Rainy season is here, its normally off season for hikers. But that is like half a year of no climbing? I thinks, its still okay to continue climbing during this time given that there is no severe weather disturbance.
Thats why last July 24, even the weather being glommy we opted to go to the most popular hiking destination in the Aeta Cawag settlement. Mt. Balingkilat - short for "Bahay nang Kidlat" (Home of Lightnings).
From the jumpoff the trek starts passing by the aeta houses until you reachead the "kawayananan" pit stop. About two hours from the jumpoff, this place is where hikers have their lunch and rest a bit. After kawayanan is where the fun begins.... its the start of complete assault trek. Its hiking on a trail which is 70-80 degrees incline. The trail is composed of cugon grass, scattered limestones and I almost forgot loose soil! Opposite Balingkilat (early part of the trail) is a hill, which blocks the wind. You may compare this part to a valley. This also adds to the difficulty of the hike since the place becomes very hot and humid. I can't imagine climbing here during summer. The ventillation only becomes better when you reach the height of about 700-800masl. When your almost at the plateau of Balingkilat, the trail becomes more narrow and more dangerous. I was asking myself, why didnt the group who created the trail made it a bit easier (zig-zag) and not complete assault? Well, the mountain had eroded a lot (there is no trees here) and this is apparently the best trail to create.
|The valley Like Trail|
Upon reaching the plateau after roughly 3++ hours hike, its just an easy walk or around 15 minutes to reach the campsite. But we choose to wait for our companions who were left behind
Subic Bay, summit view
river beside campsite
campsite, afar is the summit
Since the trail is very steep going-up, imagine how it is after this rain. This is also the time I decided to take the traverse trail. The traverse trail had been taken by other climbers a few times, plus the hunters. Its not yet established but I know its possible. With our guide leading we took this trail, early on my mind was debating If I made the right decision. The early part of the trail was very steep,grassy, full of twigs and has loose rock and soil. But after about 30% of the trail, it became for more level and just a bit rolling. I guess its still safer than if we took the traditional trail. After 2 hours of hiking down, we reached the Nagsasa ridge. From here its an easy way going back to the jump off. We also try to pass by Pinaglabanan river but it was overflowing, guess its better to dip here during summer. Next stop.. Cinco Picos.
the traverse route, summit view
bundok Dayungan (cloud covered) and Mt. nagsasa (left partially seen)