Monday, November 10, 2008

Mt. Banoi


LOCATION : Batangas Province

ELEVATION : 600+ meters above sea level

LEVEL : Minor Climb, Level II, Moderate

JUMP OFF POINTS :Lobo, Batangas

AVERAGE DAYS REQUIRED : 2 Days (including travel time from Manila)

MINIMUM DAYS REQUIRED : 2 Days (including travel time from Manila)



Mt. Banoi is located at the town of Lobo in Batangas Province. The place is not a national park and the mountains are used as farmlands and grazing lands. Houses are also situated along the trails and various parts of the mountain. The main marker and distinct description of Mt. Banoi are its telecommunications antennas nestled atop one of the peaks. In fact, the campsite itself can be established at one of the facilities of Smart Communications, which is a fenced area with container vans used as quarters and equipment rooms.

The views on the other hand are spectacular, overlooking the Bay of Batangas and the surrounding provinces and nearby islands. The hike is also pleasant, and though exposed, winds usually make the hike pleasant. Along the route, there is a river and a small waterfall where you can take a refreshing bath. There are technicians who man the facilities 24 hours a day. According to one I have spoken, they are on a 3-month shift, staying entirely at the peak. You will also pass by small villages on your way to the summit.


Banoi can be hiked all year round. To get there, take a bus bound for Batangas City. Alight at the intersection at Batangas City town before the bus enters the Batangas City Pier area. From there, you can already hire jeepneys but you may opt to go to the public market first for supplies and get the jeepney there in the market where the regular trips to Lobo are located. Ask the jeepney driver to take you straight to the jump-off point, which is Barangay Balatbat, Lobo, Batangas. The trip passes by pleasant towns with rich gardens on each front yard. Then the road changes to rough road till you enter Lobo itself. You will pass by an old bridge (which is currently being replaced by a concrete one) over a deep ravine. This place is a popular rappelling site and was featured on one of the cigarette commercials where a man bungee-jumped to get a flower. From Balatbat, the trail starts near a small chapel along a dry riverbed. It continues to the top till you reach the antenna station. This is not actually the highest point or summit and there are no established trails to the summit since the place is not frequently explored. On the other hand it offers opportunities for exploration. The Smart facility serves as the campsite but if you wish for natural settings, you can camp at the flat areas before the antenna. According to one mountaineer I have spoken, there is another trail in Banoi, which leads to a different peak. That trail starts from a beachfront.



07:00 am - Assembly at Buendia Corner Taft Avenue.
07:30 am - ETD for Batangas City
10:30 am - ETA Batangas City, Take Tricycle to Public Market
10:45 am - Market Time, Early Lunch
11:45 am - ETD for Barangay Balatbay, Lobo, Batangas
1:00 pm - ETA Jump-off Point, Snacks, Final Preparations
1:30 pm - Start Trek
2:00 pm - Small Waterfalls
3:00 pm - ETA Campsite
6:00 pm - Prepare Dinner
7:00 pm - Dinner, Socials
9:00 pm - Lights Out


08:00 am - Wake-up Call, Breakfast, Break Camp
09:00 am - Start Decent
10:00 am - ETA jump-off point
10:30 am - ETD for Batangas City
11:30 am - ETA Batangas City, Lunch
12:30 nn - ETD for Manila
1:30 pm- ETA Manila
3:00 pm - Home sweet home