BACLAYAN HIKING AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
SEA LEVEL –
ACTIVE – 3
HOUR ROUND TRIP WALK
CULTURAL EXPERIENCE. LUNCH
1 DAY (8 a.m.
– 4.30 p.m.)
The village of BACLAYAN is
situated in the foothills of the mountain range that skirts the coastal plains
of northern Mindoro. It is within a steady uphill hike of around 1.5 hours from
the centre of Puerto Galera town pier.
The trail is easily
followed as it winds up through the town’s residential areas, then the local
village (Barangay) of Santo Nino (where the view of the town and bay is
superb), before branching away from the town through local indigenous dwellings
and up the hill towards Baclayan.
En route is passes through
coconut plantations, interspersed with bamboo, mango and other fruit trees, and
patches of agriculture worked by the indigenous IRAYA MANGYANS.
Along the way there is a stop
for a rest and refreshing buko (young coconut) juice. Here you will learn
about the processing and preparation of copra, which is a major activity of the
Mangyans, before heading further inland.
Most of the trail is in shade
and the view of the famous Verde Island Passage gets even more spectacular as
the backdrop to the green valleys and rice paddies of the lowlands. Ahead are
the ridges and forests of the interior of Mindoro, and the settlement of
At the newly renovated cultural centre, you’ll be met by various
members of the Mangyan community of Baclayan, who will explain their traditional
way of life, their beliefs and customs, and present a display of local skills,
in which you will be invited to participate.
The Irayas are famous for their intricate basket and plate weaving from
the local grasses and a selection will be available for viewing. Before, or
maybe during, a meal prepared by the villagers, the children from the village
will perform a traditional dance.
After lunch there will be a tour of the village and local school,
followed by a short hike to view some traditional agriculture. The walk stops at
a refreshing pool in the jungle, in which tired feet can be cooled.
An alternative to the post-lunch activities is a stiff hike straight up
the mountain for a truly spectacular view of the whole of the Verde Island
Passage, from Calapan in the east to Calavite in the west. Dead ahead is the
port of Batangas and the large islands of Maricaban and Verde. It is well worth
the effort, although can be a little tricky if the trail is wet.
The day ends with an easy walk back down to town, in time for late
afternoon drinks on the pier.
Apart from the hike there are a number of things to do during the day.
BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES – a number bird species (some endemic to the
Philippines) can be seen and heard en route. Butterflies are numerous in the
vegetation on the walk.
LOCAL SKILLS – our guides and partners, the Iraya Mangyans, have
knowledge of the plants and animals of the forest. They are happy to spend
time with guests to impart some of what they know.
PHOTOGRAPHY – the view from the summit of the hill is spectacular and
perfect for photography.
WHEN AND HOW TO GET THERE:
The trip can be made at any time of the year.
The trail is wide and easy to negotiate, though a little muddy in
places when wet. The cultural centre is covered and has toilet and washing
Take either a jeepney,
tricycle or bangka from your resort to our office on the Muelle Pier.
See Google Earth maps of the trek
WHAT TO BRING:
Comfortable walking shoes or sports sandals.
Insect repellant. You may prefer light long trousers and a shirt with
long sleeves. Insects are not a big problem until the afternoon hike into the
forest. There are also a small number of leeches on this trail. Advice and
leech-socks will be provided.
Plenty of drinking water is essential, a minimum of 1L each for the
day. Bottled water, cold beer and snacks are available for sale at the centre.
A small umbrella might be useful to keep off the sun and rain.