Well known for being a hiking spot in Batangas, Mt Maculot is one of the best places to view Taal Lake.  Just 2 hours away from Manila, the mountain can be the perfect weekend getaway when you just want to explore, go on an adventure, connect with Mother Nature or unwind.

Having a peak of 930 meters above sea level, the mountain has a 5/10 difficulty in hiking, but any fit individual can finish the trek. Maximum time to complete the traverse trail is 5 to 6 hours.

Mt Maculot

Starting Line

From the INC church, our tricycle driver brought us to register at Brgy Syete. From here we hired a tour guide, Ms Ellai (18) and paid the registration fee. 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 off we went on our way. The first thing we saw at the start of the trail is a signage “To Mt Maculot”. After a few pictures, we started the hike.

Maculot Signage

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Trail

At the start of the trail, it is mostly plain. We saw the usual trees, weeds, vines and ferns. Our guide told us that we would first go up to the camping site, the Rockies, the Summit, the Grotto then down to the finish line.

The hike up to the campsite consisted of 13 stations. Each station features wood or bamboo benches for resting purposes and some buko juice for sale. As we ascended from the first station to the thirteenth, the buko juice cup gets bigger, and the price goes higher. Pretty funny.

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My friends even joked “habang tumataas, tumataas din ang presyo” (As we go up, the prices goes up too). From 10 pesos to 15 pesos to 20 pesos to 30 pesos. Haha. Anyways, the juice is pretty cold so if you’re craving for some cold stuff, try the buko some.

We passed by mango, avocado, santol, and many other kinds of trees on the way. It was very tempting to climb a tree and pick some fruits. The trail was getting steeper as we neared the campsite.

Mt. Maculot Trail

On the way, we met Kuya Amado who hikes the mountain almost every day to sell ice candy. He had avocado and buko flavored ice candies which cost 15 pesos each. We bought some, and it was delicious. You can really taste the natural flavor of the fruits. If you meet him on the way, buy some. It’s worth it.

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Campsite

Here you will find what our guide called “the Seven Eleven store” with its expensive prices. A one-liter bottle of water costs 80 pesos. We rested here for a bit before going to the Rockies.

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It takes 15 minutes from here to reach the Rockies.


Rockies

Climbing the Rockies is a bit hard because you’re climbing rocks. One wrong step and you might fall.

Going up the Rockies

We found the Rockies to be one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to.  With a breathtaking view of the Taal Lake and some parts of Batangas, we felt so lucky that the sky was clear that day.

We spent an hour and a half taking pictures. Since there were other hikers, we had to fall in line to take a photo. What made the day more interesting was that we met other hikers who are from Northern Luzon. We talked in Ilocano and exchanged stories.

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Summit

After the Rockies, we went back to the campsite to have lunch then went on to conquer the summit. Going up, the way was muddy and steep. I was grateful there were ropes, vines and branches to hold onto. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the summit from the campsite.

Muddy Trail

Too bad the summit was covered with fog, we couldn’t see the view. Despite the letdown, we enjoyed the foggy surroundings. It reminded us of our homes in Benguet and Mt. Province.

Mt Maculot

Grotto

Going down Mt Maculot’s Summit to the Grotto was an unforgettable experience. Muddy trails and rocky paths, the way was very slippery. We had to hold on to vines, branches and thankfully, ropes.

For an hour, we went down the trail ungracefully. After some slips and almost’s, we laughed at each other’s muddy shoes.

After what felt like a lifetime, we finally reached the Grotto. Each of us had mud all over our clothes and shoes. It was pretty funny. A bit of rest and with shaking legs, we descended the 14 stations of the cross to the end of the trail.

The Grotto

End of The Trail

At the end of the trail, tricycles are waiting for passengers while a few feet away is the bathroom where you can wash your shoes. Our guide suggested we wash at the G2B Lomi House, where we were headed for a victory feast. I highly recommend the place for a fulfilling Lomi experience. One regular serving worth 35 pesos is very satisfying.

Here’s a photo of our shoes before and after the trek to Mt Maculot’s summit. See the difference.

Tips and Reminders

  • Register at Brgy. 7 “Siete” since the trail to Mt Maculot’s peak will start at the Rockies. This is easier. Sometimes, when you register at the other barangays, the trail will start at Grotto. This trail is pretty hard.
  • Wear proper footwear. You will be hiking on muddy trails and climbing rocks.
  • 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 pee for 5 pesos, take a dump for 10 pesos or shower for 20 pesos. There are also available bathrooms at the start and end of the trail.

How To Get There

From Manila

To get to Mt Maculot, ride a bus going to Lemery from Buendia or Cubao. 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 guide. You can also opt to walk to the registration.

Budget Breakdown

Here are some of the financial damages the Mt Maculot trip may incur:

  • Bus fare to Cuenca (One-way): P147
  • Tricycle to the Registration Area: P25
  • Registration: P20
  • Tour Guide Fee: depends on your destination (see below for options)

Rates

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Sample Itinerary

4:00 ETD Manila
6:00 ETA Cuenca, Batangas
6:30 Start of Hike
8:30 ETA Campsite, Rest
9:00 Take photos and enjoy the view of the Rockies
10:00 Back to the Campsite and off to the Summit
10:30 ETA Mt Maculot Summit, rest, enjoy the view, eat some snacks and take photos
11:30 Start descent
12:00 ETA Grotto
12:30 ETA End of the Trail, Eat Lunch
1:30 Back to Manila

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