RODRIGUEZ, RIZAL, PHILIPPINES — Mountains near the metro are the best candidates for a dayhike. Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) in Rizal have several mountains to offer, thus prompting me to join a climb with strangers. The itinerary was a twin dayhike to Mt. Ayaas and Mt. Sipit Ulang (recently opened last July 2, 2015 to the public) and a sidetrip to the seven-layered Payaran Falls.
So I woke up early to push this dayhike. Rode the van from Farmer’s Cubao to Montalban Eastwood (P50), hired a tricycle to Brgy. Mascap, and registered. As of August 2015, no environmental fee is collected yet because the ecotourism efforts in Brgy. Mascap are just freshly established. Any ample donation/amount will do.
MT. AYAAS (627+)
According to Pinoy Mountaineer, Mt. Ayaas have a difficulty of 3/9 at a height of 627 MASL. Note that the trail in Brgy. Mascap (minor jump-off) is different from the more “internet-popular” trail in Brgy. Wawa (major jump-off). There are minor river trekkings if you would start from Wawa, but none when you would start from Mascap.
Our large group was divided into several portions, each backed with a guide and started the trek at 0700H. Of course, the laging-nagmamadali attitude in me went with the first group, most of which are seasoned mountaineers. Syempre #BidaBida ako eh!
Retracing our trail from Ayaas’ summit, we did a traverse to reach the seven-layered Payaran Falls. There are several river & stream crossings so a pair of amphibian shoes or of trekking sandals are suggested.
When we reached the 3rd layer, mild rain poured but this haven’t stopped us from enjoying the water. However when the rain got heavy, we decided to leave the area as the river water is rapidly rising. Sayang! We didn’t continue the trek to the more picture-perfect layers of the waterfalls due to safety reasons. Remember: safety first.
MT. SIPIT ULANG (252+)
With energies drenched by the rain, we went back to the barangay proper. Others have lost hope for a consequent hike to Mt. Sipit Ulang. Others have decided to push. The bida-bida in me of course went with the latter even with weary legs. Since it will be getting late, the guides have decided to use the Banayad Trail, a shortcut route that avoids the rocky parts and goes straight to the summit. If we’d take up the more adventure-packed Paniki Trail, night would crawl up on us.
Mt. Sipit Ulang, dubbed as Crab Mountain, got its name from its crab-like appearance at a certain viewpoint and from its pincer-like summit rock formation. The mountain has a rated difficulty of 3/9 (using Paniki trail) at a height of 252 MASL. The Banayad trail would start with a brook crossing followed by a steep ascend. The trail was slippery because of the rain. I suggest you wear proper footwear as several sharp rocks protrude or are hidden in the thick vegetation.
The texture of the summit rock formation were sharp and edgy, so bring gloves. Be extra careful when climbing the rockies as a simple slip would result to an instant laceration, at the least.
TRAVEL GUIDE / TIPS
- HOW TO GET THERE. Ride a van from Farmer’s Cubao to Eastwood Montalban (P50). From Eastwood, hire a tricycle bound for Brgy. Mascap (P150-250).
- REGISTRATION. Register your name(s) in the Brgy. Hall. As of August 2015, there are no fixed environmental fees yet. Any ample amount or donation will do, but P20 is suggested. You may contact Mascap Tourism at +63998-346-0676.
- GUIDES. There are available guides assigned at the barangay hall. There are no fixed rates but P300-500 is suggested for a dayhike. Add more if including Mt. Sipit Ulang and Payaran Falls to the itinerary.
- There are many caves in the area of Mt. Sipit Ulang that are undergoing exploration and will soon be opened to the public. Some of these caves even have historical significance. For the meantime, we can only view them from the cave entrances. It is believed that there are still many others waiting to be discovered.
- The trails of Mt. Ayaas are exposed so buckle up your sun protection gears. For Mt. Sipit Ulang, gloves are good-to-haves.
SAMPLE ITINERARY − Dayhike (Mt. Ayaas, Payaran Falls, Mt. Sipit-Ulang)
0430 ETD Cubao to Eastwood, Rodriguez, Rizal
0545 ETA Eastwood (Total Gas Station)
0600 Take tricycle to Brgy. Mascap
0630 ETA Mascap Brgy. Hall, register
0700 Trek to Mt. Ayaas
1015 Mt. Ayaas Summit, early lunch
1100 Start descent, traverse to Payaran Falls
1330 ETA Payaran Falls
1430 ETD for Mascap Brgy. Hall
1530 ETA Mascap Brgy. Hall, rest
1600 Start trek to Mt. Sipit Ulang via Banayad Trail
1700 Mt. Sipit Ulang Summit
1730 Start descent
1830 Back to Brgy. Hall, log-out, tidy up
1930 ETD for Metro Manila
The blogger hiked Mt. Ayaas, Mt. Sipit Ulang & Payaran Falls on August 29, 2015.