It was 5:15 AM and darkness still lingers when we left the house where we were staying to start on our trek to Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato. Feeling the morning breeze blowing gently made my body chill. I was with my father, siblings, 12-year old niece and cousin during this hike. Our guide said that it would take about an hour to get to the peak of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato for beginners like us (we were all beginners except for my brother and his girlfriend) however for them they can do it in 30 minutes.
Hmmm…Was it really that easy? I have a doubt in my mind since I am not an experienced hiker nor was I in the best shape to hike.
Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato is in the island municipality of Tingloy, Batangas. It stands at 600 masl, it is one of the two peaks near Masasa Beach. The mountain is called Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato because of the two huge rocks standing side by side on its peak.
0525 hours – On Our Way Up
We haven’t gone that far yet when I started to struggle. The main road, though it was concrete, it was very steep and marching on it felt like we were already hiking. I was thinking if can I endure it until we reach the top? Can I make it to the peak of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato just before the sun rises?
I took a quick rest as soon as we got to a flat surface to catch my breath. I collected myself and set my mind that I will finish the trek to watch the sunrise on a mountain for the first time.
I moved quickly to catch up with the rest of the group. A few moments later, we were already walking off of the main road. There were no more houses in sight and all I can hear was the sound of the crickets. It was pitch dark so I took out my phone and opened the flashlight app to see the trail that we were trekking on. It was a rough and rocky terrain that was getting steeper and steeper.
We continued on our hike and I was already breathing heavily. But still, I pushed through and took it one step at a time.
I was so focused on where to step, where to hold and balancing my body that I didn’t notice that twenty-five minutes had already passed. Daybreak struck and the sky was getting bright, the sun suddenly appeared from a distance.
Our guide was waiting for the rest of us to get to where they were. He said that we were already halfway to the peak of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato. We took a breather, then we moved along all together.
The trail gets sharper as we go higher. My sister and my cousin already threw in the towel and decided not to continue. They will just wait for the rest of us to go back down since there was only one trail going up and down the mountain.
I held onto anything that can help me carry my weight and push my body upward. The small trees, branches and vines became my staff/walking stick. I even got on all fours at one point, crawling my way up.
The warm reddish-orange light was already peeking from the horizon as I moved along the trails. The sun was already coming up and it was coming up fast. At that point I came to a realization that I will not get to witness as the sun rises from the peak of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato. But it didn’t stop me to keep on going. The goal was to get to the top.
The trail does not have much flat surface where I can comfortably rest. I just took a quick break whenever I felt that I can’t lift my feet anymore and tried to catch up as fast as I can.
Then the narrow trail led to an open field. At last we’ve reached the top. But not quite, our guide said. Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato is still a few meters away and he pointed to the big rocks all the way to the top. Nevertheless, I felt that I needed to give myself a pat on the back for getting that far. I took my sweet time to appreciate all that was before me. From that vantage point, I can already see the some of the neighboring islands and the magnificence of the big blue sea.
We were the first ones to get there but there were others trailing not far behind. So, before the place gets swarmed by hikers, it was time to finish the ascend to the twin peaks of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato.
0615 hours – The Twin Rocks (Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato)
I followed our guide uphill passing on a grass-covered open land all the way to the colossal rocks that measures about 25-30 feet high. When we got there, he said that we can climb to the top to get a 360-degree view of the island. I asked him if how can we go up? Do we have to wear any harness? Because I didn’t see any equipment not even a rope to hold on to get to the top.
There was a small space in between the boulders that can fit 1-2 persons comfortably at a time. There were tree branches and roots spiraling to the ground from the crest of the rock. The guide took off his slippers and started to climb with no special gears. He stepped on the roots and held on to the branches and pushed himself above on a flat portion of the rocks then he asked us to follow what he did. It’s really incredible how nature works, even without ropes or ladders, it provided the very thing that we needed to be able to go above the rocks. My brother went up first then his girlfriend and then it was my turn.
I am up for anything when I travel and I don’t want to let an opportunity pass for me to try something new, but I must admit that I was hesitant to go up. The side of the rocks were sharp and If I slipped, there was nothing to catch me and I will fall straight to a rocky ground. But I did it anyway with extra caution and prayer. And I was glad that I did.
0630 hours – The Peak
After walking on a 6-inch wide tree root and sort of swinging on branches at 15 feet (more or less) above the ground, I got to the leveled surface. There were trees that served as a shade and waiting area for the rest of the hikers who want to go to the apex of the rock. From that point to the tip of the rock was another 15 feet or so.
Climbing up to the peak was easy but it required more caution and I needed to be alert because it was more dangerous. One wrong move might lead to an accident.
At its summit was the perfect spot to see a panoramic view of the coasts of the island of Tingloy. You can catch sight of the neighboring island of Mindoro facing the famous Puerto Galera, the small island of Isla Sombrero and mainland Batangas. My knees were wobbling a bit but it didn’t matter. Seeing the early morning sunshine and the spectacular view from atop Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato was soothing. The journey going up was strenuous but it felt so tranquil once I reached the peak. I felt like Superman harnessing the power of the sun except that I was not flying.
0700 hours – The Descent
If you were wondering what happened to my sister and my cousin, they almost made it to the “open field” area. “Almost” because they were still a few feet away to the open area. They were too exhausted to go further so, they just sat down and ate the snacks and drank the water that we brought. 🙂
We started to descend through the same trail we took going up. Going down was not any less taxing. It was supposed to be easy because I can now see where I’m walking but not quite. Just when I thought that I have stepped firmly on the ground, my feet would still slip because of the dirt and loose stones. It was hard to find my sense of balance. In fact, I slid and landed on my bum twice. Forty minutes later we’ve finally reached the main road.
Technically, Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato was the second peak that I summited, but it was my first full climb. The first one was Cebu’s highest mountain, Osmena Peak (1,013 MASL) but the starting point was already too close to the top. I may have not reached the crown of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato before sunrise but what mattered most was I didn’t quit. I was glad that I continued on despite the struggles for it was all worth it. As they say, nothing worth having comes easy and now I’m ready for the next climb.
How to get to Tingloy, Batangas
Take the bus from Cubao or LRT Buendia going to Batangas Pier for Php 165 or Php 157 respectively. Then take a jeep from Grand terminal to Anilao. Travel time: 2 and ½ to 3 hours depending on the traffic.
The municipality of Tingloy can be reached by riding a boat from either Anilao or Talaga Ports (depending on the weather).
Take a public boat to Tingloy, Batangas Travel time was about 1 – 1.5 hours. Private boats cost around Php 3,500 good for 10-15 passengers.
From Tingloy Port ride a tricycle to transport you to the drop off point of Masasa Beach.
|Php 80 adult
Php 60 child
|Boat – Anilao Port to Tingloy|
|Php 60||Tricycle – Tingloy Port to drop off point of Masasa Beach – Good for 5|
Arrive early at the port (Anilao), first trip starts at 6AM.
The last trip of the passenger’s boat from Anilao to Tingloy Port is at 4:30 PM, and from Tingloy to Anilao Port is also 4:30 PM. Boats are not allowed to sail anymore when it’s already dark.
We stayed at Carmen and Ruben Mandanas Homestay. Our guide was their son. They arranged the climb for us. They also offer other activities. We were supposed to go island hopping right after but we don’t have any more time and we needed to go back home.
You can check out their Facebook Page or get in touch with them through these numbers
+63 997 586 1960 / +63 975 715 7232 / +63 926 522 4463.
There is no registration office/fee to climb the mountain.
The locals charge Php 100/person to go with you and guide you through the trails.
Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato is at approximately 600 masl.
Fit for beginners – Time to ascend is 1 hour or more depending on your pace.
Best to climb in the morning to watch the sunrise form the summit (maybe earlier than 5 AM).
Bring some snacks and lots of water.
Bring a walking stick (if you have, but if not just hold on to the small trees and branches).
Be safe, and listen to your guide’s instructions especially when climbing the tip of the rock.
Enjoy the adventure!
Most importantly, Leave no trace. Bring your trash with you. BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER!
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How about you? Did you go hiking lately to catch the sunrise? Have you climbed Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato? How was your experience? Share your thoughts.