Monday, June 24, 2013

Zambales Series Part 2: Cinco Picos Dayhike Traverse to Silanguin Cove

One of the exciting portions of a climb event  is when you get the chance to have a side trip. How many of you wants to do more than one specific thing in an outdoor trip? No wonder anyone would not refuse a treat after tiring ascents and descents. No one would say a "no" to relax  or try something more. It may be a beach, falls, spelunking and other opportunities to maximize the trip. As mentioned in the first part of this Zambales series, this province offers a great deal of adventure --- climb and dive! trek and swim! drink and shrink! (what is "shrink?" hehe)

Indeed, it was a great weekend for us. After learning in our pre-climb meeting that Cinco Picos traverse can be done in one day and the other half of the trip would be spent at the beach, i felt a real excitement. I was anticipating a very "hayahay" event. (hayahay is a Bisaya term to depict comfort or refreshing mode).

I was already hearing the so called Cinco Picos back in 2011 during the early days of my hiking career (yes, career!) I told myself, it must be famous and it sounds cool. Yet I wasn't able to scale it, maybe because my heart was caught by other climb invites and that it is not yet an A-list to my invisible not-so-concrete bucket list.

They say it should be climbed during the rainy season. They say Zambales mountains are better be climbed during wet season. You will eventually agree that this can be true.

Alright, I ought to say it ----- the mountains are obviously bald, of grassland feature and really encourage a trek that is very direct to too much sun exposure.

The itinerary therefore was arranged to start very early to lessen the time spent when the extreme heat of the sun has finally spread.
a breathtaking view of sunrise at the jump off point in Sitio Cawag
We arrived in Olongapo at around 3am. We started late. We only began the trek right after the crack of dawn so we have witnessed the sun rising so beautifully from the east at the very jump off point.The first part of the traverse was a real kind of hiking.. a rolling trail surrounded by mountains. The first ever stop for rest was in Pinaglabanan river. I was amazed by the serenity that the river brings. The place is so relaxing but of course we have to resume and continue the trek. 

One of our companions, Qitter, who also owns majority of these wonderful pics

We passed by dry rivers and so we went up and down of their rocks . I believe they were still dry since we are just approaching the rainy season. They still have some evidences of dry and hot summer.

The steady hiking continued and it was all tall grasses that we’ve seen. But I was amazed when we finally spotted the sillhouette of the five peaks from afar. These five peaks depict the very name of the mountain – Cinco Picos.

It must be the climate change! As early as 6:45am, the sunlight has scattered evenly and it was a kind of really irritating hot feeling to our skin. We stopped by another river where the last water source can be found. Beyond that point were all assaults already. The big challenge: the intense heat of the sun. There came a point that I was pissed off. That kind of tiring feeling but you cannot stop since there are no trees to provide a good shade. It was also dehydrating trekking at such long open trails. I was  only getting myself stressed out when I look and imagine Balingkilat next month. How much more difficulty are we going to suffer there with this kind of a sunny trek? I was planning to back out, honestly.

look at this grassland trail...
Going on with the trail, on our uppermost right side is the Subic Base while on the other side is all mountains including the mentioned giant Balingkilat. The dark clouds started to form. Half of us reached the first peak and we had an early lunch there. It was getting foggier and foggier then eventually started to rain. It was better and more managebale than such super sunny trek that we had earlier. Although, i found it a little annoying since it was indeed a long heavy rain.

Foggy view of Subic Base on my left whiile continuing my trek up Peak 1
See you in July Mt. Balingkilat!
We intended to wait for the others at first but since it was getting colder and the rain seemed not stopping, they decided to resume the trek. Yet i was a worrying "Ate" since the last half of the group included my two siblings and two of their friends. Although I was pretty sure they are alright as the tail/sweeper of the group was buddy Dennis, so I believed they were safe. All I had to do was to wait for them at a portion of the descent  where there was a huge rock and a shrub which seemed to cover me up. I’ve almost fallen asleep while standing there over a heavy pouring down of heavens. I was facing the side where Silanguin cove can be viewed already. Although we had a one-second glimpse of it on the first part of the descent, i think it could have been a perfect view if such nimbus clouds weren't there. I was praying then to let the rain stop but at the same time thankful because at least it must be easier to do the trek than managing the extreme heat of the sun. The trail is not so technical, it's just of course a little lengthy.

A supposed to be greater view of Silanguin Cove view while descending from Peak 1
These are the amazing peaks of Cinco Picos
Finally, buddy and “my angels” (my siblings and their friends) arrived and we continued the trek passing by some dry rocky river crossings. We had already viewed the beach and we knew we were approaching the seashore yet it’s not what happened. Our restless yet tired feet were further challenged by another series of a long steady trek – grassland, dry rocky river, grassland, dry rocky river, then finally sand.. and behold, our smile almost reached our ears upon seeing the shores only to find out that the resort that we’ve reserved was another one or two kilometers to trek in order to finally arrive.

Silanguin Cove and the Zambales mountains

So here we are and finally arrived at our destination after the traverse, Silanguin Cove, Yeah! There were some raining moments from time to time but as we could observe the angry dark clouds just stayed at the peaks of the mountains.

I like Silanguin Cove better than Nagsasa. Maybe it's because it's not like the former that is overcrowded. Silanguin Cove is more serene for me although it is an additonal 1-hour boat ride from and to Brgy. Pundaquit.

i wanna sing.. "there's a rainbow ALWAYS after the rain!"

Swimming, laughing, diving, eating fresh seafood, picture taking--- all the good things that beach life can offer.

By the way, we were able to add more yummy food to our table by asking the caretaker of the resort to cook some fresh fish for us.

'found so many dogs there, but found this one the most "gwapo" hehe

I must also commend the kindness of the local guides to us. They had been reliable and dependable companions throughout the memorable traverse.

Here are some important information:

Entry Point: Sitio Cawag, Subic, Zambales
Exit Point: Silanguin Cove, Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales

(Actual Itinerary: We only hit 1 peak as we couldn't  continue due to heave rain, we opted to descend after Peak 1)

Day 1
1000 Take  Olongapo-bound bus,Victory Liner Pasay
0300 ETA Olongapo, eat breakfast at the nearby Chowking/Jollibee
0400 Take pre-arranged Jeepney to Sitio Cawag
0500 ETA Sitio Cawag
0530 Start Trek
0600 ETA Pinaglabanan River
0700 Grassland trek onwards
0830 Last water source before the Assault
1030 Reach Peak 1
1100 Lunch (before Descent)
0200 ETA Silanguin Cove
0300 Tidy up/swimming
0600 Dinner
0800 Socials
1030 Lights off

Day 2

0600 Breakfast
0700 Visit Lake side of the cove*
0800 Swimming/Beach Bumming
1200 Lunch
0200 ETD Silanguin Cove
0400 ETA Brgy Pundaquit
0430 ETD San Antonio; take Olongapo-bound Ordinary Bus
0545 ETA Olongapo
0630 Take Manila-Bound Bus at Viclory Liner
0900 ETA Manila

*According to the guide, a falls that is just 1-hour trek from Silangan Cove can be found and visited

I would like to share with you the lake they've found even if I wasn't able to see it personally. Here's what I've grabbed.

Thank you peeps for making this a wonderful and fun trip!

Now looking forward to the last leg of of this series: Mt. Balingkilat Dayhike. I am really hoping for a favorable weather and that the event shall push through.

Photo Credits: Qitter Vhostek and Reign Chyng

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