The term “Mother Mountain” for mountaineers mean the very first mountain that you’ve ever climbed and for me that is Mt. Balagbag in Rizal way back March 4, 2014. This is also my very first trail run. My friends dragged me here so I could prepare for my then upcoming 21 KM (13.1 miles) race on that same week. It was challenging and exhausting but definitely worth the it. Here’s a quick guide to climbing Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez, Rizal.
Quick Facts on Mt. Balagbag
MOUNT BALAGBAG (777+)
Jump-off Point: Sitio Balagbag, Brgy. San Isidro, Rodriguez
Mt. Balagbag towering at a height of 777+ Meters Above Sea Level, lies within Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, particularly in the area of San Isidro, Rizal. It encompasses the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal.
It is considered a minor climb (difficulty 3/9, trail class 2), recommended for rookie climbers. A rough road (or barren) that’s wide and flat though there are parts of the trail that’s full of rocks and boulders. Also a favorite among runners and mountain bikers. It is relatively short, compared to other mountains in Rizal.
From the summit, you’ll be rewarded by the spectacular view of Metro Manila’s Skyline and the beautiful landscape surrounding the mountain.
Guide is not required. 300.00 PHP for tour guide, should you opt to hire one.
One of the shooting locations for the Filipino movie, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral.
📌 Be sure to pack light and pack smart!!
PHILIPPINES PACKING LIST: WHAT TO BRING FOR YOUR NEXT DAY HIKE
Mt. Balagbag: The Trail
The trail is easy which is good for beginners. It is wide and rocky at the most parts without many trees along the way. Going to the summit is quite hard especially if the sun is already up because it dehydrates you. So pack light, protect your skin and rehydrate. Good thing though is that there are villages in Balagbag and stores to buy refreshments. We passed by a stall that sells Halo-halo and even bumped into an ice cream vendor while hiking.
Things get “rougher” once you pass by San Isidro Elementary School.
Pictures at the summit. The hike going to the summit wasn’t that difficult though there was a part where we had to scale a 45° slope.
It’s the descent that’s challenging.
How To Get To Mt Balagbag in Rodriguez, Rizal
Mt. Balagbag is located in Rodriguez, Rizal approximately 1.5 hours away from Metro Manila.
Via Public Transportation
- From Cubao there air-conditioned and non-airconditioned buses going to Tungko. Travel time is 1 hour and 30 minutes (depending on traffic condition). Get off Tungko (Tungko Jeep terminal is beside BDO Tungko branch).
- From Tungko, take a jeep to Licao-Licao terminal.
- Optional: Ride a tricycle or habal-habal going to Sitio Balagbag Registration Area.
📑 Sample Day Hike Itinerary for Mt. Balagbag
0400 Meet Up
0430 ETD Bus Tungko
0530 ETA BDO Tungko
0600 ETA Licao-Licao
0630 Brgy. Outpost (to register)
0700 Start Hike
0800 Stop at the campsite (breakfast)
0900 Assault Summit
1000 Summit. Photo Ops
1100 Start Descent
1200 Brgy. Outpost (to wash up)
1300 Head Home
💸 Budget & Expenses
- Bus from Cubao to Tungko (beside BDO bank) – 70.00 PHP
- Jeep from Tungko to Licao Licao – 30.00 PHP
- Tricycle from Licao-Licao to Sitio Balagbag Registration Area – 30.00 PHP (optional)
- Registration fee – 10.00 PHP
- Second registration fee – 80.00
- Jeep from Licao-Licao to Tungko: 30.00 PHP
- Bus from Tungko to Cubao: 70.00 PHP
🎒 What to Bring
- First Aid Kit, Personal medications
- 2L Drinking Water
- Trail Food
- Sun screen
- Extra set of clothes
- Garbage bag
📣 Tips and Reminders
- Check the weather before you go hiking.
- Bring extra drinking water.
- Plan your itinerary well.
- Pack light and only bring one hand carry bag.
- Practice the Leave No Trace principle.
- Restrooms are at the jump off point, they charge 5.00 PHP per person.
- Sari-sari stores are at the jump off point.
- There are locals that sell refreshments and snacks.
More Mountains to Explore
- Mt. Talamitam in Nasugbu, Batangas
- Mt. Pico de Loro in Maragondon, Cavite
- Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas
- Mt. Gulugod-Baboy in Anilao, Batangas
- Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez, Rizal