Hiking Mt. 387 and the Batong Amat

Mt. 387
Mt. 387 is one of the newly marked hiking destinations in Luzon because of its breathtaking beauty, spectacular and tantalizing golden sunset, fresh and cool ambiance – this mountain can be considered as one of the most scenic mountains in the Philippines. Mt. 387 is situated in the province Nueva Ecija which is dubbed as the “Rice Granary of the Philippines,” a three to four hours travel from Manila. Our photos below will explain more about what Mt. 387 can offer.

Travel to Nueva Ecija | How to Get Here:

We chartered a van from Manila to the jump off and vice versa. But according to a friend from Nueva Ecija, you can take a bus ride bound for Isabela or Tuguegarao and alight in Brgy. Puncan, Carranglan near Iglesia ni Kristo.

Every hiker and visitor must register at the jump-off or the registration area. Aside from that, there is always a short briefing before the ascent. It is a must to properly educate all the hikers what are the DO’S and DONT’S on the trails and the summit, the LNT Principles must be applied. In addition, parts of the briefing are the trail description and the historical background of Mt. 387 and its significance in Nueva Ecija and in the Philippines. After that, and before we started our ascent, we picked a bottle of water to water a few of the plants by the trail – that’s how they preserve the beauty of nature.

The Trail of Mt. 387:

Our hike is Mt. 387 Traverse and our ascent was at 1500. Most part of the trail is an uphill with a terrain that is covered with grass and shrubs. With due fairness, the trail type and the trail class is a bit relaxed – according to the rating provided it’s 2 to 3 over 9. There are parts that are open or view deck with spectacular views of the mountains ranges and rice fields from afar. Not only that, the air is fresh and the breeze of the wind is cool, not sure if it’s normal or because of the Hanging Amihan that affects Luzon.  There were a lot of Take Five’s. We just can’t stop ourselves in doing so because the weather and the surroundings are so inviting.

The Summit and the Camp Site:

Based on my camera time stamp, we reached the summit at around 1740. Then, proceeded to the camp site, a 5-10 minutes’ walk from the summit, on a lower altitude. The camp site is a wide and open space surrounded by grass and shrubs; it is also the spot where the Lover’s tree is situated. The area is clean and organized because it is well maintained by the guides. The wind is strong and cold, thus, jackets and fleeces are necessary. For stoves and burners, windscreen is a must! There is a bahay kubo that serves as a resting place for the guides and toilet is available, with a fee.

Upon arrival at the camp site, the sun was already set, so we pitched our tents on our respective areas while our lights are on. Then, a dinner preparation and of course, the most awaited part - The DINNER! Our dinner became special because of the colorful and sparkling lights from afar and there were million of stars shining brightly like diamonds in the skies. There were rice, sinigang, corned beef and corned tuna. The most special “turkey” suited in virgin coconut oil and mixed with the 7 herbs and a spices from the Himalayas Mountains was served during our Socials – proper.

After dinner was the remarkable Social. This was the part where we were able to build more connection within the people in the group. There were a lot of personal stories that were shared, there were deep emotions that were shown (she just can’t hide it!), and most of the time laughter! For that single night, we just shared countless and priceless happiness. Well, who can’t forget the 25%????? As far as I can remember, lights off was at 0107 and there were a total of five groups.

The chocolate hills of the North at 6 AM.

Kkkkkrrrnnngggg! It was Rachel’s alarm that woke me up early in the morning. It was very loud and it was placed right beside my ear. It was passed four in the morning when I opened my tent’s door to prepare our breakfast. The scene was amazing because it was still dark and the stars on the skies were still shining. But my hands were uncontrollable closing the tent’s door because the wind was strong and very cold – which made my hands froze for a second.

We had a small amount of water left, thus, we weren’t able to prepare for our breakfast. We chose leaving the camp early and prepare everything by the falls which was a good decision. The traverse is a bit difficult because of the narrow and steeper downhill trails. From the camp site, the terrain is still clear, open, and sloppy; however, the next is the challenging part. The trail is narrow but it’s getting steeper and steeper up to Aloha Falls; I think it can only accommodate a single lane of hikers. Also, there were parts that the trails are surrounded by tall grass and trees (photo above).

Aloha Falls

 After the challenging trails, we finally reached the relaxing Aloha Falls. ETA: 0719. The area is surrounded by greens, such as trees and flowers while the gigantic boulders are perfect for framing. What makes the ambiance in the area relaxing? It’s the sound of the rushing water and the lullabies from the birds singing. The crystal clear water is very cold and fresh while the pressure of the water falling is perfect for your tired muscles. We stayed by the Aloha Falls for almost two hours.

From Aloha Falls, the next part was walking on the trails by the river. But, there were parts where river crossing is a must; better if you wear sleepers or sandals. Then, a two kilometer 4X4 ride to the jump off.

There were groups who are having their break upon our arrival at the registration area. ETA: 10:20 AM. Rested for a few minutes. Settled the guide fees and other fees and tidy up. By the way, foods and drink are available or you can make paluto din. Please note that toilet and baths are available, for 20 pesos. When everything was okay, we headed back to Manila.