Monday, June 29, 2015

DayHike : Mt Hapunanag Banoy at Rodriguez, Rizal

by Shawi Cortez

I'd have to admit: I was confused when my friend and fellow hiker Leo suggested that we climb Mt Banoi in Rizal.

In a different chat, they were saying that instead of googling Banoi, we should search for "Haponang Baboy" to get an idea of the trail. This is not to confuse Mt Banoi in Rizal, with the Mt Banoi in Batangas.

True enough, there was only one blog about Banoi in Rizal, but searching Mt Haponang Baboy, returned more results.

What confused me even more, was when our guide Ogie welcomed us at the jump off point, his colleagues remarked that Banoi is less explored, yet offers good views as well.

So is it Banoi or Baboy?
Cause they're totally different things!

Banoi refers to Philippine eagle.
Baboy means pig.

I got my answer when Ogie revealed that that particular mountain used to be home to a lot of Philippine eagles.

*light bulb moment*

Banoi have rare appearances

Along with KC and Leo, joining our trek that day is a friend from Romania, who is a seasoned rock climber.

Few days before, Andrei finished The North Face's Trail Running Ultra Marathon Series under the 50K category. He's just recovering from the run, and modestly mentioned that considering his condition, he didn't want to hold the group down.


We're just ordinary hikers! I'd figured my fast pace may even be too slow for him.

Our ascent took the same trail that goes up to Mt Pamitinan. We crossed over the bridge, and passed by the rock climbing area. Trail still covered with banana, avocado, and other fruit trees.

rock climbing area

rock climbing area

The hike was just starting, yet I was already catching my breath! What was it? Three weeks since my last climb? Were my warmers too tight? I ate enough food and I had sufficient sleep. Did I underestimate my strength?

It was a bit embarrassing for me, as my age was probably showing. "Take five!" I'd regularly request, and we'd be resting for five minutes. On a lighter note, Andrei was gracious enough to holler at the guys ahead, that "he was slowing us down." Haha. Thanks for saving my face.

"Take five!"
Four monkeys in Banoy

Then came the rocky part. And the thorny bamboos. They were the familiar jagged edges we encountered in our previous hike to both Mt Pamitinan and Mt Binacayan.

Halfway through, and many more after that, we stopped to take photos. Lots of photos. Photos that look "delikado" and scary. We promised to blog about Mt Hapunang Banoy so more hikers will climb this mountain.

photo op with Leo

Even Ogie the guide, asked to take photos of himself in noteworthy spots to promote Mt Banoy to other climbers.

Ogie the guide
photo by : KC Cadalo

I would say the main draw of Mt Banoy would be the hanging tree, the rocky outcrop, and the limestone cliff backdrop.

Hanging tree. How deep?

with Andrei

with Leo and KC

White monkey in action!

rocky outcrop

Leo's delikado shot

my fave : Limestone backdrop

View at the summit is the same as in Pamitinan--Wawa River and the mountain range surrounding it.

almost there!

So if you have ever hiked Mt Pamitinan and Mt Binacayan before, there's another reason for you to go back to Rodriguez Rizal.

Mt Hapunang Banoy awaits you.
Thank you KC for this photo!


530H-     Meet up at Jollibee Farmers Cubao
600H-     Take FX to Rodriguez/ Montalban, Rizal (Php 50.00 fare)
700H-     ETA at Puregold, Montalban. Take trike to Brgy. Wawa (Php 10.00 fare)
715H-     ETA and registration at the DENR office, Brgy. Wawa (Php 2.00 reg. fee per person).  They require a guide though.
720H-     Register at the Barangay Hall (No fixed amount here; donation lang)
730H-     Start trek up to Mt. Hapunang Banoy
1030H-   ETA at the summit. Photo ops.
1100H-   Start descent
1300H-   Back at the jump off and head back to Manila

Additional notes:

  • No minimum/fixed amount for the guide fee. In our case (4 monkeys), we gave him Php500.00.
  • Php600.00 is a safe budget for this climb (depends on how many are you in the group)
  • Rocks are sharp and jagged. Wearing a pair of gloves highly recommended for this climb. 
*Thanks Leo Navarrete for the itinerary and additional notes.


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