Today I climbed with Iron Lady Jo Steven and Josh Lim in one of the Batangas mountains that have not yet been documented in PinoyMountaineer: Mt. Banoi in Lobo, Batangas. We met in Jolibee Turbina, headed to Balagtas, proceeded to the Lobo Jeepney Terminal, took the jeep to Lobo, registered in the police, and finally, a tricycle brought us to the jumpoff: Sitio Malabnig, Brgy. Balatbat, Lobo, Batangas. Whew – the travel alone was quite daunting, and took over 4 hours from Manila.
The trail was typical of a Southern Tagalog low mountain. We started trekking at 0918H and by 1140H we were at the Two Towers’ Peak – an old Smart Communications facility. Interestingly, when Long Henson wrote his itinerary, it was still an extant site but now, it is in ruins.
Since we still had time, and we saw a higher peak looming ahead of us, we decided to try climbing it as well. We hiked thirty minutes more to reach the Mt. Banoi Main Peak, which is forested, somewhat mossy, and trails still established. Actually, the trails led further northwest and we tried to follow it, hoping for a traverse, perhaps to Batangas City, but it was to no avail: the trail ended abruptly, without any hope of a connection. We just decided to backtrail. A cement marker can be found at the Main Peak of Mt. Banoi. It is well over 900 MASL.
Going down was a breeze, taking just 90 minutes. Since there was no tricycle at the jumpoff we decided to just walk down towards the highway – which took another 30 minutes. By the time we arrived at the jeepney terminal to Batangas City, it was already 1700H and the last trip jeepney had just left! Fortunately, a kind jeepney driver offered to bring us to the city for a reasonable price. Mt. Banoi, relative to Batulao, Maculot, or even Pico, might be too far for a dayhike, but it is nonetheless a good hike, a nice workout. Josh and I had a nice bulalo feast at Balagtas before heading off to Manila.