Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
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Despite the rainy season ushering in, when the challenge of the mountains call, of course, we can never say no.
It was around the 3rd weekend of May when my group, J Hikers and Friends, decided to explore and experience a sort of new mountain that's located at Cuyambay, Sampaloc, Rizal --- Mount Paliparan.
Coming from areas like Quezon City, Marikina City, etc. you need to ride a jeepney going to Cogeo Loob (P14). Ask the driver to drop you off at the market area and walk towards the jeepney terminal wherein you need to ride a Sampaloc bound vehicle (P50-56) for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Along the way, you'll pass by beautiful spots in Rizal that you may want to visit as well --- from the jump off point of Mt. Batolusong to the picturesque view of the Masungi Georeserve to the private vibes of Palo Alto and establishments like Ten Cents To Heaven, the quite long ride is a good time to enjoy sightseeing and actually deciding what adventure to do next.
Once you see a bamboo crafted arch, that shall welcome you to Baranggay Cuyambay itself. You need to ride a habal-habal going to the jump-off point / baranggay hall (P25/pax). While on the ride, get to appreciate the view of a lot of mountains surrounding the area, as well as the beauty there is in Masungi Georeserve.
Upon arrival at the baranggay, you will be welcomed by warm and welcoming staff that will lead you to the registration area where the briefing shall also take place. Make sure to always listen and put in mind what the locals have to say for your own safety and protection.
Walk for an hour to get to the foot of the mountain. The trail was a bit wild and rugged given that it has not been developed yet. You will pass through tall and high bushes that will make you feel like you're getting lost. You will see paths that will make you find hard to decide whether you're going to the left or right because trails can be tricky, too. But hey, that's were the challenge is, right?
From the foot, ascend going to the different stops in the mountain. From PINAGTUKDUAN where you can see the sight of the beautiful landscape surrounding the mountain to the TAGUAN, where once upon a time used to be the cave that served as the hiding place of the locals during the colonization time. From there comes HAGKANAN where from the top, you will see the beauty of the whole of Rizal while enjoying the breeze if you got there at an early hour.
680 meters above sea level, the summit of Mt. Paliparan can be reached with a little bit of rock climbing that requires some balancing too. From the summit, get to appreciate the view of the windmills from the Pillilia Wind Park to the beauty of the Masungi Georeserve and the ranges of Sierra Madre. With its not so hard rock formations, get to enjoy the summit's picturesque view in more ways than one.
From the summit, a lot of side trips await you, still. From there, the trek going down shall lead you to pathways filled with cogon and uling, showing how unpolished the trail is. For almost 1 1/2 hours, you will reach SITIO TUOY where the Dumagat Community lies. You will see how the locals live and thrive in their very simple community. Here, you'll get to take a break from the trek, interact with the community and appreciate the simplicity of their living.
You can actually order freshly cooked rice from them, some canned goods and soft drinks, and if you get lucky, get to try their specialty which is the SINALUBSOB NA SUSO which isn't available during our visit.
From there, you have to walk for another hour or two to actually go back to the main road. You'll pass by streams covered with bushy paths and with slippery rocks so take extra care with every step that you take. Some parts are actually trails filled with cogon and leaves that made me feel like I am walking on some hanging leaves and any minute from there an anaconda might come out! Haha! That wild imagination that the wild give you for real!
When you reach the Tungtong Falls, you're near the end of the challenge. This pretty falls will make you want to swim and just stay there for a longer while.
And the challenge stays up until the end where you have to use a rope to actually reach the top that will lead you to the main road.
After an almost 10 hour trek, we're proud to say that we made it all in one piece! With its 4-6/10 difficulty level, Mt. Paliparan is a new mountain that you should visit while it has not been too developed yet. Get to experience the challenge of unpolished trails and experience how it is to survive the craziest parts. Don't worry, some ihaw-ihaw awaits you at the jump-off point and yes, these are well deserved! 🏼
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