Pinagbanderahan Mountaineering Adventure

Located in the Atimonan side of the Quezon National Forest Park in the province of Quezon, Pinagbanderahan is a historic and "strategic" part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

It is commonly and erroneously referred to by many as Mt. Pinagbanderahan. However, its real name is actually Mt. Mirador and it is part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The name pinagbanderahan is came from the Filipino phrase "place where the flag was hoisted". The peak got its name from the historic flag hoisting events in the different eras of Philippine history. The first flag was hoisted on the mountain's peak during the Philippine Revolution. The Filipino revolutionaries hoisted the Philippine flag there after kicking out the Spanish colonizers from the province. A few years later, the Americans hoisted The Old Glory on the mountain's peak after successfully defeating he Filipinos during the Filipino-American War. Several decades later, it was the Japanese flag that was flying over the Pinagbanderahan. It was only in 1946 that the Philippine flag reclaimed its rightful place.
Just follow the trail...
You can go up the man made steps

or go under fallen trees
The man-made steps near the mountain's peak
Let's go!
...and the surrounding landscapes
The picturesque view of Sierra Madre
Just a little more
So why on Earth did the Filipinos and their colonizers try so hard to hoist their flag on this particular mountain? The answer is simple -logistics and psychological impact. As you all know, the peak known today as Pinagbanderahan has a perfect vantage point of the island provinces of Marinduque and Mindoro, Mt. Banahaw, and the towns and cities of Pagbilao and Lucena. In that sense, it gives a control factor those at the peak and also a domination effect for those in the lowlands. 
I finally reached the peak
The marker at the peak

I got to visit Pinagbanderahan during my mom's High School Grand Reunion. Their batch organized a hike up to the mountain. My sister, cousins, and and me didn't waste the opportunity that's why we tagged along. Since we were not part of their group, we hired our own local guide (it's a requirement to have one). Each guide is allowed to guide a maximum of 10 people. The guide's services and environmental fee cost only P300 (as of 2015).



Regarding the local guides, I could safely say that they are very respectful and patient. Our guide, Kuya JB waited patiently for us even if we took plenty of stops for some photo ops. We also didn't feel rushed in any way.
A great view from the peak

As for the trip, I would say that it's fairly easy. The trail going to the peak is actually cemented and doesn't require you to wear a full mountaineering gear (my sister actually looked like she was going to the mall during our hike.) Aside from that  it's only 2/3s of the hike that you'd experience continuous ascends (the stairs are also cemented so don't worry).
Entrance to Cueva Santa
Inside Cueva Santa
What I like about the hike to Pinagbanderahan are the caves that you'd find near the trail. Despite some minor vandalism, the caves are clean and still has stalactites in it. We visited one the the said caves -the Cueva Santa and did some photo shoots in it. (I suggest you visit this cave during your hike.)

The huge statue of the patron saint of Atimonan, found near the jump-off point
Overall, hiking Pinagbanderahan is recommended to everyone who loves mountains but doesn't want to step on mud or exert too much effort in doing so.

Mountains Details: 
Height: 366 MASL
Major trailhead: Zigzag Park, Quezon National forest Park, Atimonan, Quezon
The jump-off point going to Pinagbanderahan
Climb time: 1-2 hours

Getting there:
The best way to reach Pinagbanderahan is to personally drive to its jump off point.
From Manila, follow the Pan-Philippine Highway until you reach the fork near the exit of the town of Pagbilao. Follow the road of the right (EME Road) which will bring you to the Zigzag Road. Follow it until you see the Zigzag Park which is the mountain's main jump off point.

Itinerary:
3:00 AM - Departure from Manila
7:00 AM - Arrival at Zigzag Park
(Hiking to the peak starts only at 6:30AM)
7-8:00 AM - Breakfast / Hike preparation
8:00 AM - Start hike
8:30 AM - Side trip to Cueva Santa
9:00 AM Resume hike 
10:00 AM - Pinagbanderahan / MT. Mirador peak
10- 11:00AM - Photo Ops
11:00AM - Descent
12:00NN - Side trip to Cueva Grande
1:00PM - Arrival at Zigzag Park
1- 2:00 PM - Lunch and preparation to go home
2:00PM - Departure to Manila
6/7 PM - Arrival at Manila

Ratings:
Crowd
Cleanliness
Overall rating

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Andrea! It's been a long time since I heard from you.

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  2. Hi Sir...
    I am interested to hike on this... Meron po bang malapit na ilog or falls dito sa Pinagbanderahan na pwedeng puntahan na rin para isang hike na lang. Let me know kung meron po.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there Maria! Usually kasama ng tour na ito ang Bantayan Falls kaso sa ibang lugar yun. Ang malapit dito eh dagat in Atimonan or Pagbilao. Marami ring mga kuweba dito.

      Delete
  3. SIR pwede mahingi contacts ng guide jan...plan to hike it this june....TIA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Try the Atimonan Tourism Office. Eto number nila.
      (042) 316 6905

      Delete

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