Last updated: 26th September 2020
Are you looking for a mountain to hike this weekend but don’t want to go far from the metro? Or are you planning to hike with your friends who are beginners and do not know where to go? If you agree in any of those two, then you’re on the right track.
Mt. Balagbag has an approximate elevation of 777 MASL and is part of Bulacan and Rizal. As part of the Sierra Madre range, it provides a scenic view of other mountains, as well as Ortigas and some parts of Metro Manila. It has been rated by Pinoy Mountaineer with a hiking difficulty level of 3/9.
Mt. Balagbag: How to Get There
From EDSA Cubao, ride a bus going to Tungko, Bulacan which will cost around P50 or more. Drop off at the Tungko Jeep Terminal where you need to ride a jeep going to Licao-Licao. Fare is around P32. The estimated travel time is 2.5 hours.
You’ll have no problems in riding a bus going to Tungko because there is plenty of them in EDSA. The jeepney bound to Licao-Licao however has a “punuan” scheme where it would only take off if it already met the maximum number of passengers. The jeepneys are already waiting for passengers as early as 5:00 AM.
Once the jeepney has dropped you off, pay the registration fee for P10 each. Then, you can start trekking up until the jump-off or you can opt for a (bumpy) tricycle ride for 10 minutes which costs P30 each.
Preparation at the Jump-Off
Proceed to the Barangay Hall and log your name on their records. There is another fee as well that you need to pay for P10.
However, this amount might change depending on when you’re hiking because I have a few friends who hiked Mt. Balagbag recently on a Sunday and they were charged P20 each. It was P10 when we hiked there on a Friday.
If you’re planning on doing an overnight hike (which is great because you’ll get to see the city lights), you need to pay an additional P30 for the camping fee.
As for the guide, you can actually reach the summit and go back to the jump-off without the need of one. It’s pretty straightforward and you will never get lost as long as you follow the trail.
Forgot to bring water and food? You can buy snacks at the sari-sari store located beside the Barangay. But of course, we always recommend that you bring your own.
The Trail: What Should We Expect?
The trail is full of rocks and it has a gradual assault. It is perfect for beginners because the trail is wide as a road which means that you don’t need to worry about falling off from a cliff.
A lot of mountain bikers love Mt. Balagbag as well because of this challenging and rocky trail.
It can be very hot when it’s sunny because there are not much trees that can cover you from the heat. Thus, it is recommended to hike Mt. Balagbag before the sun rises or sets.
After 20 minutes of trekking, you will reach the “Welcome to Mt. Balagbag” sign. The locals have put some reminders for the hikers such as no littering, no vandalism, no drugs, etc.
Follow the trail and you will reach another stop after 30 minutes. You can sit and buy snacks here. We paid P20 per head because going further means passing a private property. Going back to my friends who went here during the weekend, they paid P50 each.
You will reach the summit after 30 minutes of trekking. The beautiful Sierra Madre will welcome you and will feast your eyes.
You might also get a sight of Heidi, the local dog. She’s friendly and has grown bigger ever since we saw her on 2017. She’s been well-fed, we thought. Honestly, I’m not sure if her name is really Heidi. I just got it from my friends (who also got it from other people). 🙂
Here’s a quick video from our Mt. Balagbag hike.
Sample Itinerary for a Day Hike:
- 3:30 AM – Meetup at Cubao
- 4:00 AM – Bus ride from Cubao to Tungko
- 5:00 AM – ETA Tungko
- 5:30 AM – ETD going to Licao-Licao
- 6:30 AM – ETA Licao-Licao Terminal; ride tricycle
- 6:45 AM – ETA Barangay Hall (jump-off)
- 8:15 AM – Summit
- 9:00 AM – Start trekking
- 10:30 AM – ETA jump-off
- 11:00 AM – ETD to Tungko
- 12:00 PM – ETA Tungko, ETD to Cubao
- 1:30 PM – ETA Cubao
If you want to do an overnight camping, we recommend that you arrive at the Tungko Terminal at 3:00 PM so you can catch the last jeepney ride.
Estimated Expenses in Hiking Mt. Balagbag
- Bus from Cubao to Tungko – P50
- Jeep from Tungko to Licao-Licao – P32
- Registration fee – P10
- Tricycle ride to Barangay (jump-off) – P30 (optional)
- Another registration fee (jump-off) – P10*
- Overnight camping fee – P30 (optional)
- Entrance fee to summit – P20*
- Tricycle to terminal – P30
- Licao-Licao jeep to Tungko – P32
- Bus from Tungko to Cubao – P50
Total budget: P294
Please keep in mind that the amount above is just estimated and might change on when you will be doing the actual hike as explained on the previous sections. Total budget was acquired assuming that the hikers opted for the tricycle ride and overnight camping.
Mt. Balagbag: Our Final Thoughts
If you are not convinced at this point about visiting Mt. Balagbag, well, I don’t know what to do. This easy-to-hike mountain is beginner friendly, and is open to all hikers who want to have a quick escape from the city life without being away for too much from their homes. It’s a great mountain to hike before trying out the bigger guys like Mt. Ugo and Mt. Pulag.
Experience the majestic views of Rizal, Bulacan, and Metro Manila all at once in Mt. Balagbag. Mountain ranges in the morning and city lights at night could never go wrong together. You can enjoy all these while sipping a fresh cup of coffee at the summit. Can you make the eggs sunny side up for me too, please? 🙂
Check out more of our hiking itineraries at ChamTravels.