DIY Guide in Climbing Mt. Balingkilat Traverse Nagsasa Cove
Mt. Pundaquit is my so called "Mother Mountain." This is a term use by mountaineering community to acknowledge the first mountain they conquered. To those who do not know, Mt. Pundaquit is located in Zambales. I do not know but there is something about the mountain ranges in Zambales. It will make you fall in love with it the first time you saw it.
I dream of scaling another mountain in Zambales after my sucessful climb in Mt. Pundaquit in 2012. It came into a reality in September 2018. Prior to the climb, I've heard from my online friends that climbing Mt. Balingkilat traverse to Nagsasa Cove is quite a climb due to lack of water source, open trail, and continuous steep ascent. It did not scare, I know it will be fun!
How to get to Mt. Balingkilat?
We flew from Cebu to Manila. Upon arrival we immediately went to Victory Liner Bus terminal to catch the earliest trip bound for Subic. Travel time could take 3 hours. We have to buy our food ration and supplies for the climb before heading to the jump off point which is in sitio Cawag settlement. But before that, we have to secure our permit at the Subic Police Station.
It was already late in the afternoon when we started our hike. I decided to just set up our camp at Kawayanan then resume trekking early in the morning. The trail from jump off to Kawayanan is pretty easy with few ascend. Expect trail is covered with tall grasses, so make sure you wear your sleeves and leggings.
The trail to the summit is merciless and unforgiving. Good thing we decided to stop and spend the night at Kawayanan camp site, otherwise we wont be able to make it to the summit given our physical condition. We started our ascent in as early as 2am. There were already few mountaineers on the trail doing a Cawag Hexalogy. We were on the lead, but little by little we got exhausted and made some stop to recover and catch our breath. It was an arduous trail (steep, rocky, open ridges, grassy, windy, expose to direct sunlight) way way technical than I expected, but our adventurous spirit pushed us towards the summit. We finally reach the summit almost 6am, just in time to witness the spectacular sunrise from the peak of Mt. Balingkilat. At the summit, one can see all four coves of the Zambales Coastal Mountains.
Going down traverse to Nagsasa Cove is quite much difficult for me. Trail is compose of rocky and steep downhill slope. What makes the trail difficult is we were directly expose to sunlight because there are no trees that can provide us shade. It was already lunch time when we arrived at Nagsasa Cove. It is time to hit the beach after that long, punishing Mt. Balingkilat traverse to Nagsasa Cove trail.
|Nagsasa Cove from Peak of Mt. Balingkilat|
1. Secure your permit at Subic Police Station. Make sure you have a letter of intent expressing your desire to climb Mt. Balingkilat.
2. Start early to prevent intense sun exposure. Wear your sleeves, sunblock, hat and anything that can prevent you from sun exposure.
3. Due to its limited water source, make sure to bring enough water supply.
4. Make sure you have a contact person. Hired a local guide. You may reach out to him at this number 09293290661.
5. Always bring your adventurous spirit and have fun!
How much would it cost to climb Mt. Balingkilat.
1. Guide fee: Php 1,000. As a courtesy it is our responsibility to provide food for the guide.
2. Fare: Manila to Subic Php 212
3. Trike from Subic to Sitio Cawag: Php 300
4. Registration fee: Php 60
5. Motorized boat from Nagsasa to Pundaquit: Php 1500