Sunday, September 25, 2016


Location: Talim Island, Laguna de Bay

Major jump-off: Brgy. Janosa (Talim Island) Binangonan, Rizal
LLA 14.32° N 121.23° E, 438 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2
(Data taken from

The scenic backdrop of Mount Tagapo

This is so far the cheapest and the most accessible climb ever in my whole life. I had no major preparation and we were in a group of five, whom I consider as my climbing and travel buddies. How did I come up with this idea? Well, I was able to read a post of this climb in Broke Travelers blog as shared by my friend, Giovanni Alexander Pido in his Facebook post.

This is the very picture of Broke Travelers blog that enticed me to climb Mount Tagapo

Our group met in the Binangonan Jeep terminal opposite of Jose Rizal University (JRU) along Shaw Boulevard and boarded a jeepney leaving at 4:30 A.M. and since it was early then, we arrived at the Binangonan Port at 5:50 A.M. It was just timely since the second boat trip going to Talim Island is at 6:30 A.M. There were some eateries and fruit stand around and so we decided to have our breakfast. We agreed to bring with us a food container and so we also bought our pack lunch there just for P35 per meal.

What to expect of the boat transport

The boat is big that it can accommodate a hundred people in one trip. And yes, it will have so many stops because every barangay in Talim Island has its own port where loading and unloading can be done.

The vast expanse of Laguna de Bay

It was my first time to be in this place and so there was a sort of excitement on my part as I watched the vastness of Laguna de Bay where according to my online readings, it is the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines and has a surface area of 911–949 km² (352-366 sq mi), with an average depth of about 2.8 metres (9 ft 2 in) and an elevation of about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) above sea level.

The fishpens at the Laguna de Bay

Amazingly, I saw a number of fishpens on the Bay. No wonder that in this area, bangus is cheaper as compared to the other parts of the Metro Manila.

Arriving Brgy. Janosa safely

We were lucky enough that the trip had only two stops and the third was in Barangay Janosa. Since Barangay Janosa is not the last destination of the boat, it is suggested that you asked the boatmen to reminded that you are just up to Barangay Janosa. With this, the trip only lasted for 70 minutes. It was cold in the boat and so our group was able to sleep (soundly).

The registration site

Just approximately 20 meters from the port is its registration where it also has a canteen and the meal package is also at P35. There are shower rooms for P20 and comfort rooms charge P5 per entry. I realized, I should have ordered my packed lunch here rather than had it in the Binangonan Port.

The facade of Sto. Domingo Parish Church

Barangay Janosa of Talim Island is just any other typical barangay equipped with social services and with many stores to buy basic necessities. It can access strong network signal and not really that isolated from civilization.

The interior of Sto. Domingo Parish Church

We started our trek at 8:00 A.M. and from the registration we passed by the Sto. Domingo Parish Church. I was intrigued that inside the church I saw that most of the attendees were in formal white dress with men likewise. There was a group of musical band outside. Asking a bystander, he shared that it is the way we bury a dead person and mind you, it was only a mass of a 2 -year old girl.

Beng Sia and Tess Santiago in gradual assaults

The first 40 minutes was just either a rolling trail or a number of gradual assaults. It was mostly covered with trees and so it was not really that hot. Some parts of the trail can even accommodate 3-4 persons walk side by side.

The lake viewdeck

After a 40-minute walk, we rested in a nipa hut where it serves as the lake's viewdeck. Inviting improvised bamboo chairs which can accommodate eight people can stay there to enjoy the cool breeze.

A denser forest habitat

The next trail was characterized by thickly forested area and it was slippery. Assaults needed big strides and one has to be kept on guard of his footsteps not to fall. The only consolation was that we were walking under thick trees covering the trail.

Trail almost covered with tall grasses

The last 15 minutes to the campsite was an annoying trail with grasses taller than us. One can hardly see the trail. Besides the flowers of these grasses are so itchy to the skin.

The nipa hut leading to the campsite

There is a nipa hut at the foot of the summit where it leads to the campsite. By that time that we climbed the mountain, the grasses were so taller than us and so the campsite at the back was not visible. We rested for 15 minutes in the nipa hut and bought some cold drinks sold the enterprising local kids.

Captured scenery midpoint leading to the summit

The summit can be climbed to an average of 15 minutes. However, the tall grasses are so annoying that it covers partly the trail. Since it is completely open, it is hot.

A close-up of the nipa hut and the campsite

As one climb higher to the summit, the more that the grasses are dwarfing the trekkers and so taking pictures is not possible. It would have been better if the grasses were not that tall so that the dramatic landscape can be totally captured. With the dominant white flowers of the grasses, my expected rich green landscape was no longer possible.

The view from atop the summit

The summit has a big and deep hole which was excavated as there were reports that wealth of gold can be found there and what was left is a hole believed to have been inhabited by snakes. Thus, the guides always give a caution to avoid this part of the summit as it is covered by thick grasses.

My couple friend, Gani Dionela and wife, Carmila Uy, descending the summit

It would have been better if the summit has a viewdeck so that a better shot can be captured considering that the grasses were so tall. It was really hot there that one will not prefer to stay for long. But I was told by the guide that sunset and sunrise can be captured here with amazing effect.

Leaving Barangay Janosa boarding a boat

We stayed for an hour at the campsite after descending from the summit. The big trees there gave so much shade and comfort. At exactly 12 noon, we descended and reached the registration office at 1:40 P.M. We rested a bit, took shower and lunch. We waited till 3:00 P.M. for the our boat departure. Unbelievably, we were only 5 boarding the boat. This time, if the boatman sees waving a hand in a certain barangay port, the boat docks and get the passenger. Mind you, we had 9 stops. Every barangay along Talim Island has concrete port which is always next to a covered court. We arrived in Binangonan Port at 4:20 P.M. We boarded a jeepney heading back to JRU where Binangonan Jeepney terminal is located. I was home at 6:45 P.M.

As to the budget, it can be broken down as follows:

SN Particulars Amount
1. Round trip jeepney fare from Binangonan Jeep Terminal in opposite JRU to Binangonan Port (P45 one-way)
2. Round trip boat fare from Binangonan Port to Barangay Janosa Port of Talim island (P30 one-way)
3. Guide fee for a maximum of 10 pax for P300 including tip of P200
4. Breakfast and Lunch in Barangay Janosa for P35 per meal
5. Registration Fee
6. Shower Fee in Barangay Janosa

Suggested Itinerary

04:30 ETD Binangonan Jeep Terminal opposite JRU along Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong
05:50 ETA Binangonan Port
06:30 ETD Binangonan Port for the 2nd trip where 5:30 A.M. is the first boat trip
07:40 ETA Brgy. Janosa Port (the trip may vary depending on the number of boat stops) There is an option to take breakfast
08:20 Start trek 09:00 Lake viewpoint/rest and refresh in a improvised bamboo sofa/forested and slippery trail starts with occasional assaults
10:00 Campsite to rest and regroup. It only take 15 - 20 minutes to summit
10:30 Summit
10:50 Descent to campsite and recreate at the campsite again
12:00 Start descent
13:40 Back to the Registration Hall (take lunch and shower)
15:00 ETD Brgy. Janosa
16:00 ETA Binangonan Port

Other Concerns

The barangay captain assured us that there will be no need for booking a guide because as tour guiding is a part of their sustainable community tourism income generating activity, they assign them by rotation. Every group who desire to climb Mount Tagapo can be provided with their respective guide.

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