Take advantage of coll weather to hit this mountaintop! Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez, Rizal is known as one of the hottest places to trek due to the lack of trees along the trail. This was why we climbed it during the Christmas season when temperatures were cooler.
From our meeting place at Eton Centris in Quezon City, we sped off to our target destination. We passed Commonwealth Avenue, turned right at Quirino Highway and right again at Igay Road, which links the upper barangay to Quirino Highway and Rodriguez (formerly Montalban).
In Brgy. Macabud, an uphill road took us to the Licao-Licao area. We took photos at Our Lady of Faith Grotto at Mt. Bituin then proceeded to Sitio Balagbag, the location of the jump-off.
We parked our vehicle and dropped by the office of the Cambasi Veterans Association Inc. for information regarding the place. We then paid the registration fee at the Sitio Balagbag Health Center before starting the trek proper at 9:25 a.m. It is advisable to buy refreshments at the sarisari stores here since they are somewhat colder than the ones sold along the trail.
At the time of our trek, the route to the summit was mostly rocky, such that only 4x4 vehicles and mountain bikes could easily pass.
There are parts along the path where you could turn around and marvel at the view of nature. After several minutes, a large red gate greeted us. Hikers could easily pass through, but donations for the maintenance of the place are accepted at the resting hut as the area beyond the gate is privately owned.
There are two trails to the summit. Since the grassy trail on the right is the shorter route to the top, we chose it for our assault. As you approach the goal, look behind you and be astounded by the spectacular view.
After 20 minutes, we finally arrived at the summit 745 meters above sea level. Here you will enjoy a wonderful 360-degree view of the Sierra Madre and Metro Manila.
By the way, Mt. Balagbag’s summit is also called the “campsite” or the “helipad” due to the vastness of land surrounding it. It could really accommodate around 10-15 tents at once or provide a landing space for a helicopter.
We ascended via the wide trail on the left, took a break at the resting hut and reached the jump-off at 2:30 p.m.
Mt. Balagbag is definitely one of the easiest mountains to scale. Just make sure to wear heat-protection apparel and trek shoes. Trek slippers or sandals would pose some inconvenience due to the rocky terrain. (Excerpted from http://larga-bista.blogspot. com)