Hiking 101: Where To Go Mountain Climbing In Zambales


It’s not a mystery why so many people are into hiking. After all, it’s a great form of exercise, it can be a wild adventure, the view at the summit is worth all the body pains, and you don’t even have to go far away from Metro Manila to do it!

Take Zambales for example. While the province is popular among tourists for its beaches, its mountains deserve their fair share of the spotlight too! So if you’re about to make some mountain climbing plans but don’t exactly know where to go, why not choose one of the five Zambales mountains we have on this rundown!

1. Mt. Balingkilat

Difficulty 5/9

Categorized as a minor climb, Mt. Balingkilat is one of the highest peaks of the Zambales Coastal Mountains and Coves area at 1100 meters above sea level (MASL). It’s important that you come prepared for a rocky and windy climb because that’s exactly what you’ll get, along with a couple of ridges and even sharp boulders! As Judie Ann Princess M. says in her looloo review, “This is a YOLO thing!”

Called the “Mountain of Thunder” by the native Aetas, Mt. Balingkilat can be hiked within a day. But if you prefer to take your time and actually camp out with your friends, an overnight stay is no problem at all!

Whether you decide to go on a day or overnight hike, we promise you that the view at the summit of Mt. Balingkilat is worth it. So make sure you have your camera ready to take beautiful photos of the coastline of Zambales!

Mt. Balingkilat can be found in Subic, Zambales. Jump off point is in Sitio Cawag, Subic, Zambales.

2. Mt. Cinco Picos

Difficulty 3/9

One of the major climbs you’ll find in Zambales, Mt. Cinco Picos is also called Mt. Tatlong Tirad by the Aetas who live in the area. The Spanish name Cinco Picos actually came from the mountain’s five peaks. Depending on the mountaineering group you join, you can hike up to Peak 2 or 3. Peak 4 and 5, however, can only be admired from the distance.

Photo from Allen Y.’s looloo review of Mt. Cinco Picos

A two-day hike is recommended for Mt. Cinco Picos, but if you’re one of those who can endure an extended day hike, it’s recommended that you pair this up with Mt. Balingkilat for a weekend trip. And as with every mountain climbing adventure, there’s always a treat at the end of the journey! Paradise awaits you at Mt. Cinco Picos because you can traverse your way to Silanguin Cove for a quick trip to the beach!

Mt. Cinco Picos can be found in Subic, Zambales. Jump off point is in Sitio Cawang, Subic, Zambales.

3. Mt. Nagsasa

Difficulty 3/9

If you’ve been to Zambales or you at least have it in your bucket list, you’re probably familiar with Nagsasa Cove. It’s easily one of the most popular beach destinations in the province because of its gorgeous views and crystal clear waters. While hiring a boat is the usual way of reaching Nagsasa Cove, we’re about to show you a different way to get there: by hiking up Mt. Nagsasa!

Mt. Nagsasa is a perfect choice for beginner hikers, but it’s one mountain that you should not underestimate. Hiking up Mt. Nagsasa can be done as a day trip but it is recommended that you make it an overnight one. There’s so much to see, including a freshwater waterfall and a couple of picture-perfect coves. It’s better to just take your time to really appreciate them. And of course, there’s the best reward at the end of your descent: Nagsasa Cove itself!

Mt. Nagsasa can be found in Subic, Zambales. Jump off point is in Sitio San Martin, Subic, Zambales.

4. Mt. Pundaquit

Difficulty 3/9

Just like Nagsasa Cove, Anawingin Cove can also reached via traversing a mountain. At 464 MASL, Mt. Pundaquit (or Mt. Anawangin as it’s sometimes called) only calls for a day hike. It may seem like an easy peasy sort of hike, but this mountain will eventually prove you wrong the same way it did with some of our looloo reviewers. “The trail started out sandy then it became rocky as we reached the top,” Jindra D. says in her looloo review. “The trail got steeper as we approached the summit, but I assure you that the view is worth all it!”

Photo from Gene G.’s looloo review of Mt. Pundaquit

And if you thought going up was hard, wait until you hear about the descent to Anawangin Cove. “When it was time to go down already, we were happy ‘cause going down is supposedly easier right? WRONG. We’d rather do the climb again than have to repeat the descending part of the hike. Going up targets and probably tones your buns and thighs and going down just hurts your ankles and feet!” Em D. narrates in her looloo review. “I still recommend it though. The view of Anawangin Cove on top is amazing.”

Mt. Pundaquit can be found in Barangay Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. The jump off point can also be found there.

5. Mt. Tapulao

Difficulty 5/9

Another mountain classified as a major climb, Mt. Tapulao is the highest mountain in the province of Zambales. The hike up to the summit is no joke and definitely not for beginners still trying to get their rhythm when it comes to hiking. Why, you ask? The trail to the summit is 18 kilometers long! And if that didn’t sound intimidating and difficult enough, that 18 kilometer trail is extremely rocky too.

Mountaineers liken Mt. Tapulao to the mountains in Cordilleras because of the pine trees that you can find all over the place. Keep in mind that the temperature on Mt. Tapulao can also reach both ends of the spectrum. It can be really hot in the morning (which is why it’s recommended that you start your hike early!) but the temperature can go way down the higher you go up. And by way down, we mean the temperature can reach up to 6°C during the colder months. So make sure you’re wearing the right gear when you decide to go on a hike!

Mt. Tapulao can be found in Palauig, Zambales. Jump off point is in Sitio Dampay, Barangay Dampay-Salaza, Palauig, Zambales.

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About Author

Bella Javier

Bella is a lover of all things sweet, a multi-time winner of the timeless children’s party and icebreaker game, Name That Tune, and a self-proclaimed queen of wishful thinking. A wanderer whose hunger lasts 24/7 and a proud owner of an oldies playlist mixed with songs she can sing fluently but does not understand, she’ll choose neither Edward or Jacob when asked that same old question.