After a series of my local and international travels these past few months, I was able to do something I really wanted to achieve – mountain climbing! After my first mountain, I want to share this useful hiking guide to Mt. Pamitinan to all of you. Not curious yet? You will be once you learned that this entire hike cost less than 200 pesos (US$4) and took less than two hours away from Quezon City. Have your attention now? Read on.
Mt. PAMITINAN , Montalban, Rodriguez, Rizal | Major Jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Montalban, Rodriguez, Rizal | LLA (Pamitinan): 14°43′51.7′′N 121°11′29.2′′ E 426 MASL | Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 1.5-3 hours | Specs: Minor to Medium, Difficulty 5/9 |Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province
Breathtaking view, isn’t it? Let me share my itinerary, budget breakdown, thoughts, tips, and experiences in climbing Mt. Pamitinan.
HOW TO GET THERE
Meet-up at McDonald’s Sta. Lucia along Marcos Highway (my group’s prerogative)
Ride a jeepney to Eastwood Montalban
Take a tricycle from Eastwood Montalban to Wawa Dam
Arrive at Sitio Nino, Barangay Wawa
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING EXPERIENCE AS A BEGINNER
We arrived in Barangay Wawa before 7 in the morning. Our group registered at the DENR office which is just walking distance from the tricycle stop. We each paid PHP 2 for entrance fee. Since it is required to have a local guide in the climb, we got ours. Hello, kuya LJ Aguila!
TREKKING: THE INITIAL PART
After settling our entrance fees and introducing ourselves to our guide, we started our trek to Mt. Pamitinan. Jumpoff point was at Sitio Nino and we started by crossing this hanging bridge over Wawa River.
The initial part of the trail was with high stair steps and inclined trails. It was fairly easy, but I underestimated the stamina needed for the climb. With all the ascending that we did (I think there wasn’t any level ground) which required strong endurance, my hungry and sleep-deprived body started to give signs of weakness.
Before we reached the halfway mark of the trail, I felt lightheaded and dizzy. Maybe because it was my first climb. Or it was too hot. Or I had less than three hours of sleep. Or I did not eat enough breakfast. Or my blood sugar is low again. Maybe because it was all of those reasons. Whatever the cause was, I found myself shamelessly asking for rest stops along the way. I needed to catch my breath. Proof that I was out of shape!
It wasn’t only me though. Another female climber, Jessica, felt like she couldn’t make it. She even said she wanted to give up couple of times. Together, we rested as the others moved a bit forward. We shared some special moments – me vomiting as my body really felt bad and she saying she wanted to back out.
Resting with Jessica after she kept on saying, “Back out na ‘ko!” (I want to back out!)
I felt the need to get better and be the strength of my fellow climber. I told her that we would soon recover and what we felt was just an initial shock of climbing. After a few more stops, Jessica and I felt progressively better in walking and going uphill. Soon, we finally made it to the resting place where the rest was waiting for us. Of course, I didn’t and wouldn’t give up!
Overall, the first part wasn’t really hard. It would only possibly shock beginners and those with weak stamina to do the trekking.
TREKKING: THE LATTER PART
The second half of the trekking proved to be different and harder than the first. Suddenly, the trail changed into steeped slopes with jagged and pointy rocks. Our team became more careful and cautious in this part as the climb became dangerous. We had real rock climbing and/or bouldering to move on to the trail. I didn’t expect that a beginner would manage it, but I did and was proud of it.
The climb to the two summits (Yes, Mt. Pamitinan has two) was challenging and exhilarating. There were many instances that I had to stretch my short legs just to move on and step to the next rock.
The terrain was hard and dangerous, especially those parts with almost 90 degrees assaults. I strongly recommend that climbers wear hand gloves, thick sole shoes, and durable bags when climbing Mt. Pamitinan as sharp rock edges and thorny plants will be present in the trail.
PAMITINAN SUMMIT 1
I have reached it! I finally did!
I couldn’t believe it. I did it!
Group shot at Mt. Pamitinan [photo credits to Jack Serraon]
Looking back at the initial part of the climb, I was scared that my body would give up on me. However, it is true that the mind is strong, and when I will it to be in the top, of course it will happen.
PAMITINAN SUMMIT 2
After 2-3 hours, we finally made it to the top of the second summit. I really felt accomplished! There were too many jagged rocks and the only way to go was up. It was fun and thrilling to have rock climbing experience without harness or anything. It was dangerous, so caution and alertness are important.
Ain’t no mountain high enough 🙂
Oh, no. How can I get down from here? *crying*
We originally planned to go here, but there was no one around to accommodate our group, so we decided to go to Wawa Dam instead.
Jeepney from McDonald’s Marcos Highway to Eastwood Montalban – 27 pesos
Tricycle from Eastwood Montalban to Wawa Dam – 10 pesos
DENR Fee – 2 pesos
Guide Fee – 600 pesos divided by 7 persons – 86 pesos
Lunch – bring your own
Tricycle from Wawa Dam to Montalban Eastwood – 8 pesos
Jeepney from Montalban Eastwood to Katipunan – 33 pesos
Total: 166 pesos
With a 200 pesos budget, it is still possible to buy some snacks and drinks at many stores around Wawa Dam.
THINGS TO BRING/PREPARE
3 liters of water
Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, arm sleeves, sunglasses)
I advise wearing hand gloves and thick soled shoes as rocks are sharp and hot especially during the summer season.
Having a guide is required for the climb.
Get enough rest, sleep, and food before trekking.
There is no source of water while hiking, so better bring enough amount for you.
Overall, it was a memorable first time for me. Never in my dreams did I imagine that such an experience could be done in less than two hours away from my home with only 200 pesos budget. I am itching for my next climb!
I am grateful to my team for not giving up on me and Jessica during those times when we felt weak. It was fun sharing my first time experience with them! Also worth mentioning are my durable and weather-proof Hawk Bag and convenient Nike drinking bottle. These two reminded me that even girls in pink can climb mountains!
So when will you start your first climb? If you have been hiking already, when and where will you go next? Please take me with you!