a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Saturday, February 4, 2017

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
Facing one of the several clusters of rock formationat the summit of Mt. Yangbew in La Trinidad, Benguet
 (Photo taken by Jules Picato)
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 time and grabbed a simple breakfast at Zola, a 24 hour restaurant along Session road. 
Tawang Barangay Hall located a few blocks off the main road. 

From Session Road, we took  a cab to Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad. Taking Ambiong road, travel time took less about 30 minutes, maybe even less. After registering at the barangay hall, we walked about a kilometer or two towards the trailhead of Mt. Yangbew. Guides are not required but should you need one, you can inquire at the reception.  Personally, with only one trail leading to the summit from the jump off, I can't imagine anyone getting lost in its trails. 
A view of La Trinidad from Mt. Yangbew
It takes an hour to get to peak, if you take it  slow. The trail is relatively easy - nothing technical. You basically just walk your way to the top. The most difficult part for me was this steep, sweat-inducing cement road at the start of the hike. It was a shock to our lowlander lungs!  

After this section, we went up a mildly steep dirt road and took numerous stops  along the way because the view of La Trinidad from behind is so nice! The weather was perfect - bright, clear blue skies and though it was past 9:00 AM, it was still cold and the sun was gentle on the skin. We actually wore our jackets while hiking because it still felt very chilly. 
My yogi friend Jules 

The peak is so enormous, there's a riding trail for horses! There's also stunning views everywhere, which includes the entire La Trinidad and other mountains in the Cordilleras. From afar, we saw the radio transmitters from Mt. Cabuyao in Tuba,which are shaped like the ears of Mickey Mouse.  

There's so much to see at the peak that we spent about an hour, admiring the view and taking tons of souvenir shots. 

Mt. Yangbew, with its scenic peak and short, beginner-friendly trails is a recommended mountain for those who are looking for a quick hike close to Baguio. 

Our next stop was Tayawan View Deck which has a trail at the side of Tawang Barangay Hall (Post here).

Environmental Rates as of January 2017 (in Philippine Pesos)
Local hikers and bikers - 30 PHP
Local Students - 25 PHP
Foreigners - 50 PHP
Campers, those who are spending the night (foreign and local) - 100 PHP
Notes : 
- Walk-in hikers, campers and bikers are welcome.
- Bring your own trash back down with you. 

How to Get to Mt. Yangbew
From Manila, take a bus to Baguio.  The closest terminals from NAIA airport are Victory Liner and Genesis, both in Pasay  (just refer to Google maps to locate the terminals). Joy Bus is the deluxe bus service of Genesis, which we took. You can book online via iWantSeats or PinoyTravel. I prefer the former because I can choose seats in advance. However, payment mode is through bank deposit. For online payments, try the latter. I haven't booked with them but my colleagues have and it's legit. 

From Baguio city, take a cab to Tawang Barangay Hall in La Trinidad. Our driver took Ambiong road to avoid the traffic and our fare was 120+/- PHP. (Note : GrabTaxi, a ride hailing service is now in Baguio. Download the app to book a cab). You can also take a jeep bound for Tomay from Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio and asked to be dropped off at the junction to Brgy. Tawang.

Where to Stay in Baguio?
I prefer staying close to Session road and my favorite hotels in the area are Hotel 45 Main which is almost, always fully booked, City Center Hotel (2000+/-/night) and Benguet Prime Hotel (starts at 2000 PHP/night). I also usually check Agoda. Click here to search for excellent deals on your accommodation. 

Visit below sites for additional information : 
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/local-news/2016/07/06/mount-yangbew-re-opens-hikers-483787
http://www.cordilleransun.com/2016/03/hiking-destination-in-la-trinidad-gets.html
http://francramon.com/taleofthetrail-mount-kalugong-and-mount-yangbo-la-trinidad-benguet/
http://www.pagnapagna.com/2015/11/mt-tayawan.html
http://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/mount-jumbo-la-trinidad-benguet-ph/

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