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Mt. Lubog: Worth That Bumpy Habal-Habal Ride

mt lubog

Why does climbing a “new” mountain bring a different kind of rush to a hiker? Just when we thought we’ve discovered all peaks, trailblazers still keep discovering new peaks and paving new trails — just like in Mt. Lubog of Montalban, Rizal.

Mt. Lubog A Newly Opened Mountain

Mt. Lubog opened its peak to hikers around May 2015. The trail is surprisingly well-established, and there are available habal-habal trips and tour guides organized by the local government. Expect not much traffic in the mountain because it is yet be rediscovered by more hikers.

The 955 meters above sea level altitude of Mt. Lubog is hardly felt because of the high jump off point that are taken with a habal-habal — a local motor taxi that looks different in every region in the Philippines. With this climb, coordination with Brgy. Puray is key. It is best to schedule your climb early on because of the weak cellular signal at the top.

Besides, the roughly 2-hour habal-habal ride to Mt. Lubog is not for the fainthearted. It is priced at PHP1,000 a ride for 4 passengers. This, I think, is inexpensive considering the road condition.Mt. Lubog

Encountering Rough Roads

The road remains unpaved, and the riders are accustomed to this, as they have provided transportation to communities at the top even before the opening of Mt. Lubog. A number of times, we had to get down to help push the habal-habal across the muddy patches or rocky grounds. We also had to tie our bags and watch out for a capsize

Which was impossible according to our very confident driver. It helped that he was a cheerful man, and that we saw the bone-jarring ride, as Socs put it, more as an adventure than a setback. Because, can I just say? Our Mt. Lubog 3×3 ride was more action-packed than that of Mt. Pinatubo‘s!

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Illegal Logging Activities

Unfortunately, Mt. Lubog is being threatened by illegal logging. During our climb we would hear the echoes of chainsaws roaring and brief encounters with young men hauling logs on their back. We also came across habal-habals struggling to transport these logs below.

It rained shortly during our ascent, causing a cold and moist fog to descend in the forest of Mt. Lubog. It gave off a wonderful feel. But it also made the earth squishy and slip-prone. Good thing the densely forested areas provided some sort of traction, especially on the way down. Along the way we saw beautiful rock formations that served as landmarks.

mt lubog

Fog Amidst Limsetone

The climb to Mt. Lubog itself is easy and intuitive. There are no intensely inclined slopes or streams to cross, and only several boulders to scramble over. Along the way, there is Lubog Cave and a waterfall to explore, although the downpour prevented us from exploring them. After more than an hour of hiking, we stopped by the second set of benches and ate our lunch briefly, before the final assault.

The assault to the peak is mostly scrambling over rocks. No life-threatening cliffs or elaborate rock climbing per se, but wearing a pair of gloves definitely helps. The 10-minute scrambling opens to a garden of limestone rocks, which characterizes Mt. Lubog’s peak.Mt. Lubog
The view from the peak of Mt. Lubog was hindered by heavy fogging because of the rain. Good thing, the limestone exposures and the crevices were a sight to see. On a sunny weather, the vantage point looked much like Mt. Daraitan and Mt. Pamitinan — overlooking the emerald greens of the Sierra Madre mountain range stretching from every direction.

On our descent, our habal-habal drivers took us to a cliff with a better view of the Sierra Madre mountain range, after the fog has lifted. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this view. Mt. Lubog really reminded me of my “why” in climbing. It energizes me to see new things and to go back to the earth.

Mt. Lubog

Thank you TravelCompassPH for this climb! Looking forward to climb the nearby yet-to-be-named mountain near Mt. Lubog.

With photos from Socs Melic and Maki Sanchez

How to commute to Mt. Lubog:

Meet at Farmer’s Market in Cubao to take the FX (PHP50.00). Get down at Total Gas Station in Montalban (Rodriguez), Rizal. Give a headsup to Brgy. Puray that you have arrived and stay at the nearby Brgy. San Rafael to wait. Note that this might include waiting time because signal atop the mountain is very weak. Take the habal-habal ride to Mt. Lubog once they arrive (PHP1,000 per ride that can fit four people). Entrance fee at the registration booth is PHP50.00 while a required tour guide fee is PHP400.00 per five people.

Contact numbers: Brgy Puray – 0928-464-7447

Estimated expenses: Minimum PHP500.00 per person

 

 

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Irish
    February 26, 2016 at 12:02 AM

    Wow, those scene with the rugged rocks looks amazing. The climb looks challenging but I think it’s worth it when you reached the top.

  • Reply
    Badet Siazon (@badudets)
    February 25, 2016 at 12:39 AM

    I think this is where my husband and his friends went bikepacking. The peak is really unique with all its stone formation.

  • Reply
    mommykach
    February 24, 2016 at 11:21 PM

    I personally do not see myself climbing any mountain soon (it’s just not my cup of tea), but seeing how passionate most climbers I know are and how awesome the view at the top always is, maybe perhaps someday I might give it a try 🙂

  • Reply
    Paolo Ruel
    February 23, 2016 at 7:29 AM

    Thanks for sharing! I climbed once, but will look forward to climb this soon,

  • Reply
    Richie B
    February 23, 2016 at 2:10 AM

    I’m sure you had a blast with your adventure. Sadly, my knees won’t be able to handle rocky trails.

  • Reply
    Caroline
    February 22, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    Mt Lubog sounded like quite an adventure! Your pictures are breathtaking especially all the limestone…

  • Reply
    Veeyah
    February 22, 2016 at 9:40 PM

    Wow! I haven’t tried hiking up mountains before, as I much prefer exploring forests and such. I feel like the experience will last a lifetime if I ever get to go on one of these trips. Good that you had fun even though the habal-habal must’ve been dizzying at times.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 27, 2016 at 2:41 AM

      Dizzying, bone-jarring, neck-breaking, yes!

  • Reply
    Mommy Queenelizabeth
    February 22, 2016 at 8:26 PM

    Wow! I didn’t know this one exist in this part of Rizal? This is amazing and the trek was quite challenging too… Mountain climbing is one of the ultimate adventures that i wanted to try.. i hope i can do climbing soon… i need more encouragement though 🙂

  • Reply
    tweenselmom
    February 22, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    Never imagined myself mountain climbing. Looking at those paths makes me cringe but at the same time amazed of your persistence.

  • Reply
    johnapgnt
    February 22, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    Great post! One of my goals this year is to climb a mountain, any mountain! So I’ll be adding this to my list of possible hikes this year hehe. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Marjorie
    February 22, 2016 at 3:13 PM

    I must say I’ve never heard of Mt. Lubog until this blog. The road condition looks challenging indeed, I’m surprised they still use habal habal there. It can’t be taken by just walking? Is it too far?

    And it’s just in Rizal? I am definitely organizing a trip there. I will use your blog post as a guide. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Roselle Carlos-Toledo
    February 22, 2016 at 2:13 PM

    The limestone formation is a sight to behold! I’m somewhat familiar with Montalban but I am not aware that such beauty exists.

  • Reply
    Debarpan
    February 22, 2016 at 11:22 AM

    wow!the view must be awesome from 995 meters of earth surface.Would love to visit there.Anyway hope you had some great fun there.

  • Reply
    Nurse Alpha
    February 22, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    That one guy in yellow shirt with rounded eyeglass is my former classmate in elementary school. I never tried to join his travel but I will surely avail it soon because their trips and plans are quite interesting 🙂 I can feel the painstaking hike that you have here but at the same time, your enthusiasm continues to endure. Good thing you are surrounded with highly positive people which made your hike easier. 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen
    February 22, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Habal-Habal for trekking is fun, but with the bumpy road, I believe it’s worth walking na lang.

  • Reply
    Franc Ramon
    February 22, 2016 at 8:46 AM

    The journey and the summit both look really scenic. It would be nice to hike Mount Lubog one of these days.

  • Reply
    Arcee Miranda
    February 22, 2016 at 12:41 AM

    Wow! This is so beautiful. I always wanted to do some hike, but with my condition I really can’t. That’s why I love reading and looking at your site. More beautiful photos please

  • Reply
    Milton Coyne
    February 21, 2016 at 11:55 PM

    the rock formation reminds me of those in Masungi … I haven’t been there but I saw some articles online about the Masungi georeserve…I really admire your passion for doing extreme activities like this.., I wish I have that courage too

  • Reply
    Ma. Theresa Montino (@jayresa03)
    August 24, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    The rock formation are so great! I want to join climbs like yours but I don’t have a climbing group or a support group.

  • Reply
    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    August 24, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    Sounds like you had a great climb! Grabe! Buti nakaka-akyat pa yung habal-habal dyan!

  • Reply
    Franc Ramon
    August 16, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    This is quite high at 995 meters but good thing it has a high jump of point. Last weekend we did Mt. Marami on a rainy day and it felt really difficult because of the slippery muddy surface. It must have also been challenging trekking Mt. Lubog when it rains.

  • Reply
    tumandok
    August 15, 2015 at 5:37 PM

    Limestone rocks make Mt. Lubog different and unique from other mountains or hills in the country to climb or scramble as you use to describe the 10-minute action of climbing and reaching the so-called garden of limestone rocks. Is there a possibility that this limestone rocks would melt?

  • Reply
    Jojo Vito
    August 15, 2015 at 5:36 PM

    I can only imagine the beauty of nature that wasn’t captured by your lens…:)

  • Reply
    Meikah Ybañez-Delid
    August 13, 2015 at 8:44 PM

    My first and only, so far, was in Siquijor Island. It was a lotta fun! :))

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