Mt. Balingkilat (Mountain of Thunder) — Travel Guide

I’ve always wanted to climb Mt. Balingkilat and spend a night on its summit, so me and my friends went to experience this mountain.

Mt. Balingkilat is a well-known mountain for most hikers. Due to it’s proximity from Manila plus the view and experience it offers to its visitors, no wonder it is one of the most climbed mountains in Zambales.

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Background

The name Balingkilat is derived from the native Aeta language which means Mountain of Thunder. Mt. Balingkilat is located in the province of Zambales, which main jump off point is at Brgy. Cawag, Subic, Zambales. It stands at a towering height of 1,100+ meters above sea level. It is one of the most hiked mountains in Zambales and is popular to day hikers.


Preparation

Before you can go and hike Mt. Balingkilat, you need to let the Chieftain of Brgy. Cawag know that you are planning to hike the mountain. He will be the one who will assign your guide and transportation if you don’t have your own vehicle. He will also serves as your main local contact whom you can ask regarding the hike.

Once you’re done coordinating with the Chieftain, it is now time to prepared yourselves. If this will be your first major hike, it best if you will climb at least two minor mountains in order to prepare your body for a strenuous major hike.

On the day of your climb, you are required to drop by the Subic Fire Rescue — SPOSO, near the public market, to have you names registered and your photos taken. It is important that you’ve coordinated with the locals/chieftain of Brgy. Cawag because they’ll be getting the name of your guide too.


The Hike

When hiking Mt. Balingkilat, you’ll need to consider the time when you will start your hike, and the duration of the trek/climb from jump off point to the summit or camp site. In our case, we started at exactly 10AM, when the sun is bright and shining hot. We really don’t have other choice but to start at that time because we want to reach the campsite before dawn.

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The first part of the hike will just be a gradual trek going to the first and only water source, the Kawayanan area. It took us one and a half hour going to the first water source, and from here we took our lunch, drank as much water as we can, took a little rest, and then started the second part of the trek, a moderate to hard assault going to the summit. We we’re a little slow in this part, aside from it is an assault trek, the heat of the sun affected our speed because it is already 12PM.

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We trekked for almost 3 hours to reach the last section of the hike to summit. This last section is the most technical part of the trail, extra precautions is required as you will be scrambling through the edge with rocks and boulders with high steps. You might also do some face-the-walls in some parts of this section.

At around 6PM we reached the camp site, which is and open area 15 minutes from the summit. We’ve had a hard time setting up our tents because of the strong winds blowing from every direction. There’s little to no shade for setting up tents in the area.

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After setting up the tents, we started preparing our meal for the night, eat, and then rest for the night. I never had the chance to go out of the tent for star gazing because the wind is so strong and cold that I chose to just sleep inside my tent. But as per my friend who went out that night, the sky was clear and there are plenty of stars that night. Next time, I will be getting out of my tent regardless of the cold. 😛

We woke up at around 6AM, prepared our breakfast, cleaned our camp, and then proceed to the summit. From the summit, you’ll see a 360 view of the Zambales and the West Philippine Sea. You will also see the Talisayen Cove and near by islands. The sunrise view is also to die for, offering you the view of Subic during sunrise.

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At around 9AM, we started our trek back to the jump off point. We are bit faster this time since there will be less assault this time, but we are still careful getting down the technical sections of the trail. Same as day one, our trek back to summit is also hot as hell, with little water in our bottles, we pushed through fast going to the water source.

We reached the jump off point past 2PM, where two our friends are already resting, waiting for us. We also took a rest, washed up, and then bounce out back to Manila by 4PM.


Summit Camp Itinerary (Back Trail)

Day 1

02:30 AM — Meet up Victory Liner Cubao
03:00 AM — ETD to Subic, Zambales
06:30 AM — ETA to Subic, Zambales
07:00 AM — ETA to Subic Market, register at SPOSO, buy supplies.
08:30 AM — ETA Resettlement, Brgy. Cawag. JOP, final preparation
10:00 AM — Start trek
11:30 AM — You’ll be reaching the first and final water source, the Kawayanan
03:00 PM — Start of the final assault section
06:00 PM — Reach summit camp site, set camp, prepare dinner, rest
09:00 PM — Lights Out

Day 2

06:00 AM — Wake Up, prepare breakfast, break-camp
08:00 AM — Summit trek
09:30 AM — Start descent
12:30 NN — Arrive at the Kawayanan (Water Source)
02:30 PM — Arrive at the Jump-off-point, rest, wash, up
04:00 PM — Back to MNL
08:00 PM — ETA to MNL

Nagsasa Cove Camp Itinerary (Traverse)

Day 1

01:30 AM — Meet up Victory Liner Cubao
02:00 AM — ETD to Subic, Zambales
04:30 AM — ETA to Subic, Zambales
05:00 AM — ETA to Subic Market, register at SPOSO, buy supplies.
05:30 AM — ETA Resettlement, Brgy. Cawag. JOP, final preparation
06:00 AM — Start trek
07:30 AM — You’ll be reaching the first and final water source, the Kawayanan
11:00 AM — Start of the final assault section,
11:30 AM — Summit, Lunch, traverse to Nagsasa Cove
06:00 PM — Reach Nagsasa Cover, set camp, rest, prepare dinner
09:00 PM — Lights out

Day 2

06:00 AM — Wake Up, prepare breakfast, break-camp
07:00 AM — Beach bum
09:30 AM — Free Time/Island hopping
11:30 AM — Break camp, prepare to get to Pundaquit via chartered boat.
01:30 PM — Arrive to Pundaquit
04:00 PM — Back to MNL
08:00 PM — ETA to MNL

NOTE: This itinerary are estimated times only and some parts are based on our own experience. This itinerary might change depending on your meet up schedule, pacing, and acts of nature.


Breakdown of Expenses

Php 226/pax — Victory Liner Cubao to Olongapo (via San Fernando)
Php 285/pax — Victory Liner Cubao to Olongapo (via SCTEX)
Php 20/pax — Olongapo to Subic PNP/Market
Php 100/pax — Subic PNP/Market to Jump Off Point
Php 2,000/7 pax — Guide Fee
Php 60/pax — Registration Fee
Php 500/pax — Food allowance
Php 2,500/7 pax — Boat Fee

Safe budget for 7 people back trail: Php 2,000
Safe budget for 7 people traverse to Nagsasa Cover: Php 2,500


Important Contact Numbers

Sir Jimmy Ablong (Brgy. Cawag) — 0921 954 3215
Subic Fire Rescue — 0939 443 4776


Conclusion

Mt. Balingkilat is a great mountain for both experienced hikers and to those who are looking for a nice hiking challenge. Just be sure that you are prepared to conquer and enjoy hiking this mountain. Bring enough water that will suffice your needs the whole duration of your hike, at least 2L per person is advised. Everything your bring up to the mountain must also come down with you. leave no trash and trace.

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#ReforestTheRoad — by Fredd Ochavo

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Calling out all trail runners who frequently visit Mt. Balagbag to be a part of the #ReforestTheRoadinitiative on that mountain. This is an open invitation to anyone who wants to volunteer in the ongoing tree planting and tree nurturing activities on the roads that were constructed there without the approval of DENR and MWSS. These roads have encroached the boundary of Ipo Watershed and are causing soil erosion. Trees were cut and vegetation was cleared to make way for these roads. Because of these, the water that is stored in Ipo Dam becomes heavily silted.

In August of last year, customers of Maynilad Water suffered because their water supply was cut off for days in spite of the heavy rains in Metro Manila. Maynilad blamed the high turbidity level of the water in Ipo Dam. It became too difficult for them to treat the heavily silted water coming from Ipo Watershed. We do not want this to happen again that is why we are doing what we can to bring back the forests of Mt. Balagbag that some people are destroying. It is very clear that the culprit of the murky water supply in Ipo Dam is the deforestation of the mountains in Ipo Watershed. We, therefore, need to do something about it.

If you want to plant trees at the #ReforestTheRoad sites on Mt. Balagbag to help ensure that Metro Manila will have a steady supply of clean water, just send us a message and we can give you seedlings of native trees for FREE. All you have to do is pick them up at our mini tree nursery along Commonwealth Avenue in East Fairview, Quezon City. Aside from planting, you can also contribute by pulling out grass and vines that choke the seedlings we planted last year together with DENR and other volunteer groups. Weeding will help the seedlings have a higher rate of survival.

We cannot visit the sites on a regular basis so it will be good if there will be more volunteers going there on days that we cannot. This is for all us anyway. This is for Metro Manila’s source of water.

RUN FOR THE FOREST, RUN!

GREEN IS GOOD!!!

 

Travel Guide: Mt. Mariveles — Tarak Ridge’s Sweet Assault

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We’ve been wanting to hike Mt. Mariveles popularly, know as Tarak Ridge, since early 2016, it is when I was new to hiking. Then early this year, we decided to celebrate our friend’s birthday to this mountain.

We started our trek at around 4AM. Trek up until papaya river is just a smooth rolling terrain, so everyone of us still manage to have a consistent pace. We passed by the house of Nanay Cording, we registered and gave her some supplies and then we proceed trekking to Papaya River. There are different trails that are going to the summit, but we took the normal trail most hikers are following.

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After almost two hours of trekking in the dark, we reached the Papaya River. There are still campers sleeping when we got there so I advised my team to tone down their voices. We took a nice rest before we commence the assault going to ridge, then to the summit.

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Starting from Papaya River, it was a gradual assault then after few minutes of hiking up, it became a direct assault that is almost 90 degree angle the will require you to hold on to the roots and push yourself to be able to move forward (or upward). It was almost an hour ascent till we reach the ridge that also serves as a camp site for most hikers. At the ridge, you will see an amazing view of Bataan and its neighboring island like Corregidor.

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Screenshot at Aug 25 21-25-55

We continued our hike going to the summit after a few minutes of rest. It was almost a 30 minute assault before we reached the summit. We took time to appreciate nature before we descend our way back to Papaya River to have our lunch and to swim a little.

Suggested Itinerary

Day Hike

  • 0400 – Assembly time at Bataan Transit Cubao station
  • 0430 – ETD Bataan Transit Cubao terminal
  • 0730 – ETA Alas Asin Barangay Hall. Register
  • 0800 – ETA to Aling Cording’s hut. Register and give donation.
  • 0820 – Start trek
  • 0940 – Arrival at Papaya River. Take early lunch.
  • 1000 – Start ascend to the Ridge
  • 1145 – ETA Tarak Ridge.
  • 1300 – Start descend
  • 1400 – ETA Papaya River
  • 1520 – Back at jump off. Wash up. Eat.
  • 1700 – ETD Jump off
  • 1730 – Back at waiting shed. Ride bus going to Pasay/Cubao
  • 2030 – ETA Manila

Overnight Hike

Day 0

  • 0200 – Assembly at Makati
  • 0215 – ETD Makati to Bataan Transit Cubao
  • 0245 – ETA Bataan Transit Terminal

Day 1

  • 0300 –  ETD to Mariveles, Bataan
  • 0600 – ETA in Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles
  • 0605 – Breakfast at Alas-asin
  • 0630 – Registration at Alas-asin Barangay Hall
  • 0645 – Start Trek! 🙂
  • 0715 – Stop-Over at Nanay Cording’s
  • 0730 – Start Trek to Papaya River! 🙂
  • 1030 – ETA Papaya River
  • 1100 – Lunch at Papaya River
  • 1130 – Rest, Fill all water containers
  • 1200 – Start Trek to Tarak Ridge
  • 1700 – ETA Tarak Ridge (Set up Camp)
  • 1730 – Wait and watch sunset at Tarak Ridge
  • 1830 – Dinner/Socials
  • 2000 – Lights Off 🙂

Day 2

  • 0400 –Wake-Up Call
  • 0430 – Start Trek to Summit
  • 0500 – Wait and watch sunrise
  • 0600 – Start descent to Tarak Ridge
  • 0620 – ETA Campsite
  • 0640 – Start descent to Papaya River
  • 0930 – ETA Papaya River
  • 0945 – Have fun at Papaya River 🙂
  • 1030 – Lunch at Papaya River
  • 1100 – Have fun at Papaya River 🙂
  • 1200 – Start trek!
  • 1430 –ETA Nanay Cording’s
  • 1500 – Back to Jump-Off. Wash.
  • 1600 – ETD Mariveles to Manila
  • 1930 – ETA Cubao/Manila 🙂

Expected Expenses

  • Php 272.00 – Bus Fare Cubao to Mariveles
  • Php 272.00 – Bus Fare Mariveles to Cubao
  • Php 40.00 – Registration Fee
  • Php 20.00 – Fee at Wash Up Area.

TOTAL BUDGET: Php604.00

Guide Fee: Php 900.00/Group (OPTIONAL)


How to get there

  • Ride a bus bound to Mariveles, either Bataan Transit or Genesis Bus
  • Tell the conductor to drop you off to Brgy. Alas Asin
  • Register to the barangay and start your trek
  • Contact Numbers

Contact Person

Nanay Cording – 0917 472 3978

Reminders

  • Be sure to be prepared if you plan to hike this mountain.
  • If you can bring some grocery or anything for Nanay Cording, please do. You’ll be paying nothing when you register at her place. Just for courtesy, please give her something.
  • Conserve the Papaya River
  • Bring your trash with you
  • Clean as you go

 

Photo Credits

  • Lala De Guzman
  • Katrina Barrameda
  • Robinson Jabagat

Travel Guide: Mt. Lubog 923+ MASL

I’ve been wanting to climb Mt. Lubog for a long time and for it to be part of my 2017 project, The 100 Mountains Project. So I joined a group of hikers that is set to climb Mt. Lubog on a date that I have a free schedule.

Our group is composed of 11 awesome hikers, and we met each other at Commonwealth Market, this is where the terminal to Brgy. San Isidro is located and also where the habal-habal we rented waited for us.

When we arrived at the jeepney terminal in Brgy. San Isidro, we immediately transfer to a habal-habal which can accommodate 4-5 passengers including the driver. Expect a 1-2 hour bumpy ride from the terminal to the registration area, so bumpy that we need to get off the vehicle multiple times and push it up just to pass by those deep gaps on the trail.

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After that excruciating ride, we reached the registration area where we met up with our guides and register ourselves. Few minutes later, we started our long journey to the foot of Mt. Lubog.

It is about 1-2 hours foot journey going to Sitio Lubog, the place where the real hike to the summit of Mt. Lubog will start. The trail from the registration area to the main jump off is bearable, rolling hills with few assaults. There are some water sources that you’ll be passing by, so if you ran out of water, just ask your guide to stop and fetch water to the sources.

After almost 2 hours, we reached Sitio Lubog, we took a few minute rest, bought some drinks and snacks at the store which open that time and then continued for the final assault going to the summit.

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Prepare yourself for a continues rocky assault going to the summit. The trail is composed of sharp rocks which can be so slippery during rainy seasons, so be mindful of your steps and be cautious all the time.

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We reached the summit within an hour and the rock formations on top welcomed us with its astounding beauty. Even though we did not have a clearing that time, we still enjoyed taking photos with the rock formations on different sides and angles of the summit. On a clear day, you’ll get a view of Mt. Oriod and other mountains of the Sierra Madre.

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We went down after almost an hour of appreciating the summit’s beauty, and then reached the jump off in less than an hour. We then proceed to the Blue Lagoon, where we had our lunch and rest. We did not stay for a long time because it was raining hard and most of us wanted to reach the registration area.

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The Blue Lagoon

After 1-2 hours of trekking, we finally reached the registration area. We had some snacks, coffee and noodles while we wait for our other team members to arrive at the area. When the whole team arrived, we rode the habal-habal again going back to the jeepney terminal. It was a super bumpy ride again, but we where thankful that none of us got hurt and we were all in one piece when we reached the jeepney terminal. From the jeepney terminal, there are jeepneys waiting for you that will bring you back to Commonwealth Market.

Suggested Itinerary

  • 04:00 –– Meetup at Commonwealth Market
  • 05:00 –– ETD to Brgy. San Isidro Jeepney Terminal
  • 06:00 –– ETA to Brgy. San Isidro Jeepney Terminal, transfer to habal-habal
  • 08:00 –– ETA to Registration Point (Caingalan), Register, Guides
  • 08:30 –– Start trek going to Sitio Lubog
  • 10:00 –– ETA Sitio Lubog, prepare for summit assault
  • 11:30 –– ETA Mt. Lubog Summit
  • 12:00 –– Start Descent
  • 12:45 –– ETA Sitio Lubog, Lunch
  • 14:00 –– ETA Blue Lagoon
  • 16:00 –– ETA Registration Area (Caingalan)
  • 18:00 –– ETA Jeepney Terminal
  • 19:30 –– ETA Commonwealth Market

How to get to Mt. Lubog (Commute)

  • Ride a jeepney bound to Brgy. San Isidro at Commonwealth Market.
  • Transfer to Habal-habal going to Caingalan (Registration Area)

Budget and Expenses

  • Commonwealth Market to Brgy. San Isidro –– Php 25.00 (Php 50.00 Roundtrip)
  • Habal-Habal –– Php 1,000.00 (Roundtrip, can accommodate upto 5 passengers including the driver)
  • Guide Fee –– Php 500.00 (1:6 Ratio)
  • Registration Fee –– Php 50.00

TOTAL BUDGET PER PERSON FOR A GROUP OF 4 MEMBERS: Php 475.00

Contact Persons

Kagawad Peter Idala –– 09284647447 / 09074913840, please make sure that you contact him before hand because he will be the one who will be arranging your habal-habal ride to and from the jeepney terminal of Brgy. San Isidro.

Sidetrips

There are some caves, waterfalls, and lagoons that can be part of your sidetrip, just tell your guides in advance.

Conlcusion

Hiking Mt. Lubog can be very satisfying especially when you will have a clear view of the surrounding mountain ranges from the summit. It was one of those long treks that can make some newbie hikers reach their limits. Prepare yourselves to the bumpiest ride you’ll ever have, and keep holding on for you not to fall. 😛

A traverse going to Mt. Balagbag is possible, just make sure you coordinate with the right persons, and also make sure that you have a ride back going to Tungko from Licao-licao.


Special thanks to Sir. Daneth Obongen for sharing the contact persons and budget breakdowns for this itinerary. He is hosting some budget friendly hikes, you can check him out if you are interested to join his fleet.

Hiking Hong Kong’s 2nd Highest Peak – The Lantau Peak – 934+ MASL

My first ever international hike happened in Hong Kong as we hike its second highest peak, the Lantau Peak towering at around 934+ MASL, residing in the Lantau Island. It is one of the most famous hiking spots in Hong Kong not only because of the challenge it gives to the hikers, but also because of its accessibility via public transportation.

The mountains in the Lantau Island also serves as training ground for those trail runners, preparing for their upcoming races. Lantau Peak is one of the perfect training spots for them because it offers a tough elevation training, assault hikes and some technical terrains.

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Trail from Ngong Ping to the summit.

How to get to Lantau Peak

PRO TIP: Familiarize yourself with the MTR system map, then plan your route going to any destination in Hong Kong.

ATTENTION: I’ll be setting the start point of the route from the Central Station a.k.a. the Hong Kong Station. Just create a route depending on where you are staying in Hong Kong.

  • So from Hong Kong Station, we took the train route going to Tung Chung. Train lines in Hong Kong are color coded, so there’s less chance for you to get lost. For the Tung Chung Line, just follow the Orange signs.
  • Then, from Tung Chung Station, you may have your breakfast or any meals at the area. There are a lot of restaurants with reasonable prices and generous servings that you can choose from. You can also buy your final supplies here, i.e. trail foods, water, etc.
  • Look for the bus number “23”, going to the Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha). Fare is at HK$17.20 on weekdays and HK$27.00 on weekends, so plan you hike accordingly.
  • Tell the driver to drop you off to Pak Kung Au, this is where the trail starts going to Lantau Peak.
  • Once you’ve alighted the bus, cross the street, and look for the trail head of Lantau Peak. The trailhead going to the summit is near the stairs. There are trail signs at the area, so you will find it in no time.

The Trek

We arrived at Pak Kung Au by 9:00 AM. Once we’ve all made our final preparation, we commenced our hike immediately. The first parts of the trail are covered with trees, and are consists of boulder steps going up.

We took a rest on the first stop where we found a resting area with a nice view of the Sky Scrapers. That resting area is about 30 minute assault trek from the trail head. Most parts of the trail going to the summit are assaults and will require a lot of strength for you to be able to reach the top.

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The mid part of the trail up to the summit is an open trail with less trees providing shades for the hikers. Luckily, it was foggy midway so we did not feel so much heat the rest of the hike.

We reached the summit in less than 3 hours. We have no clearing that time, so we just took a quick rest, solo and group photos, and then we descended down after a few minutes. We traversed our way going to Ngong Ping, where the Tian Tan Buddha or the Bug Buddha is located.

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Our Team at the summit of Lantau Peak, 934+ MASL

The trail going to Ngong Ping is a little bit technical, and may cause chronic knee injuries if someone will not trek with cautions. The steps going down is over 1ft high, so be cautious so there will be less impact to your knees.

After less than an hour, we reached the end of the Lantau Trail from the summit, it is marked by an arc with Chinese characters on it. You will also know that it is the end of the trail when you reached the Wisdom Path, where you will see 38 timber columns that are about 8 to 10 meters high. Each of them have 260+ word prayers from the Heart of Sutra, all in Chinese characters. It also forms an infinity symbol when viewed on top.

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The Wisdom Path. Photo by Mia Borloza

When you walk just a few steps further of the entrance of the Wisdom Path you will get to a small viewing platform where you admire the complete arrangement of the thirty-eight timber columns. It is also the entrance or end of the one of the Lantau Hiking Trails.

Then few meters from the Wisdom Path, we reached one of Hong Kong’s famous tourist destinations, the Ngong Ping 360, where the Tian Tan Buddha is located. The Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong.

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The Tian Tan Buddha a.k.a. the Big Buddha

Since we have some spare time, we explored the place and the nearby village at the area. Then went back to Tung Chung via the 25 minute cable car ride.


Strava Activity Record


Pro Tips

  • MTR opens as early as 6AM, so have your travel time arranged and be at Tung Chung Station as early as possible so you can start you hike early too.
  • Reload you Airport Express cards with minimum amount of HK$100.00. You will be using this to pay for the bus going to Pak Kung Au. This will lessen the hassle on your part because you will just tap your card like beep cards instead of paying in cash. You can also use the reloaded amount in purchasing in most establishments in HK, so not bad, plus you can refund the excess amount at the airport too!
  • Bring your own water bottles with at least 750ML capacity. Water sold at convenience stores are kinda expensive. For example, a 1L water cost HK$ 10 to HK$ 15. So bring water bottles and fill them up at your hotel or hostel, surely they will provide you complimentary drinking water.
  • Do not buy drinks near the stairs going up to the Buddha, it’s expensive by +30%. Buy at the eating area nearby. I bought a 500ML coke near the stairs for HK$15 which only costs HK$10 at the restaurants.
  • Best way to go back to Tung Chung is via Cable Car. We pre-booked our tickets via Klook app to save time and money. Click here to get your Cable Car tickets for the Ngong Ping 360.

Vouchers Used



Klook.com


Discover Hong Kong — 6 Days Backpacking Itinerary

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Streets of Mong Kok

It all started with the Cebu Pacific seat sale. Me and my friend Mia were just talking about an over the weekend trip in Hong Kong then suddenly, Cebu Pacific announced that they will be having another seat sale and it matches our preferred dates. We then booked a 6-day trip to Hong Kong from June 8 to 14. Since it’s always fun to travel with friends, we invited some of our friends just after we booked these dates.

The Preparation

We booked this trip six months before the actual trip, so we have plenty of time to save up and prepare everything that we need to make this backpacking trip smooth and less of a hassle.

The main person who managed everything for this trip is my friend, Mia. She took care of everything from accommodation, train tickets, tours, etc. She listed down everything that we need and how much it would cost so we can save up and prepare for those. Here’s a list of all the things we bought and arranged prior to the trip itself.

So every cut-off, we ticked off one of these items since it is easier that way.


Apps and Websites To Check For Cheap And Discounted Rates

  • Klook — We used this app for booking Disneyland, Ocean Park, Ngong Pin 360 Cable Car Ride, Sim Cards, and Train Pass. There are a lot of things you can do in HK that is offered in this app. 🙂 Click here to join Klook and get Php 150.00 Credit which you can use for your next adventure.


    Klook.com


  • Airbnb — If you are traveling with a group, Airbnb is one of the best options to book your accommodation. Get Php 900.00 off to your first booking with Airbnb when you sign up here.

The Devised Itinerary

Mia devised an itinerary that will serve as our travel guide to Hong Kong. The itinerary started at the airport where we will take our flight to HKG.

Day 1 — Flight To Hong Kong

Flight to HKG and re-grouping our team by 9PM. We have different flight schedules so we need to regroup by 9PM since the last person will arrive at around 6 to 7 PM.

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Airport Express

Upon arriving to Hong Kong International Airport, we proceed to the booth where we will procure our sim cards and transport cards.

Day 2 — Hong Kong Ocean Park

Day 2 was the official start of our Hong Kong Trip. First stop on our itinerary was the Hong Kong Ocean Park. We woke up at around 5AM the left the hostel by 7 AM. The ticket we booked from Klook includes 1-way transfer from HK Post Office going to the park. We arrived at the meet up place an hour early, which gave us some time to explore the nearby attractions.

While waiting for the bus to arrive, we went to the Avenue of Stars, which is just minutes away from HK Post Office. Here, you can see statue of famous Chinese Actors and a studio setup where you can take photos with your friends.

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Avenue of Stars Jump Shot!

After 30 mins, we went back to the post office and wait for the bus to Ocean park to arrive. The bus arrive on-time and we lined up going inside the bus. We booked the Ocean Park tour via Klook, and we experience a hassle free transaction with them. The Ocean Park Klook voucher we bought includes unlimited rides at the park and one full meal at any restaurants inside the park.

It will take you one whole day for you to explore the whole park so you better bring extra clothes and water bottles with you. To read more about our Ocean Park adventure, please check a dedicated blog for it here.

Day 3 — The Lantau Peak

On our third day, we had our first ever international hike, summiting the peak of Lantau in Lantau Island traversing to the Tian Tan Buddha in Ngong Ping.

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Trail Lantau Peak

Lantau Peak is the second highest peak of Hong Kong, towering at around 930+ MASL. Good thing about hiking in Hong Kong is that, their trails are open to all enthusiast who wants to experience HK’s outdoors, provided that you will be responsible in everything that you will do along the trails. There’s a little chance that you will be lost going at the trails because there are enough trail signs installed and the trails are visible and established.

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At the summit of Lantau Peak

We reached the summit at around 2 hours of trekking, then we traversed our way going to Ngong Ping. Ngong Ping 360 is one of the most unique attractions in Hong Kong, it comprises of a world’s top 10 amazing cable car ride and a culturally themed landscaped garden called Ngong Ping Village.

At the end of the Lantau Trail, you passed by the Wisdom Path. Wisdom Path traces a series of 38 wooden steles (upright monuments) containing verses from the centuries-old Heart Sutra — one of the world’s best-known prayers revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike. These steles display the Chinese version of the prayer, based on the calligraphy of famous contemporary scholar Professor Jao Tsung-I, and are arranged in a ∞ pattern, which represents infinity.

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The Wisdom Path. Photo by Mia Borloza
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Tian Tan Buddha also know as the Big Buddha in Ngong Ping

We then explore the villages of Ngong Ping and make our way back to Tung Chung via the Cable Car ride that we book via Klook. 🙂

Day 4 — The Sunset Peak Traverse / Tai O Village Tour

The day our group was divided into two. Four of us went hiking going to Sunset Peak then traversing two other mountains going to Tung Chung. They the other three went to Tai O village for a tour. Will be posting another article for the Tai O Village Tour for reference. 🙂

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At the summit of Sunset Peak

Sunset Peak is the third highest peak of Hong Kong, towering at around 860+ MASL. The trail going to the summit is almost similar as the trails of Lantau Peak. Both of them have short point to point distance but with steep assaults going to the summit. It took us 2 hours going to the summit. Since we did this as a traverse, it took us at around 7+ hours for a 15km+ traverse from Pak Kung Au to Tung Chung.

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Take 5, before summiting the Sunset Peak

We manged to summit 3 peaks with this hike, the Sunset Peak, the Yi Tung Shan Peak and the Lin Fa Shan Peak. Along the trails, there are 3 other mountains that can be summited, but we’re tired and hungry, so we just passed them by and trekked to the side of those peaks.

Like Lantau Peak, there’s a 0 chance to be lost here. There are trail signs installed and the trails are established. Plus, we are using a GPS tracking app, Strava, to check on the trails we are taking.

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Lin Fa Shan Peak

Day 5 — Free Day A.K.A. Open Itinerary Day

Our fifth day is a chill one, a rest from the hikes we did with the past two days. We went to The Peak at Central for a chill relax day. No itinerary, just a spontaneous flow of things.

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Day 6 — Hong Kong Disneyland

We spent our last day in Hong Kong at the happiest place on Earth, the Disneyland. It was a rainy day, signal number 3 at that time, but we were still high spirited that this day will be okay and we will be able to enjoy our remaining days here in Hong Kong.

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We reached the Disneyland at around 10AM, it was still raining, but nothing can stop the inner children inside us to enjoy Disney. After claiming our tickets and voucher at the ticketing area, we rushed and lined up for a photo op with Mickey and Minnie, the stars of the park, and we did not fail.

Few minutes later, the Gods heard our prayer, and the rain stopped, and the park opened the outdoor rides! We knew that it was our day. We were more than happy that the rain stopped. We can’t contain our excitement, we rode every ride at the park, and watch shows that we can see.

Unleash the inner child in you 🙂

A post shared by John Sebastien Legisma Palos (@papalos__) on

We felt like children again, did crazy things and never gave a f***, and just enjoy every moment at the park.

After an exhilarating day of amusement, we wrapped up our Disney adventure with the colorful Light Parade of the Disney Characters and a finale of the Magical Fireworks over the Disney Castle.

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That was one hell of an adventure that is surely one for the books!

Day 7 — Flight Back To Manila

This was my first every backpacking trip outside the Philippines, and also my first international hike. There so many first times with this trip, and I can’t thank my friends enough for making this possible.

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There maybe some misadventures, and little hassle on the side, but that just makes the whole journey worth it.

We will surely miss everything we experienced here in Hong Kong, from the transportation, MTR, mountain trails, and shopping spots, we will surely be back for more.

Also, Mia deserves a spot to this blog for taking care of everything, from budget, accommodation, tour passes, and transportations passes. You surely made this adventure even more memorable. Hope to have you as a travel buddy again for more out of town trips.

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Mt. Daguldol — A Summit To Sea Experience

Itching to hike on a busy work week. me and my friend went a on summit to sea adventure to the coastal part of San Juan, Batangas and hiked the not so popular peak of Mt. Daguldol in Brgy. Hugom. It’s a two to three hours travel from Manila with various transfers to different types of vehicles.

We rode a bus bound to San Juan, Batangas from Alps Bus Terminal Buendia station. On a weekend, they usually leave at around 3AM but because it’s at the middle of the work week, there are few passengers going to San Juan so the bus left the station at 4AM. It’s a 2-hour bus ride from Buendia to San Juan. If you’ll be sitting on the left side of the bus, you’ll be able to see the view of Mt. Banahaw.

We reached San Juan by 6AM, we want to start our hike as early as possible, we hailed a tricycle going to Brgy. Hugom, fare is around Php350.00 and is good for 4-5 persons, but since there’s only the two of us, we decided to split expenses with other passengers going to the barangay. Along the way, there’s a mandatory stop over for tourist where you’ll pay Php 20.00 each a ecological fee for the town of San Juan. It’s a 20+ minutes tricycle ride, and once you’ve reached Brgy. Hugom, you’ll be transferring to another tricycle going to the trail head of Mt. Daguldol where you will be acquiring your guide and pay a registration fee of Php 35.00 each, the trike ride from barangay to trail head is Php 100.00 per trike which is good for 3-5 persons.

After a multiple ride transfer, acquiring guides, registration, and hike preparation, we started hiking the mountain at around 7:30 AM. Most part of the trail is consist of gradual assaults and rocky terrain. We passed by a number of houses and mini-stores, which are active mostly on weekends, when there are hikers visiting the mountain.

During a conversation with our local guide, he mentioned that the number of hikers drop a percentage when some parts of Batangas were struck by an earthquakes, which made visitors worried. If you are planning to hike Mt. Daguldol, and there’s an earthquake experienced nearby San Juan and/or Laiya, you better contact a local to know the conditions and if it is safe to hike the mountain.

Moving forward, we reached Mang Lizardo’s place at around 9:30 AM, they are offering meals that cost Php 40.00 to Php 50.00 per meal. We ordered 3 sets of sinampalukang baboy which we will be eating once we got back from the summit.

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Mang Lizardo’s Place

Trekking to the summit, we passed by huge sets of boulders, this can be your landmark that you are 10 to 20 minutes away from the summit. We then reach the summit of Mt. Daguldol at around 10 AM, took some quick rest, ate some snacks, enjoyed the view, photo ops, and then went back to Mang Lizardo’s place for our sinampalukang baboy. The summit of Mt. Daguldol is a grassy slope where you will see its neighboring mountains like Mt. Nanguiling, Mt. Lobo, Mt. Banoi, a view of Mt. Maculot can be seen from a far.

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At the summit of Mt. Daguldol, with views of Mt. Nanguiling and Mt. Banoi at the background.

After 15 to 20 minutes of downhill trek, we reached Mang Lizardo’s place and munch in with the meal they prepared for us, I must say that it is one of the most delicious meal I eaten after trekking a mountain on a warm summer day.

We reached the trail head by 11:30 AM, since we still have some spare time, we decided to take a dip at the beach which is just 5 minutes away from the trail head. We did not pay the Php 100.00 entrance fee since we were backed by our local guide, Kuya Ireneo, and we are not getting a cottage.

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Some rock formations at the beach.

It was a pebble beach with nice clear water with number of fishes swimming with you. But the care taker of the resorts should really conduct a beach clean up along the area to preserve and/or improve the condition of the place. There are a lot of floating trash near the shore which are total eyesore to the visitors of the place. When I come back to this place, I’ll be organizing a mountain and beach clean up and let the locals know how important it is to keep the are clean.

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We trekked to this cliff and was surprised with the amazing view on the other side.

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We explored the long stretch of the beach, and found some interesting areas to swim. There’s even a spot there that seems to have some similarities with the sardine run activity in Moalboal, Cebu. There are also rock formations where you can enjoy solemnity and nice ig worthy backgrounds.

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Things That I Like

  • The hike was good and can be recommended to beginner hikers.
    • The trek is considerably beginner friendly with gradual assaults. It’s a 3/9 hike and can be hike 2 to 3 hours going to summit and 2 hours back to the trail head.
  • A beach side trip.
    • With its proximity to the beach, you can enjoy swimming with your hike buddies on a day tour, or go on a beach camp to enjoy more of the beach.
    • There are number of beach resorts where you can stay overnight. Most of them asks for entrance fees which starts from Php 100.00.
  • Friendly local.
    • Our guide was friendly, the locals up the mountain are friendly, and the people at Mang Lizardo’s Place are friendly.

Things That I Don’t Like

  • Expensive shower fee!
    • A shower fee at the resorts near the beach will ask for Php 70.00 shower fee which is absurd, and the nearby houses’ shower fee’s cost Php 50.00 which will get you a nice meal at Mang Lizardo’s place.
    • Good thing, we went back to the barangay where we found a cheaper price for the shower. It is at the front of the trike terminal, a house selling ukay-ukay stuff. They are collecting Php 35.00 for a shower fee. They literally have a nice bathroom with toilet bowl with bidet, and a shower, which I think compensates with the price they are asking compared to the not so nice shower area near in some resorts near the beach.
  • Some rude beach resort staff.
    • Since we were looking for cheaper shower are, we asked some of the resorts staff on how much they will charge us for a quick bath, and when we showed them that we are somehow disappointed with the overpriced fee they are asking, they replied to us on a rude manner. Totally not good for tourism.
  • Beach Trash
    • Beach resort owners should have the initiative to make their place clean, to make it more presentable to visitors. You know, clean beach attracts many visitors, and if your resort is full of rubbish, less tourist will be visiting your place.

How To Get To Mt. Daguldol

  • Ride a bus going to San Juan, Batangas, in our case we rode a bus from Alps Bus Liner, they have terminals from Buendia (Php 191.00) and Cubao (Php 198), bus leaves at 3AM earliest but can leave at 4AM if there are less passengers, especially on a weekday.
  • From San Juan, ride a jeep going to Brgy, Hugom which cost around Php 35.00 to Php 40.00. They are usually around at 5AM earlies. If you are on a hurry and there are no jeepneys around, you can opt to ride a trike going to Brgy. Hugom for Php 350.00 up to the barangay, they can also bring you to the trail head for Php 400.00 to Php 450.00. The trike can accommodate 3 to 5 persons.
  • From Brgy. Hugom, there are trikes that will bring you to Mt. Daguldol trailhead for Php 100.00 per trike, can also accommodate 3 to 5 persons.

Alternate Route

Buendia — Lipa — San Juan — Hugom
Alabang — Lipa — San Juan — Hugom

Day Hike Itinerary

02:30 AM — Meetup at the bus terminal
03:00 AM — ETD to San Juan, Batangas
05:00 AM — ETA to San Juan, Batangas
05:45 AM — ETA to Barangay Hugom
06:00 AM — ETA to Trail Head, register
06:30 AM — Start Trek
09:00 AM — ETA to Mang Lizardo’s Place
10:30 AM — ETA Summit
11:00 AM — Start Descent
01:00 PM — ETA Trail Head, explore the beach, swim, enjoy
04:00 PM — Back to San Juan
09:00 PM — ETA Manila

Overnight Itinerary

DAY 1
02:30 AM — Meetup at the bus terminal
03:00 AM — ETD to San Juan, Batangas
05:00 AM — ETA to San Juan, Batangas
05:45 AM — ETA to Barangay Hugom
06:00 AM — ETA to Trail Head, register
06:30 AM — Start Trek
09:00 AM — ETA to Mang Lizardo’s Place
10:30 AM — ETA Summit
11:00 AM — Start Descent
01:00 PM — ETA Trail Head, explore the beach, swim, enjoy
04:00 PM — Set Camp or rent cottage
07:00 PM — Dinner/Socials
10:00 PM — Lights off

DAY 2
05:00 AM — Wake Up, watch sunrise
05:45 AM — Prepare breakfast
06:00 AM — Free time, swim, enjoy
10:00 AM — Back to San Juan
03:00 PM — ETA Manila

Expenses

Php 191.00 — (Bus) Buendia to San Juan
Php 350.00 — Trike to Brgy. Hugom, good for 5 persons for Php 70.00 each
Php 20.00 — San Juan ecological fee
Php 100.00 — (Trike) Barangay Hugom to Trail Head
Php 400.00 — Guide fee
Php 35.00 — Barangay Registration
Php 50.00 — Meal at Mang Lizardo’s place
Php 198.00 — San Juan to Cubao

Total budget per person for a group with 5 members — Php 630.00 to Php 665.00
Safe Budget — Php 1,000.00

Hiking Notes

  • Last trip of bus from San Juan is at 6PM, so better leave Brgy. Hugom as early as 3PM to 4PM to catch the last trip.
  • Have your clean up bath at the barangay for a cheaper shower fee, look for the house with ukay ukay stuff. They charge Php 35.00 for a shower.
  • There’s a water fall called Naambon Falls, but it only sheds water on rainy seasons.
  • Summer hikes may dehydrate you, bring at least 2L of water with you.
  • Contact Tatay Ireneo if you are planning to hike Mt. Daguldol (0905 836 5708)

So there you go, it was a really nice escape in a middle of a stressful week. We will surely explore the neighboring mountains of Mt. Daguldol and also visit the beaches nearby.

Travel Guide: Nueva Ecija Trilogy

We love living our lives the craziest way possible, so we hike three mountains in Nueva Ecija in three of its municipalities. There are three mountains in the province of Nueva Ecija which were recently opened and introduced to hikers like us, thanks to the Nueva Ecija Backpackers & Mountaineers Community Inc. (NEBMCI) for their effort in exploring such beautiful mountains in their home province.

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A View Deck before going to the summit of Mt. Sawi

The first mountain we hiked was the Mt. Sawi also know as Mt. Sawing Balite located in Brgy. Malinao, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. Contrary to its name “sawi”, the view on top of the mountain is “wagi” offering you a panoramic view of the mountain ranges of Nueva Ecija and its landscapes. On an average hiking pace, we reached the summit in less than two hours, warming us up for our trilogy hike.

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At the summit of Mt. Sawi

On our decent, we took a peek at the “Simbahang Bato” which is a rock formation that looks like a chapel. Just ask your local guide to take you here as part of your hike.

After a morning hike at Mt. Sawi, we proceed to Brgy. Mapaet in Palayan, Nueva Ecija to taste the bitter-sweet hike of the small but terrible Mt. Mapaet. It is about 400 meters above sea level and can be hiked in less than an hour. But hiking it at 10AM with the striking heat of the sun took us two to three hours reaching the summit. Ascending to the summit is not easy, aside from the hot temperature, the steep assaults will give you a hard time reaching the top. Once you reached the summit, a 360 view of the scenic landscape of Palayan, Nueva Ecija will make that bitter-sweet ascent worth it.

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Ascending to the summit of Mt. Mapaet

Before proceeding to the last mountain of our trilogy, we took our lunch in Laur, Nueva Ecija. There are eateries that offers delicious meals for a cheap price, a meal with one dish, two rice, and a drink only costs around Php 50 to Php 60.

After taking our heavy lunch, we bought the final sets of supplies that we need for our camp to the Mt. 387 (Batong Amat) in Brgy. Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, our last mountain for the Nueva Ecija Trilogy. We reached the jump off of Mt. 387 by 6PM, and start our trek at around 7PM. It is a gradual ascent going to the summit, and we manage to reach the campsite around 9PM.

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Milky Way at 3:00 AM at Mt. 387

We camped at Mt. 387 on a new moon, and the absence of the moon made the stars shine brighter making our hike even more memorable. I was able to take some shots of the milky way at 3AM to 5AM.

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The Lover’s Tree

We woke up to the amazing view of Mt. 387’s mountain range and saw the rolling hills dubbed as the Chocolate Hills of the North. A truly amazing view that will make you appreciate nature even more.

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Mt. 387 Campsite
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Grassland traversing to Aloha Falls
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Almost 90 Degree traverse at the Bamboo Forest going to Aloha Falls
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The steep descent to Aloha Falls

This trilogy will not be complete without having a dip to the refreshing water of the Aloha Waterfalls, which can be traversed from Mt. 387’s campsite. Traversing to the waterfalls is not easy. If the ascent’s difficulty is 2/9, going down to the waterfalls is twice as hard because of the steep decent which is almost 50 degrees. Thanks to the trees, bamboos and cogon grass, we were able to get down safely.

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The Aloha Falls

We reached Aloha falls after 2 hours of that struggling descent, and that stress going down was taken away when we had our bodies dipped to the cold and fortifying waterfall. Going back to the jump off, we rode a pickup truck which was probably the highlight of this trilogy hike.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 0

  • 11:00 PM — ETD to Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija for Mt. Sawi

Day 1

  • 04:00 AM — ETA to Brgy. Malinao, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija
    • Last minute preparation
    • Register
    • Secure guides
  • 05:30 AM — Start Trek
  • 07:30 AM — ETA Summit
  • 08:00 AM — Start Descent
  • 09:30 AM — ETA Jump off
  • 10:30 AM — ETD to Brgy. Mapaet, Palayan, Nueva Ecija for Mt. Mapaet
  • 11:30 AM — ETA to Brgy. Mapaet, Palayan, Nueva Ecija
    • Last minute preparation
    • Register
    • Secure Guides
    • Proceed to Trail head
  • 11:15 AM — ETA to Trail Head
    • Start Hike
  • 01:00 PM — ETA Summit
  • 01:15 PM — Start Descent
  • 02:00 PM — ETA to Trail Head
  • 02:30 PM — ETD to Brgy. Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija for Mt. 387
    • Lunch along the way
    • Buy supplies for camp
  • 05:30 PM — ETA to Brgy. Puncan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija
    • Last minute preparation
    • Register
    • Secure Guides
  • 06:00 PM — Start Trek
  • 08:00 PM — ETA Camp Site
    • Set camp
    • Eat dinner
    • Star Gazing
    • Socials
  • 10:00 PM — Lights out

Day 2

  • 05:00 AM — Wake Up Call
    • Prepare breakfast
  • 07:00 AM — Break Camp
  • 07:30 AM — Start descent to Aloha Falls (Traverse)
  • 10:00 AM — ETA Aloha Falls
    • Rest
    • Swim
  • 11:00 AM — Trek back to jump off
    • Ride a pick up truck (Optional) — 20-30 minute ride
  • 12:00 PM — ETA Jump off
    • Rest
    • Wash up
    • Lunch
  • 02:00 PM — ETD to Manila
    • Miryenda along the way
  • 07:00 PM — ETA to Manila

Hike Expenses

  • Mt. Sawi
    • Registration — Php 30.00
    • Guide — Php 500.00 (1:5 Negotiable)
  • Mt. Mapaet
    • Registration — Php 20.00
    • Guide — Php 300.00 (1:10 Negotiable)
  • Mt. 387 (Batong Amat)
    • Registration — Php 30.00
    • Seedling Donation — Php 10.00
    • Guide — Php 500.00 (1:5 Negotiable) Overnight | Php 300.00 for Day Hike
  • Transportation
    • Doing a trilogy hike in Nueva Ecija is easier with private vehicle or rented van, because you will be transferring from one municipality to another. So we rented a van for two days which costs us Php 11,500.00 all-in.

Total budget (Excluding Food) — Approximately Php 1,100.00

Landmarks for Waze/Google Maps

  • Mt. Sawi
    • Malinao Elementary School
  • Mt. Mapaet
    • Barangay Hall of Mt. Mapaet
  • Mt. 387
    • LAT 15.90506  LONG 120.99212

Contact person

Travel Guide: Discovering the Beauty of Maligcong in Bontoc, Mountain Province

For almost 15 hours of land travel, who would have thought that there’s a scenic landscape hiding in the municipality of Bontoc in Mountain Province. For our 16th and 17 mountain for the The 100 Mountains Project, we went to Maligcong in Bontoc, Mountain Province to hike Mt. Fato and Mt. Kupapey, two of its main hiking destination which offers a picturesque view of the community.

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The Maligcong Rice Terraces viewed from the summit of Mt. Kupapey

 

We left Manila at exactly 1:00 AM in the morning, and reached Maligcong by 2:00 PM, including side trips, stop overs, and supply procurement. We started our trek to Mt. Fato (1,627+ MASL) by 4:30 PM, aiming for a sunset view at the summit. It was foggy that afternoon so we didn’t have the chance to watch the sunset at the summit, but we still managed to enjoy the panoramic view of the Cordillera Mountain Range.

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Trail going to Mt. Fato
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East side of Mt. Fato’s summit

It was called Mt. Fato because of the rock formations you will see at the summit. “Fato”, which came from their local dialect, means rock or “bato” in tagalog. Mt. Fato is a 1 to 2 hour chill hike starting from the accommodation you are staying.

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One of the rock formations at Mt. Fato’s summit (East Side)
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The west side of Mt. Fato’s summit, where you will watch the sunset. But we weren’t lucky enough to witness the sunset because of the weather condition. Still a beautiful view.

On a clear weather condition, you’ll be able to watch the beautiful sunset on top of Mt. Fato’s summit, and a far view of the Maligcong Rice Terraces. We descended down Mt. Fato after an hour and went back to hour lodge to have dinner and power rests before we commence our early morning trek to Mt. Kupapey.

The next day, we woke up at exactly 3:00 AM then prepared ourselves for our hike to Mt. Kupapey (1,640+ MASL). We’ve had our quick breakfast, had ourselves ready then started our trek at exactly 4:30 AM.

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Foggy view of Maligcong Rice Terraces

The trail to Mt. Kupapey is consists of concretes assault steps passing by the rice terraces, and soft ground assault nearing the summit. It was also a 1 to 2 hour trek from your accommodation. The trails can be a little slippery on rainy days so be cautious with your movements.

At the summit of Mt. Kupapey, you will be able to see the astonishing beauty of the Maligcong Rice Terraces, and on a clear day, the beautiful sunrise will greet you good morning with its rewarding beauty. The sun’s bright rays will cast on the layers of Maligcong Rice Terraces which is really an amazing view.

But our trip was different, the sun did not show up, and we waited several minutes for the fog to clear up. And then once this white wall of fog cleared up, it gave us a different perspective of the beauty of the Maligcong Rice Terraces. With the fog unfolding the view of the wonderful landscape, it left us in awe for a few minutes before the fog became a white wall again.

The name Kupapey was derived from their local dialect which means butterfly. Because once you reach the summit, the view of the rice terraces is like a butterfly on a full wing span.

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Closer view of Maligcong Rice Terraces

 

After an hour of waiting for multiple clearings, we decided to descend down and traverse our way to Maligcong Rice Terraces for a closer view of the landscape. Traversing to the rice terraces is one of the highlights of this trip. The amazing man-made creation was so awesome that it made me want to stay longer and appreciate the view for a couple of more hours. It was really an amazing experience seeing this man made beauty.

The best time to visit Maligcong is on the months of April to May, when fields are green said by our local guide. It was indeed a great experience visiting this place, we will surely comeback to experience its beauty on a different climate.

How to get to Maligcong

MNL – Baguio – Bontoc – Maligcong

  • Ride a bus going to Baguio. There are various bus liners that have trips going to Baguio City, one of them is the Victory Liner which have bus terminals in Pasay and Cubao. Fare is Php 445.00.
  • From Baguio City, take a cab going to Dangwa Terminal or Slaughter House, both terminals have buses going to Bontoc, Mountain Province. It will be a 6 hour bus ride and fare ranges from Php 200.00 to Php 250.00.
  • Then from Bontoc, go straight to the Jeepney terminal going to Maligcong. Ask around where the terminal is located. It is a 30 minute uphill ride going to the barangay and fare is around Php 20.00 per person.

There are other routes going to Bontoc, like MNL-Banaue-Bontoc-Maligcong via Ohayami Bus Lines, or MNL-Bontoc via Coda Lines.

First trip of the jeepneys from Bontoc proper going to Maligcong is at 8:00 AM and last trip is at 4:00 PM.

Where to stay in Maligcong

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There are lots of home stays in Maligcong, but most of the famous accommodations will likely be fully accommodated if you will reserve few days before your trip.

We stayed at Terraces View Guest House, a not so popular lodge owned by Ate Rowena. Her guest house was always (somehow) the last option when all the famous lodge like Suzzete’s and Vilma’s are already fully accommodated.

Ate Rowena’s place is actually a good place to stay. The place was fully equipped with basic utility needs, cooking wares, and free coffees. The beds are also comfortable with warm blankets. If two blankets are still not enough, you can request for an extra one, free of charge.

I suggest you contact her first and reserve your slots to make sure that you have a place to stay when you get there. You can contact her at this number: 0915 188 1732. The rate is also very affordable, considering the basic needs there that you can use for free, that would be Php 350.00 per person for and overnight stay. She even spare a fee for our driver’s accommodation, what a nice host. 🙂

Recommended tour guide

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We would like to recommend Kuya Dennis to be your local tour guide. A fun, jolly, full of information about the place, you will surely learn more about Maligcong from him.

Contact him thru his mobile phone: 0909 811 8149. Guide fee starts at Php 800.00 for hiking both mountains, (Php 300.00 for Mt. Fato, Php 500.00 for Mt. Kupapey) for the first 5 persons in the group. If your group is larger than 5 members, that would be Php 175.00 per person (Php 75.00 for Mt. Fato, and Php 100.00 for Mt. Kupapey).

Budget and Expenses

  • Bus fare MNL to Baguio — Php 455.00 x 2 (Php 910.00)
  • Baguio to Bontoc — Php 200.00 to Php 250.00 x 2 (Php 400.00 to Php 500.00
  • Bontoc to Maligcong — Php 20.00 x 2 (Php 40.00)
  • Accommodation — Php 350.00
  • Guide — Php 175.00
  • Registration Fee — Php 20.00

Total Expected Budget is around Php 1,895.00 to Php 1,995.00. Safe budget will be around Php 2,000.00 to Php 3,000.00 for your food and take homes.

Sample Itinerary

Day 0

  • 10:00 PM — Bus to Baguio

Day 1

  • 04:00 AM — ETA Baguio, Quick breakfast, Take cab to Dangwa Terminal (GL Trans)
  • 05:00 AM — ETD to Bontoc
  • 11:00 AM — ETA Bontoc Town Proper, Lunch, Buy supplies
  • 12:00 NN — ETD to Maligcong
  • 12:30 PM — ETA to Maligcong, rest, prepare for Mt. Fato hike.
  • 04:00 PM — Start hike to Mt. Fato
  • 05:00 PM — ETA Mt. Fato Summit, rest, photo ops, wait for the sunset
  • 06:30 PM — Start descent
  • 07:30 PM — ETA Home stay, eat dinner
  • 10:00 PM — Light’s off

Day 2

  • 03:00 AM — Wake up, breakfast, prepare for Mt. Kupapey Hike
  • 04:30 AM — Start hike to Mt. Kupapey
  • 05:30 AM — ETA Mt. Kupapey Summit, rest, wait for the sunrise
  • 07:00 AM — Start descent, traverse to Maligcong Rice Terraces
  • 07:30 AM — ETA Maligcong Rice Terraces, Photo ops, enjoy the view
  • 08: 00 AM — ETA Home Stay, Rest, wash up, proper breakfast. Free time
  • 11:00 AM — Lunch, prepare to leave
  • 12:00 NN — ETD to Bontoc Town Proper
  • 12:30 PM — ETA to Bontoc Town Proper
  • 01:00 PM — ETD to Baguio
  • 07:00 PM — ETA to Baguio, dinner, buy pasalubong
  • 10:00 PM — ETD to Manila

Day 3

  • 03:00 AM — ETA Manila

If you still have plenty of leave credits, you can have Sagada or Kalinga as a second destination after Maligcong.


If you have your own private vehicle, or rented van going to Maligcong, a possible side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces is possible. Just take the MNL-Banaue-Bontoc route.

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One of the most photographed Cordilleran in Banaue.
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The Banaue Rice Terraces

 

 

Travel Guide: Laiban Twin Day Hike (Mt. Ngusong Kabayo, Mt. Lubo, and Tangwa Peak) Laiban Falls

I know that you are looking for a new hiking destination which is not that crowded, so here’s a travel guide to Laiban for a quick twin day hike and a refreshing dip to the waterfalls!

Before anything else, we hiked these mountains on a weekday and there’s literally only the two of us who hike on that day. We had the mountains all by ourselves without any other hikers on site. So, consider hiking on a weekday for a less crowded experience.

OK! Because it’s my friend Leley’s weekday off, we decided to go on a quick twin day hike in Brgy. Laiban, Tanay, Rizal which is just next to the barangays where Maysawa Circuit is located. There are actually four mountains in this barangay, a reason for it to be coined as Laiban Quatro. These mountains are Mt. Ngusong Kabayo, Mt. Lubo, Mt. Toyang, and Mt. Matang Ulang.

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Hiking Mt. Lubo and Mt. Ngusong Kabayo can be done in less than a half day including the waterfalls. From jump of to Mt. Lubo, it will only take you one and a half hour to reach its summit, and another 15-30 minutes to reach Mt. Ngusong Kabayo’s rock formation. Tangwa Peak, is just a few minutes away from the rock formation of Mt. Ngusong Kabayo, and you’ll see here a 360 view of Sierra Madre, along with the mountains of Maysawa Circuit, and Mt. Toyang.

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Mt. Lubo is arguably a peak not a mountain, well, I’ll just leave that to the pro’s to what ever they want to call it, but for me, Tangwa Peak deserves to be called Mt. Tangwa and Mt. Lubo to be called Lubo Peak.

Anyways, so after we reached Tangwa Peak, we descended down after a few minutes to take a dip to the cool water of Laiban Falls. Laiban Falls is a multi layered waterfalls with cool blue waters. It is just around 30 minutes to 1 hour trek from the Tangwa Peak. You will not get disappointed with this waterfall, because you’ll enjoy every layer of it, unlike the so called “8 Wonder Falls” 😛

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Laiban Falls Layer 2, reminds me of Kawasan Falls in Cebu because of the blue water. :)
Laiban Falls Layer 2, reminds me of Kawasan Falls in Cebu because of the blue water. 🙂

So, after a refreshing dip to the waterfalls, we decided to go back to the jump off to wash up and go back to Manila. We reached the jump off before 11PM and left the place at exactly 12NN. and back to Manila by 2PM, just the right time for me to go to work. 😛

How to get to Brgy. Laiban

  • From Cubao, ride a jeep going to Cogeo Gate 2
  • From Cogeo Gate 2, proceed to the jeepney terminal and ride a jeep going to Sampaloc and tell the driver to drop you off to Mayagay 1, the land mark will be Martessem.
  • Then from Mayagay 1, there are habal-habals waiting for you and they will take you to Brgy. Laiban. You will be crossing at least 9 river crossings before you reach the barangay. Ration of the habal-habal is 1:1 for a more comfortable ride on a bumpy 30 minute ride.

Expected Expenses

  • Cubao to Cogeo — Php 24.00 (Php 48.00 RT)
  • Cogeo to Mayagay 1 — Php 55.00 (Php 110.00 RT)
  • Mayagay 1 to Brgy. Laiban — Php 100.00 (Php 200.00 RT)
  • Registration Fee — Php 40.00
  • Environmental Fee (Mt. Ngusong Kabayo) — Php 20.00
  • Environmental Fee (Laiban Falls) — Php 20.00
  • Guide Fee — Php 500.00
  • Total Budget per pax for a group of 5 Persons — Php 538.00

Suggested Itinerary (Average Pacing)

  • 0300 Meetup Cubao
  • 0400 ETD to Cubao to Cogeo
  • 0430 ETA to Cogeo
  • 0500 ETD Cogeo to Mayagay 1 (Martessem)
  • 0600 ETA to Mayagay 1, Ride habal-habal
  • 0630 ETA to Brgy. Laiban
    • Register
    • Secure guides
  • 0700 Start Trek
  • 0800 ETA Mt. Lobo
  • 0900 ETA Mt. Ngusong Kabayo
  • 0930 ETA Tangwa Peak
  • 1000 Start descent to Laiban Falls
  • 1130 ETA Laiban Falls Layer 4
    • Lunch
  • 1200 Proceed to the other layers
    • best to swim at the Layer 2 of this waterfall
  • 1400 Trek back to Jump off
    • Wash up, eat
  • 1500 Back to Mayagay 1
  • 1530 ETA Mayagay 1
    • Wait for Jeep to Cogeo
  • 1700 ETA Cogeo
    • Ride jeep to Cubao
  • 1830 ETA Cubao

Hiking Notes

  • If you are a large group, you better hire you own transport service for your convenience.
    • If you are renting a van, you will have to leave it at Mayagay 1, and still ride habal-habal going to the barangay.
    • If you are renting a monster jeep from Cogeo, it can already take you to Brgy. Laiban, and you don’t have to ride the habal-habal.

Contact Person

  • Kuya Bimboy (Joshua) — 0930 924 6637
    • You can contact him if you want to ask for info about the mountains.
    • You can also ask him if he knows someone who has a monster jeep that can fetch you from Cogeo and bring you to Brgy. Laiban. Just let him know that we referred him to you guys