The TTs that you should Experience while in Benguet

5 04 2016

TTs – Mt Tabayoc (+/- 2685m asl); Mt Timbak (+/-2,545 m asl)

Saturday, 2 – 3 April 2016

Benguet, Philippines

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Mt Tabayoc – Picturesque mountain and said to be the second highest in mountain in Luzon. One would see the view upfront Lake Tabayo even from the ranger. Official record shows an elevation of 2,842 m asl.

Mt Timbak – sacred place for the locals, ninth highest mountain in the country. Official record shows an elevation of 2,717 m asl. This is located between Atok and Kabayan



Day 1 (travel to the destination)

21:30 ETD Pasay, Joy bus


Day 2 (actual hike)

3:00 ETA Baguio (the business district of northen Luzon, +/- 1540m asl considered to be a tropical pine forest ecoregion of the country)

7:00  ETD Slaughter house compound to catch the bus bound to Kabayan, This was where we met Pedro (Peter, real name), a Dutch volunteer and backpacker

11:00 ETA Poblacion, Kabayan, Benguet

12:00 Have lunch at Chogong Restaurant

13:20 Take the local bus going to the jump off (Ballay Elementary School, 1st registration at the local barangay; Take a chartered ride to the Ranger station for the 2nd registration. Otherwise, start walking on a rolling hill up for 1 hr)

15:00 Start pitching tent (Remember that this is the best tip when camping – Pitch tent before it gets dark! Ensure that you will minimize risks while pitching during the night and most of all you could immediately rest after night trekking! Leave unnecessary things on the trail. Make sure you carry your trail food, water, torch/headlamp, raincoat or poncho, jacket. We did hiking at 11 deg C in the dark mossy and rooted forest trail)

16:00 Start hiking (at +/- 2,480 m asl, farm land area so please respect crops of the local community while walking)

17:40 ETA Dungawan (+/- 2,505 m asl, already in the middle of the forest trail, halfway to the summit)

19:20 ETA Summit (be careful stepping on the wooden stairs).

19:30 Start descend

22:00 ETA Ranger, prepare dinner

23:00 Dinner

24:00 Lights out


Day 3 (actual hike then travel back from destination)

06:30 Wake up, prepare breakfast, break camp, clean your tent and pack up your things

08:00 Have breakfast with the locals

09:00 Enjoy watching the locals harvest carrots! (if you are lucky to catch the season)

09:30 ETD Ranger bound to Timbak Elementary School (The chartered ride takes 30 minutes only but we did quite a number of stops for photo opt and giving way to counter flow vehicles. Make sure you choose a very good driver like Kagawad)

11:30 ETA Timbak Elementary School, register

11:40 Start hiking (enjoy the short-distance ala pilgrimage trek up alongside farming area of lovely flowers)

11:50 ETA Summit

12:15 Start descend then head to the highway

13:00 ETA Halsema highway km55

15:30 ETA Baguio


Side trips within Baguio

18:00 Tam-awan Village for a unique blend of indigenous aesthetics and craftmanship of Cordilleran art

19:00 Go to Session Road and chill out (too many restaurants to choose from for various foods – pasta, pizza, local food)

21:00 Try the night market for “Ukay-Ukay” or bargain shopping (with defective items or second hand goods)

22:00 Catch the bus back to Manila


BUDGET for:+/- 5,000php for a group of 4 pax inclusive of bus from Manila to Baguio, environmental fee, heritage fee, guide, camping fee, entrance fee, food, taxi within Baguio, chartered vehicle within Kabayan and Atok areas, FX or bus from Baguio to Benguet areas

*NOTES: 1) elevation- from my reading using the 2015 calibrated Casio ABT watch; 2) Conserve water from the Mt Tabayoc Ranger, local female/male guides patiently fill up pails for the visitors; 3) Coordinate with Jahmes Calixto for onsite guidance – 0917-3818041 globe, 0918-510 9711 smart. h





Mt. Punsong Bato: Are you for Real?

22 11 2010

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Mt Punsong Bato: Ikaw Ba’y Totoo
Sunday, 14 February 2010
San Pablo City, Laguna

Every time I go on mountaineering or hiking with my friends, we end up thinking of where to go next while still on trail.

The Puzzle

It was Pandecoco who suggested Mt. Punsong Bato. He remembered going there sometime ago. All of us where a bit awed with the idea since we have never heard about it nor even saw it on the map. We even challenged Pandecoco that it may be just a hill. But we thought of, why not try and for sure we will all reach the area wherever it is. Strawberry and Pandecoco agreed to go advance party (meaning, to check on the site before the rest of the group).

The D-day

After few pre-climbs on email, the Manila team went to the rendezvous area. We started “night” trekking. After 30 minutes of assault, we reached the house of Pedro, the classmate of Pandecoco whom he didn’t see after a decade or two. (Good both Pandecoco and Strawberry checked on the area before us so we had a place for water stop).

As soon as we had all filled up our water bottles, we thanked Pedro and left his abode. We were lucky we had stars that night. Strange that not only the moon was missing, the trail was beginning to hide from us too. We then decided to stop for the night anyhow we all got hungry. (We too considered the fact that the nearest water station around the area was Pedro’s.)


We pitched our tents and enjoyed the lights of the “tagayan”, a newly found plastic container for drinking of Breadship. After so many sharing of stories from one another, few laughs and bullying from each other, we turned off our headlamps and decided to rest for the night.

Morning Breeze

Upon waking up, I was excited to see the sunrise. I grabbed baby digi and took the best morning dew I have ever seen. The sun was beginning to rise. The fog started to hide from the day. I could se e the nearby mountain. The cool wind started to kiss the flowers around the area. They seemed to bloom in a second and it was then that I have seen the ants coming from their hiding places to start their day. We took a lot of snaps of the area around us – the trees, the flowers, the ants, the scenic angles of Mt. Punsong Bato and others. While we were enjoying the moment, Monay volunteered to get the group water from classmate’s and we all hit the trail once again after a magnificent breakfast.

Tree on the Prairie

Since our stomach got fed very well that morning, we all had a very good smile under the tree where the flowers around that time were blossoming. We were lucky to see for ourselves another look of the trail.

The Guards of Mt. Punsong Bato

We bouldered and reached Mt. Punsong Bato with awe! The area was real! And it has an amazing view of the whole San Pablo. We felt that the boulders were guarding the area for it completed the challenge of reaching and leaving the summit.

Falls not False

We started descending when the sun started to really get into our skin. This time, our objective was to reach the falls. After seeing the falls, we were a little dismayed. There was no abundant water to see the real beauty of the area. As the TL (team leader) of the hike, Pandecoco suggested to continue trekking instead. We had lunch on trail while traversing the river bank. But mind you, it was la nina time. We did not end up getting ourselves soaked into water.


On board a bus coming from Manila to San Pablo City Laguna, get off 7-11 San Pablo-Maharlika Highway Barangay II B. This 7-11 is just before the traffic light, right after Franklin Baker. Take the tricycle bound to Barangay Bautista.Tell the tricycle driver to go to Santiago 2-Tarangka. This area is the jump-off. Fare is between 15 to 20 php per person.


February is the best time of the year since the cold and summer seasons are getting in the way. One would see the real countryside of Laguna.


Make sure you have the usual outdoor gadgets: tent, sleeping bag, sturdy back pack, insect repellent, jacket in case the night gets cold or for the rain, swiss knife, first aid kit and other personal light stuff.


Per head would cost 1000.00php (20 USD). This includes the bus coming from Manila to San Pablo City, group food, butane and on-site transportation. Make sure that you huggle the price for the tricycle coming back and forth from Maharlika h-way. It gets difficult to hire a tricycle since the jump off is an inner area. Or else you will end up walking approx 6km long to reach 7-11.h

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