What It’s Like Hiking Mount Maculot?
So you’ve decided to start hiking and probably got your self a new pair of hiking shoes. And you picked Mount Maculot to hike. Not a good choice for a starter but if you really are determined to hike it, what can we do?
For the record, we don’t recommend Mount Maculot for first timers because the hike will be a huge challenge for you. We recommend something easier like Mount Manalmon.
Nevertheless, you’ve planned and did your research. So what should you expect hiking Mount Maculot?
Avoid the Groto Trail If You’re a Beginner
If you are just starting to hike and have not yet build a good endurance for hiking, we highly recommend you avoid the trail via “Groto”. Why?
Because this trail is not where you want to start. Trust us. It’s not for a beginner. The hike here starts at Barangay Singko. The first challenge here is the several hundred steps to the Groto. We don’t know how many ’cause we never tried counting them. If you have the data, kindly share it.
Steps, for us, are more challenging to tackle because it involves more of your quadriceps and hamstrings. Since you’re a beginner, you don’t have that muscular strength and stamina, yet.
Then there’s the long climb on boulders and roots adding to your misery. This is followed by a roping which is of a challenge and dangerous if you haven’t done roping before. Lastly a there’s long and winding trail that will lead you to the summit. This route will take you about 3 to 4 hours to reach the summit. That all depend on your pacing.
So, we are discouraging you to hike this trail because this is not the trail for you, yet. Improve your skills, stamina, and endurance first before you do this trail.
Luckily, you have another option which is the trail via Barangay Siete. This trail, based on our experience, can be done by a beginner and is more recommended.
If you are bringing your vehicle, you will be stopped at the registration area along the road. You need to pay about 20-25 pesos each and get a guide. Or you can also join our Mount Maculot Hiking Tour and avoid the hassles. And yes, the guide rides with you to the trailhead. Sometimes not. Go ahead and Google how much are the services of a local guide.
You can park your vehicle at Herman’s for P50 for the whole day. They also have rest rooms and shower are.
Hiking Mount Maculot
From there, the hike starts immediately on a paved road. It serves as a warm up (sort of). This will lead you to the single tracks. The assault really starts at the first buko juice store. There are plenty of them along the trail that’s why hydration is not a problem. They are strategically located offering you refreshments and snacks, and bamboo benches to sit on.
Make no mistake because from the first store is assault all the way to the camp site. You may want to conserve your energy.
The trail is composed of many loose soil and rocks during dry season. Some parts are hardpacks and some are rocky.
While during rainy season, the trail is not muddy except for the trail from the campsite going up to the summit. That’s why we highly recommend a good pair of hiking shoes.
The trail to the camp site is most of the time covered by trees. About 2/3 of the route, there are several amazing spots for a photo op, allowing you to see the entire town of Cuenca and a portion of Taal Lake.
About 2.5 hours to the hike, you’ll reach the camp site. Here you can take a rest and buy snacks and refreshments from the “7-11”. It’s a small store. They also sell 3-1 coffee there. The beverages there are pricey but how can you complain? Just imagine how difficult it is to bring all those bottled softdrinks.
The Rockies or Mount Maculot Summit?
Facing the store, the trail on the left will lead you to “The Rockies”. While the trail on the right will lead you the summit.
If you choose to go to the summit, which we recommend, it will take you about 1 to 1.5 hours to get there. This trail is very muddy and slippery during rainy season while hard pack during dry season. The trail starts on a nice grassy trail that’s gradually ascending. The next part of the ascent is steep all the way to the summit. You may find this very challenging considering that you’ve been hiking for several hours already. The summit offers a stunning wider view of the Taal Lake.
If you choose to go to “The Rockies”, it will only take you several minutes to get there. Be very extra careful here because you may find this dangerous. Ask for your local guide’s help because some portions are tricky to go over the top. The rocks are very slippery, too, during rainy weather. This is short but very steep.
To be honest, we prefer to go to the “Rockies” first before the summit because it offers a better view of almost the entire Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. But, of course, you’ll get the sense of accomplishment and the bragging rights if you conquered the summit. We always recommend you aim for the summit.
Always ask for the guidance of your local guide or your tour leader if you choose to join an organized hiking tour in Maculot. They will teach you how to safely position your self at the edges of the Rockies where you want your photos taken. Always follow your guides. They know the perfect but safe spots.
The views are amazing but always watch where you stand. Just to remind you that hikers have died there. It’s true. We are not discouraging you but it’s true. Your local guide can attest to that.
Going down is a little bit different. It’s faster but we find it more painful on the knees and legs. The trail becomes very dusty, too, on dry season. Watch out for the loose soil and small rocks. If you feel your knees are shaking, take a rest. It means that you do not have enough muscular strength, yet. You’ll develop it over time so don’t hurry.
So there you go! We hope this serves as tip for beginners eager to hike Mount Maculot. Once you’ve gained experiences in hiking and have developed your endurance, you can go ahead and try the “Groto” Trail. Will lead you to the same summit but a different experience. It’s worth your time and effort.