There’s simply something magical about hiking the mountains. The pain of walking miles and hours is worth your every sweat because of the rewards of the spectacular views you get to see on top. There’s this feeling that drives you to rise above your own limitations and boundaries. The adventure of not just climbing, but also the opportunity to explore yourself, to explore what you truly are, what you are capable of.
This is just one of the few reasons why mountains occupy 70% of my bucketlist. Apart from Mt. Pulag and its sea of clouds and the abundance of waterfalls in this country, I never knew Pinas could hold so many stunning mountains that call to the heart of the adventurous. One of them is Mt. Balingkilat, also dubbed as the “Mountain of Thunder”.
First, let us be clear: I am not a mountaineer. I do not own a tent nor do I own good hiking shoes. Yet the allure of Mt Balingkilat’s beauty is such that it creates this courage inside of an ordinary traveler to dream and explore the extraordinary. The views are so stunning, they demand to be seen with your own eyes.
Mt. Balingkilat is one of the highest peaks in the Zambales Coastal Mountains and Coves Area. It was once known as the “Pointed Peak” and currently offers views that connect you to the spectacular coves of the province. The trail can be grassy, though, so it is highly recommended to wear clothes that also cover your arms and legs. If you can wear something that covers your face, too, that would lower your chances of getting scratches.
( I’m 5″7 and sometimes the grass is taller than me. You’ll probably get scratches if you do not wear something to protect your face. Scarves are great chances for survival. Trust me. )
Hiking the mountain is no joke, especially if you plan to hike in broad daylight. There are only a few shaded parts, so it is best to start your trek early before Mr. Sun drains all of the fluids you have in your body.
(at 1100 MASL)
That’s how long it took us too conquer this gorgeous mountain, though for a normal person, it usually takes 4-6 hours to reach the summit and another 4-5 hours to reach Nagsasa Cove.
It is one hell of a hike, but is by far one of the most beautiful views of the summit you need to see. It is a jaw-dropper. From the rich green hills to dreamy grasslands, this spine-tingling destination deserves a spot on your bucketlist. It is one of the must-see mountains here in the Philippines and if you get a glimpse of the stunning landscapes, you’ll know exactly why.
After witnessing the majestic views of the summit, consider spending the night at Nagsasa Cove to make the most of your island life.
With Agoho trees, gray sands, waterfalls and stunning lake views mirroring the mountains, it is a wonder if one cannot fall in love with the beauty it holds.
The place is proof that you need not to travel too far to experience nature. With no signal. No electricity. Just bonfires and marshmallows, you and your tent, and the stars and the ocean. There’s nothing like enjoying solitude in a beautiful side of the country.
(Hammock goals achieved! Definitely better than any five-star hotel!!! )
Go now. Expand your horizons. Our country is so beautiful – what’s not to love?
Here’s how to get to Mt Balingkilat:
1. Ride Victory Liner bus going to Iba, Zambales and tell the driver to drop you off the PNP Station of Subic. Fare is 212php
2. Ride tricycle going to Sitio Cawag, Mt. Balingkilat’s jump off point. Fare is 250-300php and can accommodate 4 persons.
1. Ride bus bound to Olongapo. Fare is 207php.
2. Ride blue jeepney (near 7eleven) bound to subic. They operate 24hours. Fare is 22php.
3. Ride Tricycle to Sitio Cawag, Mt. Balingkilat’s jump off point. Fare is 250-300php and can accommodate 4 persons.
You also need to prepare a letter of intent before you can start your hike. Prepare atleast 3 copies and submit one to the PNP station of Subic, one at the registration, and the last copy for your guide. Don’t forget to get it signed at the police station first.
There is a 60php registration fee and the guide fee is at 600php for either dayhike or overnight. An additional 300php if you choose to traverse to Nagsasa Cove.
Here’s a sample itinerary to get you started:
11:00 Meetup at Victory Liner Cubao
11:30 – 2:30 Travel time Cubao – Olongapo (fare is 212php)
2:30 – 3:00 Submit Letter to PNP Police Station and have it signed
3:00 – 3:45 Travel time to Sitio Cawag
3:45 – 4:00 Preparation
4:00 – 11:00 Trek to Summit
11:00 – 1:00 Rest/Lunch
1:00 Start Trek to Nagsasa
6:00 Ideal time to Reach Nagsasa
(Although we reached Nagsasa at 10pm. But i bet you can do better folks!)
For those who are interested in hiking the mountains in Subic, kindly contact the official chieftain of Cawag Resettlement, Chieftain Balosbalos, at 09995497210 or 09183271442.
Check out more of Hannah’s adventures and follow her on Instagram: @hannahcepe
To see her work, visit her page at: www.facebook.com/hannahcepephotography