Mt Manalmon of Madlum, San Miguel, Bulacan

I heard a lot of stories regarding Mt Manalmon and other exciting stuff that you can do in this place. Aside from trekking/hiking, the place also offers outdoor activities such as spelunking (caving), rock climbing, swimming and crossing a monkey bridge made out of two cable wires. So as soon as my friends invited me I said yes right away even it was just a day hike.

How to get there?
The mountain is located in the town of San Miguel, Bulacan. So if you're trying to visit Mt. Manalmon and you're from Manila, take any Cabanatuan-bound bus at Baliwag Transit,  ES Transport, or Five Star Transport in Pasay or Cubao. Then just tell the bus conductor to drop you at Brgy. Camias. The travel time from Manila to San Miguel, Bulacan is around 2 hours. A long travel time but it will be all worth it as soon as you reach Mt. Manalmon. From Brgy. Camias, you still need to ride a tricycle going to Brgy. Madlum. Prepare 5 pesos because along the way you will need it as a registration fee. As you reach Brgy Madlum, you need to decide whether you want to raft across the river (5 pesos also) or you want to try the monkey bridge (free) to reach the jump off point of Mt. Manalmon. We chose to raft since we have our carry on things and we don't want to get it wet if you we make a mistake passing through that cable wires (but we tried it on after the hike). As you get to the jump off, another registration should be taken and it is worth 5 pesos again.

One of the two ways to reach the jump off 
And here's the other one

Background of the place
Mt Manalmon's peak reaches at 196 MASL (based on Pinoy Mountaineer's specs). A minor climb that you can trek in 2-3 hours (back and forth and including picture taking). By the way, even though it is treated as a minor climb and the trek is just short, people who wanted to explore the mountain are mandatory to have a guide. Kuya Bong, our guide, explains to us why and it is because there is a myth that lies to this mountain. You can ask you're guide about it.

Trekking to the summit will start from passing through Madlum cave (other called it Manalmon Cave). Bats are the main attraction here so prepare your headlights to see them. You will also pass through a river so be ready to get your feet  wet. (sometimes, knee high). Then the rest of the trek will be the normal hiking trails. When I say normal trails, it doesn't mean that the view as you go up is normal as well.

My friend Julius as he put back his shoes after we passed through the river
more water trails ahead
At the peak, we take some rest and feel the cool breeze while we are under the trees while having conversation with Kuya Bong. Of course, picture taking will never be missed while on top.

View from Mt Manalmon peak
That's me from the view deck of Mt Manalmon
Other Activities
Mt Manalmon is a great destination if you want to have an extreme sidetrip after a hike. Yes, extreme trip after another. After the hike and reach again the jump off, we asked Kuya Bong to bring us at Bayukbuk Cave. Note: If  you are claustrophobic (fear of having no escape and being closed in small spaces), think twice in trying this out.

This photo reminds me of the movie 127 Hours (photo from Khai Bautista)

In my opinion, going inside this cave is more challenging and tiring rather than going to the peak of Mt. Manalmon. Bayukbuk Cave will make you crawl, duck [a lot], constrict and get dirt on. You will also encounter rappelling inside this cave. If you are thrill seeker then try this out. It took us 45 mins to explore Bayukbuk Cave. Light is your buddy while inside the cave, so don't forget to bring your headlights in this trip. Wearing head protectors are also advisable.

We also tried crossing the river using the famous activity in Mt Manalmon, the monkey bridge style. Crossing through that cable wires isn't easy. As you go and reach the middle part, the wires begin to shake so make sure to maintain your balance. It is also ideal to use gloves because gripping firmly the wires could hurt you.

That's us waiting for our turn in the monkey bridge
Me and Superman, I mean Baron crossing the monkey bridge
We also gone swimming at Madlum River which is really nice because it is really deep (didn't tried reaching its floor) and wide. It was also refreshing after all those activities we've gone through.

The fearless boys of Brgy Madlum

It was indeed a successful climb/spelunking... or better yet it was a great full packed adventure for us.

We're proud to say that we conquered Mt Manalmon... ahmmm rather Brgy. Madlum 
Breakdown of budget (October 2012):
Bus - P117.00 (Manila to San Miguel, Bulacan)
Tricycle - P250 (Brg. Camias to Sitio Madlum) good for 5 pax
Raft - P5.00 per head (optional)
1st Registration - P5.00 per head
2nd Registration at Sitio Madlum - P5.00 per head
Guide to Mt. Manalmon/Bayukbuk - P300.00 - P500.00 (will be shared by the whole team)

Before I end this blog entry here is my favorite shot of myself during this trek:

That's me and our guide, Kuya Bong (photo from Khai Bautista)


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