Mt. Manalmon: Go Trekking, Caving, Swimming!

mt manalmon

Mountain climbing beginners looking for an all-in-one experience should definitely go to Mt. Manalmon. It’s situated only two hours away from Manila, with various options for adventures.

Where can you do cable crossing, mountain trekking, spelunking, river plunging and rappelling at the same time? It is here.

Climbing Solo, At Least Initially

On Labor Day, I went on an open climb organized by Josh with a group composed of Ultimate players, couchsurfers, mountain climbing first timers and officemates looking for a team building activity. The diversity of the group definitely matched the diversity of our itinerary.

Upon arrival, we were immediately faced with two choices: cross the monkey bridge or ride the balsa to cross the Madlum River. There is a less exciting choice of just going around the river, but of course, where is the adventure in that?


Cable Crossing across Madlum River

I opted for the monkey bridge where it took me 7 minutes to cross compared to the typical 2 minutes. I finished singing around three songs to distract myself. The idea of plunging into the shallow part of the river without a harness did not help. But by all means, try it!

Across Madlum River, we were greeted by fellow hikers and guides. The hike to the peak is just an hour back and forth. Entering the short Madlum Cave (where “Mulawin” was shot), crossing waters and hiking up a mildly steep slope is what you can expect before reaching the top. There are also amazing rock and tree formations around!

mt manalmon

Mt. Manalmon, A Mere Hill

In no time we reached Mt. Manalmon’s peak (a mere “hill” at 196 meters above sea level) overlooking the Madlum River and the summit of its twin mountain, Mt. Gola! Even though it was not that high or physically challenging (you can finish in an hour), I still liked the view from the top of Mt. Manalmon.

On our way down, we passed by some stores and had a soft drinks and mais con yelo. By the time we reached the jump off point, we enjoyed a lunch prepared for us by Josh. Here we got to know more about our daytrip buddies while eating.


Spelunking Bayukbok Cave

Afterwards we went to explore Bayukbok Cave. Headlights are required and can be rented for P30. It was highly advised not to bring too many things since we will be groping, hanging and wriggling our way inside the caves. We tried Caves 7-8, but there is a Cave 1-6 group that we missed due to the number of people (it was Labor Day after all). I copied photos instead because I didn’t bring my camera there. Hope you don’t mind!


The caves were absolutely stunning. I would never understand how someone first found his way inside because you will have to climb up, scramble down and crawl. The surroundings of the cave vary from smooth to jagged and there were times when we pause and turn off our lights just to take it all in — the pitch-black darkness, the still silence and coolness of the cave.

Going up to the caves was just as difficult as going down from it. It’s best to wear arm and leg sleeves to prevent cuts from the sharp rocks. Because it drizzled a little, we also had to be careful not to slip. Thankfully everyone made it in one piece!


Washing up at Madlum River

Finally, after hours of cold sweat and muddied hands, we finally emerged and washed up by the Madlum River. It was especially beautiful, and not deep enough to drown in. The ladies and I literally bathed in the river while it was drizzling! Best feeling ever. 

Overall, the trip to Mt. Manalmon and the Bayukbok Caves are one of the best adventures ever. I got to meet new friends, go spelunking and of course face my fear of heights yet again — this time with the novelty of steel cables. I would definitely return for Cave 1-6 and do it all again.

From Raul Vitales

From Raul Vitales

Another great part? We only spent around P500 for everything!



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  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    is it possible to bring my 7 year old kid at Mt Manalmon? 1st time hikers

  • Reply
    Meryll Catalan
    June 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Wow! This looks exciting! 🙂

  • Reply
    Chinky Magtibay
    June 11, 2014 at 1:16 AM

    I’ve only tried mountain climbing – Mt. Maculot – once. I sure am glad I was able to try that in my younger years! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 6, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    I really like the cave but i dont think i can survive it, i cant breath in confine spaces

  • Reply
    Que Sullano - Gavan
    June 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Im into running but would love to try mountain climbing or trekking soon

  • Reply
    leirs (@leirs)
    June 3, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Congrats on surviving the climb.. I know I couldn’t do it..

  • Reply
    Jeff Aspacio
    June 1, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Thanks for sharing this. I have been searching for a place where I can bring my family with me to introduce this experience to them. Is there a place at the peak where tents can be set up? Are their trekkers who stay overnight?

  • Reply
    Paul Farol
    May 31, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Made me remember all my treks up Macolot, Halcon, Famy, Piko de Loro, etcetera. AWESOME!

  • Reply
    Mommy Peachy
    May 31, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    I didn’t know that there’s a mountain you can climb in Bulacan

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    wow!you had such a great tour with so much fun.

  • Reply
    Mitch Ryan (@mitchryan23)
    May 30, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I was able to conquer Mt. Apo 17 years ago. ^_^. I noticed that Mt. Manalmon has very few trees. There are more brown spots than green. This is very sad.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 6:05 AM

      That’s probably because of the soil and rock formations 🙂

  • Reply
    Mr. Jacob's Mom (@MrJacobsMom)
    May 30, 2014 at 6:14 AM

    Oh my gosh! I wouldn’t be able to go inside those caves ‘coz I’m claustrophobic! But the climb and the view there looks great!

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 6:03 AM

      It is! Maybe try looking for smaller ones, the ones we’ve been too are a bit more challenging than others 🙂

  • Reply
    Janice / The Roller Coaster Ride
    May 29, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    I really love reading about your adventures. Sometimes, they are things that I wouldn’t normally do myself but are really great to read about. 🙂 You’re right, too, the view there is amazing.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 6:02 AM

      You should try going on adventures too! Do drop me a note if you intend to join us 🙂

  • Reply
    May De Jesus-Palacpac
    May 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    you are quite an adventurer and I’m green!!! I used to love hiking- in fact it was the only thing I enjoyed about the summer camps we were sent to every summer. We once hiked through the rivers of San Pablo and was even able to go up and spend a night at Mt. Maculot. How I wish I can do it again and this time, try some caves like you have. 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 6:01 AM

      You can still do that! I hope there will be more organized trips for the family so mommies, daddies and kids can join 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim |
    May 29, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Oh, wow. Thanks for sharing this! My husband and I are continuously looking for adventure trips where our kids can tag along. I think this is one our minis can do with us. 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 5:59 AM

      True! A daytrip is enough and we also saw a kid climbing and spelunking with the adults, so I guess you can take your kids here 🙂

  • Reply
    Katherine Bartlett (@KBWhiskey)
    May 29, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    Gorgeous shots you got!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    Amazing scenes! This is a reflection of Mother Nature’s beauty that’s worth a trip.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    After enjoying my climb up Mt. Pinatubo, I have been wanting to find a nearby mountain to climb. Thanks for this great suggestion!

  • Reply
    Michelle Solee (@michisolee)
    May 28, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    I experienced hiking and trekking when I was in college. Mt Makulot was my last climb.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    When I get tired of running, I’ll trek a lot more mountains like this.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    It’s really fun going caving. I did explore caves in Jenolan caves in Sydney and it was really a great experience.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    This really looks so much fun. I’m green with envy. I wish I’m not so tied at the footwear factory…

  • Reply
    Jerome Lupisan
    May 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Stunning view! Another good thing about it is the expenses.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 5:49 AM

      I agree! One of the cheapest ways to enjoy nature and go out of town on a holiday 🙂

  • Reply
    Jing 징 (@jingdalagan)
    May 28, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    The cave looked very majestic. And the overall trip was so budget-friendly (reminds me how it’s even cheaper than the trip from Manila itself)

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      May 28, 2014 at 7:10 AM

      I agree. Plus you get to accomplish something and meet new people 🙂

  • Reply
    May 26, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    This was the first mountain I climb. It was fun. We also went to three caves. We (me and my friends) were unprepared because we didn’t have headlights and arm warmers, good thing there were super kind mountaineers in our group and they lent us their stuff.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      May 28, 2014 at 7:09 AM

      True! I envy you for entering three caves, but I swear I’ll go back for the rest 🙂 Must have been encouraging that this was your first mountain since there are a lot of other activities aside from trekking 🙂

  • Reply
    Leira Bhagwani Pagaspas
    May 25, 2014 at 2:19 AM

    Wow to be young and ft.. I am not fit enough to do this pa.. someday soon

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 5:48 AM

      It’s really easy, and what’s great about climbing mountains is that when you get there, you have no choice but to make it to the top 🙂

  • Reply
    May 23, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    This is worth the journey and you had to cross a river. I should climb more mountains.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 5:45 AM

      True! The feeling of accomplishments afterwards is just memorable 🙂

  • Reply
    Patty | MrsC
    May 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Wow, adventure time! Looks like fun. I’m not really an outdoorsy person though hehe. 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      June 8, 2014 at 5:44 AM

      It’s okay! We have different preferences in traveling, although I would highly suggest for you to discover the great outdoors once in a while 🙂

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