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Mt. Sto. Tomas, (Tuba, Benguet)

One of the nice views you can see as you approach Mt. Sto. Tomas
Last month, I went to Baguio for a side job and one of the highlights of the trip, apart from traveling with blogger friends and meeting new ones was the hiking. 

Considered as the highest peak closest to Baguio City, Mt. Sto. Tomas towers at 2,256 MASL. The trail to its summit starts at Green Valley at Sitio Digdigwayan  in Baguio City. From its terminal along Shagem Street near Burnham Park, the jeepney ride is just 30 minutes (costs about 15 Pesos as of 2011), but you may need to wait a while for the jeep to fill up with passengers. Another option is to get a cab and ask the driver to take you to Green Valley. 

As the trail inescapably passes by another peak, Mt. Cabuyao (2,025 MASL) which is the first peak from the jump-off, most people do a twin day hike. 

Radio transmitters near the peak of Mt. Cabuyao also commonly referred to as "ra-dar" .
Photo was taken on a separate occassion. 
The trail starts at a residential area with a concrete road. Taking the traditional route up, it is possible to bring a vehicle to the summit of Mt. Cabuyao which is marked with three crosses but you need to watch out for landslides along the way. Another trail, not commonly used, is found near the marker of Sitio Digdigwayan which passes through the mountains. 

Hiking to Mt. Cabuyao takes two hours going uphill for almost the entire way. From there, the obvious trail to Mt. Santo Tomas takes an hour or so with the terrain reminiscent of Mt. Tapulao - slinking up, very rocky and gets foggy as the day progresses. 

Weather changes rapidly here. This was taken at 9:00 AM. 
Misty trail as we began our descent at 10:20 AM. 
We terminated our hike as we approached the area where several tv station towers are built. We climbed up the balcony of the ABS CBN tower. The workers were quite friendly and allowed us to take some photos.

Group photo taken by the charming Jela. :)  L-R : Dong Ho, Pinoy Adventurista, Epic Potato,
yours truly and Batang Lakwatsero. 
Notes : 
  • No registration fee is collected for both peaks as of this writing. 
  • If you take the traditional trail, you can just wear rubber slippers on your way up, or even wedges, as with the case of the lovely Ms. Epic Potato. :)  For safety purposes however, it's advisable to wear closed shoes with a good traction as there are sharp stones along the way. 
  • It's a non-technical, easy hike but don't forget to bring water (500 ML will do, more if you drink a lot) and some snacks. 
  • Please refrain from hiking during bad weather due to threats of landslide. 
  • You can easily make your way up, so hiring of guides is not a common practice here. 
  • Locals here are very friendly so don't forget to acknowledge them if you run into them along way. It's always good practice to make your presence known when visiting new places. 
  • As always, please leave no trace when you hike and bring your own garbage down. :)
  • Detailed itinerary can be found at Pinoy Mountaineer.

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