There comes a point in a hiker’s life when the jump from ‘beginner day hikes’ to ‘serious hiking’ needs to happen. There are not that many trails within driving distance of Manila that may provide this new challenge for budding hikers, but Mt. Cinco Picos just might fit the bill.
Mt. Cinco Picos with Trail Adventours
Located in Zambales, Mt. Cinco Picos is approximately 4-5 hours away from the city center of Manila. It shares the same jump off point as a previously reviewed trail, Mt. Bira-bira to Nagsasa Cove, and is usually done in a couple of days. The Trail Adventours version lasts just one (our team completed it in more or less ten hours), ramping up the difficulty level of this hike.
A day hike attempt on Mt. Cinco Picos must begin early; as briefed by our expert Trail Adventours guides Ram Ng and Brenton Tan, the trek is almost 20 kilometers back-and-forth, along some of the most exposed trails in the country. The early start, before 6am, is necessary to avoid much of the heat that will sap energy like a vacuum.
The early morning hike also gifted us with a very pretty sunrise, not often a feature popularly enjoyed by hikers on this mountain.
As we were doing Mt. Cinco Picos as a day hike, there were not many hikers along the trail; in fact, barring local kids using the trails, we were the only visitors on this mountain! This means we enjoyed peace and quiet, and really connected with the environment and nature. It did not hurt that the open and exposed trails of Mt. Cinco Picos gave occasional 360 bay-to-bay views!
It took our lead team about four and a half hours to make Peak 2, the usual summit of the trail for hikers. The number in the name is indicative of it as the second peak in the five of the mountain (“cinco picos” is literally “five peaks” in Spanish, I believe). The view up top was incredible as we were blessed with a day that, while overcast, was not too cloud-heavy.
The long trek and the heat of the late morning sun took its toll on the team; we spent nearly two hours resting in the shade at Peak 1 before continuing. Our long rest probably contributed to the fact that most of the team (especially the tail end of the group) being caught in a downpour. Thankfully, our guides helped everyone across the rapidly rising river and everyone made it back to the jump off point wet but absolutely fulfilled at completing this difficult day hike.
The Mt. Cinco Picos adventure is not recommended for beginners, but is a great place to start for day hikers looking to up their experience and increase the difficulty of their hikes!
Mt. Cinco Picos, as a day hike, has a difficulty rating of 5/9. Trails can be wet and muddy, and there are minor river crossing so proper hiking footwear are recommended.
Get in touch with Trail Adventours and book your first major day hike at Mt. Cinco Picos!
All photos and footage by me unless stated otherwise.
License – CC: Attribution, non-commercial.
Adventure sponsor: Trail Adventours.