same jeepney and bus as them. Before we parted ways, we thanked them and invited them to join us in our trips which they gladly accepted. (Just a bit of info, we are now good friends with Kuya Chino’s group and we’ve been to several trips with them. They might join us again this April in Caramoan.)
Our trip to Mt. Maranat was not a complete disaster. It was quite the opposite as we were able to meet lots of wonderful people and make several good friends/travel buddies in this supposedly day hike. ☺
There’s no electricity in the area so be sure to bring flash lights and powerbanks. Clean water supply is available and there is a toilet in the campsite. You can give some donations to Tatay Nestor as he really maintains the beauty and the cleanliness of the campsite. Don’t forget to bring your garbage as you head home. Leave nothing but footprints.