I’ve been trying to come up with more adventures for the weekends. I decided to hike Mt. Balagbag because it’s not too far from Manila. The top of the peak overlooks Manila and there’s a waterfall. Plus, it’s ranked a 3/9 on the difficulty scale, so it seemed like a nice active recovery day.
We were surprised the day before the hike with a dog. A friend’s friend shows dogs and one of the huskies was not show eligible, so he was up for adoption. We brought Xena over to meet him, there was lots of tail wagging, and he came home with us that day. The next day, we decided to continue with our plan to hike and bring both the pups.
Waze stopped working so we switched over to google maps, which led us onto a dirt road. This made the hour and a half trip to the trail head about a 2 hour trip. We hopped out and began trekking the mountain. Although the trail was not challenging, the heat and sun beaming down made it a little strenuous. Within five minutes we were sweating and the dogs needed water.
We came to a fork in the road and were told one way led to the waterfall and one led to the summit. We hadn’t gone all that way to NOT go to the summit, so we decided to head up and then go to the waterfall. We arrived at the summit and were told there was a path to one waterfall from the top, but it was steep. We figured we would be ok and went for it. Better to go that way than back down to the fork in the road.
Now, normally when someone in the Philippines says something is a far walk it’s not actually that far, it’s just that people are used to driving. So, we assumed that when he said it was steep, it was an exaggeration. This was no exaggeration. It was steep, and slippery. We were walking in a muddy creek bed, straight down hill. The dogs were pulling us down full speed, I think nervous about the path and falling. Conan is a husky, so he had some fur to cover his paws and stomach down the rocks, but poor Xena got beat up. Whenever there was shade, she would lay down and refuse to get up.
The downhill trek to the waterfall took over an hour, probably closer to two. We arrived, shocked to see a huge crowd of people. Within seconds, we learned that Conan swims. He walked right down to the water and got in, we’re fairly sure it was his first swim. We enjoyed the cool water on our (my) sunburned skin. We discussed the fact that the trek was harder than expected and so we were low on water – our 2 hour hike was already at a 4 hour hike and we had to get back. We asked how to get to the easier path and were told there wasn’t one, we would have to go back the way we came. But what about the easy path leading to that fork in the road? That’s another waterfall. Oh. Shit.
We began heading back up the mountain, thankfully it was easier to go up than down, but we were VERY low on water. After an hour we arrived at a house with a little store in it. We bought ALL of their Gatorade, including the display bottle and guzzled it down. It was the best damn Gatorade I’ve ever had. Then we were happy to continue walking. We took a path that didn’t go back up to the summit, but rather around the side, so it wasn’t too hard.
We arrived back at the trailhead six and a half hours after we started. Hungry and ready to eat. All in all though, it was worth the adventure. The dogs did great, the company was fantastic, and it’s a good story. We later found out we had hiked two summits, Mt. Balagbag and Mt. Maranat where the Maranat Falls are, instead of the Kaytitinga Falls.