Mt. Dayungan – Silanguin Cove Traverse
Brgy. Cawag, Subic, Zambales
March 9-10, 2013
So this is what it’s like to climb on a sunny day.
I have the bad weather curse. Whenever I go on a climb, chances are it’s going to rain or better yet, a typhoon is going to make landfall right where we are.
It was a rare sight then to see sunshine and blue skies on our traverse of Mt. Dayungan in Subic, Zambales. Situated in the same area as Cinco Picos and Balingkilat, Dayungan is the lesser known peak that doesn’t get as much visitors as its relatively more famous neighbors. The mountain’s obscurity is made obvious by the absence of an established trail going to the summit.
The climb started before daylight with a two-hour trek on flat, grassy terrain. At around 7am, we stopped for breakfast on Bayukan River, which also happens to be the last water source.
The rolling terrain continued for another half hour or so of trekking. We reached the start of the moderately steep slopes at around 8:30am, just as the gentle morning rays were beginning to shift to full-on scorching sunlight.
From here on out, there was almost no break in the ascent. The trail was open all throughout, with knee-high grasses as the only vegetation. The ground consisted of loose rocks and lumps of cracked soil. The trail, or what passed for it, was littered with boulders in the higher elevations. We had to carefully make our way around them while also looking out for holes on the ground. Trekking with no established trail was tough and it didn’t help that the sun’s death rays were frying our brains the whole time.
The most annoying part though was the “peaks of deception.” We thought the highest peak we could see was already the summit of Mt. Dayungan. Upon reaching it, it turned out there was another higher point far off in the distance. I couldn’t stand any more of the suspense (and blood-curling exasperation) so I pestered Kuya Binggoy, our local guide, into telling us where on earth the summit was.
“Hindi pa ‘yan (referring to the peak in front of us). ‘Yung susunod pa,” he said.
I groaned quietly and continued walking. We encountered about three or four peaks of deception before reaching the real summit.
The hike from jump-off to summit took about six hours. The midday heat was unbearable but the view on the peak was a visual feast. The bare mountain ranges and arid grasslands stood out in stark contrast against the clear blue sky. We also had an unobstructed view of Silanguin Cove, which would be our campsite later that day.
The summit of Mt. Dayungan is spacious enough for camping and there’s an enclosed bamboo area that provides a cool shade against the harsh sunlight. There is no water source though so you’d have to haul water all the way from the river.
The descent to Silanguin was yet another challenge. The steep slopes and loose rocks made the trek difficult, apart from trailblazing all the way down. After four days of walking, crawling and scrambling on the brutal terrains of Mantalingajan, trailblazing on another mountain was the last thing I wanted to do.
We reached Silanguin Cove after four hours of descent, just as daylight was fading. The beach, lined with pine trees, was beautiful and quiet. It reminded me of Anawangin years ago, when that cove wasn’t transformed yet into a tacky tripper destination.
Many thanks to Sir Naldy of Philippine Airlines Mountaineering Club for the invite and to the rest of the group for the great company: Ma’am Crislyn, Sir Ding, Sir Francis and Raymond of PALMC, and Sir Mike Babao and Sir John Taloy of YABAG Mountaineers.
Expenses (as of March 2013):
Manila to Olongapo (bus) – P230
Olongapo to Subic (jeep) – P20
Subic to Cawag (tricycle) – P60/pax
Registration fee – P60/pax
Guide fee – P900/group
Contact persons in Cawag:
Chieftain Juanito Balosbalos – 0999.549.7210
Jean Dela Cruz – 0921.346.5312
Diony – 0949.701.5730
This was yet another memorable climb for one more reason. I broke my camera when I, uh, accidentally dropped it on my head. (Don’t ask.) This proves one thing: I have a titanium head. Or I’m the biggest idiot around. Who drops a camera on her own head?? But let’s not go there.
I’m so sorry, dear readers. I will no longer be able to amaze you with my breathtaking, heart-stopping, jaw-dropping photos from now on. I’m still saving up for a new camera (I like this and this) and that’ll probably take a while (unless I sell my blood or one of my kidneys). I gladly accept donations though. Heads up, my birthday’s in two months! Show some love, people. 😀