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Life can be stressful.
The pressure brought about by acads, work, and family can be too much sometimes and all that's left to do is pause. Escape. Take a break.
And what should you do?
Going to a salon or spa can be costly. Eating your heart out on an all-you-can-eat buffet won't make you a better person afterward. Why not try climbing a mountain instead?
Too hard? Nah, I managed to climb it, you can too.
Too far? Well, believe me or not it's just 2-3 hours away from the metro.
Too expensive? 300 pesos is enough to cover everything. Including food, transpo (still depends on your location though), and the envoronmental fees.
Too…? Enough excuses. Just climb the mountain already. Trust me, the experience is fulfilling.
You can read below my step by step guide in conquering Mt. Balagbag but before that let me give you a short introduction of Mt. Balagbag.
Mt. Balagbag can be found at the boundary of Rodriguez, Rizal and San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. According to the "care takers" of Mt Balagbag, the mountain used to be the escape route of illegal loggers from other parts of Rizal. Apparently, the mountain itself was also a victim of illegal logging. There are less trees than I imagined. But don't worry, it doesn't affect the beauty of the scenery because the view is accentuated by seemingly golden dry cogon grass. Okay I'm already spoiling the experience for you. Go on, read below, and get ready for your next great adventure.
How to get there?
1. Ride Jeepney going to Avenida and alight the vehicle at Tungko
2. Ride bus to SM Fairview then ride the jeep going to Tungko
3. Ride bus going to Tungko (they pass through EDSA)
4. Ride Jeepneys going to Tungko
Once you have successfully made it to Tungko. Find the BDO bank and at your left side (if you are facing the bank) you can find an alleyway. Just walk through it and you'll find jeepneys going to Licao-licao. Licao-licao is the last station so it's okay to sleep while at the jeepney.
You'll arrive at Licao-licao after a really long jeepney ride. You'll have the option to take a trike or walk to the jump-off. (Hint: taking the trike will save you approximately 45 minutes walk. The ride is going to be bumpy though).
Once you arrive at the barangay hall. Register and pay 20 pesos for the environmental fee. You can also opt to take a tour guide (Not necessary but highly recommended. Help the locals!).
You have to walk…walk…walk… or Have Photoshoot. For at least an hour before reaching the helipad. Don't pressure yourself. You can rest as many times as you like. No pressure. Once you arrived at the helipad, you'll be asked to register once again and pay an environmental fee.
Helipad to summit is approximately 15 minutes trek (though it took me 3o minutes and a leg cramp).
Once you've arrived at the summit, you can feel all your stress slowly melting away. Pure joy. Aghhhh.
1. Start early or really late.
Remember about the absence of trees? Well there's nothing to provide shade most of the time. So it's so darn hot to trek in late morning or early afternoon (tried it)
2. Bring umbrella or cap and use sunblock.
3. Bring lots of water.
You can buy some along the way but there's not much store from the jump-off to the summit.
4. Bring trail foods.
To boost your energy of course
5. Learn to appreciate
The main point is to appreciate and go back to nature. Because once you see things from afar, you'll come realize that your problems after all are not that big of a deal. #50ksummergiveaway #MerrellPH
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Spent New Year's Eve here. I wanted to go on a solo climb since my mom can't join new year with me due to schedule conflicts. Dahil badtrip ako that time.. I decided to spend new year sa bundok.. And I picked Mt. Balagbag.
I rode a bus going to Tungko. Once there, I went to the jeepney terminal going to Brgy. Licao Licao just few steps from the market. It took almost an hour to reach the destination.
I arrived at the Brgy Hall at around 4PM. I registered And pay the registration fee.. because new year naman I gave them 500 pesos enough to buy 4 liters of Emperador since they were drinking when I arrived.
I started trekking at exactly 4:30 PM medyo natagalan pa kasi nakitagay ako sa kanila. Locals were very busy preparing food. Bawat nadadaanan ko na bahay binabati ako, of course, I greeted them in return.
The trail was not that steep. I asked myself if tama yung dinaanan ko kasi kalsada. I asked one of the locals, he rapidly replied "Baybayin mo lang yan hanggan sa dulo may bakal na gate yun na yung summit" I was like really? Nagpapakahirap ako maglakad eh kaya naman pala ng tricycle kung alam ko lang na pede at kaya pala sana sumakay nalang ako. Ito pa, nakarating ang innova sa taas.. nasa isip kung alam ko lang eh di sana di na ako nagbuhat ng bag kung aparador.
Finally, I saw the gate... nasa summit na ako. Well, safe ako kasi may bahay sa summit haha.. The girl greeted and welcomed me. I asked permission to set up my tent near the table sa labas mismo ng bahay nila. I unpacked some food I bought and started cooking.
At 11:45 AM , ayan na nagputukan na. The summit offers a 360 degree view of Manila. You can also sight the province of Pampanga and Bulacan. Kitang kita sa taas ang fireworks display ng MOA, Quezon City Circle. I wondered kasi kung bulacan ang bilihan ng paputok bakit hindi ganun ka bongga? Mas bongga pa dala ko paputok. Anyways,we had a small salo salo after watching the fireworks display. We had a drinking session after. It was one of the most craziest Ideas pero sobrang saya. Ah nah! Nangangamoy part two hmmmm!!! I'll think about it.
Tip: Bring a reliable tent. Sobrang lakas ang hangin pag Ber months dito.
Sidetrip: Licao Falls ( just ask the locals about the waterfalls here or you can do twin hike Mt. Balagbag tapos Mt. Maranat and Range Waterfalls.
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Having tried most of the trails in Metro Manila, our group decided to kick it up a notch.
After minutes of googling, we decided to conquer Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez, Rizal (although some say it's in Norzagaray, Bulacan).
I left my house at 3:30AM to have breakfast in McDonald's with my friends. We then headed out at around 4AM.
There are basically 3 ways to get to the foot of the mountain or the jump off. San Mateo, Rizal seems to be the most popular route among mtbikers. While via Quirino Highway is the most popular among those who drive their cars until they reach the barangay of Licao Licao in Rodriguez.
We took the Payatas Rd., which was the hardest route. Before taking this route, I told myself, "it can't be that bad."
Well it was pretty bad!
The road was congested with dump trucks. And the air of Payatas? Yeah, I guess you guys now have an idea why it was bad.
BUT after the Payatas area and a couple of left and right turns, you'll find yourself in an unknown mountain.
We had to cross that mountain to climb another mountain (Mt. Balagbag). The trail leading to the jump off site of Balagbag is called "Nagbutas Trail". True to its name, it was full of holes. We had to carry and push our bikes in most parts of that trail.
After surviving that unknown mountain, we reached Licao-Licao, the barangay that serves as the jump off for mtbikers and hikers... and 4x4 enthusiasts.
We rested for a couple of minutes and refilled our water bladders. After the short rest, we then started the climb.
It was horrible..
It was definitely the hardest mountain I've ever biked. I had to stop and rest a lot. I also had to push my bike in some sections as it was near to impossible to bike.
After hours of climbing, we reached half of the climb. We saw a resort that has a large pool, a bar, and a videoke machine.
So I asked my friends if they want to continue the climb OR just chill at the resort. It was a 50/50 vote so we let the gods decide by tossing a coin.
Tails! Too bad the gods of mountain biking wanted us to continue the climb. Darn it..
So we continued for 2-3 more hours of climbing.
Before reaching the summit, we passed through a very small gated town. We were charged 20 pesos each and were asked to write our names on their "tracking sheet". Apparently, a few bikers and hikers died in the past. Not sure why or how. I didn't bother asking questions since I was too exhausted.
So we climbed another 2-3km of loose dirt and rock gardens while being hammered by rain. It was tough. At that specific moment, I wished I didn't set my alarm to 3AM. I could've enjoyed a good Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee while checking the latest updates from my friends on Facebook.
But no, I decided to punish my body by climbing this mountain.
So we climbed for another kilometer and FINALLY REACHED THE SUMMIT!
It was a letdown..
Why? Well simply because of the thick fog! There was no clearing! No view of the other mountains in Rizal. It was just fog.
We stayed at the summit for about 10-15 min and then decided to leave.
The way down was my favorite part!
With no clue whether or not my bike would survive the rock garden (10-12 inch rocks), and with certainty of death, we shredded down the trail!
Rear wheel keeps slipping so I had to make sure that I use my front brake for slowing down. I then used my rear brake to let the bike recover.
Well after all the efforts of avoiding death, I still crashed.
Good thing I'm already used to crashing so the landing was perfect. I got separated from my bike. But when I was up flying in the air, I managed to cover my face by crossing my arms and used it as a shield.
Good thing I was okay. No major wounds. Just a couple of bruises.
But the ride must go on! So we continued to go down and finally reach the foot or the mountain.
We rested for half an hour and then decided to leave. We left at around 4:30PM.
We biked all the way from Rodriguez, Rizal back to QC while being hammered by the cold and merciless wrath of the gods (rain).
I got home at around 7:30PM. So I basically biked or was outside for almost 16 hours (with rests included).
And the coolest thing about it? I didn't get sick! Yay!
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