Nature-ral High

Nature-ral High
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

April 26, 2011

Kibungan, Benguet to Sugpon, Ilocos Sur (Cross Country Trek)

Maybe your wondering why there is no mountain name in the title of my blog. Because this hike is a cross country trek which consist of climbing several mountains. I have been longing to do this trek for several years now, and when a friend invited me, without hesitation I immediately joined. I had been into several major climbs but this is the first time I will climb without a porter, only guides. I also had been practicing lightpacking for sometime now, but without guides on a multi day hike will put my skill on the next level, so don't be surprise if you'll see me wearing same shirt for several days. LOL!

   The jumpoff point is Sitio (small village) Tanap which is about 30 minutes from the municipality of Kibungan, Benguet . The start of the trek ascending in between valleys. Eventhough were in the mountain province it was still very humid and hot. The campsite for day 1 is in the Sitio Agdanganan, its a village for locals which is located in between mountains. At 1300 masl, it was very cold in the night.

map of Kibungan with all the mountains and Sitios 


Rice paddies 
Close up 

1st camp 

With the local kids 

   Second day consist of 4 hours of non stop assault. The destination were the mountains that can be seen on the 1st camp, Mt. Bulalakaw (1,772 masl) and Mt Almase (1,811 masl). The view was spectacular and the mountain walls are like pillars. After the assault was the mossy forrest that lead us to the highest peak of our climb. Mt. Oten (1854 masl). During our descent it started to rain, our guide advice us to camp about an hour away to our intended destination. We lodge at Sitio Dalipey, yes lodge because they have dormitories for students who live far away. Sitio Dalipey is one of the few Sitios that have highschool. The place is very secluded that they don't know how to speak tagalog, even speaking the local dialect ilocano was a struggle. They also dont have electricity. But locals are so hospitable that we are like celebrities. They dont mind we enter their village unscheduled and the even serve us coffee before we left. 

There are lots of hanging bridges

steep steep!

rest stop

summit of Mt. Almase

Summit of Mt. Oten 

Resting near summit of Mt. Oten

Grass eating pig

Pic with the locals.

Igorot house

Benguet Mountain coffee anyone?

Third day consist of passing by Mt. Dalipey (1300++ masl). The summit is an open field with wild flowers everywhere. From a distance you can see big mountain walls that makes you think you are in the Lord of the Rings! After a few hours walk will lead you to Pipi-wan stairs that I can say is about 70-80* inclination, makes me really wonder how they were able to create this way, there are some part which are cemented but most part are carve from the stoned wall. Continuing will lead you to the view of Les-eng rice terraces. After which there will be another assault to Sitio Batangan then Mt Batangan, the last high point of our trek. There were no complete clearing but we were able to peek from the clouds from time to time. The view was very grand and amazing. After this summit was a complete descent for 4 hours! We were only able to rest at Likungan, Sugpon Ilocos Sur (Yes we are already in Ilocos). This was the most difficult descent I have experience.  Very steep and very long. Our trek ended we we reach Amburayan river. A very wide river but has less water during summer. Finally, we were able to take a dip and clean up without feeling cold.
Summit of Mt. Dalipey

A local carrying Rice Stalks

Cherry Blossoms?
Stairs to Infinity

Les-Eng rice terraces

Wild mushrooms for dinner

 Peek at Mt. Batangan



 Our initial plan was to trek all the way to Sugpon town proper on the 4th day. But since the river was low, jeepneys can be hired. Yippee! The jeep has wheels of the bus so that it can navigate to the stoney trail of the river. The jeepney ride took three hours, imagine how long it will take us to trek. The river is just like the pinatubo trail so there was not really much to see. Our cross country trek ended when we reach Sugpon town proper.

Jeep Bus


Kibungan to Sugpon
      This trek was one of the most enjoyable for me. The views were magnificent and spectacular. The place was really great. Our Lead said that this was the "easier" trail compared to the one he had last. I might opt to go back here again, and try the other trail for a different experience. 

April 10, 2011

Subic-Zambales Hiking Updates

Update 02/26/2013

Sa mga katotong mountaineer mangyari po lamang na eto ang kontakin ninyo

- 0999 549 7210 - Chieftain Juanito Balosbalos
- 0921 346 5312 - Jean Dela Cruz
- 0949 701 5730 - Diony

kapag pupunta kayo sa mga bundok ng Balingkilat, Dayungan, Cinco Picos at mga traverses papunta sa mga beaches ng Nagsaza, Anawangin at Silanguin. Kung meron kayong sariling mga kontak sa mga Kulot dun na wala sa numerong ito ay mangyari po lamang na wag nyo ng kontakin pa kase hindi kayo nakakatulong sa mga Kulot dun. Binuksan ang mga bundok na ito sa mga mountaineers upang ang lahat ng mga Kulot dun ang siyang makinabang sa pag ga guide at hindi yaong mga iilang Kulot lamang. Si Chieftain Balosbalos ang nakatalagang Chieftain doon sa Cawag. Nasasakupan niya dito ang San Martin na kung saan dito nanggagaling ang kontak ng ibang mga mountaineers.

Nakikiusap ako sa inyo na kung gusto ninyo makatulong sa mga Kulot dun at hindi yaong iilan lang na mga Kulot ang mga numero sa taas ang kontakin ninyo.

You can also visit the site sa mga additional na impormasyon.

Salamat po.
MikeB (

*** Updates as of July082011

Chieftain Jimmy is no longer the Chieftain of San Martin Cawag Subic Zambales. He was replaced by Chieftain Binggoy. To all mountaineers going to Subic Mountains, kindly proceed to Chieftain Perla for the registration. Chieftain Binggoy and Chieftain Perla are now working hand-in-hand to assist the mountaineers going to Cinco Picos, Rounded Peak, Pointed Peak. There will be a final meeting this weekend. - MikeB (YABAG)

Subic-Zambales Hiking Updates

Bad news for us who likes to frequent the Cawag settlement mountains (Balingkilat, Nagsasa, Cinco Picos and Dayungan) in Zambales. I received a reliable news that the locals (aetas) unjustifiably adjusted their guide rates. The guiding rates is now categorize via destination instead on a daily basis.

  • 300 per day for every 5 persons, no matter which mountain you are heading. Traverse or not to the beaches of zambales.
  • Mt. Balingkilat dayhike - 600
  • Mt. Cinco Picos to Dayungan Traverse - 900
  • Mt. Cinco Picos traverse to Silanguin cove - 900
  • Mt. Nagsasa traverse to Nagsasa cove - 600 (1 or 2 days)
  • Mt. Balingkilat traverse to Anawangin cove - 1500
  • Mt. Dayungan traverse to Nagsasa cove- 900 (1 days or 2 days)
I hope all mountaineers will protest this unjust rate increases. Most of us are already  familiar on the trails of these mountains. Paying the guide fee is just our way of helping them and in return the mountains will also be protected.  YabagMC are the one who explored these mountains, they are also the one who established this place as a hiking destination. And this new rates are not what they verbally agreed upon. I had been to many climbs and I can say this rates is overpriced. And I will not climb to this place anymore unless they return the rates to what it should be.