A hike to see bodies of water is one of the best hikes possible. There’s nothing like seeing a lake, river – or the sea – from high up at thousands of feet above level. If that’s the sort of adventure that gets you excited, then a major day hike up Mt. Balingkilat is just the one for you.
Mt. Balingkilat with Trail Adventours
Like the rest of the mountains in West Luzon (I wrote about two of them here and here), the area is home to the native Aeta peoples. In their language, the mountain’s name means “mountain of thunder”, and what a fitting name it was. During my hike, heavy clouds threatened throughout, and the usually bone-dry riverbed one crosses to hike the other Cawag mountain trails was hip deep and raging.
Before we set off, our Trail Adventours team leader Neil Orticio (who I hiked with on this trip) and Trail Adventours neophyte guide Rey gave us all a quick briefing on what to expect, as well as the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle. Our team was lean, and a good mix of experienced and relatively newbie hikers. We set off just as the sun was peeking over the horizon.
The first part was nice and easy, though the previous day’s rain made the trail slick with clay and mud. Upon reaching the riverbed, we forded it slowly, making sure we kept our footing stable even as a strong – and freezing – current whipped around us. Many more ankle-deep streams littered the trail; my feet were never dry but it was a blessing in disguise as I learned later on.