Mt. Manabu: Overnight Travel Guide

I can say that trekking Mt. Manabu is one of the easiest climbs I’ve done so far. Not just because the trail is relatively easy but also the trail itself is mostly covered by trees and shades that could tone down one’s exhaustion during the overall trek. There are also a lot of stations you can rest along the way making it a good Mother Mountain for any beginners. Not only beginners would love the place but there are a lot of ace hikers who keeps on getting back here to spend a night to relax, enjoy nature and just to have a fun day of hike.

Knowing Mt. Manabu:

Mt. Manabu is one of the peaks that can be found in the Malipunyo or Malarayat Mountain Range. Malipunyo Range is an extinct volcano that lies across the provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Quezon. The range is known for its three distinct peaks namely: Mt. Manabu, Mt. Malipunyo and Bagwis Peak or also known as Susong Dalaga. For this trip we only went to Mt. Manabu where jump off point is located in Sitio Sulok, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Manabu came from the word “MAtaas NA BUndok” which means “high mountain” in English. Difficulty level is 2/9 and one can reach the peak in about 3-4 hours.

How to go to Mt. Manabu:

From Manila

From Buendia/Cubao ride a bus bound to Lipa, Batangas and ask the driver if it will pass through Fiesta Mall junction. If not, tell the driver to drop you off in Robinsons Lipa. From Robinsons Lipa ride a jeepney bound to Fiesta Mall Junction. From there, look for a tricycle that will take you to Sitio Sulok. Inform the drive that you’ll go to Mt. Manabu (fare is 40 Php each). You’ll be needing to stop over the registration office to register and pay for an environmental fee first before the driver will drive you again directly to the jump off.

From Laguna

Make your way to Turbina Terminal and look for jeepneys bound to Lipa. Tell the driver to drop you off in Fiesta Mall junction and fare will be 70 Php each. At the Fiesta Mall junction charter a tricycle that will take you to the jump-off in Sitio Sulok.

Start of trek:

We reached the jump-off point (which is the parking area too if you bring your own car) at around 9:30 AM but decided to eat first as we didn’t have any breakfast yet. We just asked some locals and found this local “karinderya” that cooks and sells the famous Batangas Lomi. After eating, we started our trek at around 10:30 AM. Our supposed tour guide, Kuya Allan, was still on the station 5 of the Manabu trail as we arrived too early on our agreed time. So, he let his uncle, Kuya Floren, guide us for today during our ascend. We started the trail by passing through a water tank (station 1) and the trail was kinda forthright. Station 2 is just few hundred meters away and there are huts and sari-sari stores to buy snacks and take a seat to rest along the way. One store sells wooden trekking poles for 10 Php that I suggest you to have one as the trail could be muddy especially during rainy season. You’ll be needing it as a support if you always stumble on a muddy trail.

About 500 meters from station 2, you’ll be reaching station 3 which is located beside a creek then take another 378 meters and you’ll be reaching station 4 where you’ll be seeing a Jackfruit tree as a landmark. The trail is almost covered by trees and plant lives so no intense heat of the sun that could make you too exhausted.

The rosary trail guide of Mt. Manabu

After another 25 to 30 minutes, we reached station 5 where the famous kubo of Tatay Tino can be found. Mt. Manabu, aside from its peak, is famous also for the civet coffee that Tatay Tino offers to the hikers for free! Here, you can drink as much coffee as you want. You can also purchase Tatay Tino’s civet coffee as he already had it packed if you wish to bring some back home. They also sell foods, drinks and Mt. Manabu’s souvenirs such as bracelets, keychains and t-shirts. We also met here our supposed tour guide, Kuya Allan. Tatay Tino and our current tour guide, Kuya Floren, are brothers and both uncle of Kuya Allan. Their family owns this hut in station 5. We sat here for some time and talk with our Kuya guides and Tatay Tino. Your hiking experience wouldn’t be complete without meeting and talking to Tatay Tino and I think all hikers on Manabu will share the same thoughts.

Tatay Tino, Kuya Floren and Kuya Allan
Civet coffee and souvenirs on station 5
Photo with Tatay Tino
Photo with Kuya Floren

After some rest, we started the last leg of assault going to the station 6 (Manabu peak). I must say that this is the hardest part of the trail as it is a continuous ascend and there are parts not covered by trees anymore so scorching heat will make your way harder. There are around three camping grounds located just below the summit. We reached Mt. Manabu summit by around 2 PM and were greeted by the big white cross. We had the stunning view of Batangas from above all by ourselves. We were blessed that we had a clear view during our visit though the weather signals a rain anytime soon. We spent some time on the peak for picture taking (of course! Haha) and enjoying the view right in front of us.

Big white cross on the summit
View of batangas from the summit
Kuya Floren is always game for a photo
A nice view located few steps below the summit

Camping ground for our overnight stay:

After getting enough photos, we decided to trek down back to the camping grounds to setup our tents since we’ll be spending the night here. Kuya Floren left us and informed us that Kuya Allan will fetch us by the next morning. Right after setting up our tents and settling our things, a heavy rain poured down. Water came inside in one of our tents so I suggest to bring a waterproof tent especially when there is a high chance of rain on the day of your hike. Good thing, the rain only poured for about an hour or two. We ate early dinner and took some rest.

Our camping tents during a rainy afternoon

At around 5:30 PM, another two sets of well-equipped campers arrived. I can say that they’ve been to Manabu multiple times since they came without a guide. They setup their tents, cooked foods, invited us over dinner and spent the whole night talking about life and likes. I can say that hiking is their escape. Manabu is a perfect sanctuary to relax and disconnect with the reality and turmoil of the jungled city once in a while. If you’re looking for solace, Manabu would happily give you that.

The next morning:

We woke up at around 6 AM and decided to get back on the summit wishing that we could witness a sunrise but due to the thick clouds, we were not able to see one. We sat on the summit and waited for the clearing. It was such a nice encounter to just sit down and behold how the clouds slowly getting washed away by the wind and greeted again by the same beautiful view from yesterday that I’ll never get tired of seeing.

Summit for the second time
Yes, that's Mt. Maculot from afar!

We packed our tents and stuffs and started our descend at around 8 AM. It was Kuya Allan who went back and fetch us instead. We opt not to do the rosary trail anymore and decided to just continue our trek down back to station 5. The trail down back to station 5 became trickier as the path became muddier due to the rain the other day. We took a lot of rest along our way down and even washed our muddy shoes on the waters of the creeks we passed by. And I think that’s the purpose of traveling and hiking, to just slow down and enjoy every experience of it.

We reached the jump-off point at around 11:30 AM. There are bathrooms and comfort rooms on the post so we cleaned ourselves, took a bath, fix our things and head back home.

Almost at the jump-off
Jump-off point

Other things to know:

  • Registration fee that you have to pay is 30 Php.
  • If you are looking for a tour guide, you can contact Kuya Allan on this phone number 09099586191 or contact him through his facebook page here.
  • Jump-off point of Mt. Manabu is in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas while Mt. Malipunyo jump-off point is in Brgy. Talisay, Lipa, Batangas. So, if you wish to have the Malipunyo-Manabu traverse you’ll be having a different entry and exit point.
  • Hiking to the summit could take around 3-4 hours.
  • We paid our tour guide 1,500 Php for an overnight hike. We didn’t get the day hike rate but you can contact the guide beforehand.
  • If you’ve been to Mt. Manabu before and you’re confident enough that you know the trail path, tour guides are no longer required.

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