LAIBAN TRILOGY: Adventure beyond Words!
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Tanay, Rizal, Philippines – Mountain hiking offers plenty of perks. To name some, we get to see breath-taking sights, inhale some fresh air, and witness the beauty of nature right to its core. However, choosing a mountain to climb could be as rigorous as planning for the next OOTD for some people (and yes, even me!). There are so many mainstream styles that we could try to experiment with during a particular day but the chance of meeting someone wearing exactly the same outfit as yours is very possible. Ouch! This logic could also be true in choosing the next destination. With today’s technology, a comprehensive list of suggestions and directions on how to go to a particular place is readily available on the web. Unfortunately, the ease of access to information is also one of the reasons why finding a sea-of-crowds is more likely than discovering a sea-of-clouds. Solution, anyone? Well, one way is to be more adventurous!
A highly recommended destination is the “Laiban Trilogy” in Tanay, Rizal. The trail is comprised of Mt. Lubo, Mt. Ngusong-Kabayo, and Mt. Tangwa. Here, we practically get the best of both worlds. First, we will get to enjoy the view of a sea of clouds without the jam-packed crowds, which leads us to the second point; more time and more angles for selfies and groufies!
From our meetup location in Cubao, we traveled to Cogeo in Rizal where a so-called monster jeep is waiting for us. Monster jeeps, unlike the ordinary jeeps that we ride on well-paved roads, are supposed to withstand the uninviting route to Barangay Laiban which includes a series of gushing streams and muddy roads that we will pass along the way. A registration in the Brgy Hall of Laiban is required before starting any hike.
At around 6 am, the sun has already risen but we are still able to lay eyes on its glory while we are on the trail. As if the view is not refreshing enough, the sunlight made the green mountains extra picturesque which made us pause for a while.
THE UNENDING TRAIL
The path to the peaks of Laiban has mostly minor inclines flanked by tall cogon grass. The temperature is a perfect combination of the gentle sunshine and early morning breeze.
It felt so good to be disconnected from all the noise of the city for a moment and be able to reconnect with nature.
The sight of the nearby mountains such as Mt. Sapari, Binutasan and Batolusong are some of the bonuses of this hidden treasure. Your heart will surely be charmed and contented by the vast view of rolling hills and green mountains on the side.
Series of bamboo trees also make up the trail. This part of the trail becomes wet and slippery once it rained so hikers should be cautious. Our group managed to pass through this area without any major problems, just few minor slips making us a little dirty with mud.
There’s a limestone cavern that encompasses around the summit of Mt Ngusong Kabayo. One has to pass between narrow rock holes and formations to be able to proceed. GPS (Gapang Para Safe) and UPS (Upo Para Safe) with some head support is useful in situations like this.
THE LAIBAN PEAKS
After an hour of a moderately steep slope, we didn’t easily realize that we are already on the first peak. We just recognized it because of the Red flag and signage.
Mt. Lubo is not the typical peak that has a cliff or other ‘buwis buhay’ spots to take Instagram photos. Nonetheless, Mt. Lubo is the perfect spot to capture the sea of clouds of Laiban at that time.
The succeeding peak on our list is the Mt. Ngusong Kabayo, standing at 625 MASL. It is translated as “horse snout” and named because of the shape of the distinct limestone formation on its summit. We were amazed just how the stones really resemble a horse snout.
Less than 30 minutes away is the final peak, which is the M. Tangwa at 602 MASL. I particularly enjoyed wandering around here because it has a 360-degree stunning view. Mountains really have the power to awe and inspire adventurer like no other landscape can do.
From the summit of Mt. Tangwa, we passed by the beautiful scenery of neighboring mountain down to the beautiful waterfalls of Laiban, which can be either a side trip or a destination on its own. It is actually part of the traverse trail down to the jump off.
According to our guide, there are few leeches (called limatik locally) in the area since it is surrounded by shallow bodies of water and it possibly proliferated because it is rainy season at that time. One of our members was bitten although he didn’t see any leeches. Luckily, the bite did not hurt at all.
The first stop is the highest of the four waterfalls, it is called the Tagpuan Falls. As the name suggests, the scenery gives a delicate dramatic vibe. It felt like I was in a scene of a movie waiting for my lover to arrive while listening to the sound of the water flowing down. Surely, this is quite a covert beauty, a perfect escape from stress.
Not so long after we passed by the first falls, we needed to rappel down to Mahangin Falls. It’s not like other waterfalls that have a basin-like pool; Mahangin Falls has cascading cold water going to other falls and to the river. It’s a good place for a very refreshing sit and a good water massage.
Need I say more? Just indulge yourself in the moment. What’s the point of finding a place as beautiful as this if we will not enjoy the waters, right?
The third one is the Panat-in Falls, somewhat alike in Kawasan or Kaparkan falls. This has a deep catch basin allowing adventurers to jump from the top of the falls. There is also a wide area of both shallow and deep spots perfect for swimming.
Upon arrival, our lunch (sinigang, adobo and rice) were already prepared by our organizers together with the locals. After eating our way through, we have enjoyed a quick dip into the water, took some photos and rested for a while before we continued our adventure.
What a hike! An exciting, enriching, and exhausting experience, all at the same time. The thrill of being in a new place away from the city to escape the stress and monotony of my daily routine was satisfied. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting too much of the place at first, I was happy to just be with nature again. In the end, it really exceeded my expectation and turned out to be one of my favorite climbs.
How to get there and Suggested LAIBAN Itinerary (Average Pacing)
0200H Assembly at Cubao
0230H ETD Tanay via Patok jeep to Cogeo
0315H ETA Extraction point -COGEO TO Bgy. Sampaloc, Sitio Mayagay 1, Tanay (via monster jeep)
0330H ETD Bgy. Sampaloc, Sitio Mayagay 1, Tanay
0400H ETA Brgy. Laiban Hall (jump-off)
0500H Start Hike
0700H ETA Mt. Lubo
0745H ETA Mt. Ngusong Kabayo, photo ops
0850H ETA Tangwa Peak, photo ops
0950H Start descent
1110H ETA Laiban Waterfalls 1
1130H ETA Waterfalls 2
1220H ETA Waterfalls 3, Boodle Fight Lunchtime
1400H ETA Waterfalls 4
1430H ETA Jump off, tidy up
1530H ETD Sitio Mayagay 1
1615H ETA Extraction Point (jeep ride)
1630H ETD Manila
1930H ETA Manila
- If you are in a large group, better hire your own transport service for your convenience.
- Wear proper attire from head to toe. You may bring hat/cap, arm sleeves, and sunblock for protection. For footwear, please note that the trail includes plenty of water activities so it is better to wear a good pair of hiking sandals or shoes.
- Bring at least 1.5 liters of water, you will surely need this during the long walk.
- Bring trail foods such as Jellies, chocolates, nuts etc. This are essential sources of energy, providing more fuel to the body to continue the climb.
- Carry some first aid kit/personal medicine as accidents can happen anytime.
- Bring extra clothes, toiletries and extra money for other personal use.
- Never forget your camera behind!
- And most especially, Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time. Enjoy!