The cycling boom has certainly made me more keen on exploring areas near my residence in Pasig. If I can pedal it, I will attempt to explore. Rizal province is certainly one of them. Lately I had been frequenting the hills of Antipolo for its mountains and nature. I’ve been seeing Camp Sinai as one of the popular destinations for cyclist and it certainly looked appealing for a mountain-lover like me. Imagine views of the Sierra Madre mountain range, roads fringed with pine trees and the nippy weather. And a couple of days before Christmas, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and rode up to Antipolo to finally check this out.
Where is Camp Sinai?
There was a bit of confusion at first on my part on figuring out where exactly Camp Sinai is. Some say it’s already in San Mateo, I’ve read one article saying it as part of Taytay. Some text even mention it as Mount Sinai, same as the one in the Bible where the camp was inspired. I’ve been really careful about exact names of places and locations lately. I must admit, I had mistakes here before. And when people rely on your site for information, I have to be accurate as much as possible.
The confusion stems as this area is already close to the borders of Pintong Bukawe in San Mateo. Looking closely at several maps, I found out that Camp Sinai is located at the summit area of Mt Baytangan, which is under the jurisdiction of Calawis, Antipolo. Camp Sinai is the name of the camp, not the mountain in Rizal. Mt Baytangan rises at 455 meters above sea level and portion of it is under the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape. The area is under the management of DENR-UMRBPL.
Ride to Mt Baytangan
Knowing exactly where I’m going helps me plan my route. Coming from Pasig, I retraced my route going to Old Boso-boso in Antipolo . From Pasig, I rode from C. Raymundo, Amang Rodriguez then Marilaque Highway. Before the arc entering the zigzag road to Boso-Boso Highlands Resort, I took a left turn off the main highway to Sapinit Road entering the areas of Inarawan, San Juan and up to Calawis. Check out my Strava below for details.
The road is mostly paved and hilly, gradually increasing elevation. Very rural community but lots of greens here already with abundant with trees and grassy hills. I could smell meals cooking as I pass through a few neighborhoods. Road gets narrower and steeper as I pass by Heaven’s Gate Memorial. A few stretches of rough roads here then narrower streets to the entrance of the park where Camp Sinai is located.
Summit Camp and Views
It was a sigh of relief to finally reach Camp Sinai. It wasn’t easy breezy for me, I had to stop once or twice just to get here. According to my Komoot App, it is already 445 meters above sea level. I had the same feeling of accomplishment as climbing a mountain on foot. There’s a cafe in the area that serves meals and coffee. There weren’t as many people when I arrived so I grabbed a table near the viewdeck and soaked in the panorama of mountain ranges and a few clouds hovering low.
I ordered tapsilog and brewed coffee. Food was okay but the ambiance was better. After being in lockdown for months, it’s nice to have this kind of scenery once in a while. I miss the mountains. Camp Sinai is obviously inspired by the mountain Moses climbed to bring us the 10 Commandments. A large tablet replica of the 10 Commandments stands near a viewing pavilion.
Camp Sinai offers overnight camping in tents or a cottage stay aside from day trips. ATV activities are also available. The camp not only caters for bikers as the trail can also be explored by trail runners or nature lovers who simply wants to forest bathe. It’s a place to get fresh air at least a couple of hours away from the metro.
On my way back I had some very interesting side-trips. On the road going to Pintong Bukawe in San Mateo, there’s a scenic road in Maarat with a road of pine trees. Then I really enjoyed the downhill ride back to the highway.
Rode down to Antipolo briefly for lunch then descended down via Cabrera road to Taytay. It was one interesting and scenic route as well, an alternative to Sumulong if coming from Taytay.
In Taytay, I decided to cap off my tour with a cold Hazelnut coffee and cheese tart at Typica Coffee before heading home to Pasig. It was one satisfying ride that I enjoyed. Slowly getting familiar with the places around me.
Camp Sinai park is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM according to th hours at the gate. But I spoke with the caretaker at the gate on my way out that they are open to everyone 24 hours. So they will still accept people no matter time you come in.
Appropriate fees apply:
- Entrance Fees: Children/Student – P30; Adult – P50; Senior Citizen, PWD – P40.
- Camping Fee: P500 per group for a minimum of 5pax and max of 10px per day
- Executive Cottage: P1,500/night per cottage
- Filming Permit Fee: P5,000/day
- Professional Photography: P1,000 group fee
*Updated as of January 5, 2021
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.