Story and photos by Lovel Aniag
Zambales is a province northwest of Manila, about four hours away. The province offers both majestic mountains to climb and the best beach coves for camping, and has recently gained popularity among the younger generation of travelers because of its affordability and proximity to Manila.
For the uninitiated, a traverse is crossing a mountain from one point to the other. And with its many coves and Cawag Mountain Range, Zambales offers several mountain-to-sea trails.
I have always doubted finishing such a climb myself. But after climbing Mt. Balingkilat – the highest peak of the Zambales Cawag Mountain Range – ending in Nagsasa Cove, mountain-to-sea has become my favorite type of climbing. 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, our group decided to do an afternoon trek. We started the trek at around 3pm, crossing dry, rocky riverbeds and grasslands.
One of the advantages of an open trail is the view, made even more dramatic by the setting sun. We took several stops just to take it all in and get a few photos for posterity.
Because of time constraints, our group decided to head straight to peak one and camp there. We reached the first summit at around 7:30 p.m., where we set up camp and had dinner and socials.
We were the only group to climb and camp at the mountain, so we had all of it to ourselves! We woke up at 6:00 a.m. to see the wonderful sunrise.
Unfortunately for me, I woke up with a really massive headache. I had to stay back in camp while two of my teammates explored peak two.
As for me, I took this time to recover and just enjoy the fresh mountain air and the mesmerizing view of Subic Bay and Mt. Balingkilat.
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 three 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 seems to be isolated. There was only one other group and they were already 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.
We had a few hours to spare before the boat that will bring us back to Pundaquit arrived. 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 end our hike.
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