Siniloan – A Great Place To Go Hiking Near Manila
Siniloan is in North Eastern Laguna province and lies between the plains of the Sierra Madre Mountains and Laguna de Bay, and is a real hidden gem with very little tourists. In Siniloan, you will find the hidden barangay of Magsaysay, which plays host to a number of hiking trails, waterfalls and spectacular scenery. One of the recommended treks entails taking in Kalawang Falls, Hagdang Bato Falls and Tulay Na Bato Falls.
The entrance and registration area is at KM117 on the Siniloan-Famy-Infanta Road, a couple of hours drive from Manila. The registration area is a little tricky and you need to look out for it as it is on a bend, but there is a sign there “Trekkers”. There is a small kiosk there and once there, you need to look out for the legendary, and very friendly, Ma’am Luz Saldivia, owner of the area. She will give you the explanation of the area and assist you to get going.
Once you register you will then be assigned with a guide, which is an absolute must. From there, we drove (or you can walk) about one kilometre down the road for our first stop off, Kalawang Falls. The hike wasn’t overly difficult in terms of the incline, although some parts were fairly tough. There was a river crossing about half way, in which you can expect to get your feet wet. The hike to the falls was about 30-40 minutes.
More Waterfalls And Fun
From there we headed back to the vehicle and back up towards the registration area to commence the hike to Hagdang Bato falls and Tulay Na Bato Falls. The first part of this trek is on a sealed road but you soon reach the trail. Once again there is a river crossing in which you can expect to get your feet wet.
After about 45 mins, you come across Hagdang Bato Falls. This is the foot of the rapids, which then continue upstream for a kilometre or so. These are some of the most spectacular, continuous rapids I have seen in the Philippines.
From there, you continue on a slight ascent upstream passing several spectacular rapids as you make your way to the final stop, Tulay Na Bato Falls. There are several water crossings along here, with plenty of boulders to stand on which allow for a fairly easy crossing. However, there are a few tricky inclines to negotiate in which you will require a hand.
Tulay Na Bato Falls
After an hour or so of hiking up the rapids, you reach the majestic Tulay Na Bato Falls. The final ascent to this fall is quite difficult due to the slippery rocks and boulders, so you do need to exercise some caution and patience.
The basin of the fall is quite small, but it’s deep enough to dive into from the top of the falls for the real thrill seekers. The water is so cool and refreshing, and very welcome, after working up a sweat to reach this spectacular waterfall.
This hike isn’t for the faint-hearted. I would rate it about a 7/10 difficulty and should really only be attempted by fairly fit and semi-experienced hikers, although the guides you are provided with are most helpful and worth their weight in gold.
If you take in all of the above, you will be assigned with a guide. As usual, there is no set fee for the guide, but a tip of P250 would be acceptable. One guide is good for about 8-10 people.
There is also an entrance fee of P30.
This is an example of one of the river crossings on the way to Hagdang Bato Falls and rapids. It’s more like a stream than a river, and not difficult to pass, however, you have no choice but to walk through the water.
A shot of the rapids about midway up. There were several rapids that looked like this along the one-kilometre stretch heading up towards Tulay Na Bato Falls.
A view looking up the rapids from the top of Hagdang Bato Falls. We stopped here and had lunch while absorbing the tranquillity of the falls and surrounding forest and mountains.
The pinnacle of our trek, Tulay Na Bato Falls. The rock formation around this waterfall is absolutely spectacular. Although only about 15 metres high, it’s one of the most unique waterfalls I have seen in the Philippines.
The bride and I at Kalawang Falls. This was a reasonably challenging hike due to the fact a passing shower made the trail very slippery. As you can see, the final view is more than worth the effort.
Please click below to watch my video of Siniloan.