I climbed this circuit last weekend with Gala, my new favorite travel group. We left Manila at 1 am, arrived in Tanay at 2:30, and started ascending at 3 a.m. We returned to the jump-off point at 2 p.m. in time for a late but rewarding lunch of Lucky Me instant pancit canton. There must be something about climbing steep trails for nearly 12 hours that made the entire group collectively crave for unhealthy carbs.
If you’re planning to trek Mt. Cayabu and Maynuba (alt. spelling: Maynoba) for the first time, here are 7 tidbits to help you prepare. As for eating MSG-filled instant noodles after the long haul, it’s all up to you.
1. It’s a new climbing destination. Located in Tanay, Rizal, the Maynuba Circuit (Mt. Cayabu and Mt. Maynuba) officially opened to the public in March 2016. According to the guides we hired, the Yamaha Trekkers helped pave the trails for visitors. Because it’s a new climbing destination, there’s still room for improvement.
2. It’s a 10-in-1 destination. The Maynuba Circuit includes two mountains—Mt. Cayabu and Mt. Maynuba—followed by eight waterfalls on your way down. Mt. Cayabu’s peak is actually a subsidiary peak of Maynuba; they’re right next to each other. You may opt to climb just one part, or visit only the eight waterfalls, which will entail a completely different climbing route. For more info on the suggested itinerary, visit Pinoy Mountaineer.
3. There’s no cellphone signal. As soon as you enter the two mountains’ surrounding area in Tanay, your mobile phone signal will go straight to zilch. There’s no LTE, 3G, E, or even a faint bar to let you send a text message. Your Instagram posts will end up as #latergrams, and your Snapchats will be put on hold.
4. Bring (or find) a walking stick. Unlike other mainstream hiking destinations, nobody sells walking sticks at Mt. Cayabu’s jumping point (yet). You’ll have to pick up a stray bamboo in the wild, or as I did, bring your own. The trails are mostly steep (like going on the Stairmaster for hours), so a walking stick will help alleviate the pressure on your knees and legs.
5. Your feet will get wet. Even if it doesn’t rain, the descent and exploration of the 8 waterfalls entail walking through streams of water and trekking on slippery boulders. The pros suggest you wear hiking sandals instead of closed shoes. In my case, I used hiking shoes going up, and then changed into sandals and a bathing suit when we explored the waterfalls.
6. There’s no “hole in the ground.” Unlike other climbing destinations where there are makeshift holes and tents where you can go potty, you’ll have to pick a bush or dig your own hole to do your business in Mt. Cayabu and Maynuba. There’s a pay-per-use toilet and bath at the jump-off point, which you can use before and after the hike.
7. It’s steep. The pros give the Maynuba Circuit a difficulty rating of 3/10 for the summit hike, and 4/10 for the full loop hike, which is what I did. Although it’s similar to the rating of Mt. Maculot, I found the Maynuba Circuit easier to navigate. For beginners, please expect a lot of steep slopes and some rappelling.
Date of climb: September 3, 2016 Photos by KateWasHere.com and Doj Roxas