“Nung sinabing day hike, napangiti na lang ako,” our guide said, telling me how he found our idea of trekking Mt. Palali in a day mildly amusing and downright ridiculous. I was in no position to argue. It was pitch dark and I was lying on a plank of wood in the middle of the forest, swatting mosquitoes on my face while making a mental list of what we did wrong.
Kuya Roldan and I had been in the campsite for nearly an hour waiting for my three teammates. We still had a long walk ahead of us to get back to the jump-off. By my estimate, we’d complete the trek by 9pm, nearly four hours behind schedule.
Mt. Balingkilat (1,100 meters above sea level) is one of the highest peaks among the mountains of Subic, Zambales. It’s in the same area and shares a common jump-off with Cinco Picos and Mt. Dayungan. The traverse to Nagsasa Cove can be done as a day hike or a two-day trek.
It’s an open trail throughout the climb. You can seek refuge from the sun in Kawayanan, a small campsite about an hour and a half away from the trailhead. It can get excruciatingly hot in the summer months so if you want to avoid the heat, schedule your climb during rainy season (June onwards). There are inherent risks in a rainy climb though (e.g. slippery trail, strong river current) so be cautious and prepare accordingly. If you’re climbing in the summer, make sure to bring adequate water for the entire trek since water sources may dry up. It’s also good to start trekking early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the scorching heat. Continue reading →
I knew a day hike of Mt. Balingkilat was going to be a long trek. I didn’t count on having flashbacks of my climb in Guiting-Guiting while scrambling on its rocky trail.
At 1,100 meters above sea level, Mt. Balingkilat is among the highest peaks in the mountain ranges of Subic, Zambales. Its name means bahay ng kidlat (house of lightning) in the native language of the Kulot, the Aeta community in the area. Locals attest that during thunderstorms, lightning always strikes on the mountain, hence the ominous name.
Gulugod Baboy, which literally means “pig’s spine,” is a range of minor peaks (525 meters above sea level) located in Barangay Anilao in Mabini, Batangas. Anilao is more famous for its dive spots but the nearby hills are also a popular hiking destination that’s easy enough to be tackled by newbie climbers.
Life is easy on Gulugod Baboy. It takes an hour, a couple of hours on a slow pace, to get to the peak. The gentle slopes allow for a gradual climb without busting one’s lungs or knees. There are convenient stopovers for halo-halo and soft drinks along the trail. It gets hot on the open trail but you can choose to start hiking late in the afternoon to avoid the midday sun.
The rolling hills look like a rundown version of Rakuh a Payaman, a perfectly gorgeous pastureland in Batanes. The greenery is still beautiful but there are large patches of burnt grasslands and bare spots indicating that a few too many human feet have been there. Cow dung and pieces of garbage litter the sprawling campsites. The cows can get a little too friendly and may “knock” on your tent at night but a good whack on the tent wall or a shooing noise is enough to scare them away. Continue reading →
*Jigz can help you arrange the climb for the Mapot-Mananawin trail. If you’re taking the Wasay or Guintubdan trails, just contact Sir Angelo Bibar directly.
How to process the climb permit:
1. Get in touch with the contact persons and ask them to email you the pertinent documents which include the booking form, mountaineer information sheet and waiver. Continue reading →
The second day of our Kanlaon climb was when the proverbial (and literal) shit hit the fan. The rain was unrelenting and the fog was so thick that our guides were adamant on cancelling the summit assault. We either had to stay put on the campsite and wait out the bad weather or go down the mountain without reaching the peak. Neither option was appealing.
So we badgered, begged and negotiated with Kuya Caloy and Kuya Islaw, our dutiful guides, if we could at least try the summit climb and see how far we can go. We’d turn back if it got too dangerous. As it turned out, we didn’t have too far to go. After a 15-minute descent to Margaha Valley, we were welcomed with such a heavy cloud cover that we couldn’t see each other at 10 feet apart. We went back to the campsite, looking forward to a full day ahead of doing nothing.
Getting a lot of “tales from the friend zone” lately. Sulat kaya ako ng bagong blog post (Maybe I should write another blog post): Date a Guy/Girl Who’s Been Friend Zoned. Baka pumatok ulit. (Might be another hit.) – Posted this on Facebook yesterday. (Yes, I’m now on Facebook. The horror!)