Traversing Mt Maculot

I have been hearing a lot about Mt Maculot… destination of some groups for spiritual rejuvenation or for a laid-back camping experience. Towering at an altitude of a little more than 800 masl, the mountain bestows great visual delights especially its Rockies.
From Bay, Laguna, me and two other fellow RED Mountaineers (Rey and Jelyn) took a jeepney bound for Calamba Crossing (23pesos). We should have taken another jeepney to Turbina but a trike offered a 50-peso ride for the three of us. We got off at the JAM pick-up station. While waiting for the others, we decided to eat. For 38pesos, I had a mouth-watering viand (atay, liver of… I do not know if chicken or pig). One of the bus conductors told us that there are no Lemery-bound buses plying at that route. He suggested getting off at Lipa and taking a jeepney to Lemery. Like an obedient student, we took a bus going to Batangas City Pier via the Star Tollway (44.50pesos). JAM Liner does not implement the 20% discount for students. You can tell the bus conductor to drop you at the point where you can wait for Lemery-bound jeepneys. Fare to Cuenca is 21pesos.
We bought lunch at the cafeteria (the male assistant said that it has no name yet) in front of a bakery in the town centre. First grouping was done at the other end of the market near the terminal for trikes. We arranged for 4 trikes to take the group (21pax) at the jump-off point (20pesos). We decided to have a Grotto-Summit-Rockies traverse route but the leading trike took us to the jump-off point for the Rockies. The trike driver knows that mountaineers need to register at the Barangay Hall (10pesos) before proceeding. As per Gideon Lasco’s website, you can take guides here if you are not familiar with the trail.

Emher served as the team leader with Bong, Louie, Jelyn, Camz, Ellie and me as his lead-pack mates. The tail was led by Rey with the Baguio girls (Sarah, Amor and Julie with newbies Phoebe and April), Rap, Rosei, Rosei’s friend, Joseph, Erick, Thisoy and Rheinan. The Rocky Road (aka Rockies) trail is relatively easy, with lots of rest stations. The Baguio girls brought ube jam. Rosei’s sanitary pad was used to turn Bong into a Hello Kitty impersonator.

 

At 11AM, we reached the peak of the Rocky Road trail. There is a sari-sari store at this point. A soda drink (8-oz) costs 35pesos. Gatorade is for 65pesos.

 

At 1300, we commenced the journey to the Grotto via the summit. Out of nowhere, the group just started speaking in English with British accent and other unimaginable accents. Trails are dirty, with lots of scattered plastics and annoying materials. The summit is similar to that of Mt Makiling – no outstanding view! There are two roped segments.

After emerging from the forest, the grassland greet you in an ecstatic manner, with the blades of the grass swaying around like rejoicing for your arrival. At the peak of the grassland portion is the Grotto.

We cleansed ourselves at the nearby Mt Maculot View Resort for 50pesos. We visited St Isidore Church.

When we were already sitting comfortably in a jeepney for Lipa, Rey realised that Erick and Rheinan were missing. They were left behind! So we turned around and drove back to get the two. For 23pesos, you can tell the driver to take you at the bus station.

After three weeks of staying in the lowlands, I was given again the chance to climb. As usual, the group is crazy and insanely happy, chatting their hearts out as if they have never seen each other for a year or two. I wonder when will they run out of stories.

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