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Twin Hike in Rizal: Mt. Hapunang Banoi & Mt. Pamitinan
(Rea Mae Olmedo/ Sep 6, 2017)
Hiking is now one of the most exciting activities anyone could experience. If your legs are aching for some rocky adventure this weekend, there’s no need to go to the province. Just some few hours away from the Metro, be ready to conquer Mt. Hapunang Banoi and Mt. Pamitinan at brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal.
Mt. Hapunang Banoi is approximately over 500 meters above sea level (ASL) with a difficulty of 4/9 while Mt. Pamitinan has an estimated elevation of over 400 meters ASL with a difficulty of 3/9. As both are considered as minor climb for beginners and only takes 2-3 hours to reach the summit, the local tour guides arrange “twin hikes”. But if you’re up for a challenge, they could also arrange trilogy climb – Mt. Hapunang Banoi, Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binicayan.
Mt. Hapunang Banoi and Mt. Pamitinan are both known for their limestone formation, making climbing experience adventurous and challenging due to the big rocks that you need to go through. Some rocks are a bit far from the other so you need to hold on tight and make sure you step on a safe part of the rocks to move to the other. Wearing gloves, especially for beginners, is also advisable as some rocks have sharp edges. Doing some exercise like jogging or squatting a week before your trip is necessary to avoid leg and muscle pain (just like what happened to some of my colleagues).
It is a requirement for every group of hikers to have a tour guide – even if you’re already familiar with the place. The group needs to sign a waiver and the tour guide has to register everyone to the DENR before ascending. The earlier you start your trek, the more you can appreciate nature and the more you have the chance to catch the sea of clouds.

The junction above the mountain, that interconnects the two mountains, serves as the resting area for hikers.  If you run short of water during the trek, you can buy more at the junction. It is essential to bring your own food to avoid starvation during the climb.

It was still dark when we started the trek. There are members of the group that we met for the first time. Eventually after the long day, those strangers became our friends asking for each other’s Facebook account to share everybody’s pictures. No matter how exhausted you are, it is very fulfilling when you reach the summit – seeing a stunning view where you almost see everything that it makes you wanting for more.
The most exciting part of the hike is doing the “buwis buhay” pose where everyone wants to have an extra-ordinary pose at the summit with the breathtaking view on the background.
As we descend, it was full of excitement as we use the other trail. Going down might be easy but you still have to be careful, as the trail is quite slippery. Just when you thought the fun is over, a refreshing sight of a river will surprise you where you can go for a swim – a great way to end the exhausting trip feeling clean and revitalized.
Reminder:
Be a responsible hiker. It is important to respect nature. Avoid littering your garbage even if it is just a candy wrapper. As the saying goes, “bring nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints”.
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