Bulacan Adventure: Mt. Balagbag, Maranat, Lioness Back and Rhino Rock and Pinagrealan Cave
Renante MinaFriday, March 20, 2015 8 comments

Mt. Balagbag

     Meeting time is at Jollibee Tungko by 7AM-8AM.  We’re just 5 in a group; originally, the plan is just the two of us (first adventure together sana) however God is really good why we decided to invite some friends for this trip. Later part, you’ll know why. Hehe.  Yam, Dian and Roma came in just in time. After our breakfast, we started our tour via jeepney from Tungko to Licao-Licao at P28. With full of excitement we ascended around 10AM, luckily there is a jeepney heading to Mt. Balagbag-Mt. Maranat intersection, the driver let us get in, yey! We saved time and energy for almost an hour - free ride it is! Rock, baby rock...

View along the wide trail

Near the gate going to Balagbag

mountain biker

     Time to face the reality; we started the walking way up by 11AM. As what my friend told me, this place is best for bikers and just along the trail we had unlimited “good mornings” to our fellow explorer.

Registration area

     We stayed at bahay-kubo and had our lunch; rests for an hour… but hope I could stay longer to have my siesta “me” time yet need to leave soon so that we can reach Mt. Maranat falls before dusk. 


     To those adventure seekers like me, those rock baby rock along the way up is another thumbs’ up. At 12NN, we’re already at Mt. Balagbag Helipad. The 360-degree view is another reason why I keep on exploring. It’s nice to go places to places; it’s just so lovely and peaceful! 

Halo halo time

Banat Na Banat at Mt. Maranat

     Have you ever been to Mt. Maranat? Any word comes first to your mind when you hear about this place? To me, it’s the humongous rock along the river, charcoal boys and sunset at Mang Nestor’s place. I’ve just been to Mt. Pulag via Akiki-Ambangeg trail last February 19-22 and here I am again in my addiction-slash-stress-reliever-thingy last March 07-08, just two weeks interval! What an addict, right?


Take 5

Carrying sacks of charcoal

     We bumped into some “charcoal boys” as I call it, which carries 2-3 sacks of charcoal over their shoulder. I can’t imagine how heavy it was and how much energy they’ve put in just to deliver it to main places. There are trail that are established yet other are confusing which stopped us for some time.

Bamboo area

Boulders going to campsite

     What tested me more is the path going down, oh my G! My knees! Kinakalawang na mga tuhod ika nga! Haha! Nevertheless, we have to stretch our knees baby, yeah like a Lastikman-way! There are mini water stream along the way which of course a prize for every climber to appreciate. The water is just cool enough to get rid of exhaustion that we felt.

     We had to fast pace and reach the river before the sun goes down. It’s summer season, the boulders along the waterway are amazing scenery that we have to be thankful for, yet we need to pass through it which to reach the camp site at Mang Nestor’s place. It took us almost 4 hours; it was almost 6PM, just time for the picture-perfect sunset, what a masterpiece! God is amazing!

Registration area to Maranat Kuya Nestor house
Wiggle it, just wiggle it…! 

     Life has many ways of testing a person’s strength and patience; and descending to Mt. Maranat is another challenge that we need to defeat.  Unlike other mountains that you have to climb up to reach the summit, this time you have to go and walk down the valley to come across our victory.  All in full swing again by 1PM, apart from the puzzling trail, this hike is also a bit more exciting because we never hired a guide. All we had was a printed travel direction from a blog and local peeps for an accurate route to get into our last stop. 

Sunset at the campsite

     While watching the sun to finally dark out, we started to pitch our tent. When all are set, we seized our dead tired body at river falls. It’s around 7PM when we had our “socials”, another reason why I love mountain climbing. Haha. All through the day, these folks just really made me laugh, we never had a dull moment and I had the chance to show the “baklaan-portion-of-me”. They understand and speak gay lingo, haha! Relate much!


     Good morning Sunday! Time flies so fast, feels so “bitin” yet we had to leave by 8AM for our next itinerary. Took the same trail back to Licao-Licao and had our lunch at Tungko. We don’t want any time to slip-up so right after our lunch; we head to Rhino & Lioness rock formation just an hour away. 

Boulders again...


Water source

Other trail going to Licao Licao

Lioness and Rhino Rock
Explore. Dream. Discover.

Rock climbing

You can do it sir....

The place is simply incredible; you will really see a lion’s head and a rhinoceros formation.

Sitting at the Lioness Rock formation.. looks like a lion  :)

     What interests me more is the difficulty of climbing up there without any rope or harness plus the wind that blows a bit angrier?! Hehe. God is really good! He let me savor this wonderful natural setting and guided me on my way up! 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

Rhino rock

Pinagrealan Cave

     This cave is a subterranean network of caverns extending more than a kilometer deep. The Katipunero Revolutionaries during the war against Spain used it as a camp in 1896 and again during the Filipino-American War in 1898 as hideout of General Emilio Aguinaldo (the First President of the Philippines). It was also used as a sanctuary by the Japanese Imperial Army when the Philippines was liberated by American Forces. www.bulacan.gov.ph

How to stay motivated throughout the trek?

  • Lahat ng hirap may katumbas na sarap. Hirap ng trail, ganda naman ng mga view. Ganon talaga, balance lang lahat. 
  • Oras or “Time” – “Quality Time” ika nga. Isa sa mga bagay na dapat ibigay sa taong importante sayo, lalo na’t kung kasama mo.
  • Very much exciting pa kapag kasundo mo sa mga trip mo yung taong importante sayo.
  • Espesyal na, kasundo at kasama mo pa sa mga trip mo, bonus!
  • Sa lahat ng bagay maging thankful tayo kasi si God binigyan tayo ng chance na makita yung mga bagay na likha niya.

How to get there to Licao-licao jump-off going to Mt. Balagbag and Maranat: 

  • For the Southern part area like Baclaran and Makati ride a bus with a signboard going to Tungko, Jollibee as your landmark at Tungko find the jeep terminal going to Licao-licao.
  • For the Manila part area like Taft and Quiapo ride a bus or fx going to SM Fairview. At the SM Fairview ride again a bus or jeep going to Tungko.
  • If you are from Novaliches Quezon City area at Novaliches Bayan there are jeeps going to Tungko.

How to get there to Licao-licao jump-off going to Lioness, Rhino Rock and Pinagrealan Cave:

  • For the Southern part area like Baclaran and Makati ride a bus with a signboard going to Tungko, Jollibee as your landmark at the main highway ride a jeep going to Bigte inform the jeepney driver you will drop you in Bigte rotanda or market.
  • At the market ride a trike, inform the trike driver you will going to rock formation Lioness and Rhino Rock. Fare is 10.00 each
  • After your rock climbing, if you have enough time try also to visit Pinagrealan cave there also trike along the highway going to Pinagrealan cave, fare is 15.00 each from Lioness to Rhino Rock going to Pinagrealan cave.

Estimated Expenses:

Going to Mt. Balagbag and Maranat
Boni Edsa to Tungko (Bus) - 67.00 each
Tungko to Licao-licao (Jeep)- 28.00 each
Registration fee to Balagbag - 20.00 each
Donation to Maranat - 100.00 group

Going to Lioness, Rhino rock and Pinagrealan Cave
Tungko to Bigte (Jeep) - 15.00 each
Bigte to Lioness and Rhino rock (Trike) - 10.00 each
Guide fee to Lioness and Rhino rock - 250.00 group
From Lioness and Rhino rock to Pinagrealan cave (Trike) - 15.00 each
Registration fee to Pinagrealan cave - 50.00 each
Guide fee to Pinagrealan cave (Donation) - 200.00 group

Note: If you are first timer in the area and hesitant to hike going to Mt. Balagbag and Maranat, there are available local guides in Licao-licao terminal I'm not sure with their rate, just haggle with them, I think there's no organization of local guides in the area not like in other hiking destinations in the Philippines. Hiking in Mt. Balagbag and Maranat are very hot just bring umbrella, arm sleeves or put sunblock to protect your skin. 

Photo credit: Yam Villanueva
Guest writer: MaryangLaagan <3


Francis Balgos said...

Magagawa ko din yang Balagbag saka Maranat

genobreakr said...


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naks said...

nice...lapit lang pala...
di ko man lang mapuntahan yan...
ganda ng view sa lioness head...

ako ikaw said...

Nice blog :-)
Required ba ang guide sa lioness? :-)

Renante Mina said...

hindi nman compulsary ang guide kaso ang technical ng pag akyat mahirap siya lalo na kng tirik pa ang araw kc mainit yung bato. at kng wala experience sa rock climbing medyo matatakot ka kc matarik at matatalim yung bato, mas ok na magpa guide kabisado kasi ng mga bata na guide yung mga aapakan...

ingat sa pag akyat

ako ikaw said...

Thank you :-)
Aakyat kame tom. Open to public nman na yun db? Need pa ba kontakin yung taga ron? TIA :-)

JC Carique said...

Hi! May I ask po ng sample itinerary nyo? :)