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.
Chieftain Juanito Balosbalos – 0999.549.7210
Jean Dela Cruz – 0921.346.5312
Diony – 0949.701.5730
How to process the climb permit: Get in touch with the contact persons in advance and let them know about your climb schedule. Write a letter of intent (two copies) and include the names and contact numbers of the participants. On the day of your climb, drop by the Subic Police Station and give one copy of the letter to the attending officer. The other copy is for the local chieftain in Cawag. Register and pay the climb fee of P60/pax when you get to the jump-off.
How to get there: From Manila, take a Victory Liner bus going to Olongapo and get off at the terminal. A short walk from the Victory Liner terminal is a queue of jeepneys bound for Subic. Ask the jeepney driver to drop you off at the Subic police station. After registering, you can hire a tricycle to take you to Cawag. A few ones are always parked near the station. There is a terminal in Subic specifically for the Cawag route but based on past experience, there aren’t any trikes if it’s too early.
Alternatively, you can take a Zambales-bound bus and get off at Subic. The advantage of going by the Olongapo route is there are fast food chains near the terminal (Jollibee and McDonalds are open 24 hours) where you can have an early breakfast and buy food for lunch.
(Group of five plus one guide and one porter)
2330H ETD Manila
0200H ETA Olongapo, buy packed breakfast and lunch
0300H ETA Subic, drop by police station
0400H ETA Sitio Cawag
0430H Start trek
0545H ETA Kawayanan, breakfast
0630H Resume trek
1000H ETA Summit, lunch
1200H Resume trek
1700H ETA Nagsasa Cove
1400H ETD Nagsasa Cove
1530H ETA Pundaquit Beach, San Antonio
1600H ETD San Antonio
1700H ETA Olongapo
1800H ETD Olongapo
2045H ETA Manila
Expenses (as of June 2013):
Climb and camping
Climb registration fee – P60/pax
Guide fee – P900*
Porter fee – P600
Nagsasa camping fee – P100/pax
Cottage – P100
*Maximum of seven people per group. You’ll have to get additional guide/s if your group exceeds seven.
Manila-Olongapo (Victory Liner bus) – P212
Olongapo-Subic (jeep) – P19
Subic-Cawag (tricycle) – P200 per trip (3 people per trike)
Nagsasa-Pundaquit (boat) – P250 per person (regular rate for 5-6 people)*
Pundaquit-San Antonio highway (tricycle) – P90 per trip (3 people per trike)
San Antonio-Olongapo (bus) – P40
Olongapo-Manila (bus via SCTEX) – P240
*The waves were big when we were there so the locals told us to get a bigger boat. The initial price was P2,500 for the boat rental but we haggled and managed to lower it to P1,800 or P360 per person.
- Balingkilat Traverse: An Unexpected Difficulty (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Gulugod Baboy Climb: What You Need to Know (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Traversing the ‘House of Lightning': Mt. Balingkilat Dayhike (druidoftheword.wordpress.com)