How can I resist hiking in Mt. Romelo if doing so will cost me few hundreds only to see several waterfalls in just one day? It was a day of running away from the confined walls of the city, an escape from the noisy crowd or should I say a relief from pollution as well because of the allergen attack I had few days prior to this climbing activity? Still in denial, I don't want to accept the possibility of being allergic to shrimp paste as I really like dipping my unripe mango to it. Diverting the story away from sickness and all the stuff related to it, read further as I try my best to detail the hiking we did in Mt. Romelo.
|Mt. Romelo, Siniloan Laguna|
How to get there
From Junction cainta, we boarded a Jeepney bound to Tanay market. It was an hour and a half ride. Beside the market, we found the Jeepney terminal bound to Siniloan. We got on and waited until the jeep is full. The end of the jeepney route is where we had the tricycle ride to Barangay Macatad which is the jump off point to Mt. Romelo. Three places to remember: Tanay-Siniloan-Barangay Macatad. As easy as that. We were approached by the guide. He accompanied us to the registration site and from there we started the long walk.
After we registered at a small rural style bungalow, we started the trek. Dexter Bitoy is the name of our guide. He said he's been doing the climb there eversince he was a kid. Maybe he used to guide horses too just like the kid I saw on the horse trails.
|Mt Romelo, Siniloan Laguna|
After few meters of climb, I started to feel leg pains but that won't stop me of course. Good thing the trails were dry this time of the year (February 2011) because I can clearly imagine how slippery and muddy the trails can get during the wet months. At some segment of the trail, you can actually picture in your mind how the sliding asses formed the trails. Our guide told us the numerous times he saw weighty climbers who slide down the steep trail. Boastfully, like I normally do, we asked our guide if there is a more difficult trail because it was really easy. Then all we did is laugh at ourseleves.
|Mt. Romelo, Famy - Siniloan mud trails|
Dexter spotted a flying bird above the jungle. I suddenly remembered the one I saw in Daraitan. Likewise, it flies in circles as if it was drying itself or warming up under the sun so I said its a hawk but Dexter told us that it's an eagle. Alright then he should know better because he grew up there.
Just to mention, don't get scared if you see people with Jungle bolos, it's their fashion, so leave your paranoia at home and don't bring them up with you in the mountain.
You'll hear the waterfalls when you're almost there. A few more steep trails and you'll reach the campsite which is also the top of Buruwisan falls. Another steep trail guided by the roots of trees, you can safely climb down. As soon as we got there, we dropped our bags and started checking out the place.
|Buruwisan Falls at Mt. Romelo|
Buruwisan Falls has a catch basin of green waters. It has moss filled walls that forms like a roof. There's a cave like hole at one side but I didn't bother to check.
|Buruwisan Waterfalls in Mt. Romelo|
There were lots of flying turquoise colored insects. I thought they were butterflies because of the striking color but they were actually dragonflies. Aside from those were the usual carabao and needle type dragonflies which I hardly chased.
|Dragonfly at Mt. Romelo|
By following the flow of streams, one can easily reach Lanzones falls. You'll cross streaming waters and do rock hopping to get there.
|Trails Going to Lanzones Waterfalls in Mt. Romelo|
Lanzones Falls is darker, colder and has wetter surroundings compared to Buruwisan Falls. The catch basin is smaller. The rocks are more slippery. I slipped for like twenty times without exxageration. I even wet my tshirt when I almost got soaked after I stepped wrongly on to a slippery rock. We decided to climb up to have our lunch near the campsite store.
|Lanzones Waterfalls in Mt. Romelo|
Aside from the baon I bought from 7 eleven in cainta, I thought of buying Pansit canton and softdrinks from the campsite store so we can freely use the tables they have there. Pancit canton costs 14 each and you may ask them to cook it for you at 10 pesos. I drank all of my bottled water on our way there so I insisted that we must buy also 65 pesos 1.5 Sprite to quench our thirst.
Although four waterfalls can be visited in a day, I was satisfied by the two Falls we saw so I did not insist to check out Batya-batya Falls and Sampaloc Falls. Instead, we rested our feet and cool ourselves under the shade of the campsite dining shack.
After more than half an hour of rest, we started our descent at around 1:30PM. This time, we were confident that we can easily go back to jump off point even without the help of a guide. So there, we headed back to where we started. It was as easy as expected.
|Mt. Romelo in Famy - Siniloan Laguna|
If you must battle your own weight during ascent, you must resist the same amount of gravity on your way down from the mountain, or else, you may just let yourself roll down. That would be the most effortless way to descend!
|Mt. Romelo in Famy- Siniloan Laguna|
Have I said before that I'm always amazed by just anything you may see in nature? I want to mention that aside from a lot of ferns and wildflowers that we saw on the trails, I also saw a little dark grey slender snake as long as a rubber shoe tie that gracefully crossed our path. At first, I thought it was a lizard's tail but when I looked closely and saw its head, I knew I was right. It was a snake. It would be great to take picture of it but to chase that creepy crawlie down the cliff bushes is insane. I wish we had a picture of that, same with the eagle we saw earlier.
|Ferns at Mt. Romelo, Laguna|
|Flora at Mt. Romelo|
Moving forward and knowing that we were close to the jump off point, we then found ourselves lost. I guess my excitement to take a bath resulted to my bewilderment and I thought we were in the wrong direction (but actually we're not). We took the narrow trails on the right, then found a dead end to a bushy cliff. We went back and tried another little trail and got scared by a carabao that blocked our path. We went back again to try the left trail and saw that it leads to a stream that we never saw before, so we're wrong again. When the carabao was gone, we followed that trail only to find ourselves going up again which is obviously the wrong direction. Finally, we heard the giggles from the group of College students and decided to follow them. By then, I realized my mistake. We were not really lost, I was just confused. My bad!
After the whole day hike, I strongly needed to take a bath to relieve the heat and dirt I got. It costed me 15 pesos to take a bath in their hollow blocked bathroom for rent and one must get his own pail of water first. After that we're all fixed to go back home.
Going back, ride a standby tricycle on the streetside. Tell the driver to take you to Raymond Bus Terminal. You may either ride the bus headed to Manila (lucky you if there are vacant seats) or you may choose to ride public utility van bound to Manila which has a fare of 100 pesos per passenger.
Expenses ~ 700 (rounded up)
Php40 - Jeepney Ride from Junction to Tanay Market
Php44 - Jeepney ride from Tanay to Famy
Php35 - Tricycle to Barangay Macatad (70 actual fare)
Php100 - Mountain Guide (200 actual fee)
Php20 - Entrance / Registration Fee
Php70 - Pancit Canton, Softdrinks from campsite store
Php15 - Bathroom Fee
Php25 - Tricycle to Raymond Bus Terminal (50 actual fare)
Php97 - Bus ride from Famy to Junction, Cainta
Php191 - 7 eleven Baon
Php27 - Buko Juice, Mineral Water
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