Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mt. Balagbag - The Bare Mountain

Basking under the great sun. 
It was a long and dusty ride.
It was a tiring trek under the scorching sun.
And it was a fun climb!
Because it was the second year anniversary of “Society of Lost Explorers,” our outdoor group.

Mt. Balagbag is around 600MASL that seem like a hill than a mountain. It has several trails or entrance and exit points. The four most common trails are the following:

  • Horse Trail
  • Rotary Trail
  • Otso-Otso Falls Trail (Kaytitinga falls)
  • Licao-Licao Trail
Since we plan to have an easy climb that can bring less burden or none at all, we decided to take the most popular trail and that is the Licao-Licao Trail.

Of all the mountains I climbed to date, Mt. Balagbag is the least I like. Maybe it has something to do with the trail we took as it is just wide rough road all throughout. If you have a sturdy vehicle; bike, motorcycle, or an offroad car you can drive it and reach the summit with no sweat. 

So what is my point?

If you want to appreciate mountaineering better, Mt. Balagbag via Licao-Licao trail is not a good option. Rizal where Mt. Balagbag is situated is indeed accessible. If accessibility is your primary concern in climbing Mt. Balagbag then might as well climb Mt. Batulao, Mt. Gulugod Baboy, Mt. Tagapo, Mt. Manabu, or any minor climb you can think of... place Mt. Balagbag on the bottom of your list. If you are enchanted by the falls you see in pictures, go to Mt. Romelo instead.

Take this unsolicited advice from me which you may consider a gem one of these days:

Do not try climbing Balagbag under broad daylight unless you want to burn your skin and bathe in your own sweat. Do not also try to trek it via Licao-Licao trail unless you want to inhale all dust and you enjoy being tired. You can at least take a tricycle ride to the gate (I do not know how much it costs) and do the 20-minute trek to the summit to get the best view. Besides, the most scenic glimpse you can get is the one offered by the peak which is the terrain of Sierra Madre range. 

Imagine yourself trekking this uneven road under the heat of the sun... (I rest my case)
If you really want to check out Mt. Balagbag for yourself, then I suggest do the Balagbag-Oriod traverse or try another trail. Just stay away from Licao-Licao.

For the sake of rational people who do not want to take this very helpful article seriously nor my unsolicited advice and still wanna climb Mt. Balagbag, I provided below the projected expenses and guidelines:

Bus to TungkoPhp60-70 (we took the bus from Guadalupe) (2-3 hours)
Jeep from Tungko to Licao-Licao Php27.00 (45 minutes)
RegistrationPhp10.00 ( I dunno what they do with this)
Jeep from Licao-Licao back to TungkoPhp27.00
Bus to EDSAPhp60-70.00
  • Neither permits nor guides are required.
  • Mt. Balagbag has several campsites, I suggest you choose the summit as it offers the best view.
  • Network availability fluctuates all throughout the trail.
  • You can buy provisions at Tungko market. Groceries and sari-sari stores are also present in almost all parts of the trail.
  • Reward yourself; drop by any of the falls. They are accessible and you can see signages that leads to them. Locals ask Php10.00 fee per head. We spent half of the day enjoying its cold water.
I enjoyed the climb, not the mountain. Ask me why, drop me a note on my FB page. :)

Photo credits: Samantha Sergio


  1. hmm.. hndi lang ikaw ang nagsabi na least like mountain ang Balagbag.. pero I still want to experience it myself... soon.

    1. If you can take other trail than Licao-Licao it will be better I guess. Good luck! :)

  2. It does look very bare! But yeah, I'd like to experience climbing it too. Guess it's that mountaineer attitude that, you don't judge until you climb :) Hihi.

    1. Indeed you're right. It won't hurt to try. :)

  3. 600m sounds a bit of a decent height if you have to think that even the highest peak in the whole of the UK -Ben Nevis, is only 1,344-m (4,409 ft)above sea level.
    But more than just heights, what do you really seek out to achieve when you go mountaineering? Will your goal be affected by the height of the mountain? or will it be determined by the sights and sounds of the environment? or perhaps the total experience is of utmost importance?
    The character and situational aspects of Philippine mountains greatly vary --but they are all similar in terms of their being TROPICAL in nature; they may be vegetated or bare, usually the trails being dusty in the dry season or wet in the rainy season, and may be too humid at the height of the dry season as well...
    but think about it; the European alps and the upper Himalayan ranges are all barren of vegetation and in most cases, are glaciated and covered with ice and snow all year round...
    In any case, whether tropical or alpine, mountaineering can only bring you one good thing: self-satisfaction!

    1. Hello Agent8971,

      As a mountaineer, definitely my goals are being affected by the height and difficulty of the mountains. The higher and the tougher ones motivate me more. The overwhelming views, flora and fauna, are another things. They never fail to amaze me. The overall thrill, the achievement, the total experience they are something that we can treasure forever. See, there are a lot of things/reasons that mountaineering brings to me/us which normal people won't understand unless they go up the mountains themselves.

      Your place is one of the best places to explore the world outside your comfort zones. A lot of mountaineers here WISH to be on top of Himalayas or at least set their feet in Alps. Try going up and keep me posted with your adventures. I hope to hear more about you. If you can share some photos in our facebook page, please do so. Thanks for dropping by.

  4. eto ata yung isa sa naakyat ko na mainit khit makulimlim na sunburn ako.

    1. Opo. Mainit talaga sya. Another mountain an alam kong mainit is Talamitam and Gulugon Baboy. Open space kasi.


I may not be able to reply to your comment/s, but rest assured that I am reading each and everyone of them. Thank you for dropping by and taking some time to drop me a note. I do appreciate.

I wish you luck and happiness. Keep on travelling, find your happy place. :)