Running buddy June Santiago didn’t mind making the two-hour drive from Quezon City to San Miguel, Bulacan and i didn’t mind tagging along with him as all i was thinking was getting my hands on some of the town’s famous pastillas and their crispy chicharon-laman (pork rinds) when we get there.
No, we didn’t travel this far just to buy these delicacies. June had this idea of scaling a mountain peak and running the trails that led to it. Mt. Manalmon in Sitio Madlum, San Miguel, Bulacan offered some great sights and the trails along the way offered a little bit of everything. Gorgeous river ponds, boulders, rock formations, mostly single-track technical trails, river crossings, rocky ascent climbs and a hosts of many other delights nature has to offer.
A young boy, named Jerome acted as our guide and he kept insisting to run and climb with us even if we repeatedly told him that we could manage the climb ourselves. Before we arrived, June and i took breakfast of congee, eggs, bread, tofu and coffee at a small restaurant near the entrance of the Biak-na-Bato shrine and this fueled us up for our run and climb up Mt. Manalmon.
The run-climb up this mountain just took about 5kms one way but it had one of the most treacherous trails i had ever done. Good thing, i was wearing a new trail shoe for review, the Viking Anaconda-Boa II which really held on very well to slabs of rocks on descents and ascents, protruding tree roots, uneven soft surfaces covered by fallen leaves and river crossings.
The mountain hike is so called beginner-friendly and although the ascent was quite manageable, i took some rests in between those climbs as the trail was undulating, non-stop zigzagging where you hold on to vines and barks of trees to protect you from falling. Alas, i was always trying to catch my breath.
The view up the mountain was breath-taking with the Madlum River criss-crossing within the foothills of the Sierra Mountain range.
The trails here are awesome as you can see on the pictures below. This is a must run for trail runners who also wants to scale up a mountain for good measure.
Hope you enjoy the pictures of our trail run, below:
(Photo credits: Chicharon pic fr tapsilogatbp dot tumblr dot com)