Sunday, August 4, 2013

Zambales Series Part 3: Mt. Balingkilat Traverse Dayhike via Bira-Bira Trail

it's been a while.. i'm here again! 
I just had a busy month of July due to work load and some acts of fixing everything (schedule, responsibilities, deliverables) in preparation for a very much awaited major climb.

Photo credit: Rose Chan de Leon

To continue with the third part of Zambales series, as my title reads--- my last stop was Mt. Balingkilat.

Among the bald grassland mountains there, I believe it's Mt. Balingkilat that is the most major one. We intentionally made this climb as a dayhike instead of the original plan of having an overnight climb since it could serve as our training climb for the upcoming extra major climb that I have mentioned earlier.

Standing at 1,100+ MASL, Mt. Balingkilat is believed to derive its name literally from a Tagalog word "kidlat" which means lightning because of the frequent strike there. This eventually caught the attention of many climbers and became one of  their favorite hiking arenas. It is situated just beside Mt. Nagsasa, Cinco Picos, Mt. Dayungan and Mt. Bira-bira which surround those popular coves and islets (Nagsasa, Talisayin and Silanguin). Having said this, one could actually make various routes to climb it. I know different variations of the traverses they make to add more twists and thrills to their hike. One is Mt. Balinkilat traverse via Mt. Dayungan to Mt. Nagsasa. This one will send you to Nagsasa beach as your end point with a succeeding boat ride to Brgy. Pundaquit. The other one is a two-day climb to Cinco Picos and Balingkilat which was done by buddy Dennis in 2011.

Now, what we supposed to do was Balingkilat traverse to Mt. Nagsasa via Bira-bira trail with same end point as jump off point in Sitio Cawag, Subic, Zambales. In this particular dayhike, we did not mind passing through Mt. Nagsasa anymore. We started as early as 3:30am and we were really ahead of our schedule. But we had a lot of "tambay" mode as well as nap moments before assaulting to the summit. We were given a very favorable weather (cloudy with a bit rainshowers and less sunny trek). So we just made the climb a little relaxing and no-pressure one.

The jump off point where we entered was the same as Cinco Picos climb, which is Sitio Cawag. It was a trek of about 13 hours dayhike for us, a little technical (only some portions as characterized by a Guiting-Guiting-like features), 360-degree summit view, grassland trek, and I can say it's also a big mountain with numerous assaults.

I was mesmerized by its beauty and let me share with you a lot of good angles of this scenic mountain. Let me show you the journey we had here. Here you go with some of our pictures to give you visible stories.

An early start of trek.. waiting for the sunrise
take 5!  so take your time! we're ahead of our itinerary.. :)
a panoramic view on our way assaulting. there, was Sitio Cawag! 

we must continue! more assault please! hehe...
Familiar?? here's what i've mentioned earlier! No, we're not in G2.
Buddy and me at this G2-like portion of the camp site (Photo credit: Jane Lim)
summit! finally.. Behind me was Talisayin Cove..
Honestly, I did not feel the lengthy trek so much because of the company of these cool guys. Everyone's energetic too.. everything went on smoothly... :)
The bubbly group!  (Photo credit: Jane Lim)
These were ones that delighted me too.. Thank God for a very favorable weather that we've seen clearly the 360-degree view from the summit and of course these neighboring mountains! :)

Cinco Picos on my rightmost and then to my nearest right is Mt. Dayungan
(Photo credit: Jane Lim)

So this is Mt. Samat in Bataan! :) Wow! perfectly lonesome yet it brings a breathtaking view

Mt. Mariveles Range was full of beautiful clouds on top of the peaks

What also amused me are these stuff in such mountain:

Yellowish brown rocks with a touch of choco hehehe

red orange soil during the start of our traverse after descending from summit

Violet something!

Greeny Rocks

Herbal drink, anyone?
According to Kuya (a good Aeta local guide), this one may be boiled to make a herbal drink (or tea?)  :) I can't remember if he was referring specifically to Koreans
on my back is Mt. Nagsasa and the Nagsasa Cove
 (Photo credit: Jane Lim)

We intended not to push through with Nagsasa. We even didn't mind tiring ourselves for something we've been already amazed. We might also be catching ourselves trekking after nightfall so we chose to go straight via Bira-bira trail. Or I guess, we must have done it should we had an overnight climb instead.

uh-oh. be careful, dear!
There was a portion that extra care must be given during the descent. A little technical is the way to Bira-bira. We were able to get back to the jump off point in Sitio Cawag by almost 5pm.

More info just for you ---->

Estimated Budget: Php1200, inclusive of the following
>Transpo (Bus, Rented Jeep or Trike (Manila to Olongapo to JOP to Olongapo to Manila)
>Reg Fee
>Guide Fee

ITINERARY (our original itinerary which includes passing through Nagsasa)

Day 0 Saturday

2000 ETD to Olongapo

Day 1 Sunday

0200 ETA Olongapo/Breakfast/Buy Provisions or Packed Lunch
0300 ETD to Sitio Cawag
0330 Register at Police Station in Subic/Take Trike
0400 ETA Sitio Cawag/Register/Arrange guides
0430 Start Trek to Mt. Balingkilat
0630 Kawayanan/WaterSource
0645 Resume Trek
0900 ETA Balingkilat Summit/Take Pictures
0930 Start Descend
1230 ETA Nagsasa Cove/Lunch/Take Rest
1300 Start Trek to Mt. Bira-Bira
1600 ETA Sito Cawag/Washup
1700 ETD to Subic/Take Trike to Subic
1800 ETA Subic/ETD Take Bus or Jeep bound to Olongapo
1845 ETA Olongapo/ Take bus bound to manila
2200 ETA Manila

*Important Note:

If you are going on any beachineering or mountaineering activities in this area, make sure to properly register yourselves at the barangay with the knowledge of the chieftain. I am raising this matter after learning from the chieftain himself that a weekend prior to our climb (when Typhoon Gorio hit the country), a certain group got stranded and floating with their boat stumbled and since they were not registered, no immediate rescue has been made.

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