Shotgun San Mateo's Waterfalls
Shotgun’s waterfalls: It only comes out during the rainy season

Let’s be honest, climbing Shotgun in San Mateo is not the most fun thing in the world. A root canal operation is less agonizing. This infamous destination in Mt. Maarat rises nearly 430 meters in less than 5 kilometers. That’s like climbing the steepest part of Kennon road. The fact that there’s hardly any shade on Shotgun, just makes the whole endeavour more excruciating. You don’t climb Shotgun for fun, you climb it to test your fitness and prove you can climb it.

But with the arrival of the rainy season, Shotgun reveals a treat for bikers and runners who dare to make the painful ascent—a waterfalls. Yup, just right after the last tindahan where you can buy Gatorade and rest your weary legs, there’s a waterfalls.

Shotgun San Mateo's Waterfalls
With the exception of the now toxic Hinulugang Taktak,
this is probably the closest waterfalls in Metro Manila

I’ve climbed Shotgun several times before on wheels and on foot, but never during the middle of the rainy season. So it was a pleasant surprise when during the final grind to the guard house I heard something like the sound of crashing water. I initially thought my brain had become too dehydrated and I was hallucinating from all the fluids that were leeched out of my body. But I looked around and lo and behold—there’s actually water pouring forth from the side of a cliff and crashing into ground below.

I had heard stories about the mythical Shotgun waterfalls before. But I dismissed them as legends from the early days of San Mateo when the hills were still thickly forested and elves, dwarves and malignos roamed the land. To see the waterfalls for myself was … cool, to use a term from the 90s.

Shotgun San Mateo's Waterfalls
It’s cool and clean. You can even bathe in it if you want to.
Shotgun San Mateo
The only store you’ll encounter on the way up

So if you fancy chasing a waterfalls this weekend on your bike, and Kinabuan or Palo Alto or Puray are too far away for you, consider visiting Shotgun. And remember, it’s okay to dismount and rest if it’s your first time to go up this killer climb. Locals say you can bathe in the water because its clean.

Just a reminder though, the waterfalls is inside private property. It’s even fenced off. If you want to take a closer look, ask permission first from the tindahan near it. As I understand, they are the caretakers of the property. Otherwise you may find out why they call this place Shotgun ;)

Shotgun San Mateo's Waterfalls
Ask permission first, unless you want to know why the area came to be known as Shotgun
Shotgun San Mateo's Waterfalls
You need lots of lung power to climb Shotgun
Shotgun San Mateo
A downhill biker gets towed by a motorcycle up Shotgun and into Patiis

14 thoughts on “The Waterfalls in Shotgun San Mateo

  1. I’ve attempted climbing wall 1 4 times in a row and managed to get back home to Marikina in a bike :) . I’m planning on climbing it one of these weekends as its not as hot as summer anymore. What do I expect from shotgun?

    1. hey bro, no need for a trail route. if you know timberland, shotgun is just the paved road going up on the left :) if you’re referring to the trail after the guardhouse, sarado na raw yun. although may mga bali-balita pa rin na mga bikers na nago-oberdabakod para makapasok sa timberland :)

      1. alam ko yung start nung daan, pero yung pabalik at ruta palabas hindi ko alam, solo ride lang kasi ako palagi kaya mahirap maligaw. hehe. gusto ko din sana icheck sa map para makita elevation.

  2. I climbed the shotgun a few weeks ago using my road bike… sakit sa hita saka sa puso. Haha. 2nd ride ko na yun pero buti kinaya ko, nung first kasi di ko kinaya. Pero ang sarap sa pakiramdam pag naabot mo na yung guard house dun sa may landfill tapos yung ride pababa yung pinaka exciting part talaga. :))

      1. Yup, my daily bike commute to and from work really helped me in conquering the shotgun. I ride my bike almost daily from San Mateo, Rizal to Cainta, Junction (siyempre pag umulan di na ako nagbbike. Hehe.) Pati disiplina sa pacing talaga ang kelangan, pag masyadong excited sa pag akyat (tulad ko) nabburn out agad. Hehe.

        I really want to bike up to Baguio next (preferable during Feb para swak sa Panagbenga festival), any tips? Things to bring, etc..

        Thanks. :)

        1. climb via kennon! not too many buses and the views are fantastic! the best practice for kennon is doing shotgun twice or completing the sierra madre loop. medyo matrapik pag panagbenga so baka mas ok kung ibang araw ka pumunta dun para mas maenjoy mo yung lugar. bring a breathable windbreaker para kung sakaling umulan. other than that, bring the usual mtb essentials like spare tube, missing link, hydration etc. and of course a camera and selfie stick kung solo rider ka :)

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