Running The Magalipit and Mt. Alyaas Trails: Puray, Rodriguez

When your usual everyday route just doesn’t get your blood pumping anymore, it may be time for something more exotic…green…unpolluted and invigorating! Head out for the trails!

This is what we did yesterday with running buddy June as we decided, at the spur of the moment, to forego our usual run in UP and head to the backyard trails of Montalban, specifically to the mountain trails of Alyaas, near Puray.

After running these past few weeks to both the Tanay and the Cavinti trails, i was starting to feel some longing for trails nearby, so Montalban sort of filled-up that gap. Besides, we both plan to run the Cavinti Road and Trail Adventure Marathon in 4 weeks time so what a better way to get those lungs ready than by running actual trails!

The mellow vibe of the mountains near the Wawa Dam was enticing and a bit invigorating as this would be my second time in running this place. The river crossings alone were captivating and a big bonus was discovering a new trail, an alternative route going to Puray and that was via the trails in Baranggay Magalipit!

The trails here were simply captivating, with wild trees and greenery mostly enveloping the area while the air was cool at times even with the smidgens of the sun peeping from the clouds failed to dampen our mood to run on these secluded parts. After discovering these pristine and quiet trails (the dogs were even forgiving to us galloping strangers), i am reminded why i should visit this place more often.

The landscape which stretches along the community of Mascap to the routes going to Puray is absolutely absorving! Staring at the mountain tops while you soak your shoes down river crossings is one of the most exhilarating experiences of a trail runner. During our first outing here about 2 years ago, we went for the downhill route that had about a dozen river crossings. This time, we went for the more arduous uphill route, with an elevation gain of about 880 meters.

Our destination was suppose to be at Puray Falls but when we saw this hidden trail that weaves uphill along the Sierra Madre mountains, we decided to forego the falls and instead explore the mountain sides.

The views atop Mt. Alyaas is certainly impressive. The undulating Sierra Madre mountains, the bamboo tree forest, the chiseled steps on the ground for the uphill assault  and the totally unexpected mini-waterfalls that was a refreshing sight to see!

But all is not a walk in the park when you tackle those jagged hills. I had to stop every 10 meters just to catch my breath while traversing those climbs. There were parts of the trails that were inches away from ravines that you had to cling on bamboo trunks for balance. June, who was the expert climber between us was forced to wait for me on several occasions after i got winded.

All in all, it was one great experience to climb atop those trails. It’s not an easy climb for newbies in trail running although i would suggest to them taking the river route for a more satisfying experience!

Here are some of the pics along the route. Enjoy!

One of the steel bridges that connects the subdivision to the trails

Start of our run were done along banks of rivers

Stronger currents here but were tamer on the latter parts.

Trail starts here. A little soggy but were mostly dry for the rest

Trail leads out of the residential areas

June chats with a local resident near the banks of a river

One of the more picturesque trails

Getting inside a more secluded area

Exploring a new route to Puray

At the foothills of the Sierra Madre

My turn to lead

Part of the Magalipit Trails

Surprisingly, most of the trails were dry despite the intermittent rains that fell in the area during the last few days

Trails zigzagging along the route

Heat was bearable and essential if you want to join trail races

A trail view near the edges of a ravine

Posing with military men at a checkpoint

These school children in a jolly mood posing for the camera with the urging of June

At the Magalipit spillway

One river we crossed

Test running the World Balance trail shoe!

Transparent even on underwater

2nd river crossing

Entering the boundary of Mascap

A shack at a secluded baranggay

Taken from atop a bridge in Mascap

View from atop a mountain ridge

The upper trail towards Puray

It’s a long uphill from here

Single track trail going to Mt. Alyaas

Established trails leading to more uphills

At the ridge of a mountain

Quiet and all the fresh air and trees…

Ridges at the Rodriguez mountains

Tree backdrop for June

A mini waterfalls in the middle of nowhere

Up close where the water is really ice-cold

Water pond is knee-deep where you can soak your aching legs

Another stream on the left side of the mini-falls

Cool place

The stairway trail to Mt. Alyaas

The mountain was shrouded with bamboo trees. Pandas will be able to survive here

Non-stop uphill

An almost vertical climb

Finally, the view on top

Sitting near the clouds

Trail Running and River Crossing at Puray, Rodriguez (with Pics)

I’m not really fond of crossing rivers as part of a long trail run because firstly, i don’t want to get my shoes and my toes wet specially in the early stages when i still have to complete an hour or two of running and second, i easily develop blisters when i run on wet feet.

But this is what happened to June and i when we ventured to PURAY, a small village nestled in the midst of the Sierra Madre Mountain ranges in Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal. What we didn’t know was that we had to cross at least eight (8) rivers interlocking a couple of other small villages before we reach the final village of Puray.

The fire-roads and trails to Puray is actually a favorite route of mountain bikers that offers them plenty of challenges in trekking the gentle to rough terrain and cross the rivers continuously without getting down from their bikes.

Getting there is just less than an hour’s drive from the Quezon Memorial Circle via Commonwealth Ave., Batasan Road and San Mateo Road. Before reaching Barrio Wawa is the small district of San Isidro. Turn left on its main highway going to Avilon Zoo. This zoo, the largest zoological park in the country is the jump-off point and we started our run from there heading first to the village of Muscap then to Puray.

Muscap is about 10-12 kms of paved to rough roads while Puray is 5-7kms further west. The trails along Muscap going to Puray is one of the most extensive i ‘ve ever seen. It has mostly well-maintained double tracks and you have two choices of routes going to Puray, one on the elevated tracks with views of the mountain ranges and the other on the lower portion where the river crossing occur.

We experienced soft to rugged desert trails that roller coaster between boulders, ridges with eye popping views of the Sierra Madres. The rivers are a blissful place of slow rushing water that is disturbed intermittently by motorized tricycles transporting town-folks, cyclists and pedestrians who just enjoy walking barefoot on these rivers.

The trails are an experience to itself, the trees that line its banks reach up as high as a 3-storey building and some flowers are in full bloom. There’s more than enough trails here to keep our legs lively and our senses well-fed both atop the mountains and all over the foothills that surround the small villages.

June and i covered about 19kms in about 3 hours and the trails command a repeat performance run. If the active outdoor life is this beautiful and challenging, what more could you ask from a place?

Here are some of our pictures. I hope you enjoy them.

First crossing after only 6 minutes of running

Didn't want to get my shoes wet yet just after starting

First hurdle done.

June leads towards the mountains

Towards Muscap in Rodriguez

Start of the trails

First break after 5 kms

A stretch of paved highway

June glides by some rock formation

Charging an uphill

Soft sand was good for the feet

All uphill from here

"Go ahead, i'm just behind you!"

Nature at its best!

More scenes like this later...

Great scenery!

Approaching the Sierra Madre Mountains

Great view!

Full view

The trails from behind

Running at the edge of a ravine

Getting closer to a waiting shade

Taking another break

June at the waiting shade

Sprinting ahead

Approaching Puray

All downhill from here

Another river crossing. June talks to a native

Clear and pristine

At the other end

Clear skies and it was going to be a hot day!

We forge ahead and after a few hundred meters, another river to cross

And yet another one

Stopping to pose

This kid just appeared in the picture. Where did he come from?

A balancing act

Nice easy walk

It was great running on trails along the banks of a river

And another river crossing

Back to the trails

About 16k during this time

Some more views of the rivers

Trails and river run side by side

More rivers to cross

The last river

Takbo.ph Trail Run At Montalban- April 26, 2009

Trail Run Will Be On Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trail Run Will Be On Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Takbo.ph Runners will be having its monthly LSD (Long Slow Distance) Run this coming Sunday, April 26, 2009 at Sitio Parawagan, Rodriguez (Montalban). The run will cover a distance of 15 to 20 kilometers passing along the beautiful mountain trails of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Assembly will be at Jolibee-Philcoa. Here are the details:

4:30 – 4:45 – meet up at jolibee, philcoa
4:50 – we leave for san mateo-montalban
5:10 – 5:20 – arrive at wawa, rodriguez (dead-end road
before reaching Wawa Dam)
5:30 – start our run
There’s a wide space in front of the Tourism Office where you can park your vehicles.

All runners should bring their own fuel/hydration belts/ belt bag-pouch/ hand held water bottle/ camel backpack, bars/gels because water and food will not be available along the route. The terrain is rolling to mountainous and the surface is a combination of asphalt, dirt, sand, hard clay, soft gravel, etc. You don’t necessarily have to wear a Trail or an All-Terrain Running Shoe. Your regular running shoes will do as long as the out-soles are not so worn-out.

After the run at about 8:00-9:00am at the most, we can have breakfast at one of the various food joints there at Wawa (take note that the eateries are frequented by bikers who are mostly from metro manila). Thereafter, you can take your time in visiting Wawa Dam to take pictures.

For those who are planning to run the TNF 10k/20k or 100k Sacobia Trail Run at Clark, this will be an excellent practice run specially to those who are not yet acquainted with trail running.

Check out this link for more details about the venue: https://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/mountain-trail-running/

For more details about the run or meeting place, kindly contact Mr. Pojie Marilag at 0918-3453476 or leave a comment at the end of this post or at the takbo.ph website:

http://takbo.ph/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=26&func=view&id=9501&catid=30

Thanks!

Mountain Trail Running (Parawagan, Montalban)

Mountain Trail Run at Sitio Parawagan, Rodriguez, Rizal

It was one of the most challenging but scenic mountain trails i have ever run and one i will never forget. Finding a decent running trail without going to far outside of Metro Manila is a bit of a stretch but one just has to look outside the usual beaten path and discover for themselves places which are not the usual roads that people usually dwell or visit.

Last Sunday, January 10, 2009 my running buddy, June and two of his office mates, Daryll and Oliver set our sights to Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal and arrived there at about 5:30am, still dark with nary a soul wandering the streets. We initially planned to hike-run the Wawa Dam trail. However, a caretaker staying at an old bungalow the served as the city’s tourism office suggested that we take a more scenic mountain pass and promised us a rewarding view of the surroundings once we reached the top. The trail is located at Sitio Parawagan, Brgy San Rafael which is situated at the western side of Sitio Wawa. So off we started our run.

Setting off on the early morning run

Uphill past the twin peaks

Being in a mountain trail and taking a glimpse of these peaks that we were expected to reach a little later, we were in for a surprise. Running on low hills and steep inclines has been a usual fare while running in Metro Manila but this mountain road has inclines of up to 600 meters non-stop and reaches up to 60 degrees of difficulty!

Further up the slope

Running thru the winding trail

On the second kilometer of our run, we had to practically walk up the incline and this elicited both frustration and anguish as we had not expected anything like it.So for most of the initial phase of the journey, we walked the incline and run the portions when we came to the flat parts of the trail. Once we were at the topmost areas, the run was now one for the scenery.

At the 4k mark and still uphill

Passing along the narrow trails

You’ll have views–narrow streams, mixed forest, the Sierra Madre Mountains, and the rolling green foliage at the sides of the trail. At around Km6, you’ll have a full view of the La Mesa Dam Reservoir and on the west is the faint skyline of Makati.

Trail running up the mountains

June, pacing the trail

Me, leading the pack

No vehicles on site

The trails are very demanding, hilly stretches of dried red clay and the other portions of the dirt trail are either loose soil with roots protruding and gravel sand. It’s part of the appeal in running within the wide green scenery. You’ll run among acacia trees, isolated nipa huts and fragrant hyacints plants. And each torturous climb comes with its own rewards. Some of the best vistas in the wilderness of the Sierra Madre mountains.

Viewing the vista

Not knowing where the trail would end, we made our way back past 6km as Daryll sprinted past ahead of us. My hamstrings began to ache at this point and i had to slow down during the downhill portions. Running those uphills really took its toll on me so i also took walking breaks on the way back.

On the way back with Daryll leading the way

Downhill all the way

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One more for the view

We finished the 12k run at abour 2 hours and decided to have breakfast first before we had our cooldown run at the Wawa dam site.

Beakfast at Tifanny’s with Daryll and Oliver