I managed to wake up early on my 2nd day in Baguio despite being tired from my Mt. Cabuyao day hike the previous day. Feeling refreshed and excited, I'll be traveling today for 2.5 hours to the town of Atok via the Halsema Hi-way to climb Mt. Timbak, the 3rd highest mountain in Luzon.
From the Dangwa terminal at city proper, I bought a ticket and rode the bus bound for Sagada. I told the bus collector to drop me at KM 55 in Atok, the easier and shorter jump-off point for Mt. Timbak. Since it's my first time here, I tried not to sleep to be able to see the great views and enchanting landscapes along the hi-way.
After about 2 hours, the bus made a stopover at the Morning Star bus station. I had a quick breakfast and bought some trail food for the hike. Please note that KM 55 is just a few minutes away from here.
I reached KM 55 at around 11:00 AM. It was still cold, but I'm already feeling the heat of the mid-day sun. Mt. Timbak (Timbak/Singakalsa) towers at 2,717 MASL; considered as the 9th highest mountain in the Philippines and the 3rd highest in Luzon, next to Mts. Pulag and Tabayoc.
I started the 6 kilometer hike on a paved road with almost constant ascend. I was in constant communication with my guide as to where I should go. He just told me to take the road on the left when I meet a fork. So I did.
I'm taking it slow as I wanted to enjoy the stunning view around me. The mountain is covered with vegetable patches up to the very top.
I enjoyed seeing the different terraces of crops all over. Definitely an awesome sight to behold!
There are people and houses around, so getting lost is not a problem. Just follow the paved road and you'll get there. Hehehe! Oh, did I mention that the locals here are extremely nice and accommodating? Ask around if you feel like getting lost.
Carrying a heavy backpack and climbing an inclined concrete road was indeed a challenge. I was panting and gasping for air. It was a grueling hike. Hahaha! But it's okay, I am awarded with picturesque mountain peaks and a cool climate. I would just rest for a while, then continue climbing.
I endured the 1 hour hike to the Mongoto Elementary School where my guide Vince met me. He took my bag and we continued for another 1 hour hike to the house at the junction leading to the summit and to the caves of the Timbak mummies.
We were welcomed by the very hospitable couple residing at the house. I rested; while Vince cooks our lunch.
After having our lunch, we took photos outside. The view is truly breath-taking. From here, you could see a sweeping view of the town of Kabayan and Mt. Pulag. I couldn't help myself to be in admiration at how beautiful the sight is. My happiness is immeasurable! Woohoo!
When climbing Mt. Timbac / Timbak and visiting the mummies, I highly suggest that you get a guide that is familiar and has ample information about this place. Contact Vince Gapuz at 0919-8524410 or add him in Facebook if you wish to visit Mt. Timbak.
On my next post I will show you the main reason I climbed Mt. Timbak - to see the fire mummies of Kabayan, Benguet.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Manila, take a Victory Liner bus bound for Baguio City. Terminals can be found in Pasay, Cubao or Sampaloc. Fare is about 455 pesos and travel time is around 6 hours.
Option 1 (via KM 55 in Atok Benguet) : From Dangwa terminal at the city proper, take a regular bus bound for Sagada, Bontoc or Abatan. Buy a ticket and tell them that you'll be alighting at KM 55 in Atok Benguet which is the jump-off point to the Timbak trail. Fare is 80 pesos and travel time is about 2.5 hours. From here, you can meet-up with the guide and start the hike.
Option 2 (via Kabayan, Benguet) : From the Slaughterhouse bus terminal along Magsaysay Avenue, take a regular bus bound for Kabayan which departs at 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM daily. Travel time is 5 hours and fare is around 130 pesos. From the town center, you can meet-up with the guide and start the hike.
This is part of my "Benguet Twin Hike Adventure" that happened last March 17-18, 2012.
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