At last, I was able to encourage Lakwacherang Pilipina to join me on one of my treks..... after promising that this trek would be a very easy and light one. :) (Read her side of the Story HERE )
Though the travel part (Manila to Baguio to Atok, Benguet) consumed a lot of time but spending it with a friend...... Fun!
Reaching Jump off (KM 55, Atok Benguet) would require an earlier departure from Baguio City. Ride a taxi or Jeep that will bring you to GL-Lizardo Bus Terminal.
A 2 hours travel from Baguio to KM 55 will not bore you due to some postcard-scenic during the travel. Seriously, people up North are lucky. By the way, just remind the bus conductor or driver that you'll be off to KM 55.
Lkwacherang Pilipina @ first fork
On the right side of the road, you'll see the KM 55 marker and a signage "Welcome to Mummy Caves of Timbac" thus makes our jumpoff point.
The trail is basically easy, all you need to do is follow the cemented road. (Vegetation are abundant near the summit thus trucks and small vehicles needs a well paved road). What I loved about the trek was even though from jump off to summit we were totally exposed to Mr. Sun, the breeze..... the cool breeze of Benguet....aaahhh... sarap.
In every fork you'll see on the trail, always keep left until you passed Mongoto Elementary School. Few meters ahead the school another fork will be seen, choose the slope path to the right as this will lead you to summit. The road straight ahead will lead you to the Mummy Cave.
As we get closer to the summit, vegetation became more and more visible in the area. If Batad has rice terraces, Timbak offers "Cabbage Terraces". The entire mountain is no longer covered with trees... cabbages were every where neatly arranged in rows and Dahlias and Calla Lilies provide colors throughout the field.
A Calvary replica is seen at the summit of Mt. Timbak which is a sacred ground for the locals, so please respect the place.
From the summit, the entire vegetation from left to right can be seen and am not sure if Mt. Pulag can be viewed from the summit.
We had our short lunch at the summit and took some souvenir shots then descent. Lakwacherang Pilipina decided not to join me in visiting the Mummy's due to some knee problem and decided to retrace and will wait for me at Mongoto Elementary School.
(click picture for bigger view )
the other side.
Short cut to the Mummy Cave.
Mula TUktok all the way pababa
Passing a small village, I asked for a direction to The Mummy Cave. A very nice lady told me that instead of retracing I can use the short cut but its going to be a steep trail. She called this boy about 9 - 10 years old to guide me up to a certain point. Went on separate ways, Lakwacherang Pilipina traced her steps back to the school while me and my guide went to the short cut.
The trail was indeed steep, we passed several cliffs. Climb down to this stoned walls (walls for the vegetation) and passed several plantations (extra careful to make sure we won't step on the seedlings). The Kid and I went separate ways and he instructed me to follow the path that will lead me to a cemented path that will then lead me to the cave. Thanking him with my munchkins then I went straight ahead.
There were houses along the way and passed several fields full of crops... to make sure I am on the right path, meter every meter I keep on knocking their doors and asking for directions.
Along the trail, I saw 2 stuffed animals hanged to dry. I am not sure if they were cloud rats since I haven't seen a cloud rat before (only from a video clip during Mt. Pulag Orientation), however these died animals were stuffed with newspaper.
Having fun trekking alone, I noticed that I was already to far from where the Kid left me.......the place where we separated ways was already covered with fog at 12:00 noon. By the time I reached the cemented path I thought I just need to follow it to reach the cave.... to my dismay... I retracted because I need to use the stairs (located on the left side of the road) for me to reach the cave. Buti nalang from a far nakita ko yung signage kaya bumalik ako
Unfortunately, the Gate was closed at that time. Facepalm. Padlocked and all alone, I started to pursue my trek going back to Mongoto Elementary School. Remembering the instruction given to me by the nice lady at the village....follow the cemented road as it you back to the School. the question is which way... Left or Right? Unfortunately, my instinct leads me to the wrong direction.
I chose the Right side that leads me to the deepest portion of the forest.......In short I was lost. Been looking for the correct path, I wasted 2 hours for that. Luckily a small house in the middle of a farm caught my attention, the owner was outside holding his shotgun........going to shoot a trespasser? No! he was about to leave his house... So for me to find the school, he instructed me to go back... go all the way back to concrete road then turn right then straight ahead.
So there I went, running all the way back.... Good thing I saw a truck coming, the driver said I'm on the right track already. Relieved, I called Lakwacherang Pinay that I'm on my way...... so continue running... well I need to run because according to locals, the last bus trip coming from Sagada that passes KM 55 will be around 2.30pm.
Successfully, Lakwacherang Pinay and I was able to reach the highway before 2.00 pm and our next destination was to have some photoOps at the Highest Point (Philippine Highway System). That point is located several meters away from KM 55 jump off. Good thing a PUV(FX) passed by and agreed to bring us to that point for 10.00 each.
The place is usually a stop over for tourist. A souvenir shops along the side of the highway, a small cottage that serves as a viewing deck. PhotoOps while Mt. Timbak was blanketed by thick fog..... then hopped a Van back to Baguio.
Fast Paced... Easy Breezy day hike at Luzon's Third Highest Peak with my friend Lakwacherang Pinay. :)
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