Just keep taking chances and having fun. — Garth Brooks
A few days before Valentine’s Day this 2017, instead of sulking over the fact that I have no V-Day date (for the 7th consecutive year), I opted to join a group of nature-enthusiasts for a weekend getaway in Laguna. I have actually been joining random groups of people since the 1st week of January for some weekend climbs and more.
So here are the things we did in Nagcarlan to have fun:
TREK MOUNT MABILOG:
Elevation: 428 MASL
Location: San Pablo & Nagcarlan, Laguna
Jump Off Point: Brgy. Sulsuguin, Nagcarlan
Features: Grassland, Banana, Coconut & Corn Fields.
There are three established trails to Mount Mabilog. The western trail via Brgy. Sta. Catalina, the southern trail accessed via Brgy. Sto Angel (both in San Pablo town); and the eastern trail from Sitio Yambo, Brgy. Sulsuguin in town of Nagcarlan. Our group opted to take this trail since we wanted to spend time at Yambo Lake.
About the hike: The ascent is pretty easy and relaxed. One gets to pass by lots of coconuts, banana plants and even cassava plants. Since it rained the previous day, the trail was a bit muddy but manageable.
As one goes further up, the canopy of various trees culminates in a steep ascent that goes to a summit that serves as a campsite and a viewing area at the same time. From the peak, a stunning view of the 7 Lakes of San Pablo (with Yambo Lake as the most visible), and the imposing Mounts Makiling, Banahaw, Cristobal are seen. Other mountains like Malipunyo Range, Mount Kalisungan, and Mount Atimla can also be viewed. Mount Mabilog is a desirable day-hike for newbies and can be very much visited together with other nearby attractions like the lakes and some waterfalls.
BALSA CRUISE at YAMBO LAKE:
Yambo Lake, an oligotropic lake (one that is characterized by a low accumulation of dissolved nutrient salts, supporting but a sparse growth of algae and other organisms, and having a high oxygen content owing to the low organic content – in a more appreciated term, you can go and swim all you want, haha) is the twin of a more popular lake called Pandin Lake. They are separated by a narrow strip of land, that may require a good 10-15 minutes. The place is suitable for swimming, “balsa” cruising, and picnicking. The ride may cost Php 180.00/ person, and if one opts to go food, it will cost one person Php 360.00.
SWIM at BUNGA TWIN FALLS:
Bunga Falls, 15-meters twin waterfalls located at Brgy. Bunga in Nagcarlan Laguna is a good place to cool down after a climb at Mount Mabilog or if one wants more swimming after some time at Yambo Lake. FYI: According to locals, it is called “Bunga” as it is named after a palm tree called betel nut.
Bunga Falls Information:
Entrance Fee: Php5.00/person
Cottage Rentals: starts at Php200.00
Overnight Accommodation (cottage rent): Php400.00
Life Vest Rental: Php70.00
Activities: swimming, camping, water tubing
Parking Fee: Php20.00 (vehicles), Php15.00 (motorcycles)
VISIT the UNDERGROUND CEMETERY:
A unique attraction in the town (since it seems to be one of its kind in the Philippines) is the Underground Cemetery. This is a burial site located beneath a church that used to serves as a secret meeting place of Filipino revolutionaries or Katipuneros during the late 1800s. There are no fees collected. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Taking pictures is allowed, however, the use of flash is strictly prohibited. One may find the place eerie but I think that adds up charm to the place.
This fun-filled weekend getaway was made possible by a group of nature and “voluntourism” advocates spearheaded by Sir Ralph of We VolunTours. I have joined his group already on several occasions and I must say that there’s has to be one of the most organized, enjoyable and adventure-packed. Thank you to all new friends I have met. Special shout out to Baguio peeps I have come to know in this trip.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…