Mt Makiling has been my unicorn, like the beautiful, mystical and yet very elusive creature. since college days, i wanted to climb this mountain but alas, fate is not always on my side. first attempt was way back 2000, solo dayhike via UPLB trail, but decided to turn back after reaching mudspring. the second and third attempts were with new hikers but halfway decided to cancel the climb due to limatiks, the blood-sucking residents of the forest. fourth and fifth attempts were pushed via Santo Tomas trail but got lost in the confusing trails.
yet despite all failed attempts, the allure of Makiling keeps haunting me even in my dreams, like a seducing enchantress.
but years of waiting paved off, and finally was able to complete the Makiling Traverse or MakTrav (Batangas to Laguna). eventhough the climb was on the eve of typhoon Egay, we were blessed with good weather on the first day, allowing us to have a great view of the Makiling forest (Batangas side), the adjacent mountains such as Malarayat Mountain Range and Mt. Maculot and Timog-Katagalugan’s great lakes- the Laguna de Bay and Taal Lake.
the trail starts by traversing the dead river in Barangay San Bartolome. this is where the trail starts to become confusing. Be observant and always look for trail signs (ribbons tied along the trees, pile of rocks, etc). after the last water source (N14 07.391 E121 10.937), the trail becomes steeper until Haring Bato.from this point, the climb becomes semi-technical and you need the assistance of ropes (already set-up along the trail) to be able to push forward to Peak 3. climbing a boulder is not an easy task especially if you have a pack that weighs more than 10kilos.the trail is adorned by beautiful green and red pitcher plants and the view of the surrounding is simply-breathtaking. we spotted an Oriental Hobby along this trail.
Peak 3 (N14 08.025 E121 11.073), with an elevation of 1,054m, has small campsite and a 360view. from here, the trail changes to semi-dipterocarp, semi-mossy forest. pushing forward to Peak 2, expect to climb or crawl under fallen trees, mud, be amazed with blooming wild flowers and moss and encounter thorny rattan and lots of friendly-limatik. we end doing a night trek in this trail and got lost for awhile. lots of pygmy forest frogs along the trail.
arriving at Peak 2 (N14 08.142 E121 11.628), the “highest” point with an elevation of 1,096m, we set camp, cook and have dinner. the peak which also has a campsite is surrounded by flowering plants and dwarfed trees. it started to rain hard in the evening until the next day.
after breakfast, we break camp and start to descend. the trail to Laguna (via UPLB) is more relax and established but longer (around 8km). will pass dipterocarp forest and also lots of limatik. saw elephant yam along the trail. you can also do a detour to Mudspring and Flatrocks .
thanks to Totoy for providing GPS waypoints, very useful especially on the confusing Santo Tomas trail, and to friends who were crazy enough to join me in this climb despite the typhoon and limatik. congratz to my brother for completing his first major climb.
Mt MakilingSto Tomas, Batangas - Los Banos, Laguna