MT Manalmon Bulacan
Major jump-off: Sitio Madlum, Brgy. Sibul, San Miguel
LLA: 15°15.11’N; 121°1.22′ E; 196 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: Half-day / 1 hour
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2
Here is to another budget-friendly adventure just two hours from Manila.
Not only will you get to hike a mountain, you will also travel back through history.
Go caving – Cross a monkey bridge – Swim in a river and much, much more…
First, A little Background
Mt Manalmon is located just outside to town of San Miguel in the province of Bulacan, Luzon. It forms part the Sierra Madre Mountain Range and the Biak-na-Bato National Park.
Sure, at an elevation of 196 MASL, the mountain may not be as towering as Mt. Pulag or Mt. Apo, but, like most Filipinas, what it lacks in height it makes up in beauty. Mt Manalmon is a hidden paradise just waiting to be enjoyed and explored by adventurers like us.
Mt Manalmon possesses novel landscapes, including those of Madlum River, the Bayukbok Caves (a 2-hr exploration from the River) and Madlum cave (historical due to an 18th century relic) which can be coupled with the Mt Manalmon trek to maximize the Biak-na-Bato experience.
Also, complementing Mt Manalmon is another elevation called Mt. Gola which is often coupled with Mt Manalmon in a twin hike.
Mt Manalmon Itinerary
- 0600 ETD from Cubao or Pasay
- 0900 ETA at Brgy. Kamias in San Miguel
- 0930 Arrival at the registration area
- 1000 Start trek
- 1100 Reach the summit of Mt Manalmon
- 1130 Start descent
- 1145 Arrival at the river or junction to Mt. Gola
- 1215 Back at the jump-off point
- 1230 Lunch
- 1330 Caving at Bayukbok Caves
- 1430 Swim at Madlum river
- 1530 ETD from the jump-off point
- 1600 ETD from Brgy. Kamias
- 1900 ETA at Manila
The Adventure Begins
Mt Manalmon Bulacan
If you have your own transport, please refer to the map below for directions.
The easiest way from Manila if you are not driving is to catch a bus bound for Cabanatuan. You can take this bus either from Cubao or Pasay (we took the FiveStar Bus from Pasay, but Baliwag Transit and ES Transport also offers the same trip). Ask the driver first if it will pass by San Miguel, Bulacan.
The signage on the front of the bus we took was Gapan San Miguel. The travel time from Pasay was 3 hours approximately.
Kindly ask the driver to drop you off at Brgy. Kamias. From here, ride a tricycle to Sitio Madlum. Travel time from Sibul is around 30 mins.
As soon as you arrive, go to the registration area, confirm your booking, choose the adventure you want. Whether it is a Mt Manalmon day hike,or the twin hike including Mt Gola. Can also add on extra activities you would like to include such as Spelunking Madlum Cave or the Bayukbok Caves, the monkey bridge and so on.
Take note – Having a guide is mandatory.
Each visitor is required to sign in at the registration area and present the confirmation email of your booking. We were with a group and the group leader had organized this conformation.
If you are organizing the trip yourself you will need to first send an email to Mr. Rodrigo Florencio (email@example.com) outlining your hiking intent and proposed dates. This will grant you a Mt Manalmon Permit on arrival. The authorities closely monitor the river to avoid a second tragedy from happening. In August 2014 during the rains a group of seven students drowned during a planned field trip to Mt Manalmon Bulacan.
You can also cross the river to the registration area by a monkey bridge that you can see someone on in the background above (wearing a white tshirt). Apparently you can also catch a bamboo raft across the river but this was not available when we arrived. We opted to walk the bridge….
You can either choose to do the single Mt Manalmon trek or the twin hike including Mt Gola. If it’s your a first time trekker and want to take it easy, it’s better to only do the Mt Manalmon day hike. However, if you think you’re fit enough to do the twin day hike, our suggestion is to start with Mt Manalmon first then Mt Gola.
Both mountains are very easy to climb and are only rated at 2/9 level of difficulty which is great for beginners. The climb is about an hour to Mt Manalmon and another 45 minutes to Mt Gola.
Though the hike is rather easy, remember there will be river crossing included in this trek. We should always be very careful when crossing rivers because flash floods can occur very unexpectedly after rain. Please stay safe and follow the directions of your guides. It is their job to keep you safe.
You can decide to do an overnight trip but if you do, the only form of accommodation is to pitch a tent and camp the night. There are campsites available in various areas, one of the popular ones is near the summit (imagine waking up to those views). You will need to bring your own tent.
Once you see that last rock mound you know you are just meters away from the summit of Mt Manalmon Bulacan.
We decided to go straight to the summit first before exploring the caves or swimming the river. We did this so we would not be climbing the mountain exposed to the full heat of the day. As you can see from the picture, even at 10 am a few of us were starting to feel the sun and get dehydrated. Always remember to bring plenty of bottled water. When we arrived back at the drop-off point many of us went strait to the Sari-Sari store and drank at least 2 liters of water.
It was time to rest up, take all the selfies you can and then start the trek back.
Of course it was a lot easier on the return trip as it was all downhill but the sun was much higher in the sky now and you could really feel the sun beating down.
Looking back at the photos now, I am still amazed at the beauty of our country. To the left in the picture from the summit you will see Mt Gola. Seems so close you could almost hit it with a stone (but I don’t advice you to try this).
Test yourself on the Monkey Bridge
After lunch we tried the monkey bridge. We decided to make it interesting… All those that didn’t make it across or were too afraid to try it had to buy the others dinner.
The challenge was on and even though a few of us got off to a shaky start, we all managed to complete the bridge…
Madlum Cave is another great area to explore. Also, the cave was made famous by being featured on the TV series “Mulawin”. Madlum Cave was the so called “Camp Ravena” in the popular television series.
Bayukbok Caves 1 & 2
If you love spelunking, Bayukbok Cave 2 is currently open for adventure and exploration. When we were there, Cave 1 had been closed by DENR for safety reasons. Apparently the DENR need to explore the cave to classify it as being safe for the public. Our guide told us that Cave 1 is the more adventurous of both caves as you will need to rappel in certain areas.
Cave 2 is also challenging due to its tight passages so if you suffer from claustrophobia this may not be the experience for you.. Cave 1 does have a mini rappel but nothing hard. The spelunking took us about 2 hours but was well worth it. I got dirty but it was fun.
The Madlum River
The river is a great place to wind down and relax. Lay back and take in the beauty of the area, listen to the soothing sounds of the river passing or try bamboo rafting, cliff jumping or simply just swim around. After a hard day of hiking and spelunking, there is nothing better than a river swim to recharge the system.
The Legend of Mt Manalmon
Way back in the deep dark past, a couple was about to get married. They both wanted a grand feast on their wedding day, so the man decided to go hunting. During his hunt, he came across a deer and not knowing it was the diwata’s (fairy) pet, he shot it with an arrow.
The fairy, furious at what he had done, punished the man by encasing the lower half of his body in a rock found at the summit of the mountain. When the man’s soon-to-be wife found out, she pleaded to the fairy for forgiveness. The fairy asked for nine jars full of fruit nectar as price.
The woman scouted all parts of Bulacan in search of fruit-bearing trees, but she was only able to collect eight and a half jars of nectar. In a panic she decided to fool the fairy and add water to the last jar. When the fairy found out, she became even more furious, and turned the woman into a bird and the man was permanently swallowed by the rock hence the word Manalmon or “Manlalamon” o “Mangangain.”
Scenes from GMA-7’s “Mulawin” were filmed in the trails of Mt. Manalmon, including the caves.
Revolutionaries such as Emilio Aguinaldo took refuge in the caves of Biak-na-Bato to hide from the Spaniards. He even made it his headquarters in 1897; the intricate system of caverns faciliated his safety. It is estimated that there are over 100 caves in the area.
In recognition of its rich history, then Pres. Manuel Quezon declared Biak-na-Bato a National Park in 1937.
Things to remember
- -Don’t forget to email them first at firstname.lastname@example.org and address it to Mr. Rodrigo Florencio telling your intent to book a date for hike.
- -Bring at least 2 liters of water. It can get really hot on regular days!
- -Put on sunblock lotion! We forgot this so we got sunburns on the exposed body parts.
- -Wear proper trekking attire like sandals or trekking shoes.
- -Bring headlamp or flashlight if you’re going to try spelunking.
- -Bring extra clothes and toiletries!
- -Bring trail foods and pack lunch! (but there are also carinderias in the registration area where you can buy foods)
- -Relax and enjoy the view!
Please help us rate
Mt Manalmon Bulacan
Other Useful Information
|Guide Contacts||09195746470-Carlito Carpio (Guide)
09207785723- Dondie (Guide)
09155854684 – Ajeck
09155854684 – Ajeck
09195746470 – Tatay Carling
|Guides||Required. Suggested fee – P300/Dayhike (10:1 ratio) ; P600/Overnight (10:1 ratio)|
– Overnight:P600 (10:1 ratio)
– Dayhike: P300 (10:1 ratio)
Caving Trips: P200 (5 person)
Headlight Rental: P30/head
|Registration||Logbook in Registration Point
P15/head will be paid.
|Phone Signal||Network availability fluctuate in some trail.|
|Budget||P500 – P800 (Dayhike)|