By now, almost every Metro Manila mountain biker knows where Antenna is. This steep hill in Binangonan, Rizal has become one of the most popular weekend destinations for bikers. Most mountain bikers who go there inevitably also sample Thunder Trail and the Petroglyphs.
But besides these popular trails, the town of Binangonan has another trail system that is just as fun. This is the network of footpaths in the rocky hills beyond the Barangays of Lunsad, Mahabang Parang and Pilapila. The trail network has since come to be known as Pumarada. Locals also call it Bunot, or Sampad. If you’re in the area, this trail is worth checking out.
To get to the trail bikers have to go through Barangay Lunsad through the road which locals call the “munting bundok.” After that you follow a paved road in Barangay Mahabang parang which leads to Pumarada resort, hence the name Pumarada trail. The resort is popular among couples in Binangonan doing prenup shots. It’s quite picturesque as it sits on high hill that overlooks the Laguna Lake.
Anyway, back to the trail. Below is a map of my ride last June 28th which I recorded on Endomondo. If you’re still confused with the GPS coordinates, don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Almost everyone in Barangay Lunsad and Mahabang Parang knows where Pumarada resort is. Btw, the map below with my route on it represents just a small slice of the trail system. You can do more than 10k here.
Once you got that figured out, all you need to know is that the trail starts as a fire road beyond the resort. When I went there last April, it was still primarily a fire road. But when I visited again last week, there were construction crews digging up the ground. Apparently this part of the trail will soon be paved.
Imagining that a section of this trail will disappear made me a bit sad as a biker. But since the road will serve the community here, I guess it’s all worth it. I just hope no one’s getting a kickback from the construction as always seems to be the case for projects like these.
Anyway, after the construction area you enter a downhill trail that is steep and technical. It may remind you a bit of the Black Diamond trail in Timberland, or the more technical parts of Thunder Trail.
If you follow this trail, it will eventually lead you to the town’s dump site a few minutes later, which is also the exit for the trail. If you think that’s way too short, you’re absolutely right. So make a detour. Or better yet, make several detours and explore the area.
There are fences with signs which say “Bawal Pumasok.” I suggest you heed that call. But sometimes you will come by a fence that has no such sign. I asked a kid there who was watching over some cows if it was OK to go beyond the fence. He said it was alright as long as I was not a “manananglaw” or someone who catches spiders. Apparently, spider fighting is a big sport right now in Rizal, and the locals are wary of outsiders coming in to steal prized fighting spiders from their turf.
Since I was not a manananglaw, I hoisted my bike over the fence and pedaled off. You can do a lot of exploring in these hills. The path I was on led me to a cliff which overlooked the Laguna Lake. I could see the town of Cardona and even the Pililia from there. There was a path leading down to the lakeshore.
Another path leads up to Sampad, but you will probably be hike-a-biking this because the trail is very narrow and steep. But it opens up to another network of trails which leads to the hills of Pilapila.
Since I was not feeling exceptionally strong that day, I decided to just leave the exploration of that for another time. I doubled back to the exit and pedaled my way back to my folks in town.
Pumarada is great for bikers who want to some exploring. The views are nice and the trails can be technically challenging and flowy. While I did this solo, it is always best to go there with a group.