Kay ganda ng Pilipinas!
If you are looking for extreme adventure while witnessing the awesome and priceless beauty of nature, then hiking is just one of the best options.
Mt. Pulag, Mt. Apo, Mt. Pico De Loro, Mt. Banahaw, Kanlaon etc. These are just some of the eminent mountains that hikers come over for their extreme adventure.
But for a budget-friendly and hiking destination just close to the heart of Metro Manila, you can try Mt. Balagbag at Sitio Balagbag San Isidro, Rodriquez Rizal
Mt. Balagbag is just about 1-2 hr ride from Manila. You can ride a bus heading to Tungko. From Tungko, ride a jeepney going to Licao-Licao and the last stop of the jeep will be the way to Mt. Balagbag. Fare just cost round 200-300Php from Quezon City.
Because of the almost one-week holiday caused by APEC 2015, my friends explored some possible activities we can enjoy over the long vacation. After the long deliberation, we came up hiking at Mt. Balagbag.
We planned to reach Balagbag at 6am, but since we left our friend’s house pass 7am, we reached Balagbag pass 9am already.
Upon arriving at the foot of Mt. Balagbag, we were already stunned on its view. The scenery from the foot is just a motivation to finish the hike.
Before the trekking, we need to register first. We thought that the registration is just minutes away from the starting phase, but to our surprise, it took us 30 minutes to get there.
Trekking began going to the registration. We conquered the muddy and the rocky side. The locals told us that it will take us just 10 minutes to get there. But since we are first timers, stop over is so inevitable specifically that we don’t have any preparation and enough sleep for this.
Once you see the Sitio Balagbag’s Health Center and its primary school, then you are on the right track for the registration. Locals there will tell you that it will just take you half an hour to get there at the summit.
Going to the summit, we were with other hikers. We encountered a 7-year-old guy hiking as well and he already hiked 8 mountains (Just wow!)
It took us one and a half hour to reach the summit. The trip going to the summit wasn’t really easy especially for beginners. There is a cost before you see the majestic view at the top.
The scenery just took away all the muscle pain, gasping of breath, sun-scorched heat that we endured. Worth the hike!
And since we wanted to make the most out of this adventure, we “tried” to go to Maranat. Most of the hikers that we met encouraged us to go to Maranat after reaching Mt. Balagbag’s summit.
The idea sounds wonderful for us, so we asked the local about the way to Maranat from Mt. Balagbag’s summit. We understand the way going to Maranat from them, but they suggested that it is best to have a tour guide. Despite their suggestion, we decided to go to Maranat with just our instincts and the local’s instruction.
But as we are on our trip to Maranat, we are unsure if we are heading the right way, so we just decided to come back on the summit. And going back to the summit, we met other hikers going to Maranat as well and they told us that we are on the right trail.
We just resolved to push our Maranat escapade to our next travel since we are running out of time going down to reach the 6pm and last trip of jeep. We went down by pass 4pm with our legs literally in pain.
When we reached the registration once again, we decided to ride a tricycle which we just trekked going up to send us to the Jeep’s Terminal.
Riding a tricycle is still extreme! We felt like we were riding on a roller coaster with the sudden ups and down due to the course road.
Hiking is a stress relieving adventure. But despite its fun, there are still reminders that you should consider before trekking particularly for beginners. (I learn this the hard way!)
- PREPARE YOUR BODY before the hike.
- PACK THE IMPORTANT THINGS including drinking water, sunblock, extra clothes. Don’t underestimate your drinking water; it is the first thing you’ll look when you wanted to just go back from the start. hihi.
- EXERCISE,JOG, and have LONG WALK. PREPARE YOURSELF
- If you are not familiar with the way up, better get a tourist guide to help you. It will save time from discussing with your fellow what trail is right or not
- TALK WITH THE LOCAL PEOPLE and you will learn a lot from them. Don’t be snob on them.
Angelica Ambrocio, 9 years old, is just one of the kids I encountered while hiking. Despite her petite figure, she still managed to walk religiously for her class everyday. You can never hear any complains from her. She’s already in her 4th grade, but she looks like a 5-year-old little kid.
I want to know more her story. The journalist inside compels me to come back. I hope the local government and NGOs will extend their hand for Sitio Balagbag particulary the children here.
Don’t just hike for fun, learn from locals there and get to know more with their stories.