I don’t always have clients that are in excellent physical shape, so when I do I immediately entice them to do a more challenging hike with me. I was lucky because my client last April, James, at the age of 54 is an avid runner and hiker. I brought him to Mt. Irid in Tanay, Rizal. This is in fact the most difficult hike I have ever done with a client. And he really WAS fit, he and our female guide were often walking ahead of me; our guide said we were the second fastest hikers she has ever had.
Considered a major hike with a difficulty level of 6/9, the summit gives excellent views of the lush Sierra Madre mountain range, including distant peaks of Mt. Makiling, Mt. Banahaw and Laguna de Bay. The transportation ride to this remote village alone (I had to ride on top of the jeepney!) that took 3 hours was an adventure in itself. We also spent the night at a bunkhouse, where in fact I couldn’t sleep at all as I found it too cold. My sandals were already broken to begin with and they rubbed my feet raw (I got my new Teva hiking sandals a week after that). Despite these setbacks it was a great hike and quite memorable.
The trail to Mt. Irid in Brgy. Sta. Ines, Tanay, Rizal is so lush with moss-covered trees, hanging vines and shrubbery. I especially liked the limestones with plants growing on them! Thanks to incredible accidents of nature, wherein humidity, bacteria, fungi and even a tiny bit of water on the limestone cracks all come together perfectly as though in a symphony, these plants are somehow able to extract nutrients on top of the rocks on which to grow. Amazing!
Here are some more summit views of Mt. Irid. If you want to scramble on limestone rocks and have a great view of the Sierra Madre without doing a major hike, you can go to Mt. Lubog in Brgy. Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal instead. That one is an easy yet very rewarding day hike. In fact it’s one of my favorites. However, I noticed that there aren’t a lot of hikers going there, maybe because the transportation ride is quite expensive (1k/pax round trip for your own hour-long habal-habal ride on a mountain dirt track- riding a tricycle would just be too slow. Otherwise you must have an SUV or 4WD)
Our mother and son guides during this ascent.
Here are some pictures of local life:
Pictures of the bunkhouse where we slept:
How to Go to Mt. Irid in Sta. Ines, Tanay, Rizal
Itinerary, directions and other pertinent information can be found at Pinoy Mountaineer’s guide to hiking in Mt. Irid.
It is important to note that you need to secure permits from the Municipal Office of Tanay before climbing. Contact the following numbers:
Kagawad Toto: +639302355562