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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mt. Sipit Ulang and Payaran Falls Dayhike » Claw Your Way to the Top

View from below of Mt. Sipit Ulang resembling crab's claw
Up I went. The view kept looking nicer and nicer. Once we reached the rock formations, I immediately put down my backpack and claw my way up against the sharp rocks. It felt so good looking at the surrounding view and feel the heights. 

I found myself on this gorgeous place last Sunday on a quick and unplanned dayhike. This natural landscape features an impressive rock formation (Mt. Sipit Ulang) and a series of fantastic waterfalls (Payaran Falls).  

From below, this rock formation appears to resemble a fossilized giant crab’s claw reaching for something in the sky – hence the name Sipit Ulang (or crabs claw).  From top of the rock, the view was sheer splendor. I was amazed at the beautiful, scenic views these rocks offered, enhanced beautifully by the gorgeous surrounding view of Mt. Pamitinan, Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Ayaas – definitely a post card view. 

We also come for the stunning series of waterfalls – the seven-layer Payaran Falls – a refreshing sidetrip after the hike.   


Officials of Baranggay Mascap just officially opened the area for hiking & waterfalls-chasing last July 2, 2015. I learned that they are also planning to include caving soon. Lots of improvements are still on the way including proper training of the guides. 

It seems the secret is out now and hikers will now be rushing to this natural rock formation that is Mt. Sipit Ulang (other name: Sipiturang). Our options for an awesome dayhike just got better especially for those corporate slaves like me living in the Metro. 


Getting there

Located in Barangay Mascap in Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal - just approximately a 2-hour travel time from Cubao Farmers (depending on traffic) – Mt. Sipit Ulang opens up new option for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a quick dayhike near Metro Manila. 

From our meet-up place – Jollibee Farmers Cubao – we left at around 5 in the morning on a rented FX. We negotiated with the drivers to drop us directly at Brgy. Mascap since we are a big group. We arrived at around 7 in the morning and were immediately assisted by a Brgy. Kagawad. After registering our names we had a short briefing in front of the Baranggay Hall which also serves as the jump-off. 


Fun hike

Scenic view along the trail going up Mt. Sipit Ulang rock formation
Scenic view on the way up Mt. Sipit Ulang rock formation
This is a pleasant hike that begins in a small meadow after crossing a stream then gently climbing up. The trail was mostly covered by trees and bushes and also passing under intimidating boulders and narrow rock formations.  
A bit of challenge was passing thru narrow passageways between boulders and crawling up sharp rock formations – it was actually awesome and fun slipping on these passageways. I never get tired of seeing all these different types of rock formations on the trails.


Narrow rock passages along the trail going up Mt. Sipit Ulang
Very narrow passageways between rocks and boulders going up Mt. Sipit Ulang rock formation

I must suggest you bring a small dayhike backpack only or bring only the essentials because some very narrow passageways can only fit in one person and you need to remove your backpack to pass thru. 


Cave like passageways as part of the trail going up Mt. Sipit Ulang
Cave-like passageways as part of the trail going up the Sipit Ulang rock formation

After these narrow passageways, we continue hiking on a relaxing trail until we reached the Sipit Ulang rock formation.  

Amazing view of surrounding mountains from top of Mt. Sipit Ulang
Gorgeous surrounding view from top of Mt. Sipit Ulang with glimpses of Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan 


Claw your way up


Hiker at the top of Mt. Sipit Ulang after climbing up at the sharp rocks.
Climbing the top is a bit daunting

Mt. Sipit Ulang is a speck in the whole Sierra Madre mountain range, a tiny rock formation -- but up close, it is a bit daunting. I found myself gingerly pushing myself up and stretching my legs as much in a search for sturdy rock ledges.   


Hikers crawling and exploring the Mt. Sipit Ulang Rock formations
It's actually fun exploring the whole rock formation.  (Photo Credit: Sir Janssen Sanchez)
The stones were sharp and rough, a bit abrading my hands as I clawed my way up and down. It’s a good thing I didn’t forget to bring hand gloves.   


Climbers having fun on top of Mt. Sipit Ulang rock formation
The customary freedom shot.  (Photo Credit: grabbed from Facebook - please advise me who took this shot for credits)

Although the weather that day is quite pleasant – with occasional breeze but mostly windless, the sun out directly hitting the rock formations is exhausting and definitely breaks me a good sweat. 


Yodi on top of Mt. Sipit Ulang with view of Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan
Just another emo shot  (Thanks Sir Harold Ocampo for the shot)

The topmost rock could only fit in one or two climbers at a time so we have to wait for our turn to experience the top and have some souvenir photo. It was so nice to be in harmony with nature again and I felt so thankful to have eyes that could appreciate this beauty. 


Hikers exploring and enjoying the rock formation
Exploring and climbing Mt. Sipit Ulang like crabs (Photo Credit: Sir Janssen Sanchez)

After enjoying the rock formations, we stayed for about 3 hours waiting for the other group to arrive. We later learned that our other group got lost in the trail – although they have guides. Well that happens - mountains are really tricky most of the times.   

Instead of going directly to the waterfalls, which was the original itinerary, we decided to head back to Barangay Mascap for lunch.  There are carinderias and sari-sari stores at the Barangay so I regretted bringing a packed lunch from a fastfood. 


Do go chasing waterfalls 

The Payaran Waterfalls is an easy 1-hour trek from Brgy. Mascap. I suggest you just wear trekking sandals because of the series of river crossings. Some part of the trail is exposed to sun so you should also consider bringing a cap or a scarf to protect you from the sun. 


River crossing as part of the trail going up Payaran Falls
River crossing as part of the trail going up Payaran Falls

After crossing at least 3 spillways, 4 streams and a river we reached the first waterfall of Payaran’s series of 7 waterfalls.   


Hikers crossing waterfalls going up Payaran Falls
Refreshing trek passing streams going up Payaran Falls

It’s rare, indeed, to find such a stunning series of waterfalls 


First waterfall out of seven waterfalls of Payaran Falls
FIRST of the seven series of waterfalls

Second falls out of seven waterfalls of Payaran Falls
SECOND WATERFALLS out of seven


Third waterfalls out of seven waterfalls of Payaran Falls
THIRD waterfalls out of seven


Fourth waterfalls out of seven waterfalls of Payaran Falls
FOURTH waterfalls out of seven
Sixth waterfalls out of seven waterfalls of Payaran Falls
FIFTH  waterfalls out of seven

As I rounded a corner in the trail, I realized I was surrounded by waterfalls. What a magical feeling. Then we finally reached the sixth waterfalls which is the largest and most impressive. This beauty and its rumbling powerful sound is worth the trek.  


Main Falls and the grandest out of the seven
SIXTH and the grandest waterfalls out of the seven series of waterfalls

I couldn’t wait to be near it. For a while, I sat on the rock very near the falls with my eyes closed, just feeling the moment and the force of the water pouring in my body. It felt wonderful against my arms and body. I knew somehow its energy was recharging me.


Catch basin of the seventh waterfalls of Payaran's series of seven falls
Romantic catch basin of the seventh waterfalls where you can actually jump.

To complete the seven series, I climbed the steep side of the cascades going up the seventh falls. I enjoyed swimming and jumping on its romantic small catch basin.    


Hikers on top of seventh Falls of the Payaran Falls
Enjoying the top of the SEVENTH falls  (Photo Credit: Please provide)

I was very happy enjoying that moment. I felt alive.


Souvenir photo of our group in front of Payaran Falls
Group souvenir photo in front of Payaran Falls (Photo Credit: Grabbed from FB - Please advise/provide)

Due to lack of extra time and delays on our itinerary, we canceled the hike going to the Secret Lagoon which is also a 1-hour trek. Well, maybe next time. 

At 4:00 in the afternoon while trekking back to Brgy. Mascap, a nice romantic August rain continuously poured.


Children enjoying the river and sliding at the culverts
We also tried a the local "Culvert Slidefest" which was really fun.  

We passed by a spillway with kids enjoying the rapids and sliding inside the culverts – this instantly tickles the kid in us so we immediately do a mini river slidefest – yes, on culverts and it was so much fun!   


Weekend wish granted

Yodi freedom shot on top of Mt. Sipit Ulang
Always be thankful for the gifts of nature.

This dayhike had a little bit of everything which makes  it interesting and challenging – nice cardio climb, narrow rock formations, some rock climbing with spectacular scenery and of course the refreshing series of waterfalls. 

It was a great experience hiking Mt. Sipit Ulang and exploring Payaran Falls

It fulfills my weekend wish – to enjoy the chance of having precious moments of life that outdoors can offer. It reminds me to try to enjoy moment-by-moment as consciously as I can with a heart full of gratitude for the gifts of nature. 

That night, I slept really well, and woke-up the next morning craving for some crabs.




________________________________
Miscellaneous Info

Our Itinerary
4:00 AM – Meet-up at Jollibee Cubao Farmers
5:00 AM – Depart Cubao going to Brgy. Mascap on a rented FX
7:00 AM – Arrived Brgy. Mascap
7:15 AM – Register at Brgy. hall and a quick briefing and getting to know the guides. 
7:30 AM – Start trek going up Mt. Sipit Ulang
9:00 AM – Arrive at Mt. Sipit Ulang main rock formations. 

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Stayed at the rock formations. Photo-op, Socials. 
                   We waited for the other group to arrive – they got lost in the trail.

11:00 AM – Trek back to Brgy. Mascap for lunch
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – Lunch at local carinderia
1:00 PM – Start trek going to Payaran Falls
2:00 PM – Arrived at Payaran Falls
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Swimming / Photo Ops at the falls.

We plan to explore Secret Lagoon – but our guides advised us there is no more time so we cancelled it. (it’s additional 1 hour trek) 

3:00 PM  - Trek  back to Brgy. Mascap
3:30 PM – Swimming at the spillway / Culvert slidefest
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Back at Brgy. Mascap / Shower, Freshen up
5:00 PM – Travel back to Cubao.
7:00 PM – Back in Cubao


My Actual Expenses
FX Fare (Cubao to Brgy. Mascap)       -   P 143.00
(1K per FX for 10 pax – we are only 7 in the FX so we divided the remaining cost)
Breakfast, Water & Trail Food           -      180.00  
Packed Lunch (Jollibee)                     -       75.00
Guide Fee/Environmental Fee             -      142.00
Coffee                                              -        10.00
Rented FX Fare Brgy. Mascap to Cubao -100.00   
                                       TOTAL :   Php  650.00      

Some Tips
  1. Rocks are bit sharp so bring hand gloves.
  2. There is only one river crossing going up Mt. Sipit Ulang – so choose footwear you are comfortable with (I always hate wet socks and trekking shoes – pero kung trip mo yun go ahead - wear whatever thrills you in a hike)
  3. There are at least 3 spillways 4 streams and a river crossing going up Payaran falls. If you still prefer wearing shoes, eh di wow.
  4. There are local sari-sari stores and carinderia at the Brgy. Mascap proper where you can buy your lunch.
  5. After the hike, locals are willing to let you use their bathrooms to take a shower for free – pero nakakahiya naman kung di ka man lang mag-aabot. So we just give trail foods/chocolates to the kids.  







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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan freethinker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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