Travel Date: February 25-26 2017
Zambales is a province northwest of Manila, about 4 hours away. It has recently gained popularity amongst the younger generation of travelers because of its majestic Cawag mountain range and isolated coves ideal for day hikes, traversing and camping. (For the uninitiated, a traverse is crossing a mountain from point A to point B.)
I have always been reluctant about traversing. The thought of carrying everything with me all throughout the climb tires me out already. But after conquering Mt. Balingkilat (the highest peak of the Zambales Cawag Mountian Range) – Nagsasa Cove – a traverse that lasted 13 hours through a freaking typhoon, mountain-to-sea doesn’t seem so bad after all. The beach at the end feels like a reward after a grueling hike.
Mt. Cinco Picos literally means Five Peaks and is part of the Cawag Mountain Range. Because majority of its trail is open, we decided to do an afternoon – night trek. We started at 3pm, crossing dry, rocky riverbeds and grasslands.
Due to time constraints, we decided to pass through campsite and head straight to peak 1. We reached the first summit at around 730pm, for camp, dinner and socials.
We were the only group in the mountain – a novelty nowadays when climbing and the reason why I prefer going North (versus climbing around Cavite, Batangas and Rizal). We woke up at 6am to see the wonderful sunrise.
Unfortunately for me, I woke up with a really massive headache. I had to stay back at camp while two of my teammates explore peak 2.
We weren’t able to scale all five peaks, since this would require two or three more hours (and my hangover was really bad).
Once complete, we broke camp and started the trek down to Silanguin Cove. It was a relatively easy descent, considering my headache. It took us 3 hours to reach the cove, passing by yet dramatic landscapes.
There were a lot of kaingin or burnt clearing during our hike. Our guide told us it was to make way for wider trails. But do we really need to burn down large chunks of land? Hmmm.
Unlike the more popular coves of Anawangin and Nagsasa, Silanguin Cove is almost isolated. There was only one other group leaving when we reached our resort host. Like the mountain, we had the resort all to ourselves yet again! Curiously, we spotted several yachts docked nearby. Kanino kaya ‘yon?
We had a few hours to spare before going home. We ate brunch, slept and dipped in the waters to cool down. The warm water was a relief to our sore legs. It was the perfect way to recover from the massive hangover (never again!!!) and to end our traverse.
Ingat and see you on the road!
How to get there:
Take a Victory Liner bus bound for Olongapo. (Php 250)
Take the blue jeepney that will bring you to Subic Town. (Php 20)
Hire a tricycle to take you to the jump off point (Php 100)
The hike will require you to have a guide and a contact in Silanguin. To experience Zambales like a local, you may contact Tim or Chie at: +63919 991 5494 or +63998 862 7015 or like their Facebook Fan Page here: https://www.facebook.com/ToyoTim-Travels-1911402095750361/ They specialize in personalized local tours – ideal for solo travelers and small groups.
Know a place I should discover? Or want to travel together? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org