Marco and I spontaneously decided to go on an adventure and got lost (literally) for a day.
We chose to go to Mt. Manalmon after reading that it was an easy mountain climb (40 mins-1 hour) and had a river + caves nearby. A short hike, spelunking and swimming sounded like a relaxing afternoon away from the city. But little did we know that the real adventure was getting there!
We left around 8AM but only reached the trail base at Sitio Madlum (Barangay Kamias, San Miguel, Bulacan) at around 12:30PM. The drive should have taken us half the time but we followed Google Maps/Waze which took us through unfamiliar dirt roads. Plus, the advice of sites like Pinoy Mountaineer told us to “just ask the San Miguel locals how to get to Sitio Madlum” which was harder said than done because people kept giving us different directions. We also got really lost getting back to the main highway after the trip, but despite the detours, it was worth it!
To get there, I highly recommend you commute via bus instead of taking your own car. It’s much more straightforward that way, and will cost you much less. Take a bus from Cubao bound to Cabanatuan and get dropped off at Barangay Kamias, San Miguel, Bulacan. From there, take a tricycle to Sitio Madlum.
The trail is ideal for inexperienced hikers because most of it is practically flat terrain and even passes through some fields. It’s only towards the peak that the incline gets a bit steeper, but it’s still very manageable.
In case you were wondering, Mt. Manalmon is named after a local legend about star-crossed lovers who accidentally pissed off a diwata or fairy who in turn swallowed the man whole, thus “Manlalamon” or Manalmon. Quite a morbid story for a beautiful mountain, haha.
In fact, Mt. Manalmon has been my favorite mountain summit so far. Even at high noon, the breeze was perfect and the view was breathtaking with Mt. Gola and the Madlum river right in sight.
After a quick descent from the top, we had the best time taking a dip in the cool Madlum river and exploring the surrounding rock formations. This was easily my favorite part of the trip.
It was a good day. But we learned that spontaneous adventures are much better when they’re well-researched because getting lost is NOT as fun as it sounds. Nonetheless, the moments of serenity in between and the company you keep make all the difference. 🙂