My two friends and I joined a group of other expat-women living in Makati who regularly go for hiking day trips. This was my first time, so I was a little hesitant to spend the day with a group of people I barely knew, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I made new friends and mingled with them all the way up to Mt. Mabilog.
Waking up at 4 a.m. was a challenge but I still made it on time for our 5 a.m. meet-up at San Antonio Plaza, Makati. By 5:30 a.m., everyone had arrived, registered, and filled up two mini vans. We were finally set for the trip!
Mt. Mabilog is conveniently located approximately 2-3 hours away from Manila, in San Pablo City, Laguna province. Having left early, traffic was not an issue so it took us even less time to get there. We jumped off at Lake Pandin in Barangay Sto. Angel. A few meters from Lake Pandin was our trailhead to hiking up Mt. Mabilog.
A walk in nature, walks the soul back home.
There are several trails hikers can choose from. We took the southern trail, which offered us picturesque views of the twin lakes Pandin and Yambo, two of San Pablo’s famed seven lakes. Our hike was a scenic walk through tall coconut trees and abundant banana plantations. There is something magical and soulful about being surrounded by verdure. As we made our way to the summit of Mt. Mabilog, I couldn’t help but resonate with Alice Walker’s words.
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they are still beautiful
We arrived at the summit 40 minutes later. Not so bad for a hike that was supposed to take 1.5-2 hours! The hike was moderately intense, apart from the last bit just before reaching the summit where things got a tad steeper and a little bit more effort was needed.The Mt. Mabilog summit offers panoramic vistas of the southern Tagalog mountains and the twin lakes. Pandin and Yambo are two twin crater lakes separated only by a narrow strip of land. As we hiked on a weekday, we had all the beautiful view for ourselves. It was the perfect backdrop for a group photo!
After our descent, we spent some time by the lake. Some of us (not including myself) took up the challenge of swimming across the lake while the rest of us just lounged about taking in the serene views of the lakeshore under sheltered bamboo rafts afloat.If you’re new to hiking and looking for a not-so-challenging fun day hike from Manila, Mt. Mabilog is ideal because it’s easy and absolutely newbie-friendly. I highly suggest getting a community trail guide before setting off though, especially for first time hikers who are not familiar with the area. It can be confusing and tricky to navigate at some points. Trail guides can be provided at the trailhead after registration.
This was the perfect opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some nature and fresh air because let’s face it, when you live in a concrete jungle, fresh air and nature become luxuries. We were home by mid-afternoon, a little tired but happily sun-kissed. A day spent in nature is a day well spent!
It was extra special being in the company of my two good friends, Iryna and Alma, both of whom kept teasing me for having borrowed my four-year-old’s backpack for the hike.
(I love you ”Kabloochkis” and look forward to more fun adventures together!)
Like yoga, Travelling is never complete, It is a lifetime practise
Lora By Lora. x