Jariel’s Peak in Infanta, Quezon is a popular weekend spot for motorcycle riders based in Manila. It has everything that makes a for a great half-day trip – enough distance to make the ride feel “not bitin,” twisty mountain roads, and cool climate and scenery that transports you visually to Baguio or Sagada. In fact, the place is located in a sitio called Little Baguio. Plus, it’s off the grid, if you like that kind of thing. No electricity or phone signal here, folks. You’ll have to wait to post on Instagram or Facebook once you get home
I’ve heard of this destination from other riders before, but hadn’t had the chance to check it out until a couple of weekends ago. My regular riding buddy seemed to have neglected his motorcycle in favor of biking and running last year, yet kept dissuading me from going there on a solo ride. Anyway, with repairs and registration for Falcor finally taken care of, and his mountain bike buddies backing out of a Saturday ride the last minute (yay!), Art agreed to go with me to check out Jariel’s Peak.
If you’re already familiar with the Marilaque route, getting there is pretty straightforward. From Pranjetto Hills, you head down to the intersection, where you can either turn right to Daranak Falls or straight towards Regina Rica. Just go straight and from there, it’s another hour or so on Marifanta (Marikina-Infanta) highway. There aren’t a lot of establishments along the way. Just the occasional sari-sari store, farms, and horses grazing on grass along the mountain roads.
The ride was really, really cold. It’s been chillier than usual the past few days in Manila, but the temperature really drops up in the Sierra Madre mountains. Weather can be unpredictable too. I knew from previous rides that it can be insanely hot in Quezon City, yet freezing cold or rainy up in the mountains, so it’s best to be prepared for anything. I was really glad to be wearing a thick jacket, but the windchill still managed to seep through. It was particularly windy the day we went and I could hear the wind howling as I rode. I could even feel the wind cause the scooter to sway a few times.
The whole road going there is well-paved, except for one short patch of rough road. However, it’s passable to all types of vehicles, including big bikes and scooters. A sign that you’re nearing Jariel’s Peak is if you reach a yellow and orange structure called Little Baguio Cafe (where we stopped to ask for directions). The rough road patch comes shortly after this.
Finally, after about 3 hours of driving (including several photo op stops along the way), we finally reached a structure with colorful flags, and a couple of cars and motorcycles parked in front. The words “Jariel’s Peak” were written in what looked like white stones in front of the hut, providing a good photo op. Upon closer inspection, the stones were actually shells from snails, which is the restaurant’s specialty.
Their simple menu written on a whiteboard listed sizzling mountain snails (P180) as the bestseller. Unfortunately, this dish was out of stock during our visit. Other exotic dishes on the menu were frog cooked a variety of ways, including Chicharon balat ng palaka/Deep-fried frog skin (P100), adobong palaka/frog stewed in soy sauce and vinegar (P160), pritong palaka/fried frog (P150), sinampalukang palaka (P160), barbecue palaka (P120) and sizzling palaka (P160).
Normal fare included tapsilog (P120), hotsilog (P120), tapang baboy (P200), adobo (P150), kaldereta (P180) and pancit guisado (P100). Drink options are kape barako (P80), tableya (80) and 3-in-1 coffee (P20). The restaurant also has a small sari sari store where you can buy cup noodles, candies and the like. Dishes are admittedly pricier than typical restaurants in the area, but you don’t have a lot of options, plus they serve exotic fare.
The main restaurant is a modest looking wooden hut, with wide windows where you can appreciate the view of the mountains and soak in the scenery. You can tell the place is popular with riders with all the tarps and posters of the biker groups decorating the place. Inside, there’s a wooden sign that lists all Jariel’s Peak has to offer, including “fine dinning”, horseback riding and waterfalls. Allot more time if you want to hike to the falls, as it’ll take 30-45 minutes one way, according to the staff at Jariel’s Peak.
I read that the temperatures here in Jariel’s Peak are much lower than in the lowlands. Based on the thermometer in the area, it was an aircon chilly level of 19 degrees. The week before, it was really misty and even dipped to 10 degrees, according to photos posted on their Facebook page. Good thing it didn’t rain during our ride. Unlike some restaurants that pass off watered down Milo as Hot Chocolate, they served us real tablea — rich, thick and perfect for the cold weather.
Overall, riding to Jariel’s Peak was an interesting way to spend a Saturday morning. Looking at Googlemaps when I got home, I found out that it was 170+ km total going there and back. The full tank (P150+) lasted the trip going there, but I refueled in a gas station in Sampaloc on the way back just to be safe. I’d like to go all the way to the port of Infanta and the coastal road of Real, Quezon next ride.
TRIP DETAILS: We left QC around 8:30 and and got there past 11, had lunch and managed to get back past one in the afternoon. It’s ideal for a half day or whole day trip if you want to stop and rest during the lunch break (or check the waterfalls) and head down early afternoon. It can get pretty hot at noon once you hit the Cogeo/Marikina area. The ride back really felt a lot shorter than going up.
Jariel’s Peak. Km. 94 Sitio Baguio, Barangay Magsaysay, 4336 Infanta, Quezon.