Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mt. Batolusong/Mapatag Plateau and Susong Dalaga Peak (645+/780+)

MT. BATOLUSONG (MAPATAG & SUSONG DALAGA)
Tanay, Rizal
Major jumpoff: Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, Rizal*
LLA: 645 MASL / 780 MASL
Days required / Hours to destination: 1 day /1.5h (Mapatag); 3-4 (Susong Dalaga Peak)
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Grassland slopes, views of Laguna, Rizal, and Quezon
Article history: Created February 2, 2013

*Note: The major jumpoff used to be Sitio Kay-ibon, Brgy. Cuyambay. However, for the moment (February 2013), this entry point is closed according to the local authorities.

*Note 2: This itinerary is under development. You can contribute to the content of the article and the design of the itineraries by commenting.

BACKGROUND
Mt. Batolusong is one of the 'latest hits' in the local hiking scene, its proximity to Manila spurring a spate of interest in the mountain in 2012 and onwards. It is located between Brgy. Cuyambay and Brgy. San Andres in Tanay, Rizal, pretty much in the same direction as Sta. Ines, the jumpoff of the more popular and more difficult Mt. Irid. It is often compared to nearby Mt. Sembrano, because of some similarities in the two mountains' grassland slopes; Batolusong may be thought of a 'closer and easier' version of Sembrano.

Mt. Batolusong is just one of the many potential hiking destinations in Tanay, since the town is part of the southern tailend of the Sierra Madre, the longest mountain range in the Philippines. The fact that there has been a lot of interest about this mountain augurs well for an 'eastern push' in explorations that can very well see more outlying Sierra Madre peaks becoming popular hikes - either as dayhikes or overnighters - from Manila.

Previously, the recommended jumpoff was Sitio Kay-ibon, Brgy. Cuyambay, just along the Marcos highway. However, since entry using this trailhead has recently been prohibited by local authorities. For this reason, I am adopting Brgy. San Andres as the major jumpoff in this itinerary. Moreover, the trail is very nice from San Andres, passing through some interesting rock formations, and featuring a nice ascent through woodlands up to the Duhatan Ridge leading to Mapatag Plateau.

Mapatag Plateau (645m) can be the final endpoint of the hike; it is a grassland slope that serves as a scenic viewpoint and a possible campsite. Actually, for some locals, "Batolusong" refers to this plateau and the valley next to it. However, it is also possible to go to Susong Dalaga Peak (780m est.) which takes about two hours from Mapatag Plateau according to our San Andres-based guides Boboy and Michael. The itinerary below anticipates various preferences. Should the Sitio Kay-ibon Trail open, a traverse is very possible from San Andres, and vice-versa. Moreover, Kay-Ibon Falls, a little farther off the trail, is a nice detour. Surely, there are many other possibilities in the area!

ITINERARIES

Batolusong (Mapatag Plateau) Dayhike

0500 Leave Manila for Antipolo City (Cogeo Gate 2)
0600 ETA Cogeo Gate 2; Take jeep to Brgy. Sampaloc
0730 Drop off at 'Batangas'; take habal-habal to Brgy. San Andres
0800 ETA Brgy. San Andres; courtesy call to local officials / get guides
0830 Start trek
0945 Arrival at Duhatan Ridge (590m)
1000 Arrival at Mapatag Plateau (645m)
1030 Start descent
1145 Back in Brgy. Sampaloc. Tidy up / Lunch
1230 Head back to ' Batangas'.
1300 ETA 'Batangas' junction; Wait for return jeepney
1430 Back at Antipolo City. Take jeep/bus back to Manila
1600 ETA Manila

Batolusong (Mapatag Plateau and Susong Dalaga) Dayhike
*Note: This is a theoretical itinerary based on my guides' estimates of hiking time up Susong Dalaga Peak. For best results, you may want to try this out first with private transportation so as to maximize time and not jeopardize your return to Manila

0500 Leave Manila for Antipolo City (Cogeo Gate 2)
0600 ETA Cogeo Gate 2; Take jeep to Brgy. Sampaloc
0730 Drop off at 'Batangas'; take habal-habal to Brgy. San Andres
0800 ETA Brgy. San Andres; courtesy call to local officials / get guides
0830 Start trek
0945 Arrival at Duhatan Ridge (590m)
1000 Arrival at Mapatag Plateau (645m)
1015 Start assault to Susong Dalaga Peak
1230 ETA Susong Dalaga Peak / Lunch
1300 Start descent
1430 Back in Mapatag. Continue descending 
1540 Back in Brgy. Sampaloc. Tidy up 
1600 Head back to ' Batangas'.
1630 ETA 'Batangas' junction; Wait for return jeepney
1800 Back at Antipolo City. Take jeep/bus back to Manila
1930 ETA Manila

Batolusong (Mapatag) Traverse + Kay-ibon Falls Sidetrip

Day 1
0900 Leave Manila for Antipolo City (Cogeo Gate 2)
1020 Buy supplies in Antipolo 
1100 Early lunch / Take jeep to Brgy. Sampaloc
1300 Arrival at 'Batangas'; take habal-habal/jeep to Brgy. San Andres
1330 ETA Brgy. San Andres; courtesy call to local officials / get guides
1400 Start trek
1545 Arrival at Duhatan Ridge (590m)
1615 Arrival at Mapatag Plateau (645m). Set up camp
1800 Dinner / socials

Day 2
0600 Wake up call
0700 Breakfast
0800 Break camp
0830 Start descent
1000 Arrival at Kay-Ibon Falls
1100 Proceed to Sitio Kay-ibon - Marcos Highway
1130 Arrival at highway; end of trek / Tidy up
1200 Wait for return jeepney
1330 Back at Antipolo City. Take jeep/bus back to Manila
1500 ETA Manila

Batolusong (Mapatag) Overnight

Day 1
0900 Leave Manila for Antipolo City (Cogeo Gate 2)
1020 Buy supplies in Antipolo 
1100 Early lunch / Take jeep to Brgy. Sampaloc
1300 Arrival at 'Batangas'; take habal-habal/jeep to Brgy. San Andres
1330 ETA Brgy. San Andres; courtesy call to local officials / get guides
1400 Start trek
1545 Arrival at Duhatan Ridge (590m)
1615 Arrival at Mapatag Plateau (645m). Set up camp
1800 Dinner / socials

Day 2
0600 Wake up call
0700 Breakfast
0800 Break camp
0830 Start descent
1000 Back at Brgy. San Andres. Tidy up
1100 Take jeepney/habal-habal back to highway
1130 Wait for return jeepney
1300 Back at Antipolo City. Take jeep/bus back to Manila
1430 ETA Manila

PRACTICALITIES
Transportation. From Manila (i.e. Cubao) head to Antipolo City, particularly to the Cogeo Gate 2 terminal. The Cogeo Gate 2 jeepney is the same jeep that hikers take to Mt. Irid. Get off at 'Batangas' junction where there is an entrance arch for Brgy. San Andres. Take a habal-habal to the barangay (P70/trip).

Registration and guides. Right now, it is uncertain. Under the old setup, hikers are asked to register at the PSD Outpost in Sitio Kay-ibon. With this new trailhead, the logical registration point is the barangay hall or with the barangay officials of Brgy. San Andres. However, it is also very possible that municipality of Tanay may demand that hikers get a permit from them as well. Considering the history of insurgency in Rizal province, this is very understandable but I hope they do not impose it since it will be very inconvenient for hikers if they will have to go all the way to Tanay proper.

As for guides, look for Boboy and Michael; they both know the way. Unfortunately there is no cellphone signal in Brgy. San Andres and thus no way to reach them other than just going there. P400/day is a reasonable rate for guideship; or P600/day for two guides if the guide insists on having a companion. 

Hiking notes. The Sapa ng Batolusong is the clear stream that one would pass through prior to the end of the trail using the Sitio Kay-ibon Trail. Some accounts like this good resource say that this river swells during the rainy season.

Camping notes. There are no water sources in Mapatag Plateau and for most of the trail. Cellphone signal is present in Mapatag but not in the trailhead or most parts of the trail.

Security concerns. There are some reports of theft in the past so hikers are advised to be careful.

MT. BATOLUSONG PICTURES
Ricefields at the start of the trail from Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, Rizal
Rock formations along the San Andres trail up Mt. Batolusong
Duhatan Ridge is so named after the duhat trees that grow in this beautiful
ridgeline
The blogger at Mapatag Plateau, February 2, 2013

The 'Sapa ng Batolusong' is a small creek near the Sitio Kay-ibon trailhead
TRIVIA
The blogger's hike up Mt. Batolusong will be narrated in Hiking matters #325.




19 comments:

JP said...

Yay! Finally the south Sierra Madre peaks in the Rizal/Bulacan/Quezon tri-border are at long last having their day in the sun!

Sir Gid there is so much nice peaks there like Irid, Palaguio, Angilo, Binuang, Caladang, Malabito and my favorite bug mountain Mt. Palakong Simbahan in Real & Infanta. Jade vine, Rafflesia and pitcher plants are present in these ranges especially in Irid and Palaguio. They're so close to Manila and so closely-bunched together that a double-peak traverse in a dayhike is possible... madami nga lang river crossings hehe

Pinoy Monkeyneer said...

we first started trekking Mt. Batolusong last Aug 2012 and then last January 2013.. both times we used the kay-ibon trail.. very manageable and easy, wag lang kayo punta ng tag-ulan or else it can get so muddy and slippery.. The mapatag campsite is not recommendable due to very strong winds.. we suggest you camp dun sa may abandoned kubo sa baba lang ng Mapatag campsite.. you have to register first sa military outpost along the highway.. very scenic view.. yet to try the San Andres trail or maybe a traverse from san andres to kay-ibon trail..

- Pinoy Monkeyneers

Anonymous said...

Mount batolusong "The major jumpoff used to be Sitio Kay-ibon, Brgy. Cuyambay. However, for the moment (February 2013), this entry point is closed according to the local authorities." Is this open to the public? Where is the alternate jumpoff point? Can someone publish the trail?

Anonymous said...

06I also want to experience this kind of events. I am quite a adventurous person.I really love this one.

jose barcena said...

kya po b to kht wla guide ? :)

maliban sa 2peaks n yan , anu pa malpit n bundok dian ? p inform nmn po tnx ...


09465331573

Antonio Agamata said...

Hi there!
I am planning to bring my girl friend here this Tuesday. How dwe go about doing it since wala na yung Kay-ibon jumpoff? Was there any update? Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Kay ibon trail is not closed. Local authorities of brgy cuyambay just wants hikers to register to them before proceeding,but that is too much hassle for the hikers because the brgy hall is way beyond the jumpoff. traverse coming San andres trail is the best option exiting Kay ibon. Look for Guide Batotoy at the brgy hall.he will tell you stories of the area as well as the nearby mountains.Duhatan ridge is called aliw fyi

Antonio Agamata said...

Thanks for the info. How much will a guide cost me, Sir? Thanks again.

Antonio Agamata said...

Oh cool. Thanks for the info. How much is guide Batotoy's talent fee, Sir?!hehe
Thanks again!

nar lim said...

safe po ba mga sir akyatin ito as of now? regarding sa theft incident? thanks po.

09276084582

Anonymous said...

I know who were the first ones to visit and camp in Batolusong... me farm din kasi parents nya sa unahang sitio. :) nice to know me mga bumibisita na rin pala dun. I remember the 1st time I was there, ganda ng lugar...from 2010 til now pabalik balik na kami dun, bringing along some good and resposible friends...

sana lang po wag magaya sa ibang bundok na inaakyat itong lugar na ito, nababoy, napabayaan at naging makalat. nalungkot nako nung isa isa kong nasaksihan ang pagkawala ng mga puno along the trail, ngayon wala na talaga... :( I will be oraganizing a tree-planting activity (might ba a series)in the area soon. i have spoken to MENRO tanay regarding my plans for that area.


Anonymous said...

Hello Guys,

We're planning on hiking Mt. Batolusong by the end of this month. Can you guys give me a contact number of a guide so that we can ask for further inquiries? Kahit contact po sa Brgy. Cuyambay. Thanks!

-Domz

KUMANDOK said...

Just got back from a successful climb. We followed the san andres to kay ibon falls route. Guides have just been made official, they just finished seminars etc. also, guides told us that its better to exit on kay ibon rather than start the trek there.

Anonymous said...

For: Kumandok
Did you do a day hike or 2 day climb for the traverse?
Is it really better to go to Tanay through Cogeo Gate 2 rather than Shopwise at Antipolo City?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

For: Kumandok
Did you do a day hike or 2 day climb for the traverse?
Is it really better to go to Tanay through Cogeo Gate 2 rather than Shopwise at Antipolo City?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We did the "Batolusong (Mapatag) Traverse + Kay-ibon Falls Sidetrip" this saturday (8/9/13). We hired a guide for 700 pesos (2 days). No more cows and limatiks. Unfortunately the guide thought that we don't wanna go to Kay-Ibon falls so we've passed it without us knowing. And also we did not find any paliguan at Sitio Kay-Ibon so we walked along the highway back to batangas, then to Brgy San Andres instead of riding habal habal (because we're crazy). I want to thank my friends (Mit, Elvin, and Klarence) for making this trip fun and possible.

-Domz

Anonymous said...

Hi,paadvise please. Is a night trek, possible?:) Looks awesome! We're planning to go this weekend. (kaya lng may pasok pa ng morning, hmm)

Gano Lacandula said...

H, question po, we are planning on going to Mt Batolusong this weekend and we are going to bring a car with us, the question is, paano po makarating sa batangas junction? any point of interest na pwede namin maging guide baka kasi maovershoot namin yung jumpoff site. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I am planning to bring my classmates at Mt. Batolusong for a hiking activity. Can someone give me a contact number of a tour guide so I can ask for my further inquiries ?

Thanks in advance ! =)

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