Many trail runners, specially those with an eye for technical or long, mountainous and river paths often flock to the peaceful hinterlands of San Mateo, Rodriguez and Tanay, all in Rizal province. But the trails and peaks of nearby Bulacan, with Licao-Licao, Mt. Balagbag, Mt. Maranat, to mention a few, which is just an hour away from Metro Manila is just as ideal for adventurers–and a lot less known to runners.
Nearer still is Ciudad Real in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, one of my favorite venues for unlimited trail running as many trails here remain untouched from runners, just waiting to be discovered.
Last Friday, trail running buddy Jun and i returned to Ciudad Real but instead of going through our usual route, we explored trails that we haven’t ran before, discovering in the process raw natural landscape, where water is clean enough to drink, fresh air blowing from atop trees and flower-filled forest with reds beaming on the side of the trails.
Jun and i entered a small community known as Sitio Dalandanan, Tungkong Mangga where this citrus fruit abounds during its bearing season. There is enough variety here in terms of hills, flats, as well as scenery (single track trails, streams, waterfalls to prairies with thatched houses) to keep things interesting and challenging at points.
There were parts of the trail that were muddy after the intermittent rains during the past few days but not to soggy to interfere with your stride. Highlight of our run is a stop-over over a rocky stream with small waterfalls that is both mesmerizing and tranquil. Wish we had stayed here a little longer.
Here’s the rest of our run, in pictures: