Mt. Cristobal

Major jump-off: Brgy. Sta. Lucia, Dolores, Quezon
LLA: 14.064° N 121.428° E, 1470 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 4-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3

Mt. Cristobal was long known within the mountaineering community as the "spooky mountain." It was always referred to as Banahaw's alter ego meaning that if Banahaw is the power mountain with lots of positive energy, Cristobal is supposed to be the opposite - a mountain with negative energies. Lot's of stories that circulate tend to prove this but we are not just sure if they are fabrics of a mountaineer's adventurous imaginations bolstered by a pre-conditioned mind that this place is supposed to be a "horror mountain." When locals climb the place, one member will claim of hearing strange sounds at night. There is a story when climbers found a dead man on the summit. Local police confirmed that a mysterious murder that happened on the mountain. What a place to do such a thing! It's a bit funny that such a mountain named after a saint would be notorious as a haunting place. Actually once the neighbouring Mt. Banahaw was called Monte Cristobal.

Being a "Spooky Mountain" Mt. Cristobal has a lot of legends, urban legends that is, since most of them are recent stories created by the city hikers which have circulated back within the city limits. One of the popular myths about the mountain is that a creature that the locals call the "Tumao" roams around it's premises. Tumao is actually similar to the Bigfoot of western legends. The best activity to do while you are camping on its peak is to do some night trekking especially when the fog sets in and test the limits of your bravery. Imagine the swamp, mossy crater and dense jungle. The sun sets early in the campsite since you are inside a crater. Try watching "The Blair Witch Project" movie before hiking Cristobal.

Mt Cristobal

The start of the hike passes through plantations. Then you will see a fork before the trail begins to ascend. The left trail is a direct assault to a steep exposed part of the mountain. It offers a superb viewpoint but since exposed, it's hot when the sun is up. The trail is also very steep. The normal trail used is the one turning right. First stop is the psychic's house, Montelibano. The people there are friendly and you can rest inside the house. If nobody is around, you are still welcome to rest at it's balcony. Then, as if entering the Twilight Zone, you will pass through a backyard gate to enter the forest line. From there, the trail is visible up to the campsite. A huge boulder is the midpoint marker of the trail. Before the final ascent, the two trails converge to a single trail going inside the crater to the campsite. You will then reach what they call "False Summit" because you may think it is the highest point in Cristobal. You then descend to the crater. The first campsite is beside a small pond. Following the trail further will take you to the bigger second camp. From this campsite there is a trail going to the view point. The true summit has no trail and if you want to go there, you have to hack your way through tall cogon grass. Cristobal is not yet fully explored so if you are the adventurous type and have lots of time to spend, you can further explore the other craters, peaks and viewpoints. I tried to convince my guide to guide me up to the real summit but he was not opened to the idea, telling that there is no way to get up.




Day 1
0530 Assembly (JAM Terminal, Buendia LRT)
0630 ETD Manila
0900 ETA San Pablo
0915 ETD San Pablo
1000 ETA Dolores (jump off)
1015 Start trek
1100 ETA Montelibano (Register)
1115 Resume trek
1200 Lunch
1300 Resume trek
1600 ETA camp site
1700 Dinner
1900 Socials
2200 Lights out

Day 2
0600 Wake up call
0700 Breakfast
0800 Break camp
0900 Start trek
1100 ETA Montelibano
1130 ETA jump-off
1200 ETA Kinabuhayan (lunch)
1600 ETD San Pablo
1930 ETA Manila

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