Skip to main content

Meeting Mt. Sialdang/Halcon

May 18, 2015 holds a  happy event in my outdoor life that I want to share with you. :) After months of planning and training, I finally reached the summit of one of my dream mountains - Mt. Sialdang or popularly known in the local hiking community as Mt. Halcon. 

*Mt. Sialdang is the name given by the locals to the mountain. 
Me at the summit of Mt. Halcon. Photo taken by Gene Gonzales
This beautiful mountain, the highest peak in the province of Oriental Mindoro at a height of 2,582 MASL and 18th among the mountains in the Philippines has been on my hike list for years now. Closed in 2006 by local officials and the DENR, it was only in March 2015 when clear policies were put into place, making hiking activities official from February 1 to May 31 of each year. I was not going to let this year pass without visiting! :) 

It is rated with a difficulty level of 9/9 and  although it's trails are not as technical as what I've seen in other Philippine mountains like Guiting-Guiting or Dulang-Dulang, it's still very steep and arduously loooong! It took us 1.5 days to reach the summit and with the poor traction of my shoe, I found it even more challenging to hike down. It was excruciating to the knees! 
Photo About 30 minutes to the summit
Despite the challenging trail, 
I fell in love with its lush forests and variety of terrain. We hiked through mossy forests, crossed open trails with banana trees everywhere, passed several small falls and crossed a big river.  We were fortunate that limatiks (leeches) were not so active when were there and me and 3 others in our group managed to escape a bite. :)

Its summit is nothing I've seen before, it is scattered with cuts and slabs of marble and surrounded with colorful shrubs and although we were only given 5 minutes of clearing, we still saw a rewarding view of clouds and nearby mountains. 
Summit break. Photo taken by Gene Gonzales
Crossing the breathtaking Dulangan River. This was also where we set camp for two nights. 
I am already excited to go back next year! :) 

To my Halcon buddies - Allen Yatco, Gene Gonzales, Eric Leron and Carlos, thank you and hope to see you again soon! :) 

Below is a copy of our climbing log and expenses for your reference. 
Climbing Log (via Lantuyan trail): 
Day 0 - May 16, 2015 
- Took the 11:00 AM Fastcat ferry to Calapan
- after arriving in Calapan, we rented a tricycle to Baco from the pier (we stopped over at Jollibee Calapan for 
a quick lunch)
- went to Baco Tourism office to process our permit (advance coordination necessary) 
5:30 PM - ETA, Lantuyan, checked in at Tagbungan Mountain Resort for proper rest

Day 1 - May 17, 2015
6:30 AM Start (assault)
9:00 AM Limatik Infested trail
10:30 AM Big water source (we heard voices when we resumed trekking)
11:30 AM Aplaya (Dungawan) (refilled water at a nearby falls)
12:30pm Aplaya camp site 
2:30pm Dulangan Campsite (river crossing)

Day 2 - May 18, 2015
4:00 AM Start
6:00 AM Last water source before intense assault
8:30 AM Knife-edge
9:15 AM Summit
10:30am Descend summit
3:30pm Back at Dulangan campsite

Day 3 - May 19, 2015
7:10 AM Start descent
8:30 AM Aplaya campsite
11:00 AM Border (Boses / Limatik Trail)
11:45 AM Kubo(kaingin)

12:50 PM Back at jumpoff at Lantuyan 
8:00 PM took Montenegro Ferry back to Batangas Pier 
10:00 PM ETA, Batangas Pier
12 MN ETA, EDSA Magallanes 


Other Information :
Hiking season is February 1-May 31 of each year. 

Advance coordination is required to hike Mt. Halcon, please visit Mt. Halcon - Pinoy Mountaineer for more details.

Contact person : 
Jojo (Baco Tourism Office) - +63 9198821442

My Training Plan
I got sick two weeks before the hike but as I started training months ahead, I was able to develop endurance and the adjustment during the actual hike was not as bad as I expected. 

I trained on my own for  2-3 times a week and the exercises comprised of the following : 

Swimming - 2-3 times a week, 1 hour per session
Elliptical machine - at least 15 minutes ( I hated this :P)
Stairs training - at least 1x a week (I practiced in our office building)
Time & budget permitting - 1 hiked at least 1-2x a month

Diet : 

As I was recovering from sickness,  I fueled my body with good food like quinoa, veggies and fish 5 days before our trip. It really worked well and I felt light and agile during the hike. 

Trail Food & Hydration:

Dried cranberries, GU Energy Gel, peanuts, 500 ML of Pocari Sweat and 500 ML of Gatorade, 1 liter of water. There are several water sources so it was enough to get me through 3D and 2N in the mountain. :) 





Popular posts from this blog

Hiking in La Trinidad : Mt. Yangbew

To kickoff 2017, I  returned to the Cordillera region with one of my closest friends, Jules. We wanted to take it easy  so we decided to try a couple of short but very scenic trails in Benguet I found online (References posted below). 

Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad,the capital of the province of Benguet  is less than an hour from Baguio city and features several accessible, scenic mountain trails - Mt. Yangbew (also known as Mt. Jambo), Tayawan view deck and Mt. Kalugong. These are all beginner-friendly or as the younger Pinoy millenials would say, pabebe-friendly. :P
Since we were taking a super early bus ride,  (1:30 AM early! :P), we made sure  we got nice, comfy seats. Fortunately, with 3 days prior to the trip, we were able to book online via iWantSeats.

In five hours, we arrived in the City of Pines and walked towards Session Road to hunt for a hotel. Fortunately, a vacant room was immediately available at Benguet Prime Hotel so we were able to leave our bags.  We took our sweet t…

Part 2 : Bataan Adventures | Where to Eat in Bataan (Updated 2017)

Being an avid hiker and foodie, I've grown very fond of visiting  Bataan.  This province offers several hiking trails (check my post here) passing verdant forests and nicely decorated cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a proper cup of coffee and affordable comfort food. It is also highly accessible from Manila via land travel, making it a good option for a short but rewarding out of town adventure. 

Here's a list of restaurants in Bataan where you can enjoy satisfying meals. 

ANGELITOS (Orani)
The restaurant's name which means little angels (male) was inspired by the owner's 3 young boys, Miguel (after St. Michael), Rafael and Gabriel.This 2 year old family owned restaurant has a homey ambiance and serves any type of food that the family enjoys.

Dishes are flavorful and priced affordably -100 Pesos above for the main dishes and 20 Pesos above for the desserts.Specialty includes, pork binagoongan and creamy tofu (my fave!). The restroom which has a mini garden is als…

12 Useful things to Bring on your First Mountain Hike

Hiking has become very popular in the Philippines that it's now easier to find a mountain and come up with your own itinerary  or join an organized group. (Read 10 Tips on How to be a Good Climb Participant
If you're heading out to your first mountain hike and thinking of what to bring, here are a couple of tips. Note that this list was created as a guide and not a mandatory checklist. The items featured are based on what I observed to be  useful when hiking in tropical weather.

7 Hiking Tips for Beginners | 8 Essentials for Rainy Day Hikes by Basekamp PH

1.  Footwear
Footwear should enhance your experience outdoors and protect you from injury. There are shoes designed specifically for hiking but I encourage you to research the mountain  first before purchasing hiking shoes. Will there be sections where you need to cross rivers? How long will you be hiking?If the mountain has a clear and established trail that normally won't take more than 4 hours to complete, you can very w…