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Mt. Mapalad Day Hike Guide

There is a new hiking destination that has been making rounds on social media of late. It is known for the two hand-shaped wooden stages in the summit. Never had I been to a mountain with such an attraction that I felt compelled to make the climb. When I started posting my own photos on Instagram I received many comments and private messages asking the specifics about this mountain. There aren’t many blog posts to date that the top Google search is a personal post, not a guide. So let me address your questions in this post. Here’s a day hike guide on this newly opened hiking spot in Rizal, Mt. Mapalad.

Mountain Specs

Mt. Mapalad is named after a plant that looks like the palm of a hand. It’s located at Barangay San Andres, Tanay in the mountainous province of Rizal. It stands at about 750+ meters above sea level (MASL) with a trail class of 1-3 and a difficulty level of 3/9. Depending on your pace, you can reach the summit in 2 to 3 hours.

According to our guide, the mountain was officially opened to the public just last September.   

How to reach Mt. Mapalad

If you know how to get to Mt. Batolusong, follow the same path. The jump-off point of Mt. Mapalad is just a few minutes away from that of Mt. Batolusong. But if you haven’t been to Batolusong or just like me, you’re just bad at memorizing directions then here it goes…

By commute

  • From Cubao, ride a jeep with the Antipolo Cogeo route.
  • Take off at Cogeo Gate 2 or Cogeo Public Market and walk towards Cogeo City Mall where you will see the jeep terminal.
  • Get inside one of the jeepneys, get off at Barangay San Andres.
  • In Barangay San Andres, there are tricycles on the side of the road, hire one of those, and inform the driver to take you to Mt. Mapalad registration area.

Voila, you’ve reached the jump-off point.

By hiring a vehicle

If you want to hire a van as we did, I recommend Aloha Transport Services. Shoot them a message on their Facebook page and ask for a quotation. Our group paid ₱5,500 in total exclusive of the driver’s meal. I’m not sure what will happen in the coming months but during our trek, there was no parking fees.

The Climb

We traveled from Makati to Rizal for an hour and stopped in one of the rolling stores for breakfast. At around 7:00 a.m. we reached the jump-off point where we registered and paid an eco fee of ₱100 per head. We were a group of 7, led by two hiking guides, Carlo and Rialyn. Each guide has a fee of ₱500 for a max of 5 people per group.

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L-R: Alchris, Arrianne, Arthur, Krish, Cai, Mechelle, me

The climb commenced at 7:28 a.m., the terrain was mostly flat in the first 20 to 30 minutes. One hour into the trek, the slopes began to climb gentle rocky hills; the soil was generally dry. We crossed over a few small river streams along the way, thankfully we didn’t have to walk through them. I wasn’t keen on the idea of soaking my feet and legs during the hike. 

My friend, Krish and her companion, a French guy named, Arthur got a head start over us. They had long strides and they moved quickly, taking little to no rests. Soon they were way ahead of us that we lost track of them in the trail. I spent the better part of the climb with my other friends, Cai, Alchris, and Mechelle. Arrianne, on the other hand, maintained her slow pace.

Somewhere along the way, Cai started singing, reasoning that it distracts him from the physical challenge of the climb. It soon turned into a little game in which we sang a song and used the last word of it to continue with another song. I quit the game when they asked me to sing a song starting with “amen,” like, what the fudge.

Alone in the woods

I snacked on jelly ace and stopped to drink water when I had to. I move with a moderate pace, not as fast as Krish and Arthur but not as slow as the rest of my friends. Somewhere along the way, I found myself trekking alone. I took the liberty of going ahead of my friends (who were still playing the singing game when I left them). The trail is pretty easy to follow. It was not a busy day and Mt. Mapalad is not yet known as its neighboring mountains; in those few moments, I noticed that there were no other hikers in sight. My bravery expired when I noticed that I had been on my own for like 30 minutes. I was thinking, why the hell should I pay the guides when they haven’t done the job that I’m paying them for.

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I found a big boulder and decided to stay there as I awaited my friends. When I heard some voices, I breathed a sigh of relief. Moments later, two male hikers accompanied by an old man came into view. They stopped to take some photos on the boulder and we had a little chit-chat. They didn’t plan to go on this hike, they just agreed to go today, is what they told me. I was there thinking, now that’s what you call being spontaneous. I shared that I organized the climb and invited some of my friends. One of them took it to mean that I am an event/trip organizer and asked for my Facebook page. I quickly clarified that I’m not in a travel business and that I just like organizing get-togethers and trips with my friends.

Moments later they went on their way and I stood there considering my next step; should I follow them or should I just wait for my friends? I did the former. 10 minutes into my walk I saw the other guide, Carlo, running towards me. He apologized for leaving us behind and reported that Krish and Arthur were waiting for us in one of the resting spots along the trail. He shared he’s amazed at how fast the two moved. I told him that both like climbing mountains, in fact, Krish includes a trek in most of her trips here and abroad. Arthur has climbed more mountains than any other person in our group.    

The Summit

We reached the summit at 10:15 a.m. and saw a queue of hikers waiting to take photos the wooden hand structures (Palad 1 and Palad 2). The weather was beautiful, I didn’t mind the wait. 

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Palad 1 is more aesthetically pleasing than Palad 2, but the latter was built on a spot with a much better view.  By the time it was our turn, many hikers have already gone. I learned from our guide that most hikers start to climb as early as 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning to set camp and wait for the sea of clouds.

At 11:45 a.m. we decided to head back. During our climb it was hot and the trail was dry, but shortly before descent rain came pouring making the trail a bit muddy and oh so slippery. A mountain climb wouldn’t be complete unless I slip, and so I did, this time, all the way to the side sending me off the trail. The only thing that stopped me from slithering further was a tree that happened to be on the way, hitting the side of my head. I heard my neck making a cracking sound (kinda like when a masseuse adjusts your neck). Disoriented, I stayed sitting on the ground for a moment to check if I had any injuries. Thankfully, I wasn’t badly hurt that I was able to get up on my feet with no difficulty.

We passed by a river where we spotted several hikers enjoying a swim. Arthur, looking excited, asked if we were going swimming but the rest of the group had no energy to go for it. Personally, all I wanted was to shower and change into clean clothing. The slipping incident got me all muddied, I didn’t want to soil the van seat.

Finally, we were back at the jump-off point at 1:39 p.m and saw the other climbers waiting for their turn to take a bath. They charge ₱20 for shower use. 

Tips & other information

  • What to bring – Aside from the usual e.g., water snacks, bring extra clothes to change into, as well as slippers. Also, I recommend using a trekking pole, it’s quite useful especially during descent.
  • Can I bring a car? – You may bring a car and park on the side of the road near the jump-off point. To my knowledge, there is no parking fee, but this may change in the future.
  • Is it ideal for beginners? – Honestly, it would be challenging for a beginner, but I think it’s doable. Just go on a pace that is comfortable for you, there’s no need to hurry, take your own sweet time if you have to.  
  • How much is the damage? – Excluding other expenses (food, transportation), expect to spend around 300 pesos.
  • How long is the trek? – It depends on your pace, in our case, it took us 3 hours.
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Thanks for reading!

👋

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