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Biking to Palo Alto and Hiking to the Radar Station

Palo Alto Falls Baras

Palo Alto Falls Baras: clean, clear, uncrowded and reachable by bike

The weather gods probably forgot to take their bipolar medication last Saturday. The sky was having very wild mood swings: one moment it was sunny and clear, and the next moment it was dark and threatening.

I woke up early, looked at the sky and almost cancelled the ride I had scheduled that Saturday for the readers of the blog. The dark clouds on the horizon reminded me of the worst of the Habagat rains from 2012. I wasn’t sure if any sort of fun was to be had in biking in those conditions. Yes, I did say that the ride would push through “Shine or Rain” but I didn’t say “Shine, Rain or Buwis Buhay!

In the end though, I decided to push through with the ride to the Masungi Rocks in Tanay. It turned out to be the right decision because although the clouds still threatened to unleash hell from time to time, the weather behaved for the most part. You might even say that the dark skies, the short bursts of rain, and the occasional searing sunshine made the whole ride more interesting.

Shell Pugon in Antipolo

Dark skies over Antipolo

Masungi Rocks

Masungi Rocks in Tanay

The plan was to ride to Masungi Rocks in Tanay. I first read about these amazing rock formations in Climb Philippines, which is probably the best website for learning all about rock climbing in the country. If you motorcycle through Marilaque, these beautiful limestone cliffs are also impossible to miss.

If you’ve (hipster mode, activated!) never heard of them, you are forgiven because these beautiful rock formations are off the tourist map for a number of reasons. Number 1 is: they are located within Garden Cottages–a private subdivision. Number 2 is: the owners of this private subdivision want to keep it as private as possible. This is kinda sad because Masungi Rocks are natural wonders that deserve to be seen and admired by legions of nature lovers.

Sierra Madre Mountain Biking

Garden Cottages: You go to Masungi Rocks through here

Anyway, things did not go according to plan. So instead of admiring the Masungi Rocks up close, I and several other bikers had to content ourselves with admiring their awesomess from afar–specifically, from the radar tower/satellite dish on the highest point in the Marilaque highway system which gives a stunning 360 degree view of the surrounding areas, which is really awesome in itself.

Hiking to the Marilaque Radar Tower

Hiking to the Marilaque Radar Tower. Travel blogger Lakwatsero gives the thumbs up

And after hiking that high hill, it was time to ride down for some rest and relaxion at the scenic Palo Alto Falls. At least the owners of this beautiful nature spot weren’t as strict with visitors.

So how was the ride like? Here are Ralph Jara’s impressions:

Thank God for this wonderful ride. You gave us beautiful weather and best part is that all of us got home safe.

This was the most exhausting ride that I had done so far :) Started the day with a smile on my face waiting for a great adventure. Left the house at 5:30AM since meet up time at Shell, Marcos Highway was at 6:00AM.

Sierra Madre Biking

Sierra Madre Biking. Photo by Ralph Jara

We left Shell at exactly 6:40AM. Our first rest stop was at Mang Vics Bulalohan at the Marilaque highway. Guys planning to traverse this road should practice going up Antipolo or Ultra since there will be a lot of uphills and downhills.

Fact # 1
Marilaque Highway – means Marikina-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon. I just learned this yesterday :) 

We arrived at Garden Cottages which is the entrance to Masungi Rocks at around 9:00AM. But we were informed by the guard that Masungi was not yet open to public, so Outsideslacker said that our next destination would be his plan B.

Sierra Madre Hiking

Hiking to the radar tower in Marilaque. Photo by Ralph Jara

Fact # 2
Radar Tower is the highest point at Marilaque Highway on the Rizal side. Here you’ll have a 360° view of the Sierra Madre.

But getting there means taking a hike. My last hike was going to Puray Falls which was about 2 weeks ago. It was a lot easier because there was already a man made trail there. This was more difficult.

Sierra Madre Hiking

Sierra Madre Hiking. Photo by Ralph Jara

Midway into the hike I almost bailed out because I was already tired and exhausted. While taking a break from the hike, I reflected about what was happening with my life, just like in the movie 127 hours by James Franco :p
Ben, a fellow biker, told me that we will regret it if we don’t make it to the top. So with that motivation, I was able to climb faster.

Sierra Madre Hiking

Made it all the way up the Radar Tower! Photo by Ralph Jara

Arriving at the top was very fulfilling. I had a smile on my face because I was able to achieve something. The 360° view of Sierra Madre was fantastic. From here, we could see the Masungi rock formations.

Going up Radar Tower for a newbie like me was hard. But going down was harder. I needed a stick to support me. Btw: I fell 4 times. Luckily, I only got bruises on my right knee.

Sierra Madre Hiking

Hiking up was difficult, but hiking down was even more difficult. Photo by Ralph Jara

When you’re hungry every food becomes very delicious–even if it’s just a cup of rice and Hot N’ Spicy Century Tuna at the carinderia near Radar Tower.

Last stop was Palo Alto Falls. The sound that you hear from the falls is very relaxing, best way to cap off your weekend.

Ralph Jara :)

Palo Alto Falls

Palo Alto Falls. Photo by Ralph Jara

So there. Thank you to the guys who joined. Maybe we can have another ride soon.

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10 Comments

  • Nice bike and hike, Art.

    I wish I could join one of your future rides.

    Ride safe always.

    • outsideslacker

      July 8, 2014 at 8:26 am

      walang sinabi ride namin sa ride mo sa ilocos norte sir tom! :) of course, pwede ka sumama. pero sisiguruhin ko na epic padyakan sya para di ka mabitin

  • How I wish I would have joined your group…

  • Outside Slacker,

    Thanks for showing me Puray Falls… hahah I was there last Saturday, epic talaga!

    Anyway, thanks din for giving out the best biking destinations near the Metro :D

    • outsideslacker

      July 9, 2014 at 12:38 am

      thanks for visiting the blog :) masaya rin ako when i read how others get to enjoy the outdoors by reading the fluff i write here haha

  • San po yung radar station?? nice ride and blog. lagi ako nageenjoy sa mga rides mo

    • outsideslacker

      July 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      bago dumating ng sierra madre resorts yan at pagkalagpas ng garden cottages. matatanaw mo yan sa highway :)

  • This is my first time to read your blog and as a fellow I biker I enjoyed reading your adventures and tips for outdoor life. Surely looking forward to read your succeeding post . Godpeed.

    P.S. I hope you could be able to post Top 10 Bucket list of a Mountain Biker

    • outsideslacker

      July 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      thanks for dropping by mark. that’s a great idea for a post :) i’ll work on that soon