The topography of the Philippines is mostly mountainous making it an ideal place for outdoor activities such as cycling, camping, and climbing. Wherever you are in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, there’s always a good place for you to take your adventure to new heights!
We took 2020 as a break due to pandemic, but will not let 2021 pass without a single hike.
With the right attitude and responsible travel protocols, we can still enjoy the things we love. Make sure to read this travel guide and be ready for your next hiking destination!
Laiban Mountains and Waterfalls
Laiban comprises five mountains namely Mt. Lubo, Mt. Ngusong Kabayo, Mt. Tangwa, Mt. Kalbo, and Mt. Toyang. The first three mountains form part of the Trilogy hike while the two are not yet fully opened to the public. Laiban is also home to multitiered waterfalls of Tagpuan, Mahangin, Panat-in and Kalaparan. All these mountains and waterfalls are situated in Brgy. Laiban in Tanay, Rizal.
How to Get to Laiban
Use Waze or Google Map and search for Laiban Tanay Rizal. It is advisable for vehicles that can withstand rough roads and river crossing.
It is exhausting but satisfying. You have two routes to choose from depending on your place of origin.
- From Cubao, take a jeep ride going to Cogeo and alight at the terminal going to Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal.
- From Sampaloc, ride a jeep or tricycle going to Sitio Mayagay 1. Tricycle is Php50 per head.
- Take a habal-habal ride going to Brgy. Laiban. Fare is Php150 per head.
- From Shaw Boulevard/Crossing and nearby areas, take a jeep ride going to Tanay public market.
- From Tanay public market, ride a monster jeep going to Brgy. Laiban. Fare is Php70 per head.
Option 2 is our recommended route since it will save you money by skipping the jeep and habal habal ride and the best thing about it, you’ve got the chance for a top-load experience.
There is one scheduled daily from Tanay Public market to Brgy. Laiban and usually departs from 11am to 1pm. The average travel time is around two hours.
Camping at Puting Bato River
Plan before going to Laiban and decide if you’re going to camp or take a day hike. Since this is our first hike after a year, we wanted to get the most out of this adventure. The commute is a bit tiring hence camping and bathing at Puting Bato River is perfect to reboot.
We had the whole night to enjoy our dinner, converse on random topics and take a good rest for tomorrow’s ascent.
Scaling the Mountains of Laiban
The start of trekking is commonly before daybreak. At 5AM, the group takes off and passed by the registration area then advances to ascend Mt. Lubo, the first mountain of Laiban Trilogy.
Mt. Lubo has an elevation of 488 MASL. From the jump-off point, this will be reached after an hour or less depending on your pacing. At the trail, you will first pass by Hayahay Peak with 420 MASL. The term “Hayahay” refers to being relaxing or comfortable. From here, a 10 to 15-minute hike will land you to 1st Peak of Mt. Lubo, then 2nd peak and 3rd peak consecutively before you finally set foot on the main peak of Mt. Lubo.
Depending on the weather, you have the chance to witness the sea of clouds and sometimes just a fog. In our experience, it rained in the afternoon a day before our hike giving us a better chance of seeing this phenomenal sea of clouds that usually appears from 5AM until 7AM.
The sun is up but we continue to trek uphill passing through exposed grassland and bamboo forests. We are not in a hurry, so we took our chance to stop by along the trail to look closely at the scenic overlooking spot or interesting subject like this insect molt.
After about 30 minutes of trekking, you will then reach the second summit of Mt. Ngusong Kabayo with a height of 602 MASL. The term Ngusong Kabayo means “horse’s snout.” Its twin rock formations are spiky and rugged and hikers are recommended to take their pictures at the designated area for safety.
Mt. Ngusong Kabayo is surrounded by other amazing rock formations that will excite and satisfy every hiker. There are numerous spots for taking pictures atop the cliff, under a gigantic tree, or at the center of the extensive sea of clouds covering the mountains.
Heading to the highest peak of Mt. Tangwa with 625 MASL is a lot easier compared to the first two summits. Navigate the narrow tunnels underneath Mt. Ngusong Kabayo then cross along the grassland. A great spot is waiting for you and worthy of a quick snapshot. And after 15 minutes, you will reach the peak of Mt. Tangwa.
The summit is wide-open and mainly inhabited by grass and few rock formations but the 360-degree view of the panoramic Sierra Madre mountain ranges is its main attraction. And if you arrived early, imagine the horizon with the extensive sea of clouds waiting for you.
Chasing the Waterfalls of Laiban
The sun is at its peak and this normally gives a toll on trekking. While descending is somehow easier, the scorching heat is bothering us. We wanted to reach the waterfalls of Laiban to take a dip and give our worn-out bodies a treat.
Finally, after about 45 minutes of mostly downhill trek, we can hear the sound of the streams. Going to Tagpuan Falls, you have to endure the steep natural stairways that can be super slippery during the rainy season. After passing through bamboo forests, this nice-looking opening of the waterfalls will greet you. And the excitement intensifies.
Timely our already dried-up Nalgene bottles are ready for replenishing and Tagpuan Falls has spring water to quench our thirst.
Tagpuan Falls has a layer of mini pools where one can enjoy bathing in its cold water. The get to the tip of the falls, you need to crawl your way up following the water stream. Be very careful, as the rocks are mossy and slippy.
The second waterfall is Mahangin Falls that is connected with Tagpuan Falls and just a few meters away. The term “mahangin” means windy or breezy. This is a perfect spot to rest and take a nap after a long hike.
The best time to visit the Laiban Falls is from December to February to witness its finest look and abundant stream.
To get to the last two waterfalls of Panat-in and Kalaparan, there are rappelling, river crossing and the long unsteady trail that you need to go through.
Panat-in Falls is one perfect spot for cliff diving but since it is not the peak season and we already have ourselves pleased with the Tagpuan and Mahangin Falls, we just skipped and continue our trail.
The last waterfall is Kalaparan Falls. You know obviously by the name implies, it is expansive. While the water is not lavish at this time, it gives you an idea of how stunning it would like during its peak season. Passing through this waterfall, you need to rappel to go down and it is easier than it looks. The rope is in place and you have your guide with you to assist when needed.
It’s almost done but another 30-minute or less of walking is needed to return to the jump-off point. You will pass along the river, the Buhay Paraiso Resort to the community proper. At this moment, you would be feeling worn out, hungry, and somehow uneasy but think about the reward after completing your long day of adventures coming to an end. This is an accomplishment and an option to eat Lomi, a favorite after-hike dish for many! Yehey!
Here is additional information to plan out your hike to Laiban, Tanay, Rizal.
Registration Fee: Php100 per head (includes Environmental, Cultural and Tourism Fees)
Day Hike Tour Guide: Php500 for a group of 5 persons
Overnight Tour Guide: Php1,250 for a group of 5 persons
Prior to your visit, ensure to contact Laiban Tourism at their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/laibanecotourism to reserve your slot and assign you your tour guide in advance. This is needed to ensure that the allowed number of visitors is being followed and the tourism management accomplishes the required preparation steps for your safe and hassle-free experience.
You may also connect to Kagawad “Kaka” Munoz of Brgy. Laiban at 0998-4943595.
If you are looking for jeep for hire, you may contact Kuya Mario at 0963-7205370. The roundtrip fee is Php4,500 and you can select either pickup point is Cogeo or Tanay public market. This is perfect for those big groups planning to do a day hike or overnight.
Things To Know
- Observe and practice social distancing
- Always wear your facemask
- Wear proper hiking attire
- Bring enough water
- Bring cash with you, there is no nearest ATMs in Laiban, Tanay, Rizal
- Bring enough food for your camping and trail food
- Bring a first aid kit with you for emergency
- Always listen to your guide for your safety
- Do not litter
- Always practice the Leave No Trace (LNT) Principles
- Enjoy and keep safe!