Rodriguez, Rizal

Whether you want to take a nice #sundayfunday photo or you’re simply into hiking, a Mt. Balagbag round trip is a practical choice. It’s not that far from Quezon City, costs only a little, and rewards you with a nice view. Take some awesome people and bring liters of sunblock for a much-needed sun protection.

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A Fun Short Hike

I had a chance to go to the famous Helipad. It was a short hike, perfect for beginners like me, but should also be fun for seasoned hikers. Its dirt trail is also a favorite of bikers.

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The View from the Helipad is breathtaking

It was so hot but it was an easy hike. I can’t remember how long it took us to get to the summit. I’m sure we could have been faster if it were not for numerous selfies, exchange of hugots that made us burst out laughing, and ugh, more selfies.

Bring food and booze, too. There are wooden tables and benches where you can dine. There’s no cell signal up Mt. Balagbag. Don’t fret. Post your groufies with part of the Sierra Madre Mountain range in the background later, or tomorrow if you’re planning to spend the night up there. Grab this opportunity to dine, drink, and have a real chat with your friends.

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When you’re done enjoying the beauty of nature and fresh air, you may want to check out one of the resorts there. We went to Aura Resort. It is not a fancy one but we had the pool all to ourselves and the staff is really nice. The water is fresh from the mountain, I believe, there’s not a trace of chlorine. But, it’s really cold! You can order a beer, leave it in the pool for a while, and it will be ready before you know it. We also had 4 or 5 packs of pancit canton cooked for us to be fully recharged for the descend back to Licao Licao, where the last jeep going back to Quezon City leaves at 5 p.m., according to locals.

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How to Get There

Go to SM Fairview or wherever you could spot a jeepney bound to Tungko, where you’ll find a jeep going to Licao Licao as early as 5 a.m. This is probably one of the cheapest hiking destinations for those who will be coming from the metro.

From Tungko, it will be a long ride. I took this chance to take a nap, thinking I would need lots of energy. The jeep stops at Licao Licao, where you could ride a tricycle or travel by foot to the jumpoff: Sitio Balagbag. I suggest you walk. I’m for burning as many calories as possible.

On a Sunday morning, expect many hikers and bikers. Prepare a “good morning” and a wide smile! These mountaineers are super friendly, but with the beautiful view even if you haven’t reached the peak, I’m sure it will be effortless to beam at everyone.

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