Mt. Dayungan Traverse: Trailblazing and an Overdose of Sunshine

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.

Look, clear skies!

Look, clear skies!

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.

Trekking on level ground (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Trekking on level ground (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Rest stop on the riverbank (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Rest stop on the riverbank (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

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.

Group photo before the start of continuous ascent

Group photo before the start of continuous ascent

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.

Boulders all around (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Boulders all around (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

View of Mt. Balingkilat from Dayungan

View of Mt. Balingkilat from Dayungan

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.

Sir Naldy on the summit (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Sir Naldy on the summit (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Ma’am Crislyn with Mt. Cinco Picos in the background (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Ma’am Crislyn with Mt. Cinco Picos in the background (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Group photo on the summit (Photo credit: Mike Babao)

Group photo on the summit (Photo credit: Mike Babao)

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.

Descent to Silanguin Cove (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Descent to Silanguin Cove (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Silanguin: So far yet so far (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Silanguin: So far yet so far (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Beach camping (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

Beach camping (Photo credit: Naldy De Leon)

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

Check out Naldy’s blog for the itinerary and YABAG Mountaineers’ website for additional info.

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. 😀

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18 thoughts on “Mt. Dayungan Traverse: Trailblazing and an Overdose of Sunshine

  1. rawhide96

    1st comment! Hehe. Wow, that Lumix poster just grabs you by the balls! Nakaka enganyo tuloy bumili at mag feeling hardcore. 🙂

    Reply
    1. rawhide96

      sad as it is, there’s no turning back once you get into the business of dslr’s falling off a cliff be damned. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Tintin Post author

        I read your comment again (slow ako kaya di ko na-gets agad) and realized this may be a reference to the incident in Maculot. (If it’s not, then my apologies for reading too much into it.) I had to delete my previous reply ’cause it sounded caustic and insensitive given the current situation. Whatever the facts of the matter were, a life was still lost. That in itself is deserving of sensitivity and respect.

        Reply
        1. rawhide96

          Hi Tin, may apologies. in all honesty, I had nothing in my mind that related to the incident in Maculot while typing the comments. It was as it was, nothing more, plain and objective. Absolutely zero reference. I just happen to love my dslr and really never cared about the consequences because I want to get great pictures. After I commented, the news came out.. But i did not realise the connection, I just typed and went on to other matters and never even recalled of a connection. You do not have to apologise, from a third person’s perspective, I would have seen it just as you did. But it was pure coincidence. I also do not blame you for having the same reaction. I too, was taken aback when I read the news. It was just too in my face. I had lost a family member through an accident and will never be one to make such irresponsible comments. Also, I just came back from straightening out someone else’s rude comment regarding the incident on another site.

          On a side note, I feel sorry for the family. Family is the only reason I do not hike solo, as much as I would love to. But then, he died a happy death. If the Lord says it’s time for Him to take me, I would prefer to leave this world via the trail, and have my ashes spread out in the mountain. It’s not tragic to die while doing what you love most.

          Reply
          1. Tintin Post author

            Thanks for clearing that up. I also didn’t think about any connection with the incident when I first read it actually. I even posted a recklessly sarcastic reply which, when I later re-read in the context of the incident, came off as callous and mean-spirited. So to avoid any misinterpretations, I just deleted it.

            You know how it is when something like this happens. Everyone has an opinion on the matter. Unfortunately, our opinions, comments and analyses are immaterial at this time to the people who lost a loved one. It’s difficult to come up with an appropriate response to grief but empathy may be a safer, or at least a less harmful, option.

            Reply
            1. judy

              yes, our sense of loss can not be compared to the immense grief his family is going through right now. all we can do is offer a prayer for them that God provides them His loving comfort in this most difficult time. as i write this, an identified body is being retrieved now at the foot of the rockies of mt. maculot, discovered by the locals yesterday morning, the day of victor’s 27th b-day. the body is still yet to be identified though by his family…

  2. judy

    another great adventure! dumaan pala kayo dito sa min (gapo). there’s another cove worth visiting…di pa gano pinupuntahan ng tao…within the bay rin- ang sampaloc cove.

    Reply
    1. Tintin Post author

      Nag-foodtrip kami sa Gapo nung pauwi na. Hehe. Ngayon ko lang narinig ‘yang Sampaloc Cove. Anawangin at Silanguin pa lang din ang napuntahan ko. Di pa ako nakarating sa Nagsasa, Capones, etc.

      Reply
        1. Tintin Post author

          Sa sidewalk lang, yung mga street food stalls na malapit sa bus terminal. Pauwi na kasi eh kaya paubos na rin pera ko. Haha!

          Yay! Salamat! Ayan may motivation na akong bumalik ng Olongapo. Hehe. Balak ko rin akyatin ang Balingkilat eh. Ganda ng mga bundok sa Cawag area kahit sobrang init.

          Reply
    1. Tintin Post author

      May public transport naman na available hanggang sa jump-off. Medyo matagal lang ang antay namin sa tricycle tsaka pahirapan sa negotiation ng pamasahe. Madaling araw pa kasi yun and from what I heard, hindi raw talaga yun ang mga trike na byaheng Cawag.

      Dayhike nga ang ginawa namin but instead of going home, nag-beach camp na lang para sulit naman ang malayong byahe.

      Reply
  3. MT.balingkilat

    sa mga aakyat po ng cawag mountains, eto po sana ang kontakin nyo sa oh hanapin nyo Chieftain Jimmy Ablong 0921-9543215.
    Tom Ablong 090747371-17 – 0909-3732926.

    sa kadahilanang, hindi totoo na wala na si chieftain Jimmy Ablong sa posisyon bilang datu sa community ng cawag.
    sa kadahilang ang lahat ng bundok na inaakyat sa lugar na iyon ay uder jurisdiction ng kanyang pamamahala.
    sa kadahilanang, ang grupo ng isang tribo ay hanggang registration area lang.
    sa kadahilanang, ang mga guide nila ay nambabato ng sasakyan ng mga mountaineers, at pumapasok sa loob ng tent..
    hindi iyon madisiplina ng kanilang chieftain juanito. at,

    dahil kapag may emergency na nangyari sa bundok na kumontak sa kanila na sila ang nag bigay ng guide, ay saamin din ang bagsak. kami din ang nag sasacrifice. sila na nag bigay ng guide sila na kumuha ng halos lagpas sa kalahati ng registration fee sila ay nagtatago. at hindi nakikipag cooperate….

    sana po maging malinaw na sa lahat ng aakyat ito, at sa mga nakakaakyat na sa kabundukan ng cawag subic zambales…
    maraming salamat.

    God Bless.

    #localguideofcawagmontains

    Reply

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