Mt. Sembrano Pililla Rizal: DIY Adventure Trek

Name: Mt. Sembrano
Jump Off point: Malaya, Pililla, Rizal
Elevation: 745 MASL
Difficulty: 3/9 
Features: Grassland, mountains
and view of Laguna de Bay

          Mt. Sembrano is my second mountain climb during the month of July for the year 2016. A day hike adventure for beginners that would take 3-4 hours hike to the summit and 2-3 hours descent. It is located in my own province of Rizal. It lies between the boundaries of the towns of Jalajala and Pililla in Rizal and the town of Pakil in Laguna. The mountain sits at the helm of Jalajala peninsula along the shore of Laguna de Bay and is surrounded by the lake on three sides.

Getting to the jump off point (Malaya Brgy. Hall):

  • Via Public Vehicle

 1. For commuters coming from EDSA crossing terminal across Starmall or Tikling – Ortigas Extension, you can ride a jeepney costs Php53.00 or passenger van costs Php70.00  going to Tanay Public Market. It takes two and half (2 1/2) hours travel time. From there, take another jeepney costs Php23.00 going to Malaya, Pililla, Rizal for about 30 minutes travel time and just tell the driver to drop you off to Malaya Barangay Hall, the jump off point. 

2. For commuters coming from cubao terminal, you can take a Cogeo bound jeepneys.  In  Cogeo gate 2, take a jeepney going to Tanay Public Market. Then, take another jeepney going to Malaya, Pililla, Rizal and just tell the driver to drop you off to Malaya Barangay Hall.

Note: Going back to Manila is just the same as the above transportation and rates. You can also have the option to stay in any accommodations in Rizal. Just Book and reserve at or click the Book Now button below.

        Before we started trekking, we registered first at Malaya Barangay hall where we paid a registration fee costs Php20.00 per person. We opted not to hire a local guide since we had our friend with us who knew the trail very well. It was up to your group if you will avail a local guide which costs Php500.00 per group.

Update: As of 2018, it is now mandatory to hire a local guide from Malaya Barangay Hall (jump off point).

The Panoramic View
  • The Climb

          The first part of the climb was off to Manggahan campsite with one (1) hour trek. We started trekking at 6:00 A.M from the camp base with an easy trail. At first, we were liked strolling around the forest land with muddy and rocky trail until we reached the Manggahan campsite at 7:00 A.M. From there, we stopped and rested for a while. To quench our thirst, we bought some fresh coconut juice for only php20.00 from the mini store located at the Manggahan campsite.

The muddy and rocky trail!

Note: If you opt to have an overnight camp at Manggahan campsite, you have to bring your own tent. There’s also a waterfalls near the campsite if you want to take a dip.

The Manggahan Campsite

       We continued ascending at around 7:30 A.M. OMG! I thought it was just as easy as 123 but I was wrong! The trail going to the summit was quite challenging. The assault turned our cheery banter into silent concentration. It was characterized by stair-like slopes with rocky trails and overgrown grasses. There were parts when we were literally on the edge and catching our breaths. We scrambled upon the loose soils, rocks and tall grasses until we reached the second campsite at 9:30 A.M. where Mt. Sembrano’s peak is on sight.  Some hikers opted to camp here since it was just 30 minutes hike to the summit. 

The Challenging Trail to the summit!

Note: There are no signage or markers going to the summit. Some overgrown grasses may obstruct the view so be extra careful in choosing the right path. It is highly advisable to hire a local guide if you are a first timer to climb Mt. Sembrano.

Getting closer to the summit!
Sea of Clouds!

       Finally! We reached the summit 1 at around 10:00 A.M. Wow! After three and half (3 1/2 ) hours of trekking, I was mesmerized by the scenic view from the top. Seeing the beautiful scenery made me feel relax and stress free. No pollution just fresh air to breathe. What I loved most was the lovely lush greenery and serene surroundings from the top. It offers an amazing view of Laguna de Bay, Talim Island, Sierra Madre, Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Makiling. We stayed there for one (1) hour and had our lunch. The sun was scorching hot by 11:00 A.M. and the peak of Mt. Sembrano is devoid of trees for shade. Still, it provided one of the best views I have seen.

I’m on top of the world!
The view of Laguna de Bay from the summit.

Note: Once you reached summit 1, you can opt to camp there and stay for lunch or push through the next 2 summits. Summit 2 can be reached in around 15 minutes while summit 3 can be reached in around 20 minutes. Both time frames are coming from summit 1.

Amazing and awesome view of Mt. Sembrano peak.

       We started descending at around 11:15 A.M. with  the same challenging path. Going down a steep slope was more difficult than going up. In addition to that, the sun was scorching hot. Oh no! We needed a faster pace to descend from the summit. We reached the Manggahan Campsite for about two (2) hours and rested for a while. Then, we continued our descent at 1:30 P.M and reached the base camp at 2:30 P.M. 

Grassy trail going down!

Note: You can also visit the the newest tourist attraction in town which is the Rizal windmill located at Halayhayin, Pililla, Rizal. Please refer to my separate travel adventure blog A road trip to remember: Pililla Wind Farm” for more travel guides about the Rizal Windmill.



  • Passenger Van (Ortigas, Crossing to  Tanay Public Market)  Php70.00
  • Jeepney (Tanay Public Market to  Malaya brgy. hall)                   Php23.00
  • Jeepney (Malaya to Tanay)                                                                         Php23.00
  •    Passenger Van (Tanay to Ortigas Crossing)                                  Php70.00


  • Registration Fee                                                                                            Php20.00
  • Local Guide (group of 5 persons) 500/5                                        Php100.00

Foods – It depends on your budget.   


                                  Total                                                                               Php306.00

YOLO – You Only Live Once so better yet climb as many mountains as you can!



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