Monday, May 20, 2013

Climb Guide: Luzon 321 (Timbac - Tabayoc - Pulag)

The Mighty Three
Luzon 321 is no ordinary quest. It is a climb for those who wants to test how far they can go, how much they can take, and how long their patience is. Included in “those” category are 5 lovely souls named Missy (yours truly), JimBry, Alvin, Arbee, and Jan Paolo. In our search for the higher ground, we went out and pursued the  three highest peaks of Luzon - Timbak (3), Tabayoc (2), and Pulag (1) via Tawangan-Ambangeg trail. 

My first climb this year happened in Zambales, we did the Zambales Triple Traverse on February 25-27, my first trilogy (triple mountain climb). As if I didn't get enough body pains from that climb that I even dare to organize Luzon 321. Like the previous climb, the initial number  of trekkers was more than 10 but it went down to just 5. Knowing the stubborn me, we still pushed 321. However, instead of hiring our own service (that cost way toooooo expensive), we decided to do commute! How we did it? Read on!

(For further information just click on the highlighted links. Each will direct you to climb guidelines which provide IT, contact information, and specific details about each mountain.)

Mt. Timbak is our first stop. It is the 3rd highest mountain in Luzon and the 9th highest peak in the Philippines. Climbing this mountain does not require guides and permits; however, if you will do Luzon 321, it is best to do Mt. Timbak Traverse. In this case I personally suggest that you get your own guide.

Our second stop was Mt. Tabayoc, the 2nd highest mountain in Luzon and the 6th highest peak in the Philippines. This mountain is my personal favorite because it has the thickest and lushest rainforest I have entered to date. The view of Mt. Tabayoc trail is like that of the Avatar movie, very stunning. Walking through it is like a dream that has become a reality.

Our Luzon 321 quest ended after we traversed Mt. Pulag via Tawangan - Ambangeg. Pulag is the highest mountain in Luzon, 3rd highest peak in the Philippines. It is very famous not only because of its elevation but because of its sea of clouds. Fortunately, we were blessed with good weather that time. Way better than when we first climbed this mighty mountain via Akiki-Ambangeg when we almost died of hypothermia. Indeed, to taste the sweetest victory, you sometimes have to go through agonizing pain.


Day 0  Travel to Baguio

2200  ETD Victory Liner Pasay Terminal.

Day 1 Mt. Timbak Traverse (Km55 Atok to Kabayan Barrio, Kabayan, Benguet)

0400 ETA Baguio. Take early breakfast. Packed lunch. Buy supplies. Proceed to Dangwa Bus terminal
0500 ETD via van to KM55, Atok, Benguet via Halsema Highway
0700 Halsema highway, Highest Point, Atok, Benguet.
0830 KM55, start trek to Timbak elementary school
0930 Timbak Elementary School, ascend to summit.
1000 Mt. Timbak Summit, 2717masl.
1030 Start descent to Kabayan Barrio, Kabayan, Benguet.
1100 ETA Timbak Cave
1300 ETA Tenongchol Cave.
1400 Kabayan Barrio
1415 Proceed to Ballay via public bus
1600 ETA Ballay. Call Sir Arlan (Tabayoc Ranger)… Register @ Ballay Checkpoint
1630 Start trek to Lake Tabeo
1800 ETA Lake Tabeo. Set-up camp.
1900 Dinner/Socials

Day 2 – Mt. Tabayoc Assault

0400 Wake-up call / Breakfast
0500 Start trek to Mt. Tabayoc
0900 ETA Mt. Tabayoc summit
0930 Start descent to camp site
1230 ETA campsite. Prepare lunch
1300 Break Camp
1400 Start trek (6 hours) or ride habal-habal (3hours) to Tawangan / side trip Lake Ambulalakao
2000 ETA Brgy. Tawangan (jump-off for Pulag)
1830 Prepare for dinner / fix things for the next day

There is a lodge in Tawangan where mountaineers can stay for a night for Php150 per person. I suggest you take this as it provides a very comforting sleep which is essential for the next day trek to Mt. Pulag.

Day 3 - Pulag Ascent via Tawangan Trail

0400 Wake-up call, take breakfast, break camp (bring packed lunch)
0600 Start trek (you will pass by several springs/refill your water container when necessary)
1130 Lunch. Choose a place where there’s a nearby spring
1200 Resume trekking
1230 Entrance to mossy forest
1330 ETA Summit of Mt. Pupulag
1500 Enter the grasslands of Pulag
1830 ETA saddle camp
1900 Set-up camp / prepare dinner
2000 Dinner / Socials

Day 4 – Descend to Ambangeg-DENR (Go back to Manila)

0400 Wake-up call / breakfast
0430 Start summit assault
0530 ETA Mt. Pulag Summit
0700 Start descent back to campsite
0800 ETA Campsite / Break Camp
0900 Start descent via Ambangeg trail
1130 ETA Babadak Ranger Station / Lunch
1200 Proceed to DENR (Rent habal-habal if you do not have your own service)
1300 ETA Ambangeg, DENR / Log-out / Wash up
1330 Board the bus bound to Baguio (1PM - 130PM is the last trip. Be sure to be there early)
1530 ETA Baguio City


Manila-Baguio v.v.
Php445 (one way)
Baguio to KM. 55
Guide fee for Mt. Timbak
Php500 per day (7 people)
Kabayan Barrio to Ballay
Guide Fee to Mt. Tabayoc
Php1000 per day (7 people)
Truck Rental from Tabayoc to Tawangan
Php2000 (habal-habal is only Php300)
Guide Fee for Mt. Pulag via Tawangan
Php3000 per day (7 people)
Habal-habal from Babadak Station to Ambangeg
Php300 per person
Environmental Fee, Cultural Fee, Camping Fee, Entrance
Php280 per person
Bus from Ambangeg to Baguio

Now that you have all the information needed in climbing the 3 highest peaks of Luzon, the only thing you have to acquire now is courage. It doesn’t matter if you are going solo or if you are with a group. As long as you have the passion to pursue your dream, dream on and live with it.

The Climbers
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This entry is part of our Luzon 3-2-1 climb which happened last April 26 - 30



  1. wow... 3-2-1...
    this will just be a dream for me.
    congrats :)

  2. Wow!! absolutely amazing.3-2-1 is one of the list of mountains that i wanted to climb.hopefully i can get there this coming october.
    bohol travel
    bohol tour pacakges

  3. laking tulong nito salamat sa info ma'am:) sana makasama din ako minsan sa akyat mo ma'am :)

  4. Thank you for dropping by. It would definitely great to climb with you some time. :)


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