Ok, I may be exaggerating now. But hey, that's what we felt when we climbed this mountain three months ago.
Day 1 - March 23, 2013
Knowing that Mt. Balingkilat is part of the mountain system that has a it-is-too-hot-I-will-die-here reputation, I was quite not sure if I should be gratified by the clear blue sky that welcomed us at Sitio Cawag, Subic, Zambales (the jump-off point for this hike) early morning of Saturday.
|registration at Sitio Cawag|
Oftentimes, I would rejoice if I see a clear sunny day on start of a trek, pero nung makita kong maaraw sa Mt. Balingkilat, nag-dalawang isip ako kung matutuwa talaga ako.
Oh sunny day
We know beforehand that the ideal time to hike a Zambales mountain, Mt. Balingkilat for instance, is during the wee hours when the sun isn't up yet. Well, that was actually our plan until this bus line (not to be named) ruined our itinerary. We were supposed to board the 1AM trip to Olongapo but ended up taking their 4AM, sigh. This, of course, pushed our planned itinerary, we began trekking at around 08:30 AM, which by then, the sun was already quite unbearable.
|no shaded place to hide from the sun.|
SPF 100 not enough.
|although it was really hot during our trek, the clear sunny day allowed us to see the mountain unobscured, which for me is truly beautiful.|
|sadyang nakapanlulumo ang unang oras ng paglalakad|
All I had in mind while trekking was "shade". I want shade!
|this grove of bamboo, most certainly a gift from above!|
|When Dane suggested that we stay at the campsite and wait until the heat dwindles down, everybody readily agreed.|
|We resumed the trek at around 02:15 PM, mainit pa rin pero kaya nang tiisin.|
|Mt. Pinatubo (NE) seen from the trail.|
|Mt. Cinco Picos (S) and Mts. Natib and Mariveles (SE) also seen from the trail|
|kapag mahangin sa trail, we would rather stay on that spot for like 10 minutes.|
|semi-bouldering before the near-summit campsite|
|by 5:45 PM, we reached the rocky near-summit campsite. |
approx 4 hours trek from Kawayanan Campsite
|there was supposedly a water source near this campsite, but since it's summer time, there's none.|
|night time soon came in|
Day 2 - March 24, 2013
The following morning, we woke up on a very foggy place. The campsite was engulfed by thick layers of fog, there's almost nothing to see beyond 5 meters distance.
|we still went up to the summit though, despite our very slim chance of seeing the view from top.|
|but as expected, we had no view from Balingkilat summit.|
sayang, kita sana lahat ng coves ng Zambales
|we resumed the trek at 07:30 AM. |
No sun yet, thanks to fog
|we reached this plateau at around 07:40 AM. It's pretty much a large campsite, could accommodate a hundred tents. There's also a water source nearby, but again dry during summer.|
|of course, I rushed to this rock when I saw it. Another life-on-the-edge photo for me.|
|descending along the ridge line|
|Mt. Balingkilat summit viewed from the ridge.|
|but despite the challenges, I still enjoyed the trek very much.|
view pa lang napapawi na yung pagod ko
|the other major peaks in Subic-San Antonio mountain system, Mt. Cinco Picos on the left, and Mt. Dayungan to the right.|
|we were so relieved we we reached the water source. It was like an oasis in a middle of a desert, heaven! Some of us even dipped on the pool para lang mapreskohan.|
|salamat sa mga puno, hndi na masyadong matindi ang paghihirap namin.|
|During summer, the river is totally dry. But it could swell so deep during the rainy season, according to our guide|
|Mt. Balingkilat as seen from below.|
nakakatuwang isipan na nanggaling pa lang kami sa tuktok and descended through that ridge.
|approaching Nagsasa Cove|
continue reading here...
I'm so glad we made it, successfully traversed Mt. Balingkilat. Big thanks to Agnes for arranging this climb, which I truly enjoyed despite the extreme challenges. Thanks to our young guides as well, Tom and his friend.
Done with my 38th mountain.