Mt Romelo - Buruwisan Falls, Batya Batya Falls and Sampaloc Falls
Mt. Romelo is a popular destination for newbie mountaineers. Situated in Siniloan, Laguna and stands at 300 MASL, Mt. Romelo is considered to be a minor climb. It is also rated 2/9 in terms of its difficulty by Pinoy Mountaineer. But despite the given specs, Mt. Romelo is known for having muddy trails on both sunny and specially during rainy seasons. Therefore, extreme precautions must always be observed upon hiking.
Some also mistaken called this as Mt. "Famy". A name of a town adjacent to Siniloan.This mountain is not just about trekking and reaching the summit as it also houses beautiful and hidden falls. Waterfalls like Batya-Batya Falls, Sampaloc Falls, Buruwisan Falls, and Lanzones Falls are found in the forest of Mt. Romelo and most of them are located near the campsite. Having said that, Mt Romelo are hiked all year-round. Trekking on summer is ideal because the trails are less muddy but to be able to see the full water size of the falls, trekking on rainy season is advised.How to get there?You may take a bus at Raymond Bus Line bound to Infanta, Quezon.
This is the only bus line that passes right thru the jump-off of Mt. Romelo from Manila. Just tell the bus conductor that you'll be heading at Mt. Romelo and to drop you off at Trois Restaurant in Siniloan. Near Trois Restaurant is the jump off point to Mt. Romelo. By the way, Raymond Bus Line terminal is situated at Sampaloc, Manila. Fare going to Siniloan is about 130 pesos.After we registered and logged our names which costs us 50 pesos per head, our adventure to Mt. Romelo starts! Trail going to the peak starts with crossing a stream of river. From that moment, I knew that our trek will be slippery and muddy at the same time.
|Start of our trek|
I found the trail going to the peak of Mt Romelo as beginners-friendly. 1) There were resting site scattered evenly along the way with long log that serves as chairs for trekkers, 2) vendors [of buko juice and sodas] are visible until almost half of the trek, 3) shades are also available for most of the part and 4) lastly, it has lesser steep trails compared to other mountains I've been through.
|Shady part of the trail|
|One of the store you'll encounter at Mt. Romelo|
The view is also superb. There is a spot at Mt. Romelo wherein we stopped for a couple of minutes to enjoy a 360 view while fresh air touches our skins and blowing our hair. During the stop, we also have some group shots and not to forget, "selfies".Though we only stopped for about 5 or 10 minutes, it was really refreshing and energizing. We went back again on trekking and rushed because we want to be in campsite before the sun goes down.
|Group photo op|
|Random citizen in Mt Romelo|
After 2 hours of walking/trekking, we finally reached the campsite. I must say that the site is pretty big and can accommodate several groups. There are available nipa huts that can be rented which is ideal for night campers (but I don't know how much they cost). But for us, we have our tents. We miss sleeping in tents despite the uneven floor from stones and roots. So after pitching our tents, we prepared and eat our dinner, had some socials, swim a bit in the river, then we all took a rest.
|Rest and chat time...|
Batya Batya Falls, Sampaloc Falls, and Buruwisan Falls
We started our second day having a goal of exploring all the waterfalls in Mt. Romelo. However we failed to accomplish that goal. There are seven waterfalls known and have been explored in the area, namely: Buruwisan Falls, Lansones Falls, Sampaloc Falls, Batya-Batya Falls, Old Buruwisan Falls, Twin Falls, and Sapang Labo Falls. Among the stated waterfalls we were able to visit only three. Aw.
First off is Batya Batya Falls. Batya Batya Falls which means "small tub" or "basin" is located in the northern part of the campsite and approximately a kilometer away. Reaching Batya Batya Falls is quiet hard especially when you have gadgets with you. I suggest you put them on a dry bag or waterproof case before visiting Batya Batya Falls. Why? Because in order to reach the falls, you'll be wading along shoulder-deep to neck-dip water. I even had to carry my camera and tripod high up as I swim across to reach land again.
|Reaching the site of Batya Batya Falls|
Batya Batya Falls is a two-level waterfall. You'll be swimming at 18 ft. deep water in order to reach the other side and see its second level. This time I didn't brought my camera. Leaving my camera was a mistake because Sampaloc Falls is just right above Batya Batya Falls. Shame. Having said that, I didn't have any photo of Sampaloc Falls. Sampaloc Falls has its own cascading beauty and a decent-sized catch-basin.Last is Buruwisan Falls. Buruwisan Falls is just located below the campsite. This is the biggest and tallest waterfall in Mt Romelo. It is approximately 180 ft tall and characterized with large catch-basin. Rappelling is one of the many things that can be done in Buruwisan Falls. Don't resist yourself from diving into the water because you'll just going to fail. With clear and wide catch-basin, it is really hard not to go for a swim in Buruwisan Falls.
|Presenting... Buruwisan Falls|
We wanted to visit the other falls unfortunately, we don't have enough time. We enjoyed and stayed too much in the 3 waterfalls stated above. We miscalculated our time and we need to leave in order to reach Manila before nightfall. I guess this is not the last time I'll be seeing Mt. Romelo...