You want to discover why Mt. Maculot is a 3in1 hike?
Also called Mount Maculod- is a mountain located in the town of Cuenca in Batangas province, in the Philippines. The mountain is about 930 MASL with 4/9 difficulty level, this mountain is perfect for a day hike adventure that offers an impressive view of Taal Lake. And the volcanic rock wall called The Rockies is about 706 MASL is said to be part of Taal Caldera’s crater rim.
How to get There
From Cubao ride a bus going to Lemery Batangas. The fare is 147 pesos. Travel time is 2 to 3 hours. Ask the driver to drop you off at Cuenca by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) Church.
From Lipa Ride a jeep going to Lemery. The fare is 25 pesos. Drop by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC)in Cuenca.
*Once you reach Cuenca, ride a tricycle for 20 pesos to go to the registration where
you will hire your Tour Guide. You can also opt to walk to the registration.
Cuenca, officially the Municipality of Cuenca, ( Tagalog : Bayan ng Cuenca), is a 4th
class municipality in the province of Batangas, Philippines.
Preparation for the Hike
From the INC church, the tricycle driver brought us to Brgy Syete to register. From here we hired a tour guide and paid the registration fee (20). We chose the traverse trail to get a full experience of the mountain.
After registering, together with the guide, the tricycle brought us to the jump off point. Before starting, our guide advised us to buy whatever we may need from a nearby store since the store at the mountain sells food and water for an expensive price. There’s also a CR near the store for those who wanted to take a break before starting the trek.
We bought some additional food, and we start our trek.
The Actual Hike
Mt Maculot is popular among mountain climbers and campers; it is the major tourist attraction of the municipality. According to some stories, this has been a mystery to many for a very long time as talks about it being enchanted have spread quite frantically among locals instilling both fear and curiosity among visiting mountain enthusiasts. While several deaths in this mountain have been recorded, it remained a favorite among climbers and is still packed with lively souls every single day.
Aside from that, every year on Holy Week, thousands of pilgrims from nearby towns and provinces climb the mountain as a form of penance. The mountain is sacred to both Christian and Anitist adherents.
Anyway, the reason why I said it is a 3in1 hike because Mt Maculot has three destinations to visit.
- The Rockies
- The Summit
- The Grotto
The most well-known peak is the Rockies where most of the climbers head to. Only a few of the registered hiking population opt to traverse the mountain – reaching all three destinations. Because of the distance of each destination and of course the crowd made by lots of hikers and visitors who want to take adventurous pictures on the peak. Especially during weekend or peak season like a holy week.
The Rockies is the most famous traverse route with 706 MASL and difficulty level of 3/9, this is also the first destination to explore. The trail going up this peak is actually steep. What’s more challenging is that the trail is dusty which makes it so slippery. But no need to worry, there are the rope that is strategically located along the trail. During the ascent, there are numerous stopovers where you can sit and catch your breath. There are locals selling snacks and drinks in those stop overs but only during the weekends. So, if you are planning to climb Mt. Maculot on a weekday, better pack your own refreshments. The last stop over is the campsite where hikers can pitch their tents. This site is five to ten minutes away from the Rockies.
From the campsite, you will take a rope-assisted trail. It is a dusty steep descent to the base of Rockies. If you are not careful enough, you might slide down until the base. After that descent, you will be challenged by a short rock climbing course. Local guides will assist you on your way up and instruct you where to put your hands and feet next. Then, the majestic view of the Taal Lake will greet you a warm welcome!
The awesome view of Taal Lake and the rest of Batangas will ease all your pain and short breaths and recharge your energy. No doubt why The Rockies draws the most climbers among all Mt. Maculot’s destinations. It usually takes two hours to get to the Rockies from the jump-off point. But, of course, time varies per hiker.
After the breath-taking climb and awesome view on the Rockies, next stop is The Summit with 930 MASL. If you will see from the peak of the Rockies, the Summit looks close. But it’s not, it’s another one-hour-hike going to the summit. It might actually take you more depending on how fast you are. On the way to the Summit, you will pass by the store so-called ‘7-11’ of Mt. Maculot. I suggest that you grab the snacks and refreshments you need here before you go because there are no more stores along the way.
The ascent to the Summit is actually more challenging than the Rockies. The trail is steeper and there are no more rest stations along the way. The assault going up is no joke but there are ropes provided that will assist you with this climb.
The last destination for this hike is the Grotto with 510 MASL. From the Summit, you will descend Mt. Maculot for another hour to get here. In my experience, descending is more challenging compare to ascending. Or maybe, am I just too tired at this point? The trail is not as dusty or steep as the other trails.
However, there are more assaults along the way. There are more rope assists and of course the unforgettable rappelling, which is my first experience ever when I do that I felt like I am a professional mountaineer (LOL), but nevertheless it’s an unforgettable adventure. I enjoy it much. The trek was much more fun because of this new experience! And finally, we reach the Grotto.
This destination is a popular go-to place during Holy Week for devotees and believers. From the Grotto, our descent was a breeze. A bit of rest and with shaking legs, we descended the 14 stations of the cross to the end of the trail.
There are shower rooms available for a minimal fee at the end of the trail. Before taking a trip back to Manila our guide suggested taking some fulfilling Lomi experience. One regular serving worth 35 pesos is very satisfying.
Recommendations & Reminders
- Choose to Register at Brgy. 7 “Siete” in order to start the trail at the Rockies. This is easier compare to Grotto. This trail is pretty hard when you register to another barangay.
- Wear proper hiking footwear. You will be hiking on muddy trails and climbing rocks with matching rappelling.
- Bring enough water and food. Prices at the store by the campsite is expensive.
- Use gloves when climbing the Rockies to avoid any hand injuries. Safety first.
- Start early. There are only a few trees by Mt Maculot’s Rockies and the Summit. It is very hot during the daytime.
- There is a bathroom near the Grotto where you can pay for 10 pesos or shower for 20 pesos. There are also available bathrooms at the start and end of the trail.
- Give extra tip for your Tour Guide and share food with them as well.
- Support Local products by buying food and souvenirs.
- Respect Local culture and property.
- Listen to your guide always.
- Leave no Trace but footprints and bring home the Memories.