DIY Guide to Mt. Malindig

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

mt malindig marinduque
Getting to Marinduque has never been easier thanks to Cebu Pacific’s thrice-per-week flights from Manila. The flight cuts the almost 6-hour land/sea trip to just under an hour – you’ll spend more time in the airport than on the plane! This makes the Heart of the Philippines more accessible to intrepid travelers.

Aside from the beaches and islands, subterranean wonders, and heritage sites, Marinduque also has something for those into hiking.

But first, the Leave No Trace Principles:

BACKGROUND
The highest point in the island, Mt. Malindig’s distinctive, looming form is ubiquitous. It measures 1,157 MASL and is located on the southern tip of the province. It is said to be an inactive stratovolcano and the nearby Malbog Springs strengthens this claim. Insurgents also used to inhabit the area until the military got a hold of the situation and established an outpost near the summit.
philippine mountains


Cell sites and radio towers are also perched within the mountain’s vicinity. Our guide, Kuya Rodel, tells that in the first few months after a telco tower was built, a row of coconut trees started dying – the leaves turning yellow, perhaps from radiation.

The mountain is part of the greater Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary.
wildlife sanctuaries in the philippines

THE TRAIL
The jump-off to Mt. Malindig is located in Brgy. Sihi in the town of Buenavista. One must register at the baranggay hall and get a guide, which is required. Make sure to also get a permit – you need to show this to the military outpost before summiting.

Once settled, you’d have to walk through the highway and take a left turn into a grove of coconuts. This will go on for about twenty minutes. The path winding into a steady incline.


mt malindig trail

mountains in marinduque

The early “assault” could be a shock so you may want to check out the view deck before proceeding. The steppe affords a nice view of the Marinduque mountain range as well as the Tres Reyes Islands.

From here, the trail continues upward, passing through mini-farms and cogon grass. There is no tree cover. It then mellows into an open-area, dotted with a number of coconut trees. This is the perfect camping ground – a view of Buenavista on one side, and the peak of Malindig on the other. The night sky from here must be spectacular!
overnight at mt malindig


A short, inclined walk follows this, leading to the military outpost just before the assault to the summit. You’d have to sign a log book here, and show your permit to the officer. There’s also a small hut where you may have your lunch or snack before going up the summit.
mt malindig military
Beyond the outpost, the forest of Malindig begins. It’s filled with ferns and epiphytes. Trees are covered in thin, fuzzy, green moss. The wild songs grow louder. Oh, and it’s also a full-on assault. This part reminded me of Mt. Matutum with its steep inclines that was a test of thigh strength.

In about thirty minutes to an hour, you’ll arrive at the summit. It is a covey of crooked trees covered in moss. You could barely see the sky from here, and the grove looked like it had an “emerald filter”. It is significantly cooler here, too.
mt malindig forest

mt malindig view

mt malindig summit forest

Our guide said you may also pitch a tent here.

POSSIBLE SIDETRIPS
Malbog Springs
The nearby Malbog Springs is fabled for its sulfuric waters said to originate from Malindig. It’s popular among those who are looking to cure their skin ailments as well as anyone keen to relax.

To get here, just get on a tricycle and ask to be dropped off at the springs.

Gaspar Island
Gaspar is one of the Tres Reyes Islands. It’s also a popular venue for family and barkada outing. It has a nice beach and “secret” coves where you can swim.

The jump-off to Gaspar Island is in the town of Gasan which is right next to Buenavista. For more details, check out this Gaspar Island Travel Guide.



GETTING THERE
From Manila, Cebu Pacific flies every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday to the Gasan Airport in Marinduque. One-way regular fare is around Ph3,000 to Php4,500. Travel time is just under an hour. Once in Gasan, get on a jeepney heading to Buenavista and ask to be dropped of at Brgy. Sihi. Alternatively, you may also rent a tricycle.

There’s also a direct bus/RORO trip from Cubao. Jac Liner serves this route.

You can also get on a bus in Cubao bound for the Dalahican Port in Lucena. Jac Liner plies this route. Travel time is 3 to 5 hours, depending on traffic. Once in Dalahican, get on a ferry to Balanacan Port. It takes about three hours. From the port, you may get on a tricycle or jeepney to Brgy. Sihi.


SAMPLE ITINERARY
7:00AM to 7:30AM - Register at the Brgy Hall, secure permits and guide
7:30AM to 8:00AM - To Viewdeck
8:00AM to 8:20AM - Rest, photo ops
8:20AM to 9:00AM - Camping Ground
9:00AM to 9:15AM - Military outpost
9:15AM to 9:30AM - Rest, prepare for assault to summit
9:30AM to 10:30AM - to Summit
10:30AM to 11:45AM - Back to the Brgy. Hall

EXPENSES
Per person unless otherwise stated
Bus Fare (Cubao vv Dalahican Port) - Php280 x 2 = Php560
Ferry Fare (Dalahican Port vv Balanacan Port) - Php290 x 2 = Php580
Jeepney Fare (Sta. Cruz vv Sihi, Buenavista) - Php80 x 2 - Php160
Permit Fee - Php45 per group
Guide Fee (required) - Php500 for four

OTHER DETAILS AND REMINDERS
- Practice the LNT Principles at all times (Read: 8 Basic Etiquette Rules Every Modern Traveler Should Know)
- Public transportation in Marinduque is scarce and are non-existent by 4PM – 5PM at the latest.
- There’s a toilet at the Brgy. Hall
- A few Sari-sari stores can be found near the Brgy. Hall. There are no carinderias.

Check out more DIY Hiking Guides.

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