Trail Chronicles #19: Mt. Balagbag Trail Run

“Typhoon Glenda aims for Metro Manila” was the weather forecast early Tuesday morning! And while most classes were already suspended and some private and government offices were set to dismiss their employees to prepare them for the typhoon onslaught, it was ironic to see rays of sunshine over a tinge of clouds hovering above. No rains, no drizzle as yet!

So, what to do? Running buddy Jun and i decided to take our chances, find the nearest trails and before we knew it, we ended up at the foothills of Mt. Balagbag, Baraggay Licao-Licao in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, a mere 25 minute drive from SM Fairview!

Rising above the Sierra Madre mountains, we slowly inched our way up into the hills and i soon realized that this is a trail runner’s paradise! Though we were walking those steep hills, we compensated it by blazing through on the flat and downhill portions which winded through lush greenery, macadam roads, long-winding mountain paths and hosts of wild birds and flowers.

There is a small, scattered community during our climb where people seem to be friendly to us visiting strangers that we had to stop several times and engage them in small banter.

The trails here are classic mountain trails with acres of lush green forest mountains, ridges and several kilometers of random technical trails with small streams trickling on the sides.

There are a few stores located along the route but don’t expect drinks to be ice cold as the place is devoid of any electrical power. Near the top of Mt. Balagbag is a private property where bikers and hikers usually enter to be at the mountain’s highest peak, the so called “Helipad” where you could have a 360 degree view of the mountain area.

Since this is a private property, a caretaker (who is usually in front of the main gate) will ask you to register in a logbook and charge you an entrance fee of P20.00 per head to enter their steel gate and climb the helipad. But if you’re just going to pass through in front of the property without entering the gate, you shouldn’t pay anything even if the caretaker asks you to. It’s his tiny scam version of a “kotong” cop!

I would like to return on this trail very soon, explore further and extend our run to Mt. Maranat which is another 18 kilometers to the north. A side trip we did at an old abandoned dam with nice waterfalls was another highlight of our run. And like the trails itself, i am left with awe and amazement!

I’m leaving you with the rest of the trails. We’ll be back here pretty soon!

Rock formations along the route