Tres Marias Peak 2: Of Canyons Deep and Forests Old

Mt. Tres Marias

Deep inside the mighty Tres Marias mountain range lies a plethora of challenges and wonders. These are stuff that only a handful of people had the opportunity to experience. And with the help of Joni, the Trexplore team, and the local Mamanwas, we’re happy that we were given that same chance. Welcome to the green and fertile heart of Tres Marias in Biliran!

We woke up early on a cold but refreshing morning, and we started our day with a hot and filling breakfast. The air smelled of fresh petrichor, that sweet earthy scent you smell before the rain starts to pour. It is actually a kind of oil excreted from the ground.


We strapped on our Deuter bags and said goodbye to Camp 1. Once again, we were inside the thick forest of the Tres Marias and deep in our thoughts. Only the sounds of the rustling foliage as the thick plants caressed us with every step we take provided our morning music.

That’s why we love climbing these beautiful mountains. The quiet trail gives us time and opportunity for deep and spiritual introspection.

(Photo credit: Junji Bacon of Wandering Feet PH)

Soon, the trail widened to a comfortable width with light woods on either side. A light shower gave us our morning bath, washing away the residue and salt crystals that stuck to our clothes. We could also hear the faint rush of a river farther below us.

Ethereal path

More than an hour after we left the campsite, we stopped a Y-shaped fork for a short rest. One of these paths lead to Peak 2, the other goes down to the river. Our porters made a small fire to create smoke that will ward off mosquitoes and other bugs.

We left our heavy backpacks here and just took water and our trail snacks. We don’t need to carry the additional burden while climbing the peak.

Crossing for Peak 2

With our backpacks safely stowed in plastic bags and watched over by our trustworthy porters, we started our trek to Peak 2. According to our guide, it will take us almost an hour to reach the shoulder and a little over an hour to climb and reach the summit itself.

On the way

We saw plenty of interesting stuff on the way to Peak 2. For example, we saw this pancake-shaped wild mushroom that makes a cool sound when we hit it lightly with a drumming motion of our fingers.


Here’s a cocoon of some sort, made of leaves and silk. The weaving is so tight that not even a single pebble can get in. Whatever is inside this cocoon is definitely well protected.

Nature's weaving

Hunters and firewood gatherers still frequent the mountains, although we haven’t actually seen one during our trek. They build makeshift shelters where they can rest and chat while searching and gathering the forest’s bounties.

The shelters, such as this one, are rudimentary, consisting only of a couple of nipa palms as a roof and bamboo stalks as a bench.

makeshift rest area

The forest could be merciless. We saw this hairy worm covered with parasitic mites. Since the worm doesn’t have fingers to pluck out those parasites, it can do nothing to the mites’ onslaught. As the mites suck nutrients from its worm host, the host will gradually become weaker until it finally dies.

Parasitism may sound horrific, but it is an important symbiotic relationship. They weed out the weak, provide opportunities for the transfer of genetic material between species, facilitate evolution, and allow competing species to co-exist. The presence of parasites actually indicates a healthy ecosystem.

Parasitised worm

Nearing the peak’s shoulder, we saw this perfectly camouflaged horned frog. Can you spot it? It is very well camouflaged, which is necessary for it to survive in a tough and dangerous jungle.

A lot of animals in the wild use camouflage both as an offensive capability and a defensive system. Camouflage allows them to blend in their environments, making it either easier for them to hunt and attack other creatures, or hide from predators.

Camouflaged horned frog
(Photo credit: Junji Bacon of Wandering Feet PH)

As we took photos of the frog, we saw something unusual on its back. We thought it’s another parasite, but upon closer inspection, we found out that it’s an even smaller frog! Hehehe! This horned frog is a caring mama!

Baby tree frog
(Photo credit: Junji Bacon of Wandering Feet PH)

After an hour, we reached the bottom of the peak’s shoulder. It was time for the knee-breaking, thigh-screaming assault! Good thing though that leaves and roots, rather than soft soil, lined the entirety of the trail. As such, our trekking shoes were able to maintain a strong grip on the ground as we climbed the ridge.

Peak 2 shoulder

The steep ascent seemed to go on forever, but at least walking on a shoe-friendly trail made it enjoyable. Also, since we were walking on a ridge and our clothes were quite soaked due to slight rain, the blowing wind made the climb refreshing.

Climbing to Peak 2

At certain parts of the trail, foliage has grown quite thick, forcing us to squeeze through. You better tuck-in those love handles!

Tight squeeze

Around 1 hour and 10 minutes after, we could go no farther. Welcome to Peak 2 of Tres Marias! At 1372 MASL, this summit is 70 meters lower than Peak 1. Yet, the hard, wet, and cold climb made it feel as difficult as that of climbing Peak 1.

Too bad though that cumulus clouds covered the peak, and we weren’t able to get a nice view of the land below.

Summit of Peak 2

We want to climb the “true” peak, which is just actually a thick “nest” of sturdy foliage. Still, we need to be careful here considering that we don’t know what is below us.

With Peak 2 accomplished, it was time to climb down to the junction where the porters were waiting for us.

Summit of Peak 2
(Photo credit: Junji Bacon of Wandering Feet PH)

The descent took 45 minutes, but that was enough to make our tummies rumble. It was already past noon, and our mouths watered at the thought of hot, steaming food. Also, we need to wash our stinky socks and let our wet feet breathe. And that meant getting to the river below us.

Heading to our lunch area

We reached the river at around 1:00 PM, still within the time allotted in our itinerary but way past our normal lunchtime. Which meant everyone’s tummies were screaming for food. Hahaha! Well, we found some very nice flat rocks, which we used as makeshift tables. We were also able to take off our shoes, wash our socks, and immerse our feet into the cold, refreshing running water of the river.


The river continues to channel through this deep, mysterious canyon. This is actually the headwaters of Sampao River where we’re going to exit the next day. If you’ve been reading our blog, the name “Sampao River” may be familiar to you. That’s because that’s where we did our first adventure with Trexplore—an extreme canyoning adventure a few years ago!

But for now, the thought of thrilling adventure was not really in our minds. It’s tranquility and peace in a place few humans tread that gripped our hearts.

(Photo credit: Junji Bacon of Wandering Feet PH)

With lunch over, it was time to head to our destination for the day—Camp 2 and the last camp of the Tres Marias range. Because we started the final leg of the trek at the riverbed, our trek towards the campsite was mostly uphill.

On the way to Camp 2

There were also a couple of shallow, fast-flowing streams that we need to cross. Most of these streams may end up in pockets of pools, but most feed the Sampao River through hidden tributaries.

Crossing a stream

Around an hour and a half, we reached our campsite right below Peak 3. That was a record because we’re supposed to be here at 5:30 yet. We immediately set up our tents, but since it was still a quarter to 4 PM, we had time to relax for some time.

Our campsite

One of the aluminum poles of our tent snapped while we’re assembling our home in the wilderness. No worries. With Daryl’s help, we rigged up a “pole-less” tent by hanging its roof on a clothesline. To protect ourselves from rain, we hung a tarp over our tent.

Without a flysheet to cover our inner tent, we don’t have anything to protect ourselves from the cold of the night. Thus, we bundled ourselves with our thermal blanket and sweaters.

Broken tent

Just a little beyond our camp, we found a nice stream with some tiny waterfalls. So Sweetie and I took a cool shower there to wash off the sweat and the dirt. There’s nothing better than a refreshing shower before calling it a day. In fact, in every outdoor adventure we have, we make it a point that, as much as possible, we can enjoy a shower before ending the day.

Freshening up before dinner

Dinnertime! Because this was our final night in Tres Marias, we decided to have a grand supper! So, it was all-stops-removed for a gastronomic feast.

A feast

(Cover Photo credit: Junji Bacon of Wandering Feet PH)

Check out Part 3 of our Tres Marias climb! Personally, this is the best part of the entire climb because we went home in the most unconventional way!
Check out the first day of our Tres Marias adventure.

Click this link to check out our climb to Peak 1 of the Tres Marias mountain range.


For those who are interested in experiencing adventures in Biliran, Leyte, and Samar, get in touch with Joni Abesamis of Trexplore the Adventures using the following details:

  • Contact Person: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio
  • Phone Number: (055) 543-8550
  • Cellphone number: 0919-294-3865 / 0927-675-0062
  • Email: info@trexplore.ph
  • Website: http://www.trexplore.ph


Day 1
7:00 am – Breakfast at Base Camp
7:30 am – Depart to Sitio Palayan, Brgy, Caucab
8:00 am – Arrive Sitio Palayan Registration and Meet Mamanwa Guide and Porter
8:30 am – Start trekking to Peak 1 MT Tres Marias
10:30 am – Arrive 1st River stop/Rest Bathing
11:00 am – Lunch
11:30 am – Start Climbing Peak 1
1:00 pm – Arrive Summit Peak 1
1:30 pm – Descend back to 1st River Stop
3:00 pm – Arrive 1st River Stop, start trek to Camp 1
4:30 pm – Arrive Camp 1, set up camp
7:00 pm – Dinner
8:00 pm – Lights-off

Day 2
5:00 am – Wake Up Call
6:00 am – Breakfast, pack up
8:00 am – start trekking to crossing area
9:00 am – arrive at crossing area, leave bags
9:30 am – start trekking to Peak 2
11:00 am – Arrive Summit Peak 2
11:30 am – Descend back to Crossing Area
1:00 pm – Arrive at riverbed, lunch
2:00 pm – Start Trekking to Camp 2
4:00 pm – Arrive Camp 2, start trekking to Peak 3
7:00 pm – Dinner
8:00 pm – Lights-off

Day 3
3:00 am – wake up, start trekking to Peak 3
5:30 am – arrive at Peak 3
6:00 am – descend back to Arrive Camp 2, breakfast, break camp
7:30 am – start trekking to Sampao River
9:00 am – arrive at Sampao River, start canyoning
11:00 am – arrive at Nomad Falls, lunch
11:30 am – continue canyoning
2:00 PM – Rapelling Ulan-Ulan Falls
3:00 PM – Mission accomplished!

About Gian and Sheila

Rock climbers. Mountaineers. Sweethearts on adventure. Adrenaline Romance is a photoblog that belongs to a loving couple who has an eternal lust for adventure. The blog contains experiences, tips, itineraries, and other useful information regarding adventuring in the Philippines and beyond.

6 comments on “Tres Marias Peak 2: Of Canyons Deep and Forests Old

  1. […] Check out the 2nd day of our Tres Marias adventure in the next post! Itinerary for this adventure is in Part 2. […]

  2. […] Click here for Part 1 of our Tres Marias adventure.Click here for Part 2 of our Tres Marias adventure. […]

  3. […] out the 2nd day of our Tres Marias adventure in the next post! Itinerary for this adventure is in Part 2.Check out Part 3 of our Tres Marias […]

  4. […] Click here for Part 1 of our Tres Marias adventure.Click here for Part 2 of our Tres Marias adventure. […]

  5. […] out the 2nd day of our Tres Marias adventure in the next post! Itinerary for this adventure is in Part 2.Check out Part 3 of our Tres Marias […]

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