Mount Paliparan: The Newest Hiking Destination in Tanay, Rizal

Friday, May 06, 2016

mount paliparan

Tanay has come a long way from being a "secret" destination. With tourism behemoths like Daranak Falls, Mount Daraitan, and Tinipak River in its arsenal, Tanay has established itself as a veritable tourist destination – or, to be more specifc, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Along with Rodriguez, Tanay makes up Rizal's mountaineer's playground. And with a topography of mountains and hills, it's no surprise that it never seems to run out of hiking destinations. The newest of such is Mount Paliparan in Brgy. Cuyambay. 

Mount Paliparan, sometimes called Paliparan Summit, at the highest point is elevated at approximately 680 MASL. It is distinguished as part of the ancestral domain of the Dumagat in Cuyambay – although, a formal declaration and title are yet to be released by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP). According to a local NCIP representative, an application has been filed in 2009. 

Mount Paliparan forms a ridge and has a connection to Nagpatong Rock. The mountain was once an early Dumagat settlement. It got its name from the early residents' practice of holding kite-fights here – a pastime where crops and livestock are at stake. 
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The wild and lush Mount Paliparan

The length of Paliparan also served as a hideout during Japanese colonization. It is laden with numerous caves and caverns where natives stay during the day to evade Japanese soldiers. Most of these caves remain unexplored since then. The foot of the mountain, which was all fields and plains, was where the Japanese set up camp and it was at night that the early Dumagat sneaked out to steal salt – a commodity the natives prized because of its food-preserving properties – from the sleeping invaders. The area also used to take aerial bombings head on, the attacks leaving many duds in Cuyambay. In fact, one is used as a batingting (bell) in the local elementary school. 
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Nature is reluctant to give way to Man in Cuyambay
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Some of the surrounding land of Paliparan is being used for agricultural purposes. This is a mango farm. 

Mount Paliparan's trail is still rugged and wild. At its current state, it may be classified as having a 6/10 difficulty, but may go down to 4/10 once the trail gets established. While its slopes are graceful, its inclines gradual, the overgrowth makes the trek ten-times strenuous. Some parts of the trail are fields of cogon, and buho – a kind of bamboo used for making barbecue sticks and other implements. Neither large hardwoods nor towering trees can be seen along the trail due to the still prevalent practice of paguuling or small scale charcoal production in the community which remains as one of the main sources of livelihood of the Dumagat. The land, as a result, is tainted with evidences of pyrolysis, black and ashen. Some areas are charred and bare. However, most of Paliparan still remain lush and luxuriant. Huge limestone formations are blanketed with thick vegetation, hardly detectable under layers of bush and shrub. Here, your major concerns would be accidentally grabbing on a thorny trunk, and having a branch snap below and/or at you. Since Paliparan's terrain is strewn with jagged limestone formations, rock-climbing is also required to get to certain portions of the trail. The rocks aren't as sharp as that in Pamitinan but they get really hot during the afternoon.
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Beautiful flowers mingle with cogon in some portions of the trail
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Dried-up cogon dominate the early parts of the trail
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Paliparan is strewn with limestone rocks
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Rolling hills surround Paliparan 
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Going over massive rock formations is a must to proceed with your hike

Related Adventures: DIY Guide to Mount Pamitinan

Mount Paliparan has several pit-stops. Inspired by the Masungi Georeserve, the local Dumagat and Remontado (those with Dumagat ancestry) named these pit-stops using the vernacular. In order from trailhead: Pinagtukduan (from the word tukdo meaning sitting on one's haunches), Tunghayan (take a look), Taguan (hiding place), Silungan (under the shade), and my contribution Hagkanan (from the word hagkan, meaning embrace). 
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The path to Pinagtukduan - the first pit-stop
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Pinagtukduan provides hikers a welcome shade after a long walk directly under the sun
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Taguan stays true to its name. Being concealed by overgrown shrubbery, this pit-stop can easily be missed if you're not vigilant
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Taguan is a group of large limestone formations which can be scaled using nature's rope: baging
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Atop Taguan
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With our exploration team resting in Tunghayan
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The view from Tunghayan
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Hagkanan's distinct rock formations
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This whimsical dead tree adorns Hagkanan
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Hagkanan makes for a beautiful photo
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I named it Hagkanan because, here, the breeze seemed to take you in its embrace

There is also a camping ground in Paliparan for those who'd like to stay overnight. The mountain has one viewdeck and one peak (as of the moment, explorations are still ongoing). The viewdeck we now call Hagkanan overlooks the plains and rolling hills of Cuyambay, with a line of electricity towers and the Pililla Windmills in the far distance. The peak, yet to be named, has a 360-degree view of the valley, Laguna Lake, and Talim Island. A part of the Sierra Madre can be seen just beyond the transmission towers. It's truly windy up here. The kite-fights whence Mount Paliparan got its name make perfect sense.
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Reaching Hagkanan requires strong climbing skills
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The 360-degree view from Paliparan includes the distant Pililla Windmills
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This bamboo pole marks the peak of Mount Paliparan which is basically a massive slab of limestone

Related Adventures: Pililla Windmills

Going up and down the way you came is of course possible for those who are just looking to explore the mountain itself. But for those who have plenty of time, you can opt to take a traverse and visit a sidetrip of your choosing. 

As already mentioned, there are many caves and caverns in Paliparan. Some of these you'll get to explore on your way up, but there are still more on the other side of the mountain. And as already mentioned, most are still unexplored. So, expect for more caves to open up in the next days. 
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Inside Taguan
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Sunlight pours in through the crack on Taguan's roof

Sitio Tuoy
Sitio Tuoy is a Dumagat community resting on the banks of a nameless river. This community still keeps mostly true to the Dumagat's way of life. The houses are wooden and with thatched roofs. Clothes are washed in the same stream where the residents catch fish. Carabaos bathe not far from kids. Poultry roam free. Ducks, geese, and native chickens mingle with humans. Its most noticeable feature, however, is the huge mango tree with its lush foliage, serving as a tambayan both for its residents and visitors. You may have your lunch here and if you're lucky, kids may offer you nabangi na kasoy – cashews nuts cooked in open fire. 
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Lunch with the Dumagat youth under Tuoy's mango tree
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Roasted cashew cooked by the kids of Tuoy
dumagat tradition
Nabangi na kasoy is even better than sauteed ones

Related Adventure: I Am Serenaded By Children

Tungtong Falls
Perhaps the most exciting sidetrip to Mount Paliparan is the series of falls and waterways collectively known as Tungtong Falls. Be warned, of course, as the path is as difficult, if not more, as that up the mountain. It requires going over massive slippery rocks and wading through swamps and waist-high streams. The main falls of Tungtong is its crowning glory. Four layers of elegantly cascading waters, just the right amount not to look imposing. (Although, it gets stronger in the rainy months according to the locals). 
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The magnificent Tungtong Falls
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One of the many natural pools in Tungtong's waterway

Dayhike (Paliparan only)
05:00 to 07:00 - Cogeo to Cuyambay
07:00 to 07:30 - Registration, get guide, and briefing at the baranggay hall
07:30 to 08:20 - Trailhead to Pinagtukduan
08:20 to 08:30 - Pinagtukduan to Tunghayan
08:30 to 09:15 - Tunghayan to Hagkanan
09:15 to 09:30 - Hagkanan to Taguan
09:30 to 09:45 - Rest
09:45 to 11:00 - Taguan to Peak
11:00 to 11:45 - Back to Taguan for Lunch
11:45 to 14:45 - Back to trailhead

Dayhike (Paliparan + Tuoy + Tungtong)
05:00 to 07:00 - Cogeo to Cuyambay
07:00 to 07:30 - Registration, get guide, and briefing at the baranggay hall
07:30 to 08:20 - Trailhead to Pinagtukduan
08:20 to 08:30 - Pinagtukduan to Tunghayan
8:30 to 09:15 - Tunghayan to Hagkanan
09:15 to 09:30 - Hagkanan to Taguan
09:30 to 09:45 - Rest
09:45 to 11:00 - Taguan to Peak
11:00 to 12:30 - Peak to Tuoy
12:30 to 14:00 - Lunch + Rest
14:00 to 16:00 - Tuoy to Tungtong Falls
16:00 to 17:00 - Explore, Swim
17:00 to 18:30 - Back to baranggay hall

(Per pax unless otherwise stated)
Santolan vv Cogeo (Php20 x 2) - Php40
Cogeo vv Cuyambay (Php48 x 2) - Php96
Habal-habal fare from Sampaloc Hiway to Baranggay Hall (good for 2 pax) - Php25
Habal-habal fare from Baranggay Hall to Sampaloc Hiway (good for 2 pax) - Php30
Registration Fee - Php20
Seedling (mandatory; to be collected to fund the community's tree-planting event) - Php10
Tour guide (mandatory) - Php500 for a maximum of 5 pax for dayhikes; Php800 for a maximum of 5 pax for overnights 

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, and Garden Cottages. The welcome arc to Brgy. Cuyambay will be on your right.
    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. The welcome arc to Cuyambay will be on your left when taking this route.

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.
    Route 2 via Tanay
Take a jeepney to Tanay town proper. In the Tanay Public Market, there are jeepneys that go directly to Cuyambay. 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 Cuyambay.

Celine's Note: In the Tanay Public Market, trips to Cuyambay are available as early as 5AM and as late as 12nn. Jeeps to Sampaloc are available for much later at 6PM. Jeeps, vehicles in general, are rare once you get to Cuyambay. 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.

Related Adventure: DIY Guide to Mount Sembrano 

- Practice the LNT Principles at all times (Read: 8 Basic Etiquette Rules Every Modern Traveler Should Know)
- The trail, as of writing, is still overgrown
- Wear appropriate clothing to avoid injury and wounds, gloves are advised but not required
- Understand that this new adventure spot is managed by the Dumagat community who are used to practicing unsustainable activities such as paguuling to live. This shift to tourism is being done to introduce a more sustainable way of living. Please, 'wag mambarat. (Read: Why It's Important You Take the Cuyambay Route When Climbing Mount Paliparan)
- Seedlings are bought directly from Dumagat residents who cultivate these from seeds gotten from Paliparan
- You may wash up at the baranggay hall
- Mobile Reception: Smart, Sun, TNT are stable; Globe and TM are intermittent
- You may park your vehicles around the baranggay hall
- There are plenty of sari-sari stores in the barrio. There is also one in Tuoy.

All inquiries may be directed to Mount Paliparan's Facebook page.

Into mountaineering? Check out Mount Tagapo in Binangonan, Mount Sembrano in Pililla, Mount Pamitinan in Rodriguez, and these other DIY Hiking spots!

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