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Apart from being famous as the “Sugar Apple (atis) capital of the Philippines” and home to the famous Tamarind Wine, the town of Lobo, Batangas is also an emerging potential destination for tourists, mountaineers and outdoor lovers. The mountain range surrounding it offers an attractive environment to people visiting the place. Mountains in Lobo such as Mt. Banoi, Bangkalan and Patong Peak have been pursued many times by different mountaineering groups and are now some of the most favorite hiking destinations in the said town. But the adventure never stops as there are still mountain peaks that are yet to be explored and are equally suitable for hikers and campers alike. One of these is Mt. Naguiling. The name “Naguiling” or “Nagiling” had been used since the olden days because of its grinding trail feature. Some locals called it Mt. Lobo in general and “Tilos” (Tuktok or Top) when referring to the mossy summit. It is also originally coined due to its shape and features apparently does not change despite being viewed from different vantage points, making it look like it “twists” or “grinds” in order to face it’s viewer.
With the elevation of 1007 MASL, this pride of Lobo is considered as the highest peak in Batangas. It is located at Barangay Jaybanga, Lobo, Batangas which is accessible via Lipa- Rosario Batangas and Balagtas - Lobo Poblacion routes.
How to get there:
Lipa- Rosario route - The Lipa-Rosario route is found to be the easier one being 2 to 2.5 hours travel time (From Lipa City) and it is directly accessible riding the local jeepneys in the location. Be prepared though for a long rough road ahead.
Balagtas-Lobo Poblacion route - If you choose to take the Balagtas-Lobo Poblacion route, it will be a 2 to 2.5 hours travel (From Balagtas) to reach the boundary between “NAGTOCTOC ROAD” and “TULAY NA BUSOG”. From there, expect additional 2 hours with rafting and trekking via Tulay na Busog or 1 hr travel via Nagtoctoc road. Friendly tricycle drivers from Lobo Poblacion may be willing to cross the river in Curba, Brgy. Nagtaluntong to directly drop visitors at the said boundary.
Tulay na Busog - The “Tulay na Busog” of Brgy. Nagtoctoc is one of the nicest spots mentioned in Lobo Batangas’ Eco-Tourism Campaign. This is a river that serves as water source for the local residence and also offers a beautiful view of clear and pristine water and interesting rock formations. “Tulay na Busog” is an alternative way that connects Brgy. Jaybanga to Brgy. Nagtoctoc as well as Curba, Brgy. Nagtaluntong. The local people passing here used raft to cross this river especially during rainy season. Getting assistance from locals is highly needed to ensure your safety. However, the “Tulay na Busog” is only 10 minutes away from the boundary in case rafting is not possible or if you only want to visit this as side trip; backtracking to the boundary is not much inconvenient anyway. You may also use the Nagtoctoc road to reach Jaybanga.
YOU NEED TO KNOW!
In 2012, some local usually allotted 2-3 hours for trekking and horse riding to pass the Nagtoctoc road going to Jaybanga. However, in the present time, because of the major road construction, the locals are now enjoying the benefits of connecting the roads to make their live easier. They can now accessed the road to the city without walking for hours and sell their products to the market nearby. It is also now accessible by ordinary four wheeler vehicles like van and jeep.
WHAT I OBSERVED!
Although it is now accessible by four wheeler vehicles however, jeep is very limited/irregular. As per the pangulo(Batangueno word refers to Barangay Captain) there are some jeep that would take you to Jaybanga however, it's very limited and you need to wait until it's fully loaded with passengers going to the Barangay. He said that getting/hiring a private cars is more convenient unless you're born with a lot of patience to wait for hours until it's fully loaded.
Let's talk about the VIEW AT THE SUMMIT!
Unlike other mountains in Lobo where it offers a 360 degree view of Batangas and neighboring provinces, the summit of Mt. Naguiling is too small. It can accommodate approximately 15-20 persons and it has a similarity of Mt. Isarog characteristics. This is where you have an opportunity to see the beautiful view of Mindoro and the pride of Mindoro which is Mt. Halcon. You can also see "isla Verde from the top you just need to climb a cut tree near the camp site for you to enjoy the view.
When you get to the place, you need to register at the Barangay captain's house near the jump off. He'll find you a tour host to ensure that you'll not be lost and found somewhere. There's no fixed registration fee (take note) they only accept donation. However, if you're coming from the other side( traverse in Lobo) they'll collect 20. Pesos for the registration fee. The tour host fee is 500 pesos per day. The view from the jump off is already breathtaking and picturesque as you'll see the Lobo mountainous ranges. You can see Mt. Nagpatong from here.
The mountains in Batangas has one thing in common, which is there's so many coconut trees and good news, you can request to the tour guide if you want to get and drink one!
After passing the coconut plantation you will encounter many trail variations, most of them leading to the trail going to the campsite and the summit. The right most trail is going to Balatikan Peak Campsite (Balatikan is derived from the word “balatik” a hunter’s trap and it was used before as hunting ground for wild boars) and the left one is going to Tilos Peak / Mossy Summit. Some parts of the trails leae summit assault takes about 3 to 4 hours from Balatikan Campsite and it is best to start the trek early morning. Mt. Naguiling is gifted with rich bushes and trees, comparable to Mt. Makiling. It is also a good opportunity to observe the flora and fauna along the way---you will see interesting colonies of ferns, orchids, moss and pitcher plants. One of the most valuable memories you will take out of the climb to Mt. Naguiling is the lingering sound of wildlife like monkeys, hummingbirds and wild boars. You will also encounter forest snails (bayuko), snakes, and wild boar’s trail and pool. There will be priceless moments too when you catch a glimpse of broad scope beach of Tayabas bay below while trekking up to Tilos Peak (summitding to campsite are steep but manageable and it takes about 2 to 3 hours trekking from the main jump-off site. This is also a nice spot in viewing the Lobo Beach, Verde Island passage and Verde Island itself. Furthermore, the special presence of majestic Mt. Halcon and dome-shaped Mt. Malasimbo of Mindoro Island is another interesting sight to behold from the highest peak of the coastal province of Batangas.
An additional feature of Mt. Naguiling is the traverse trail from Balatikan Peak to Sitio Bagong Pook. Just take the trail facing Mt. Banoi. It is more scenic but steeper (50-60 degrees) and exposed to sunlight compare to the trail of Sitio Manggahan. It is advisable to take this for descend than to ascend. After 45 minutes to 1 hour of descend you will be rewarded by very refreshing water of “TALON” Mini-Falls; with a nice pool where you can swim and relax. It is also offers interesting rock formations and numerous small pools in the area. All these combined makes a very fruitful climb experience.
One interesting fact during our trip here was we heard a "baby monkey" welcomed and greeted us and a falcon soaring high to find it's victim. That just a statement that the wildlife here needs to be protected from any harm.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE
They cut some trees at the summit just for the visitors to enjoy the view from the top! The tour guide told us that in order for the visitors to enjoy the summit. I also don't like that some parts of the mountain are being "KAINGIN" for the native to plant root crops like kamote, talong etc. Some irresponsible mountaineers left their trashes at the camp site.
LEAVE NO TRACE( Promoting Outdoor Ethics for responsible use)
-When you go here, make sure that you pick up your trash! Remember, there's no janitor here to pick up your trash. Be responsible enough!
-Don't bring anything! Whatever you see, hold , just leave it there! You only need to bring home the memories and pictures here.
- Avoid writing something bragging "I WAS HERE" or worst, your NAME on trees and stones! You are not the only person on earth who also have that same name unless you're brave to draw your photo too, that would give us an idea that it's you!
The life here is very simple. No signal nor internet. They valued each other. The hospitality of Lobo is superb. Kids here help their parents after school and on weekends to support their needs. As I went home, I realized that others are very busy in a competitive industry while the folks here just one thing in mind and that's to wake up and eat 3 times a day and sleep by 6PM. I'm totally blown away that despite the world of technologies, the folks here are very contented of what they have. I learned from my trip here that "SATISFACTION" is what makes us human.Just be happy and thankful of what we have.Thanks to Barangay Captain for the tip) Indeed. It was worth the ride!!! What A perfect place to do trail run just like what we did and we got it for an hour and twenty five minutes
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