Mt. Ngusong Kabayo + Tangwa Peak: Exploring a Quarter of Laiban QuatroSaturday, December 31, 2016
Just when you thought Tanay had finally ran out of mountains, four more were opened to climbers. Located in Brgy. Laiban, the four peaks baptized as Laiban Quatro include Mt. Lubo, Mt. Toyang, Mt. Matang Ulang, and Mt. Ngusong Kabayo.
Last December 21, the initial 2-day plan of going to Baguio then hiking up Mt. Ulap morphed into a dayhike in Tanay. Dennis and I, together with Gretchen – the person behind Filipina Explorer – and her daughter Lia, decided to explore one of the mountains in Brgy. Laiban.
Mt. Ngusong Kabayo translates into 'horse's snout', and is so named because of the shape of the distinct limestone formation on its summit. It stands at 625 MASL while the Tangwa Peak is at 602 MASL.
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The trail to Mt. Ngusong Kabayo's peak, starting at the Baranggay Hall, is less than 20 kilometers long. It passes through mostly minor inclines with hardly any tree cover. The trail is almost always flanked by tall cogon grass. Patches of bamboo forests also make up the path. There are also limestone caverns one has to crawl through around the summit of Mt. Ngusong Kabayo.
The way back is a bit more difficult because the ground tends to become muddy and slippery. It also passes by the Laiban Falls and its waterways where some parts required careful maneuvering through slippery rocks.
During our climb, it took us longer than usual to complete it because we had a 4-year-old with us. It took us a total of 8 hours to complete the traverse, but Dennis and I estimate it could be done in 5. Also, we had a late start. But this was a blessing, I think.
It was my first time to do a night trek (sort of). In the beginning, we only had Kuya Efren to guide us, but come nightfall, locals started fetching us. It was so sweet and thoughtful. By the time we were back to the residential area, our party of 5 had doubled.
Aside from this, walking under a night sky free from city lights was such a treat. The stars seem to multiply the longer you look at them. The sound of the forests became louder too but I didn't feel scared. Somewhere along the way, I spotted several trees pulsating with yellow-green lights. Fireflies! It was such a magical experience and it had reminded me why I love trees and the mountains.
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The Laiban Falls can either be a sidetrip or the main destination. It's a series of falls and streams that is part of the traverse trail.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to properly admire it since it was already dark. But our adjusted photos reveal beautiful lagoons with blue-green waters. A flashlight-aided glimpse to the largest basin also hinted at a great picnic ground. Definitely, one reason to go back!
(Pacing with a 4-year-old)
09:00 to 09:30 - Sta. Lucia Mall Cainta to Cogeo Gate 2
09:30 to 10:45 - Gate 2 to Sitio Mayagay
10:45 to 11:10 - Sitio Mayagay to Brgy. Laiban
11:10 to 11:30 - Registration, secure guide
11:30 to 14:30 - Mt. Ngusong Kabayo summit
14:30 to 15:00 - Lunch
15:00 to 16:00 - Tangwa Peak
16:00 to 16:30 - Picture-taking
16:30 to 17:45 - Falls #1
17:45 to 18:00 - Picture-taking
18:00 to 20:15 - Descent, back to Kagawad Toto's house
20:15 to 21:00 - Dinner and Freshen Up
21:00 to 22:00 - Laiban to Tanay Town Proper
22:00 to 23:30 - Tanay to Angono
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BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES
(Per pax unless otherwise stated)
Jeepney Fare (Sta. Lucia to Gate 2) - Php18
Jeepney Fare (Gate 2 to Mayagay) - Php55
Habal-habal Fare (Mayagay to Laiban) - Php150
Registration Fee - Php40
Environmental Fee (Mt. Ngusong Kabayo) - Php20
Environmental Fee (Laiban Falls) - Php20
Tour Guide Fee (5 pax to 1 tour guide) - Php500
Habal-habal Fare (Laiban to Tanay Town Proper) - Php300
Jeepney Fare (Tanay to Angono) - Php35
HOW TO GET THERE
via Private Transport
Route 1 via Marcos Highway
Course through Marcos Highway. You will pass through Masinag, Cogeo, Boso-boso Resort, Foremost Farms, Palo Alto, Garden Cottages, and Brgy. Cuyambay. Sitio Mayagay will be on your left. Landmark is Martesem Resort. From Sitio Mayagay, it's a 30 minute drive through rough terrains and thigh-high streams to Brgy. Laiban.
Route 2 via Sampaloc in Tanay
Take Sampaloc Road. You will pass by the street to Daranak Falls. Go straight until you arrive at a junction. Turn left. Follow this scenic road. It'll be a 45 minutes to an hour ride. You will pass by Sierra Madre resort on your right, Ten Cents to Heaven on your left. Sitio Mayagay will be on your right. Landmark is Martesem Resort. From Sitio Mayagay, it's a 30 minute drive through rough terrains and thigh-high streams to Brgy. Laiban.
via Public Transportation
Route 1 via Cogeo
Ride a van or jeepney going to Padilla/Cogeo Gate 2. Get off at Gate 2 and from here take a jeep bound to Sampaloc in Tanay. It'll be the same route as Route 1 in private transportation. Get off at Mayagay and ride a habal-habal to take you to Laiban. Contact Kagawad Toto whose details are below to arrange your ride.
Route 2 via Tanay
Take a jeepney to Tanay town proper. In the Tanay Public Market, there are jeepneys that go directly to Mayagay. If there are no jeeps available, you can take a Jeep to Sampaloc, get off at the junction and take another jeep bound for Cogeo. Or you can hire a tricycle to take you to Cuyambay. Fare is 500 one way but can be haggled down to 350. Alternatively, you can hire a tricycle up to the Sampaloc junction. There are jeepneys going to Cogeo that'll pass by Mayagay.
Celine's Note: In the Tanay Public Market, trips to Mayagay are available as early as 5AM and as late as 5PM. Jeeps to Sampaloc are available for much later at 10PM. Jeeps, vehicles in general, are rare once you get to Mayagay. You could spend up to an hour waiting for a jeepney. Plus, jeeps are often filled to the roof when they pass by here. So take this into account.
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OTHER CONCERNS AND REMINDERS
- Practice the LNT Principles at all times (Read: 8 Basic Etiquette Rules Every Modern Traveler Should Know)
- Wear appropriate clothing to avoid injury and wounds, put on some sunscreen too
- You may wash up and eat Lomi at Kagawad Toto's house
- Mobile Reception: Smart, Sun, TNT are stable; Globe and TM are intermittent
- You may park your vehicles around the baranggay hall
- There is presence of "limatik"