Sto. Tomas, Batangas
Jump-off point: Sulok, Brgy. Sta Cruz, Sto. Tomas
LLA: 13.9777°, 121.2413°, 760 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 1-2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2
It's just two hours to climb, and the peak area is like a beautiful garden. The highest point is marked with a white cross. Grass, as if trimmed by a lawnmower, covers the summit area, and there are flowering plants and shrubs - with blossoms of yellow, red, and pink. During summer months, wild berries called 'sampinit' grow on the trails near the peak. They are edible and sweet, like mini-strawberries. This image of an elegant park is exactly the image of Manabu Peak, probably the easiest, most accessible mountain from Manila. Add the beautiful views of the Malipunyo mountain range, as well as Mts. Maculot and Makiling, and it's picture perfect!
The name Manabu is said to be abbreviated from 'Mataas na Bundok'. It is one of the three major peaks of the Malipunyo range (the other two are the Malipunyo summit and Susong Dalaga peak). Probably because of its geography, it's usually cloudy in Manabu, lending an almost nostalgic air. Although Sto. Tomas is a peripheral town of Batangas, the dialect used among the locals in Manabu is distinctly Batangueno. It adds a local flavor to the Manabu experience, much like the homemade kapeng barako which Mang Pirying, owner of the hut midway through the trail, would offer the hikers.
Because of its easy access, short trail, and very beautiful environs, Manabu Peak is a great introduction to hiking for beginners. Even then, veteran hikers rank this mountain as one their favorite 'fun climb' destinations.
0600 ETD Lucena or Lipa bound bus at LRT-Buendia (P90)
0730 ETA Brgy. San Pedro, Sto. Tomas. Take trike to 'Sulok'
0830 ETA 'Sulok', Brgy. Sta. Cruz
0900 Start trek
1000 Reach Mang Pirying's place
1100 ETA summit.
1130 start descent
1300 Back at jump-off. Proceed back to Sto. Tomas.
1330 Lunch at Rose and Grace restaurant, Sto. Tomas (famous for Bulalo)
1500 Cross the highway and wait for bus back to Manila
1700 ETA Manila
Starting April 2007, the barangay officials began to request a minimal registration fee (P10). Other than that, there are no concerns about Manabu Peak; it is a very easy climb. You may also drop by the 'Grotto' which is marked with a signboard, around 30 minutes up the trail. A traverse to the main peak of Malipunyo is also possible -- see the Mt. Malinpunyo blog entry for more information. Moreover, there is a longer trail around the peak, passing by stations of the cross.
Camping notes. The summit area is a nice campsite. Cellphone signal is strong. However, the nearest water source is at Station 5. Night trekking is a possibility.
The author was guided by Mang Pirying on his first climb to Manabu Peak in 2004. Three years later, in Feb. 2007, he dropped by the hut again, and Mang Pirying remembered him! "It's good that this time you didn't get lost," he quipped.
Saturday, August 18, 2007