Posted in adventure, hiking, mountain trekking

Twin Peaks? Mt. Buntis and Mt. Nagpatong Day Hike…

My quest to prepare myself for running and finishing a full marathon has led me to try other outdoor activities like mountain trekking to strengthen my body, more specifically, my legs. So, 2 weeks ago (25th January, 2015) I joined a day hike of 2 least popular (to trekkers) mountains in the vicinity of Maragondon, Mt. Buntis and Mt. Nagpatong.

The first scenic view I've seen en route to the mountains and before crossing the bridge.
The first scenic view I’ve seen en route to the mountains and before crossing the bridge.

The 2 mountains has a historical importance as the execution site of the Philippine Revolutionary leader and hero, Andres Bonifacio. The exact site or mountain where Bonifacio died is still up to debate and can just be accepted as within the vicinity of the 2 mountains.

Group photo at the Municipal Hall
Group photo at the Municipal Hall. Photo by Koko Paps.

Now, about the journey, from Alabang, Muntinlupa City we traveled to Maragondon, Cavite via bus from the Baclaran Bus Terminal located within the old Coastal Mall. We left the terminal at around 6am and arrived at Maragondon some time between 7:30-8 am. After registration at the municipal hall and securing a guide, we started walking to the bridge that leads to the other side of town and the mountain trails.

Middle of the bridge...
Because it’s just a day hike, I only brought my Hawk Belt bag containing snacks, chocolates, swiss army knife, extra t-shirt, LED headlamp, and a 600ml hydration pack.
scenery from the middle of the bridge
scenery from the middle of the bridge
On the other side of the bridge...
On the other side of the bridge…
Group photo at the other side of the bridge.
Group photo at the other side of the bridge. Photo by Koko Paps.

After a quick briefing by the Team leads of Team Kumandok, we head out to the trails towards the 1st mountain, Mt. Buntis (The word “Buntis” translates as ‘Pregnant’ in English, the mountain is said to be shaped like a pregnant woman).

Group photo after the briefing. This is my 1st time joining a trek organized by Team Kumandok.
Group photo after the briefing. This is my 1st time joining a trek organized by Team Kumandok. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.

The first section of the trail is very similar to the Nuvali trails, there are grassy areas with cows all over the place.

We had a quick pit stop at a nearby house with a sari-sari store.
We had a quick pit stop at a nearby house with a sari-sari store.

The second section is more of a small forest with trees and riverbeds. It’s still an easy path that even kids can easily and safely walk through.

More rocks and riverbeds on the route.
More rocks and riverbeds on the route.

The third section is a bit harder with some uphills of medium difficulty, but there’s no need to use too much effort in climbing. This continues all the way to the summit. According to Google My Tracks, starting from the bridge to the summit, the total time of the trek was 1hr and 46 mins, and the total distance was 4.46 km.

The route from Maragondon bridge to Mt. Buntis summit.
The route from Maragondon bridge to Mt. Buntis summit as recorded by Google My Tracks.
Relaxing at the summit.
Relaxing at the summit.
A look at what's below the summit via GoPro. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.
A look at what’s below the summit via GoPro. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.
Koko Paps in action.
Koko Paps in action.
Panoramic view from the summit.
Panoramic view from the summit.
Even more panoramic view from the summit.
Even more panoramic view from the summit.
One last look at the surroundings before we go go.
One last look at the surroundings before we go go.

After nearly an hour of rest at the summit, we head back down for the 2nd destination, Mt. Nagpatong.

This is probably the most interesting sight along the route. A cave-like opening on the side of a hill. Looks like the Bat Cave from Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises.
This is probably the most interesting sight along the route. A cave-like opening on the side of a hill. Looks like the Bat Cave from Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises.
Going back to that nearby house for another quick pit stop.
Going back to that nearby house for another quick pit stop.
More rocks. More riverbeds.
More rocks. More riverbeds.

After a short pit stop, we head to the trail leading to Mt. Nagpatong. It’s just as easy as the Mt. Buntis trail, the only obstacle was that river that rises up and down depending on the time of day.

According to our guide, this river can rise above knee level. Luckily, it was shallow at the time.
According to our guide, this river can rise above knee level. Luckily, it was shallow at the time. Photo by Koko Paps.
Groupfie at the New Zealand-ish part of the route. Photo by koko Paps.
Groupfie at the New Zealand-ish part of the route. Photo by koko Paps.
This part of the route offers a nice, relaxing environment. Grass and bamboo around the place, wide space, and some cows. It's quite similar to the New Zealand trail of Nuvali.
This part of the route offers a nice, relaxing environment. Grass and bamboo around the place, wide space, and some cows. It’s quite similar to the New Zealand trail of Nuvali.

While some wanted to rest for awhile at the scenic part of the Mt. Nagpatong route (see photo above), some of us, including yours truly, wanted to reach the Bonifacio Shrine/Monument to rest and take our lunch, so we went ahead.

The entrance to the Bonifacio Monument. Careful with the steps though, the road was littered with cow dung.
The entrance to the Bonifacio Monument. Careful with the steps though, the road was littered with cow dung.

From the Summit of Mt. Buntis to the pit stop to the Bonifacio Shrine in Mt. Nagpatong, the total travel time was 2 hrs and 21 mins with a distance of 6.2km. The Bonifacio Shrine/Monument is like a rest house, this where we shared (Special thanks to the participants for sharing food, I didn’t bring any packed lunch because I know that I can get through the day with just water and some chocolates) and took our lunch and rest. After regaining energy, we had some photo op around the area.

It does look like a rest house in the mountains.
It does look like a rest house in the mountains.
After lunch rest. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.
After lunch rest. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.
The execution site of the Bonifacio brothers?
The execution site of the Bonifacio brothers?
The statues of the Bonifacio brothers.
The statues of the Bonifacio brothers.
Katipunan (abbrev. KKK). Photo by Koko Paps.
Katipunan (abbrev. KKK). Photo by Koko Paps.
Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan (KKK) ng mga Anak ng Bayan.
Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan (KKK) ng mga Anak ng Bayan.
"Bayani" (Hero).
“Bayani” (Hero).
One last group pic. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.
One last group pic. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.
With some of my officemates.
With some of my officemates. Photo from Team Kumandok FB page.
Photo by Jeremi Naval.
Photo by Jeremi Naval.

We head back to town, we took the same path as before, but the route to town was an easier one as we hit the pavement instead of the previous trail. We crossed a different bridge, one that has the tendency to sway and may induce dizziness to some people. We visited a museum dedicated to Andres Bonifacio. It was very similar to Jose Rizal’s house at my hometown in Calamba City, but it’s much more high-tech with air-conditioning, film showing, and an electronic-voice narration of the Bonifacio trial and execution. The place also offers comfort rooms to people who want to take a bath or change clothes. The total trekking time from the Bonificio Shrine in Mt. Nagpatong to the Bonifacio Museum and town was 1 hr and 6 mins with a 3.02 km distance.

The Katipunan flag inside the Bonifacio Museum.
The Katipunan flag inside the Bonifacio Museum.

Overall, it was a good hike. As my 2nd mountain trek adventure, it was an easy one, a relaxing nature trip, and a good preparation for my Condura Skyway Marathon run that happened a week later. I’m really enjoying mountain trekking, next to running, this is my favorite outdoor activity and I look forward to doing it more often this year.

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