We were supposed to go to Corrigidor this weekend as most of us haven’t been there yet but the cheapest package tour available was almost 2000 pesos on a day trip alone. I reckon I could already visit a few tourist spots with this budget so I announced a rushed day hike to Mt. Romelo instead, which promises a short day hike and a chance to see several waterfalls.
Fortunately, my mountaineering friend May had been to Mt. Romelo a couple of times and was still keen on joining our group to another day hike to the waterfalls. She was a great help in organizing the trip and planning the itinerary. On the day of the hike, there were seven of us who showed up at our meeting place near Robinsons Galleria. There was an hourly bus that passes along Ortigas Avenue en route to Infanta, Quezon.
We missed the 5:00am bus going to Infanta, Quezon so we waited for another hour for the second bus to arrive. This was the best way to go to Mt. Romelo in Siniloan for us since all buses plying this route pass through Barangay Macatad - the jump-off point for the hike. After waiting for the bus for more than an hour, we were almost tempted to go to Crossing terminal as an option to reach Siniloan. We planned on taking the jeepney to Tanay and another jeepney to Siniloan but luckily the long awaited bus arrived before we left our meeting place.
We got off at K3 restaurant located along the highway in Barangay Macatad. We had a quick breakfast here and we bought food for lunch and bottles of water as well. After breakfast we headed straight to the start of the trail excited for the adventures that await us. We didn’t even have to look for a guide as one approached us on our way to the registration area. We paid 20 pesos for our registration fee and we chipped in for the 200 pesos guide fee. Looking back now, it was a meager fee compared to what he had been through to get us into those waterfalls.
After more than 2 hours of trekking, we finally reached the campsite and got a glimpse of the long stretch of crystal-clear waters of the river. There were about 6 tents at the campsite. It was the perfect time for us to visit the falls since the campsite is usually packed with hundreds of campers during the peak season. We had our lunch near the river banks and after a few minutes of rest, we left our things to one of the stores in the area and headed to our first stop – the Buruwisan Falls.
We descended into a short but very steep slope where we have to hang on to the roots of the trees to reach the area of the catch basin. This place was so captivating it made me forget the arduous hike I just went through. The Buruwisan Falls cascaded smoothly against the long vines that grow on the falls itself. It was named after a variety of hardwood that used to grow in the riverbanks of the mountain. The place is a very good spot to rappel and to practice photography.
Lanzones Falls, Mt. Romelo
Then, we had another 30 minute trek downstream of Buruwisan before we reached Lanzones Falls - a 70-foot waterfall that descends into the ragged- edge of rocks with smaller catch basin compared to Buruwisan. Laguna and Rizal are known for their sweet lanzones and this is one area where this fruit abounds.
We headed back to the campsite to prepare for our last stop, which was Batya-Batya falls. We had to water-proof our gadgets since we would be wading along shoulder-deep water to reach the falls. It was already past 1:00pm but the water was still very cold. We headed further upstream of the campsite and finally reached the two-level Batya-Batya falls. We saw some campers who were trying to scale the walls of the rock near the waterfalls but we opted to swim in its refreshing water instead, which is deeper than Lanzones and Buruwisan Falls.
Batya-Batya Falls, Mt. Romelo
We didn’t go anymore to Sampaloc Falls and the old Buruwisan falls because they require more skills and equipment and we already ran out of time. We had so much fun and even contemplated on staying overnight. A day hike wasn’t really enough to fully enjoy this place. Even without camping gear, there are accommodation and a sari-sari store on the campsite.
In the end, we decided to head back to Manila but our whole-day adventure had surpassed my expectations.
Total Expenses: 347
Breakdown of Expenses
bus fare from Robinsons to Barangay Macatad- 93
Van from Famy to Robinsons – 100
tricycle from Macatad to Famy market-20
Guide fee – 30 each (guide fee is 200 or less)
Registration fee -20
dinner at Great Valley River Side -65
shower fee -15
food – rice, banana ( bring your own para mas tipid) 24
How to get there:
a. Take the non-airconditioned bus beside Robinson’s Galleria en route to Infanta, Quezon. It passes every hour and it will take you all the way to Barangay Macatad and no need to ride a tricycle from the town of Famy. From this point there will be many guides who will approach you so it’s up to your bargaining skills on how to get a cheaper rate.
b. If you missed the bus and don’t want to wait for another hour, you may ride a jeepney from Crossing terminal en route to Tanay, Rizal which is around 50 pesos . Then upon reaching Tanay proper, go to their terminal and ride a jeepney en route to Siniloan which is also around 50 pesos and take a tricycle going to Famy.
What to bring:
packed breakfast and lunch
bottles of water
sunblock and hat
change of clothes
toilettries (so you don’t need to buy in the store which costs200% its original price)
rapelling equipment (if you are into this)
Note: I noticed a lot of trash in the trail and a lot more near the campsite. This is really frustrating as the effect of pollution is already evident in the algae that are starting to sprout among the rocks. They are also building concrete posts along the trail to attatch the ropes to make it easier to climb. I hope this will not mean an additional fee when it is done. They should put all those fund instead in maintaining its natural beauty.