Conquering Mt. Pamitinan

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Every picture has a story to tell just as every mountain has a fascinating tale to reveal. Behind every good shot is an unheard story of struggles, hardships, and pain. Hidden in those smiles is the tough journey they’ve been through just to reach the top. Unseen are the tireless effort, unwavering faith and determination that those courageous attempt will all be worth it when they reach the summit–and the joy on their face clearly say its all worth it!

And our story is no ordinary. It all started at the registration booth. The lady curiously looked at me and my brother and asked us if we have other company for the climb. Being used to the question I politely answered ‘none’ and I told her that we’re willing to wait if there are other climbers so it wont be too boring on our way to the summit. One of the biggest challenges if you’re new to mountain climbing is to find someone from your friends whose willing to join you in this kind of crazy adventure. I’m fortunate enough that I have a brother who won’t let me go alone in my exploration after my constant begging and blackmailing.

After just few minutes of waiting (which happens very rare) a group of climbers arrived and by chance they will also climb Mt. Pamitinan. I asked them if we can be one group in the climb and luckily they agreed. After short introduction and simple greetings of ‘hi’, ‘hello’ we sealed the deal with a groupie.

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More than ready to conquer Mt. Pamitinan with our new found friends and instant travel buddy!

We started this crazy adventure as strangers but this long and exciting journey ahead of us will give us the chance to get to know each other better, listen to each other’s stories on the road, awesome escapade and personal life that will make us good friends for sure.

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So near and yet so far. The view of Mt. Pamitinan from the wooden bridge.

Mt Pamitinan attracts climbers because of its limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province and the 360′ breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains on top.

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The captivating view of Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan

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Enjoy the picturesque view of the twin mountains from the wooden bridge

After we passed through the wooden bridge, the trail that follows was a little easy. It was with high stairs and inclined trails. But I don’t know why but I actually felt a little dizzy and I’d like to throw up everything I ate for breakfast. I decided to have few minutes break. I was thinking what’s wrong with me. I have already climbed three mountains but only the easy ones with wide trails and not so high stairs. After giving myself sometime to recover, I continue climbing with the help of my very worried brother dear.

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Follow the leader este the friendly local guide. 

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Both Mt.Pamitinan and Mt.Hapunang Banoi share a common halfway trail that passes through the rock climbing walls of Montalban until the Junction point of Mt.Pamitinan. From there, the rightward trail leads to Mt. Pamitinan.

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The second half of the trail going to the summit of Mt. Pamitinan was more difficult and dangerous because it’s full of sharp rocks that one wrong move will really leave a deep bruise on your skin. This really requires scrambling and rock climbing skills.

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Physical and mental preparations ate needed for this climb. It’s both physically demanding and mentally challenging especially for beginners, you need to prepare your legs for the steep rocky climb, set your mind of the difficulty level you’re going through. You also have to train your arms for grip for some parts are also roped area and requires wall climbing that’s why wearing glove is a must.

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The mountain was a bit crowded when we went there because it was Saturday so you also need to climb fast so you wont be left behind by your group because the trail is only one way– you need to wait for other climbers  whoare going down before you can take your turn to go up.

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No journey is long and tough with good company.

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Mt. Haponang Banoi at the left.

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There’s no travel buddy like a brother. Climbing this mountain wont be possible without him. 

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I’m so proud of myself! I’m stronger than what I expected.

Before reaching the peak, there are a lot of beautiful rock formations, scenic view for photo opp. This place exceeds my expectation of what a true mountain climbing experience is in terms of difficulty level and the stunning view as well on top.

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We’re on top of the world! And we’re trembling! Its very high!

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Pre-summit of Mt. Pamitinan

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Summit of Mt. Pamitinan.

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It’s my first time! Literally rock climbing. Tiis ganda maakyat lang ang tuktok!

The sole reason why I climb mountains is to reach the summit! And we did it! It was a very tough climb but we made it! We were greeted by strong wind that removed all the weariness in our body. The captivating view on top will make you forget all the hardships you just encountered on your way to the summit.

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Hooray! We conquer Mt. Pamitinan!

After enjoying our moment of victory, we are yet to face another trial. How to go down? As much as its hard to climb going up, how much more going down? I know we can do it!! Me writing the story of our climb in Mt. Pamitinan is a solid proof that we were able to go down safe and sound. Thank you Lord for keeping us safe!

How to get there?

Option 1: From Cubao Farmers in front of Jollibee, take FX going to Eastwood Montalban for only 50 php, then alight at Robinsons Mall. Ride another jeep for 13php or tricycle for 90 php going to DENR Office in Wawa Dam.

Option 2: From Litex, take FX going to Eastwood Montalban, then alight at Robinsons Mall. Ride another jeep for 13php or tricycle for 90 php going to DENR Office in Wawa Dam.

BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES

*Van/FX from Cubao to Eastwood Montalban – 50 pesos
*Jeep from Eastwood Montalban to Wawa Dam – 13 pesos / Tricycle 90 pesos
*DENR Fee – 2 pesos
*Guide Fee – 500 pesos (5 people) plus we gave additional 250 tip to our tour guide because his very nice and kind
*Foods – bring your own and for the tour guide

My Adventure in Mt. Balagbag

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It was love at first climb. I didn’t know that climbing a mountain could be so thrilling, captivating and awe-inspiring not until I had my first climb in the Mountain of Gethsemane years ago. Since then, I always find myself dreaming to be on mountain top again, I missed the gentle touch of the wind as it caresses my skin, the deafening sound of silence while I’m savoring few hours of freedom and solitude.

Two days before New Year kicks in, I decided to climb Mt. Balagbag. I just wanted to be far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, to have some quiet time to clear my mind, to reflect and to think about the year that is about to end so I can start 2016 fresh and new without any excess and unwanted baggage.

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Enjoying my quiet time while admiring the captivating view on top.

For a beginner like me, Mt. Balagbag is the best option to start off. They say it’s the easiest trail that one can try before trying out other mountains that require expert mountain climbing skills because its trail is wide and long. But my journey going up was not that easy for the road is a bit steep and rocky (things are really easier said than done).

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Just keep on going! Difficult road often leads to beautiful destination.

Mt. Balagbag becomes a haven for many mountain bikers because of its trail.  It is also a popular hiking destination favored for its proximity to Metro Manila since its only located in Rodriguez Rizal.

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Enjoying my journey. It’s long and tiring but everything will be worth it when I reach the top.

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Expect the unexpected. Although it had a forested past. Mt Balagbag has now deforested area.

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The shade of this small, lone tree became my temporary refuge from the scorching sun

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Every cloud has a silver lining. I’m almost there!

The peak of the mountain is a plus factor why many mountain bikers are attracted to go there. At the peak of the mountain is where the “helipad” can be seen. A helipad at the peak of a mountain is literally like a helipad where helos can easily land.

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The Helipad. The gigantic stage on the summit!

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I conquered Mt. Balagbag! Kudos to me! But the dark clouds that cover the sky are not so welcoming!

Being part of the Sierra Madre range, Mt. Balagbag stands in the middle of Central and Southern Luzon and boasts a summit that offers a spectacular view of different horizons: From Malabon stretching to Manila and Makati’s cityline and extending as far as Parañaque and Baywalk.

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The view is just simply breathtaking

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Overlooking the city!

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Mountains are everywhere! Sierra Mader, Mt. Arayat, Mt. Sembrano, Mt. Tagapo, Mt. Maranat

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I’m on top of the world!

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Yours truly and my brother who made this climb possible and the man behind all my pictures.

After enjoying the breathtaking view, sweet serenity and moment of tranquility all good things must come to an end, my adventure here must also end. I wasn’t able to explore the whole place more because I need to go back home for I have piles of work waiting for me. I’m looking forward to go back to this place to stay overnight and enjoy star gazing and discover the hidden beauty of Mt. Maranat and the other neighboring mountains.

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Going back to where it all started. I’m going home!

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Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, keep nothing but memories.

What other things to do here?

Mt. Balagbag doesn’t only boast its beautiful mountain range but also its waterfalls and rivers that pave way for the possibility to traverse to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan or other barangays of Rodriguez, Rizal. You also have an option to stay overnight to see the dazzling city lights, the millions of stars the light up the sky at night, wait for shooting stars, and witness the great view during sunset and sunrise.

How to get there?
Ride a bus bound to SM Fairview Tungko then alight at Jollibee Tungko. At the back of BDO bank in Tungko, there is a jeepney terminal going to Licao-Licao; ride that jeep to Licao-Licao. From Licao-Licao, you may start your trek up to the summit or you may wish to ride tricycle going to the registration area which is actually a 30-minute walk from Licao-Licao.

Registration/Others
First Registration Fee: Php 10.00
Second Registration Fee: Php 20.00
Tour Guide: 400-500 pesos (but not required)

Thanks for reading! Follow me to keep updated of my next adventure!