NORZAGARAY, BULACAN, PHILIPPINES — Supposedly doing a traverse to three mountains: Maranat, Balagbag and Lubog. Although I have not seen any entry on the internet about this specific traverse, I have read Balagbag-Maranat traverse is possible since they are coming from the same jump-off. According to Pinoy Mountaineer, a Balagbag-Lubog traverse may be possible but isn’t fully established yet.
Having the itch to do a hike, I decided to continue this trip eventhough it rained the night before. Luckily, the heavy rain have been diminished to occasional drizzles during dawn. Although I woke up quite late, travel time to San Jose del Monte City proper is shorter than those coming from Manila since I am currently living in Guiguinto, Bulacan. I got off at Licao-Licao in Rodriguez, Rizal and headed to Sitio Balagbag with a group of three persons whom shared with me the tricycle fee. They met with their group at the registration area and registered for Mt. Balagbag. I, on the other hand, decided to take on Maranat first before Balagbag. Without a guide.
(On a side note, I felt the need to correct the info we usually see in several blog sites: the jumpoff, Sitio Balagbag, is not part of Rodriguez, Rizal nor Norzagaray, Bulacan but rather a part of Brgy. San Isidro, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.)
Mt. Maranat (or so it’s called) is a pseudonym for the location of Maranat Falls. The area is actually a part of Mt. Oriod, which is the highest point of the Sierra Madre mountain range in the Bulacan side.
The trail was very easy to follow, but is muddy because of the rain during the dawn. If not for the rain, it may pass at the 3/9 difficulty level. I overtook and was overtook by several groups of mountaineers along the way.
I have reached the campsite in less than two hours. Maybe walking alone really boosts your speed. After setting-up the tent and decided to do a splash in Maranat Falls, rain started to pour. What a downer. I didn’t even got the chance to go to the falls.
The rain continuously poured throughout the afternoon until the night. Having nothing else to do and since I was far from the other tents and too shy to approach them, I just watched a few episodes of a TV series (Scandal) the whole night. Worst is I forgot to bring my blanket. It was a cold night.
I wished you were there, beside me.
It was almost 9:00am the next day when I finally had the chance to get out of the tent and visit a portion of the falls.
Seeing it hard to do a traverse even to Balagbag, I just decided to wait until noon before packing up my things. During the descent, rain started pouring again, leaving me shelter-less and vulnerable to the strong winds and rain. Posted this on Instagram an hour after the descent:
Supposedly doing a solo traverse to three mountains (Maranat, Balagbag & Lubog) this weekend. However, the rain and fog made sure their presence were felt. I ended up stranded in Maranat for 24 hours, succumbing to the cold night. When I got the chance to trek back to the jumpoff, the weather started bidding me farewell as I was wandering the steeps. The rain and wind slapping through my face and washing off the mud, all while standing near a cliff, felt weirdly good. Though Maranat may not be one of the best travel destinations, this lone journey is definitely one of my best(s). What you really treasure when you travel is the journey itself, not how good the destination is. #SaanPowPunta #MountMaranat
I know its a must-not to hike solo, especially on a rainy day. I am not discouraging you from doing so, but I would like you to think carefully and deliberate between the pros and cons. Always prioritize your own safety.
The blogger hiked Mt. Maranat on July 4-5, 2015.