Backpacking Philippines 110: Mt. Kalugong and Mt. Yangbew Baguio

Due to the intensifying hot weather in Manila, I decided to join my hammock buddy Jay in Baguio for a week of chilling in the cold. I have been to Baguio for a few times in the past, and I didn’t expect that I could actually do some exciting adventures. We did half-day hikes for 3 days, exploring the nearby Hydro falls, Mt. Kalugong and Mt. Yangbew, as well as the Yellow Trail in Camp John Hay. This post is to provide information about the nearby peaks in La Trinidad Benguet, Mt. Kalugong and Mt. Yangbew.

I and Jay at Mt. Kalugong's summit stone
I and Jay at Mt. Kalugong’s summit stone

Sunrise Hike Fail

In hope to catch the sunrise by the peak of Mt Kalugong, our company of 5 adventurers (I, Jay, Biya, Vee and Jamie) woke up at 3:30am, rode the cab and arrived at the jumpoff point at 5am.  To our frustration though, the entrance was locked and the trail doesn’t open until 6am. We tried to find a way to sneak in (hehe) but unfortunately, all access to the trail were fenced. So there we are at the entrance of the trail pitifully waiting while the sun is rising on the other side of the mountain.

We just found out that Mt. Kalugong is a private property and is only open to hikers from 6am to 5pm. It would have been better if we started with Mt. Yangbew to catch the sunrise since it is open 24/7.

With Jay and Jamie
With Jay and Jamie

How to get to Mt Kalugong from Baguio:

Hail a cab going to KM6 Mt Kalugong Trail. The ride takes around 30 minutes.
You may also ride jeepneys bound to La Trinidad and alight at Benguet Funeral Services in KM 6. Note however there are no early morning trips.

Hiking Mt. Kalugong

At a little past 6am, the gate was finally opened and we registered for 100 pesos each. We headed straight for the limestones to do some scrambling and climbing to reach the cliff where we can get an aerial view of La Trinidad Benguet. There isn’t actually a trail. Although it was a very quick effort, we still had to find our own way to get to this viewpoint. We spend some time there to take the view in, and of course, some photos, before heading to the eco-trail where we enjoyed picnic tables and swings while surrounded by pine trees. I and Jay brought our hammocks and we found the pine trees perfect for hanging.

View from Mt. Kalugong
View from Mt. Kalugong
Hammocking at Mt. Kalugong Cultural Village
Hammocking at Mt. Kalugong Cultural Village

Mt. Yangbew

As much as we wanted to stay longer and just relax in Mt. Kalugong, we also wanted to hike Mt. Yangbew, a peak aka as the “little Pulag,” just less than 2 hours from the former. So after resting for a bit at Kalugong’s cultural village, we followed the path that leads to the jumpoff of Mt. Yangbew. The sun has started to intensify as the day progressed, and although we were in the high-altitudes of Benguet, we were so thirsty that the thought of having Halo-halo after the hike became a motivation. Before getting to the jumpoff for Mt. Yangbew, we crossed the main road from Kalugong’s trailend.

Registration fees at Mt. Yangbew
Registration fees at Mt. Yangbew

The trail was shadeless from the unforgiving heat of the sun. It took me an hour to finish the trail and less for my guy friends. The trail was indeed like a mini-Pulag, with vast grasslands at the peak. Since no form of shade was available, except from the rare clouds that blocks the direct sunlight, we only stayed for less than 30 minutes at the summit before descending.

Mt. Yangbew Summit
Mt. Yangbew Summit

Itinerary

0500 – Depart from Baguio. Ride a cab to KM6
0530 – Arrival at KM6. Start hike to the jumpoff of Mt Kalugong
0600 – ETA at the jumpoff. Register. Start hiking/scrambling
0630 – ETA Mt. Kalugong peak
0700 – Proceed to the Kalugong Cultural village to rest, eat food, and enjoy the surroundings
0800 – Start traverse to Mt. Yangbew
0900 – Arrival at Mt. Yangbew jumpoff. Register and pay fee
1000 – ETA Mt. Yangbew summit
1100 – Start descent
1130 – ETA back to jumpoff. Ride jeepney to La trinidad.

Mt. Kalugong and Mt Yangbew Expenses

Based on 5 pax:

300/5= 60each cab going to KM6 jumpoff
100 = registration fee at Mt Kalugong
30 = registration fee at Mt. Yangbew
50 = transportation from Mt. Yangbew back to Baguio proper
150 = packed food/water/halohalo /icecandy

Total: Php390

Enjoying the shade at Mt. Kalugong
Enjoying the shade at Mt. Kalugong

Recommendations

Mt Kalugong is an easy hike even for non-hikers, while Mt. Yangbew is a little bit more challenging in comparison to the former. The staff at the registration booth of Mt. Yangbew even describes the trail as a baby hike. Indeed, when we where there, a bunch of primary students were hiking effortlessly. So whether young or old, experienced or beginner hiker, these 2 peaks in La Trinidad Benguet are great escapes from the city of Baguio.

 

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