a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year-End Climb : Mt. Balagbag Day Hike Traverse

As we started our hike down a rough road, we were welcomed with genuine smiles from the residents of Barangay Karahume in Rizal. A few meters farther, we ran into a crowd, comprising of members of the Dumagat tribe who traveled to receive supplies provided by a government official. They gave out curious, friendly looks to which I returned a jovial greeting. With me was a new acquaintance, a  fellow hiker who has explored several trails within Mt. Balagbag. I was informed that we were doing a traverse and I was ecstatic - as always. 

From the road side, we descended to a river trail that led to Ocho-Ocho Falls, where we had to climb five small falls. We bumped into another group - one of which was a fellow blogger - Dermin of The Quixotic World.

I had already ascended  about 15 feet of the fourth fall. On the last but toughest portion, my nerves started to get the best of me. Water was flowing everywhere and being acrophobic, I felt anxious about the altitude. I hang on to a  rock, unsure what to do. I had no firm grip on anything. "I'm going to fall."  I thought to myself. 

Since my rock climbing accident two years ago where I incurred 7 stitches and unable to walk properly for two weeks, I've been fearful of climbing on boulders - specifically wet ones or anything that recreates the environment where I fell
I  called out to my companion and told her I was having difficulty making my way up.  I know she couldn't do anything about it. I had to figure it out on my own  and forced myself to think straight. I even called out to God (yes, I was really, really scared!). Finally, I found something to hang on to and while holding my breath, pushed myself upwards. I made it! I was happy but my energy was drained. During our lunch stop, I consumed a lot of food to make up for the lost calories I burned trying to get myself together. Haha!

The rest of the trail, though quite hot on the first hour, was quite manageable.  We reached the summit in about two hours, minus lunch time. There, we feasted on the views of  nearby mountains and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range  (another dream hike!). 

We went down using the Rotary Trail which had thicker foliage. It was already dark when we finally reached Barangay Karahume where we rented a tricycle that took us back to the main highway

This challenging and rewarding hike up Mt. Balagbag was a fitting way to say goodbye to 2011. Here's to more adventures for 2012! :)

Extreme precautions must be carried out when climbing waterfalls. Protective equipment such as helmet and ropes is recommended.  Also, please check the weather and don't push through your trip in case of heavy rains. (For weather updates, I visit the PAGASA website and Accuweather.)

Two good sources are available online:


  1. nice. pahabol tong hike na to. nakailang bundok ka nga ba this year?

  2. "Falling on the falls". This cracked me up a bit hehe.

    Yes, the other climbers there usually bring ropes to aid in climbing because of the nature ng falls trail. And I am sorry that I was not of help dun sa mahirap na part ng falls, mejo catching up my heartbeat din ako. I went back to get your shoes sana, but seeing your grip there I know you can make it!

    Thank you for the chance to climb with you Tin, now we are officially acquaintances. Previously kasi iniistalk ko lang yung blogs mo. Sayang hindi ko masyadong naabsorb yung mga inquiries ko sayo, narattle kasi ako dun sa naiwan sa Jollibee. Hehe.

    Climbful 2012 for us all! =D

  3. @Dong Ho - hahaha! di ako nagbilang..basta gusto ko lang maghiking. :) Hope I can climb with you soon!

    @BPS - okay lang no :) I'm really happy na nagka-year end climb ako courtesy of you. Thank you talaga!!! :)

    Pag kailangan mo info. DM mo lang ako sa Twitter or email/text me. Ako din magtatanong about Buguias uli. hehe!

  4. What a way to end the year, and perhaps, ending the fear? cheers to 2012!

  5. @PinoyExplorer - thank you! It was really a nice, nerve-wrecking climb. hahaha! Sana magkasabay tayo minsan. :) I don't think I'd ever get over my phobia but it does make adventures more exhilarating! :P

  6. climbing those waterfalls! grabe ah! lalo na yung fourth (second to the last)... hindi ko akalain inaakyat pala yun...si BPS talaga ang expert sa Balagbag. nice to meet both of you!

  7. @Dermin - ako din di makapaniwala..gusto ko talaga himatayin sa takot! hehe.. Nice meeting you too. :)

  8. sir akyat kme maya sa mt.balagbag first time lng po nmen ask. ko lng po safe po ba mg hike d2? kc me nabalitaan kme na me mga npa dw po d2? then ung mga falls po ba e trail mismo papuntang summit?? then anu po bang da best na byahe d2?? were from taytay rizal po! sana pakisagot lahat ng tanung ko! salamat po godbless! patrick from pazaway mountaineers!

  9. Hi Patrick :), Christine here.

    The trip was organized by a friend of mine and she wrote very helpful info. on her blog - http://bundokaholics.blogspot.com/2011/04/itinerary-mt-balagbag.html.

    Yung paakyat ng falls, ndi talaga doon ang daan pa-summit, sa side ng falls talaga ang trail, kaya lang ayun yung alam na daan ng kasama ko kasi nagexplo sila doon dati. Sya yung Balagbag expert. Hehe. Enjoy Balagbag!


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