Rodriguez, Rizal: Mt. Balagbag Experience

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

I'm so back into hiking again! Yep, that's right! I think this is the best time of the year to climb mountains because the weather is still cold but it's really not raining. As they say, January is the knitted sweater season. I can't blame them though, I'm liking the sweater weather and how it gives off an instant glow! LOL! It's also part of my goals this year so climb as many mountains as I can because it's less expensive than a normal travel plus the view from the summit is always soooo worth it. <3

The last time I climb was I think around March last year, we had a twin day hike at Mt. Manalmon and Mt. Gola and we had an awesome side trip, spelunking and crossing a monkey bridge. I was actually looking for people I can climb mountains with because most of friends doesn't hike, so when my friend Ian invited me if I want to climb Mt. Balagbag, I said yes in an instant! So that's a first for this year! 

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
Mt. Balagbag has a difficulty of 2/9 and the trail is a lot easier than what I've experienced from my climbs before. Height is roughly 777 MASL (so far the highest that I've climbed). It is situated in Rizal and is part of the Sierra Madre range. I always prefer climbing mountains that's in Rizal because not only it's near our place, the view from the summits are also stunning. This is definitely the perfect mountain for beginners like me (seems like I won't be past beginner, lol!), difficulty is easy, trail doesn't include rock climbing, and there are almost no life threatening passages. When I say life threatening, it means no cliffs, no narrow passages, and no rocky trails. 

And since it's in Rizal, I thought we would ride the usual transportation going there. You know, Montalban UVs. But no! In order to go there, we rode a bus going to Tungko.. The jump off is in Rizal and we went past through San Del Monte Bulacan. How amazing geography is. Lol! Didn't know you can go to Rizal via San Del Monte. 

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
Licao-Licao

Going to Mt. Balagbag

Cubao to Tungko (along EDSA) - Bus                                    P38
Tungko to Licao-Licao - Jeep                                                  P28 (On Sundays, they give a P1 discount)
Licao-Licao to Elementary School (Jump Off) - Trike           P30 (Going back to Licao-Licao, it's P15)

Going there on a Sunday is quite a breeze. No traffic. Take note though that buses are along EDSA going north. And also, upon reaching Licao-Licao, ride a tricycle to the jump off! Do not make the same mistakes we did! Lol! We walked our way to the jump off which took us 1 hour, considering we are beginners, our pace is quite slower than those who are frequently climbing mountains. So when we reached the jump off after an hour, we felt really relieved! Of course you have a choice to ride the tricycle or not. As for us, we could've saved time if we rode the tricycle. Thing is, we really didn't know that there's a tricycle available. So I'm telling you now! :)

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
 Jump off to Mt. Balagbag

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
Locals playing along the trail

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
"Malapit na, konti na lang!" they said. Lol!

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
As I was saying, the trail is very easy. Guess this is a favorites among bikers. If you have a 4X4, you can also bring it. We saw a lot of people going to the summit using their 4X4's. We're actually jealous because we're already very tired and those people doesn't have a hard going to the summit. We thought of hitchhiking but no, experience is far more valuable so we continued the hike. The view while hiking is amazing. So what more the view from the summit right?

Also, if you're more into adventure, you can pitch your tent and have an overnight. I heard this is great place for stargazing. I want to experience it as well because just by imagining it, I know it will be an awesome experience. You know, star gazing, music, and bonfire. 

Our plan was to catch the sunset, but before the sun sets, we already descended because they said the last ride of the jeep going to Licao-Licao is at 6PM and we don't want to have an unexpected overnight in a place we're not really familiar with. Also, knowing our pace, we really should have descend a little early to catch the jeep. Descending is a lot easier of course. When we reached the jump off area, we changed our clothes and waited for a tricycle. Another tip I can give is instead of asking the driver from Licao-Licao to alight you at Tungko, ask the jeepney driver to alight you at Starmall because this is where the buses usually get people. And before the bus goes to Tungko, there are no more seats available so you will be standing on your whole travel to Cubao. And knowing your all tired from that climb, we don't want that to happen. :)

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
The beautiful view from the Summit

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
Smile lang kahit pagod na :)


Itinerary


9:00 AM to 9:30 AM                                     Meet up at McDonalds Cubao, beside Kia theatre
9:30 AM to 10:30 AM                                   Bus from Cubao to Tungko
10:30 AM to 11:10 AM                                 Jeep from Tungko to Licao-Licao
11:10 AM 12:10 PM                                      Licao-Licao to Jump off    
12:10 PM to 12:20 PM                                  Registration / Jump off
12:20 PM to 2:30 PM                                    Trek to Summit
2:30 PM to 3:40 PM                                      Lunch / Photo ops / Rest at Summit
3:40 PM to 4:40 PM                                      Descend from summit to jump off
4:40 PM to 8:00 PM                                      Travel back to Manila                                          

This is our itinerary, since we met at a later time compared to the usual 4AM, we almost exhaust the whole day for this climb. Good thing is it's not really hot by the time we climb. The wind is cooperating making it a perfect siesta vibes at the summit.

Also, if you want a guide, there are available people in the registration. However, it is not really needed because the trail is very easy and the paths are obvious. One advantage of the guide is he/she can tell you the different spots hidden in the trail. And the guide is perfect for large groups. If you're less than 5 people like us, I think it is not recommended.
Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal
Our lunchmate :)

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

Total damage for this climb:


Bus to Tungko from Cubao - P38
Tungko to Licao licao - P27
Registration Fee at the jump off - P10
Fee before the summit - P20
Tricycle back to Licao licao - P15
Jeep to Starmall - 24
Bus to Ortigas from Starmall - P67

Total - P201, Yep, that's less than 500! Just add your expense for the food and the snacks you'll be bringing in. 

It was a really fun and tiring day. My legs hurt big time but I must say, every sweat is worth it. The view from the summit is superb. This is one of the reasons why mountains are awesome. And as the saying goes, "It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Cheers to more mountain adventure. <3


Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez Rizal

CONVERSATION

40 comments:

  1. Hi, Maaya. How much do you pay for a guide? I understand that the trail is easy, but I was wondering maybe this is recommended say if I am doing it alone? Having a companion is still better as one never knows, right? I have trekked only once and would certainly love to do it again.

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    1. Hi Robert, it's roughly around 500 if I'm not mistaken. And go, trekking is a nice exercise too!

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  2. I grew up in Antipolo but never had the chance to visit Rodriguez, Rizal. What a shame noh? There are so many beautiful spots to visit in Rizal and I am glad that more and more people are sharing their experience thru blogs and social media. You have very beautiful photos. Too beautiful that I am wanting to visit this place soon.

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    1. Yayy! Thank you! You should definitely go.. I swear you won't be disappointed with the view. :)

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  3. Good to know you've restarted hiking. I agree, soon after rains is the perfect climate to climb, its not wet and its not hot, just pleasing!!! I know the situation when your extreme hobbies aren't shared by your friends. Its better to join local clubs to meet like minded people. There's a trekking club in my city. Try to find one in yours.

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    1. I'm trying to go on climbs that are organized by different hikers but I'm too shy to join knowing that I don't know anyone. huhu #introvertproblems

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  4. Can only agree with you. Hiking is surely a non-expesive way to a vacation. And, why you are going to get a super stunning view like in your first pic... then it's every bit worth the effort to reach on top. It's always fun and exciting to go trekking, meeting locals, and enjoying that bit of time with nature.

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    1. Yep.. I'm so glad climbing mountains can get me closer to nature. :)

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  5. I also love a good mountain adventure. And you took great photos! I think the pain was worth it. But it must be a lot warmer there in January than it is here in NYC. Here we are all wearing our winter coats and still freezing from the wind!

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    1. Thank you! Hahha yeah.. we don't have winter here but it's still cold.. probably around February it'll start to warm again.

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  6. I love the mountains as I love thhe beach. But, I never got into hiking like the hiking you do. I admire people who do! Hope one day I can try it out with my husband even if it is outside our usual hehe.

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    1. As for me, I love beaches more! And you should definitely try.. This a nice date idea too! <3

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  7. From your photos and from what you wrote, I think I can reach the summit. I only climbed one mountain which is Mt. Pico de Loro and I had a difficult time. I agree with that it looks perfect for beginners (like me). Plus, 4x4 can reach the summit. Will definitely suggest this to my friends.

    - Me-An Clemente

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    1. Great bonding with friends. :)

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  8. Oh wow! That view from the summit is so gorgeous! Who would've thought that you were in Rizal? 200 for everything? So unbelievably cheap! That looks so fun to do, but I don't know if I can wake up that early. Haha! Looks like you had an amazing adventure!

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    1. 200 doesn't have food yet but yeah.. it's still cheap. :)

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  9. The trail looks fairly easy! The last time I hiked was in El Nido and boy, the paths are really steep. A little slip and I would have fallen down the mountain. But it was a wonderful experience indeed! I'll be blogging about it soon and I hope you'll check it out. It is one of the secret places I visited in El Nido.

    I like to try hiking in Mt. Balabag. The view seems really nice and it would definitely be a great way to exercise! And it is unbelievably cheap too! :D

    Thanks so much for sharing. Bookmarked this for my travel bucket list.

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    1. I didn't know El Nido has a mountain? Whoa! I will definitely read it. When I go to El Nido I might check it out as well. You should definitely try this one. :)

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  10. What a gorgeous view! It's interesting that they rank hikes out of 9, I wonder what level I could get to... You may have been jealous of those people with 4x4s but I guarantee they didn't feel the same satisfaction you did when you reached the top! Sounds like a worthwhile experience that would be good for a beginner like me.

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    1. Me too. I wonder how far can I go when it comes to difficulty. :) Thanks for reading. :)

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    2. I love hiking and I used to climb mountains because I grew up in the province, me and my friends love doing it but we're not pro, great travel indeed, Hopefully next time you will be able to see the sunset and do some star gazing, if you're with a large group for safety.

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  11. I've been hearing a lot about Rizal lately, the mountains and other interesting nature scapes that one should visit. This is a wonderful experience! The views were so lovely! I wish to go hiking too someday.. its one of my dreams and ive never experienced it eversince.. :)

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  12. Looks like a very well planned activity. This kind of discipline and adherence to time helps. The views are mesmerizing from there, definitely worth the climb. I am not sure if I will be able to complete it though.

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  13. Im more of a beach person than a mountain lover one but the view of the summit never gets old. Every summit offers a different view that would always struck you in awe! I hooe you'll be able to achieve your goal on conquering more mountains. A great adventure always awaits. :)

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  14. I also have a blog about Mt. Balagbag! I climbed it on a Monday before going to school and work. Talk about harkor. But it's a pretty easy climb that's why. Very refreshing way to start the week. :)

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  15. The view looks amazing! The last time I hiked was I think 3 years ago in Baler going to the mother falls. I haven't really done it with professionals, by the way what does spelunking and jump off mean? Hehe sorry i'm really a newbie

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    1. Jump off means your starting point and spelunking means going inside caves. 😊

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  16. I used to hike as well. But now that we have a little boy to take care of, husband and my boys continue to hike, leaving me at home. Hu hu hu. I miss nature and the beauty of seeing the mountains and touching those grasses as you ascend. Perhaps I will go.back hiking once our baby is strong enough to hike on his own and carry his own water :) such nice experience you had there. Keep climbing.

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  17. Wow, this is just another mountain that I should really have to pen on my bucket list. I haven't visited Rizal Province yet and I'm so happy that I discover more of its hidden gem. I truly admirer you for the strength that you have to be able to climb to the summit of this mountain. You reminded me that I should start climbing mountain again.

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  18. Gahhhd, I miss climbing!

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  19. Hi Maaya! Is there a parking lot at the jump off or anywhere near? as we are planning to use a private vehicle going to the area. Thank you..^_^

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kath! There are parking spaces available. 😊

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  20. Anonymous5/31/2017

    Hi Maaya,thanks for sharing. I would just like to ask if the trail is that easy and visible? Will I not really need to hire a guide to the summit?

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    1. Hi! Yes, the trail is easy and super visible. There are 4x4 cars passing through so rest assured that you won't get lost within the trail. But if you're that hesitant, I suggest you still get one especially if you're going there alone. :)

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  21. Hi, Maaya. Thanks for sharing as well. Did you have to secure permits before you climbed?

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    1. Hi! No need to secure permits. :)

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  22. hi maaya can you help do you have contact guide in mt balagbag?
    they have plan for hiking with my team this coming july 30&31
    but it is night trek?

    thank you

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    1. Hi Mitchell, sorry but I don't have any contacts. :(

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  23. Joanne8/11/2017

    Hi Ms Maaya, just wanna ask what is the best time to hike Mt Balagbag, is it morning or afternoon? THank you so muuch :)

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    1. It depends on you. But the sunset in Mt. Balagbag is really nice so I suggest you go see it and go there in the afternoon. :)

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