Are you a first-timer when it comes to hiking?
Then, Mt. Balagbag is right for you. It has an elevation of approximately 777 meters above sea level. The difficulty level is 3/9, a minor climb Trail class 1-2, so it’s a good try for first-timer or newbies.
Unlike us, Mt Balagbag is the 2nd Mountain that we hike after Mt Ulap that’s why it was just an easy hike for us (that’s how confident we are-LOL). Anyway, Mt Balagbag location encompasses the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal so you don’t need to go far from the metro to experience hiking. Aside from that, as part of the Sierra Madre range, Mt Balagbag provides a scenic view of other mountains, as well as Ortigas and some parts of Metro Manila. It is also a favorite trail of mountain bikers.
How to Get There
From EDSA Cubao, ride a bus going to Tungko, Bulacan which will cost around P50 to P55 it depends if air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned buses (one-way). Just tell the driver to drop you off at the Tungko Jeep Terminal beside BDO Tungko Branch.
From Jeep Terminal you need to ride a jeep going to Licao-Licao. Fare is around P32. The jeepney bound to Licao-Licao however has a “punuan” scheme where it would only take off if it already met the maximum number of passengers.
The jeepneys are already waiting for passengers as early as 5:00 AM. The estimated travel time is 2.5 hours. When you arrive in Licao-Licao, you can hire a tricycle or habal-habal (motorcycle) going to the Sitio Balagbag Registration Area ₱30.
However, this is optional because you can already start trekking right from getting off the jeepney.
Preparation for the Hike
Before the Hike, Proceed to the Barangay Hall and log your name on their Log Books and Pay the registration fee for P10 each. Then, you can start trekking up to the summit.
However, this amount might change depending on when you’re hiking, During weekends the registration fee cost P20 each.
If you’re planning on doing an overnight hike (which is great because you’ll get to see the city lights), you need to pay an additional P30 for the camping fee.
As for the guide, you can actually reach the summit and go back to the jump-off without the need of one. It’s pretty straightforward and you will never get lost as long as you follow the trail.
If ever you forgot to bring water and food? You can buy snacks at the sari-sari store located beside the Barangay Hall. But of course, we always recommend that you bring your own.
The Actual Hike (Expectation)
The trail is very easy and wide, perfect for beginners, there’s no need to worry if you fall off from a cliff. But one thing is for sure, the trail is full of rocks and it has a gradual assault, so wear your comfortable hiking shoes. A lot of mountain bikers love Mt. Balagbag as well because of this challenging and rocky trail.
The trail can be very hot especially when you schedule the hike during the summer season because there are not so many trees that can cover you from sun exposure, that would be the only difficulty in this trek. Hence, we recommend you to start the hike before the sun rises or sets (dim trekking)
After 20 minutes of trekking, you will reach the “Welcome to Mt. Balagbag” sign. The locals have put some reminders for the hikers such as no littering, no vandalism, no drugs, etc.
Follow the trail and you will reach another stop after 30 minutes. You can sit and buy snacks here. We paid P20 per head because going further means passing a private property.
You will reach the summit after 30 minutes of trekking. The beautiful Sierra Madre will welcome you and will feast your eyes.
Additional features of Mt. Balagbag include some small waterfalls and rivers along the way, as well as the possibility of traversing to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan or other barangays of Rodriguez, Rizal. Along the way to Mt. Balabag, there is also the Veterans’ Peak or Veterans’ Summit which is more of a local tourist spot.
Recommendations & Reminders
- Start the hike before the sunrise or before sunset for overnight camping.
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes because the trek is very rocky.
- Wear dri-fit clothes and put some sun protection lotion to protect you from the heat of the sun.
- Bring water and food as always.
- Respect Local culture and property.
- Leave no Trace but footprints and bring home the Memories.
Mt Balagbag is a great mountain to hike before trying out the bigger one. So better check it out and experience the Adventure made by Mount Balagbag.