If looking for a destination that is easily accessible and takes only a day to travel and hike, then Tanay in Rizal is the answer. The town lies at the foot of Sierra Madre, and more importantly, at the outskirts of Metro Manila.
Looking for sea of clouds? Check out Tanay, Rizal
Euden Valdez (Philstar.com) - October 19, 2018 - 1:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — Experienced hikers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will attest that the Philippine mountains are some of the most beautiful in the world.

Those who love nature and adventure have come to realize this — thus the increase in hiking tours in recent years. They too want to experience the breathtaking, natural sceneries inside and atop mountains.

Perhaps the most coveted view in many mountains is the sea of clouds. As the altitude increases and the trail opens up, it can be felt that one is on top of the world, even higher than the clouds.

When picturing sea of clouds, the first mountain that comes to mind is Pulag of Northern Luzon. It is, however, accessible via Benguet province, and travel time to get there alone would take about eight hours. It takes another day or two — depending on the trail — to reach its summit for the unforgettable sunrise and sea of clouds.

But if looking for a destination that is easily accessible and takes only a day to travel and hike, then Tanay is the answer. After all, the Rizal town lies at the foot of Sierra Madre, and more importantly, at the outskirts of Metro Manila.

In Tanay, mountains below the 1,000-MASL (meters above sea level) mark are interconnected. A perfect example is the Maysawa Circuit, which is comprised of Mts. Sapari and Binutasan. It can be completed within 12 hours, maximum.

Tanay's Maysawa Circuit is comprised of Mts. Sapari and Binutasan. It can be completed within 12 hours, maximum, of trekking. Released

In this span of time, hikers are subjected to long treks but rest assured that trails are established. A muddy trail, which happens during the rainy season, may be a challenge too. When nearing the summit of Mt. Binutasan, the trail ascends ever so gently, for a manageable hike. The vegetation then starts to open, and the result, a 360-view of the surrounding and ultimately, a sea of clouds.

At one side, see Mt. Batolusong, Mt. Daraitan and Mt. Irid, which is the highest peak of Tanay, and on the other, see Mt. Binutasan’s twin peak, Mt. Sapari. At times, the sea of clouds can envelope these mountains and cover the valleys, making the peaks look like floating islands.

After filling the soul with nature’s beauty at Mt. Binutasan summit, start the trek to Mt. Sapari. Expect to encounter rock formations especially at the summit. This is a characteristic to mountains in Rizal.

If there is enough time, a quick visit to a stream can be requested from local guides. There are even nearby waterfalls tucked within the mountains! But these are best discovered during overnight hikes.

Planning to go to Maysawa Circuit in Tanay, Rizal already? Check out these tips on how to best enjoy a hike, while being mindful not only of oneself, but also of the mountain and communities.

1. Be physically ready

While Maysawa Circuit is considered as a minor hike, Mt. Sapari stands at 592 MASL and Mt. Binutasan  at 577 MASL, hikers are recommended to prepare their body a week before a hike. One of the best trainings for hiking is running for it strengthens the legs and lengthens endurance.

Do a five-km run around three days before a hike to familiarize the body to physical activity, especially if hiking for the first time. Before starting the hike, stretch first. Start slow and then pick up the phase once the body has warmed up.

2. Be dressed for the adventure

Make sure to be dressed properly for adventure. Some may choose sexy attires—we’ve spotted women wearing sports bras atop mountains—to look good. However, this is too exposed for the surrounding. Long-sleeves and pants are preferred because these prevent scratches and wounds in case of accidents.

Proper footwear is as important because it gives the required support for uneven trails. Women can check out Merrell’s newly launched Moab FST 2, which features Vibram MegaGrip for traction and Air Cushion for shock absorptions, among others. Men, on the other hand, can pick Chameleon 7 Storm, which features FlexPlate technology that keeps it stable yet sensitive to terrain. Both are waterproof so that even during rainy days, hiking is possible.

Proper attire and footwear are important when hiking. Released

3. The early hiker catches the early view

Just like the sunrise, the sea of clouds appear early in the day in Tanay, when the moisture from the cold evening have been captured in the leaves of the plants.

It’s best to start the trek as early as 4 am, which means it can still be dark. Be equipped with flashlights and headlamps to be able to see the trail. A night trek is an experience in itself.  

Recommended time to leave Metro Manila is around 2am to reach Brgy. Cuyambay in Tanay. This serves as the registration and jump-off point.

4. Spend it with friends or make new ones

When hiking, be with the company of friends who have a sense of adventure so everyone will enjoy what the outdoors has to offer. Not only will everyone get to share some memories together, they can also be each other’s photographers! Tanay’s Maysawa Circuit’s sea of clouds is Instagram-worthy, believe us!

But do not be afraid to hike with new people as well. The hiking community has the friendliest people and solo travelers are sure to earn new friends from them.

5. Be respectful of locals, communities

Hiking can be fun but always remember that mountains are dwelling place of local communities. When passing by households, be polite and greet the locals young and old. Also, tone down voices as sign of respect.

Local guides will also be joining the hike. Talk to them when possible. Ask their names, about the mountain, and how their lives are being empowered by tourism.

If there is enough time, a quick visit to a stream can be requested from local guides of Maysawa Circuit in Brgy. Cayumbay, Tanay, Rizal. Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas

6. ‘Leave no trace’

Leave no trace is the golden rule of mountaineering. It means “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”

Don’t pollute the mountains and bring down your own trash. Picking up stones or taking flowers are also wrong. A mountain’s beauty may be destroyed if not taken care of.

Get in touch withTrail Adventours when hiking Maysawa Circuit in Tanay, Rizal. The outdoor outfitter specializes in organizing safe, comfortable, enjoyable, and enriching hiking experience here and abroad. To date, it offers the most extensive number of hiking destinations in the Philippines.

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