Mt. Maculot or Maculod on some literary, is a famous destination for hikers. It has been featured in a number of magazines as well as TV commercials. The climb is actually not that easy but the climb is worth the effort due to the majestic views of the famous Taal Lake. The lake itself has a soothing effect on oneís nerves due to its calmness. The serene surroundings make it a complete getaway from the stressful environs of the city. Try to make it to the summit before nightfall to get a glimpse of the spectacular sunset. This mountain is visible from Tagaytay and as far as Mindoro. The mountainís shape resembles an igloo, with a rounded summit and a shoulder resembling the entrance of the igloo.
The main destination or feature of this mountain is its shoulder campsite overlooking Taal Lake, Makiling and the Batangas towns. Near the shoulder is a place called "rockies" since it is a rocky hill/peak separated from the shoulder by a deep gorge. Itís a popular vantage-point for viewing the lake as well as a good place to have your picture taken. There was a metal marker before on one of the boulders in "rockies" commemorating the death of a girl climber on that very spot. She fell on the cliff and it took days before her body was recovered. The end other side of this "rockies" is a 500 meter vertical wall, all the way down to the lake. It is one of the most challenging walls for rock climbers here in the country entailing two days of rock climbing and setting-up a suspended mid-wall camp. Summit is an hour away from the shoulder but only few scales the summit since it has no viewpoints.
The mountain is currently under the jurisdiction and care of the Philippine Air Force particularly the nearby Fernando Airfield. There is a marker indicating it at the viewpoint facing the "rockies."
Board a bus going to Lemery Batangas and get off at Cuenca town proper. Jump off point is near the municipal hall. There is a market nearby that can supply your needs for an overnightí stay at the summit. The trail begins near the Mountaineerís Store. There is another trail but less frequently used going directly to the summit passing by the grotto. The main trail goes to the shoulder of the mountain. A portion of the trail is well cemented leading to the more rugged terrain. The trail gradually becomes steep as you progress on your climb. Two thirds of the climb is on covered forest. The steep terrain needs both hands to hold on to the roots and branches of trees. The trail is quite slippery if you climb during the wet season. The last third portion of the mountain approaching the final destination, which is the campsite on the shoulder of the mountain, is a cogonal area. Assaulting the Rockies is the highlight of the climb, where you get a spectacular view of the lake and nearby crags.
Summer is the best time to go to Maculot although during those periods, the mountain can be crowded with hikers. Rainy season makes the trail slippery and the December winds makes it difficult to set camp in the open shoulder.
|"The Complete Wilderness Traveler is always prepared with adequate clothing, heat conserving survival techniques, and food reserves that require no cooking."
-- Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills