Last updated: 26th September 2020
Planning to do a quick minor hike this weekend? Mt. 387 in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija is one of your best choices among the beautiful mountains in the Philippines. In addition, it is only 3-4 hours away from Metro Manila.
You may have seen trending photos of Mt. 387 on social media because of its resemblance to Chocolate Hills in Bohol. No wonder that this mountain is dubbed as “Chocolate Hills of the North”.
In this article, we will provide you everything you need to know about Mt. 387. We will also include the costs and a sample DIY itinerary that you can use to plan your hike.
Mt. 387: History, Location & Facts
Standing at 724+ MASL, Mt. 387 is part of the Caraballo Mountain Range that surrounds Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino provinces. It also covers 387.9 hectares (where it got its name) of the Talavera Watershed Forest Reserve which serves as a major water source to neighboring provinces.
Before being called as Mt. 387, the mountain is called originally named as Mt. Batong Amat which means “Ghost Rock” in native Tagalog. It was set-up as a Japanese camp with secret tunnels and sniper posts around year 1940’s.
Upon arriving at the jump-off, we were greeted by Sir Roy Manuzon, Chairman of Kalinga sa Kalikasan ng Puncan. He leads a group of volunteers dedicated in protecting Mt. 387. Sir Roy conducts the briefing to provide safety reminders to hikers.
Sir Roy also explained the two activities that can be done when hiking Mt. 387. During rainy season, tree planting is encouraged. When it is summer, hikers are urged to bring a small bottle of water (provided by the guides) to water the seedlings along the way.
If you don’t know yet, there is a famous tree at Mt. 387 called Lover’s Tree because there are no other trees beside it. Listen to Sir Roy during the briefing so you’ll know its history. It’s a funny one and I won’t spoil it! 🙂
Hours to summit: 2-3 hours
Specs: Minor climb
Difficulty: Backtrail 2/9; Traverse 4/9, Trail Class 1-4
Sir Roy Manuzon’s Contact Number: (0917) 571-2152
How to Get There
When me and my friends organize hiking events, we usually hire a van for everyone’s convenience. We always hire Van2Go as our transport service because their drivers are always on time, they reply to messages promptly, and they drive safely.
The van rental going to Mt. 387 costs P7,000 which was divided among the joiners.
If you prefer to commute, you can ride a bus going to Tuguegarao or Cagayan (Victory Liner or Five Star in Cubao, and Florida Bus in Sampaloc). Tell the driver to drop you off at Iglesia ni Cristo in Barangay Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija. Travel time would take around 4-5 hours depending on traffic.
Another option is to ride a bus going to San Jose City, Nueva Ecija. You can hire a tricycle going to Barangay Puncan where the jump-off is located.
Mt. 387 Trail: What Should We Expect?
Doing a backtrail in Mt. 387 is rated with a difficulty of 2/9 and to be honest, there is not much of a thrill on this route. There is gradual assault and less “bangin” so going to summit is not that hard.
You can reach the summit within 2-3 hours depending on your pace. This is recommended for first-time hikers.
We highly suggest that you do a traverse hike when visiting Mt. 387. This increases the difficulty level to 4/9.
Going down from the summit would take 2-3 hours (depending on your pace) and you need to walk down a steep slope with 50-70 degrees incline.
During our Mt. 387 hike, we were so lucky because there were ropes to assist us going down. It was only set-up a week ago when we hiked.
Since it was just newly added to the trail, the ropes still need to be properly tied up in trees to prevent it from touching the ground when someone in front of you uses it.
As a reminder, exercise or jog before the hike to prevent your knees and legs from shaking during the descent. You will reach Aloha Falls after 2-3 hours where you can eat lunch and have a quick swim.
Walk another 30 minutes from the falls and you will reach the “4×4” truck that will take you back to the jump-off.
P.S. Their “4×4” experience is unlike what you see in Pinatubo because in Mt. 387, you will ride an elf truck. 🙂
Sample DIY Itinerary for a Day Hike
This sample itinerary below can be followed as is when you opt to rent a van. If you will commute, feel free to adjust your meet-up and travel time.
00:00 – Meet up in Mcdonald’s Kia Theater
01:00 – ETD to Nueva Ecija
05:00 – ETA Barangay Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija
05:15 – Register, secure guides
05:20 – Briefing with Sir Roy Manuzon
05:30 – Start trek
08:00 – Summit
08:30 – Water planting activity
08:35 – Off to Lover’s Tree
08:45 – Arrival at Lover’s Tree
09:00 – Start descent
11:00 – Arrival at Aloha Falls; eat lunch; swim
12:30 – Off to “4×4” waiting area
13:00 – “4×4” ride to jump-off
13:20 – Arrival at jump-off; tidy-up
14:00 – ETD to Manila
19:00 – ETA Manila
Traveling back to Manila lasted for 5 hours because of the traffic. Keep this in mind when planning your trip. You can also watch this video below to know more about our Mt. 387 experience.
Estimated Hiking Expenses in Mt. 387
- Van rental – P7,000
- Registration Fee – P50
- Tour Guide, 1:7 ratio (day hike) – P350
- Tour Guide, 1:7 ratio (overnight) – P500
- Elf truck (one-way only) – P20
Total budget: P680
Please keep in mind that the amount above is just estimated and might change if the fees increased. Total budget was acquired based on the hikers who opted for a van rental and a day hike. For commuters, I think the budget wouldn’t be far from the one above. Bring extra money just to be sure.
Mt. 387: Our Final Thoughts
Me and my friends knew Mt. 387 as a mountain that is only full of hype because of its social media popularity.
We haven’t really thought of hiking Batong Amat until February 2019 when we can’t think of other mountains with lower difficulty levels. But experiencing Mt. 387 on our own made us realize that it is more than just a hype.
We have so much positive feedback on Mt. 387. The locals are friendly and funny (everyone has a good sense of humor!) and the views of the Caraballo Mountain Range, even some random pine trees and grasses are all Instagram-worthy.
Yes, it deserves to be called the Chocolate Hills of the North.
Now that you have a quick lecture about this beautiful mountain in Nueva Ecija, including the sample DIY itinerary, budget, and more, I’m sure that you’ll add Mt. 387 to your hiking bucketlist.
See you in the mountains!