Mt. Romelo Trip Guide and Itinerary


Chasing Sampaloc Falls in Mt. Romelo

The town of Siniloan in eastern Laguna is home to numerous waterfalls that it bears a nickname "the waterfall sanctuary". Mt. Romelo, probably the town's main tourist attraction, has the greater share from this bunch of natural water curtains. Avid mountaineers say that Romelo is a good starting point for beginners in hiking to get a feel of the outdoors. Not only that it's not that difficult to reach the summit elevated at 240 MASL, in Romelo, one can also camp overnight and trek across the jungle to behold and take a cold dip to the waterfalls' swimming holes. Mt. Romelo indeed offers a refreshing hike. Here's a quick travel guide.


TRAVEL GUIDE CONTENTS:




How to Go to Mt. Romelo

Mt. Romelo nestles in Brgy. Macatad, Siniloan, Laguna.

Commute:
  • Via Sampaloc, Manila: At the Raymond Bus Terminal in Legarda, take the bus bound for Infanta, Quezon and ask to be dropped by in Macatad (at the junction leading to Burusiwan Falls). Walk for about 15 minutes going to the jump-off/registration point. Travel time: 3 hours; Fare: around PHP 150
  • Via EDSA Shaw Blvd. (Starmall terminal): Ride a jeep or UV going to Tanay Public Market (2-2.5 hours, around PHP 70-80) then take a jeep going to Siniloan (45 minutes, PHP 50). In Siniloan, ride a tricycle to Buruwisan Falls jump-off point (20-30 minutes, PHP 80/tricycle).
  • Via Cainta, Rizal: In Robinsons Cainta (more known as Big R or Cainta Junction), take the jeep bound for Siniloan (1.5-2 hours; around PHP 80-90). Once in Siniloan, take a jeep bound for Infanta and ask to be dropped of at the Buruwisan junction (20-30 minutes; around PHP 30). Walk to the jump-off point.
Drive:
  • Drive along Manila East Road passing the towns of Rizal and Mabitac, Laguna then turn left at the Famy Junction (the one with the iconic Red Horse Beer signage). Continue driving, then turn right upon reaching the Buruwisan junction (there's a signage pointing to Buruwisan Falls).

River crossings while hiking Mt. Romelo
Crawling our way down the trail of Mt. Romelo

Hiking Fees (as of February 2021)

  • Registration: PHP 50 per head
  • Guide (per group of 7): PHP 600 (day hike) / PHP 1200 (overnight)
  • Parking fee: PHP 100



Essential Tips and Trip Notes

  • If you have not contacted a tour guide prior to your hike, guides are readily available at the jump-off. I had a contact before our hike, but he canceled at the last minute so we got the one next on queue.
  • Beware of some tour guides you would contact behorehand because some of them tend to overprice. Someone I contacted before offered us PHP 700 per group of 5 while the standard rate is just PHP 600 for a group of 7. Recommended guide: John Bitoy, contact number +639958258303. He's young, about 18 years old, and easy to get along with.
  • The challenge of Mt. Romelo is not on reaching the summit, but on chasing the waterfalls. The summit can be reached in around an hour or less.
  • Do not skip Sampaloc Falls. It's grand and majestic like the flagship Buruwisan Falls. But unlike Buruwisan, if you get in Sampaloc early in the morning, chances are you have the falls all to yourself.
  • Expect to get wet. You'll cross a lot of rivers and streams, some of them are slippery, so put on your best wettable hiking footwear.
  • The trail can get annoyingly muddy during rainy season or when it just rained days before the hike. Inches-thick of mud will surely slow you down and get you dirtier.
  • According to our guide, Mt. Romelo has eight known waterfalls. Day hiking lets you explore 3-5 falls while overnight camping let's you go to at least 6. During our hike last February, two of Romelo's falls—Binaytuan (or Old Buruwisan) and Twin Falls—are off-limits to tourists due to unsafe trail.
  • Mobile signal is not available at the campsite.
  • There are cottages or kubo at the campsite that you can rent overnight should you decide not to bring a tent.
  • Mt. Romelo is so commercialized that apart from the concentration of small stores at the campsite, some makeshift stores also stand along the trail. It has its pros and cons: lots of things you need while hiking is at hand, but it also has a negative environmental impact.
  • Bring your own reusable drinking bottle. Not needing to buy bottled ones will cost you less and help reduce plastic waste.
  • No need for a medical certificate or travel pass, but this may change while we're still grappling with the pandemic. Better check with your contact tour guide.
  • While we're allowed to go outdoors, don't forget safety habits. You know, physical distancing and all.

Mt. Romelo's campsite
Mt. Romelo's campsite
One of those stores in Mt. Romelo
One of those stores in Mt. Romelo


Itinerary: Mt. Romelo Day Hike

3:30 AM : Depart from EDSA Shaw Blvd.
6:00 AM : Arrive at the jump-off point, register
6:30 AM : Start the hike
7:30 AM : Arrive the summit
8:00 AM : Start chasing waterfalls
12:00 PM : Rest or lunch at campsite
1:00 AM : Start descent
2:00 PM : Reach jump-off point, wash up
3:00 PM : Depart for home

At the summit of Mt. Romelo
At the summit, view of Pililla windmills on far left
Buruwisan Falls
Buruwisan Falls
Sampaloc Falls
Sampaloc Falls
At Lanzones Falls




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