Monday, April 4, 2011


the boulder on the southeastern side of Mt Timbak
Mt TIMBAK (8950 fasl), the third highest mountain in Luzon, is also known as Mt Singacalsa (an Ibaloi term which refers to a musical instrument similar to gangsa or the local gong). The veracity of this information is yet to be verified. Mountaineers have learned to call it Mt Timbak just like how it is popularly called by the locals. You say Singacalsa or Singacalca in that part of Benguet, it will sound like Parseltongue to the locals. The mountain sits on Halsema Highway and is accessible through two convenient access points along the highway (KM 54 and KM 55). The KM 54 trail offers a more authentic mountaineering feel in your trek and is the shorter but steeper one. KM 55, on the other hand, is the more convenient access point to the summit of Mt Timbak. It’s a paved road until Mongoto Elementary School where you have to make a right. Remember, when taking the KM 55 road, the bangin should always be on your left. Ignore any paved road that veers to the right. They’ll just lead you to a farmer’s house. Another access point to Mt Timbak is at its eastern base (Kabayan Barrio). Commencing your trek at Kabayan Barrio is just as arduous as the Akiki trail in that you start at 3600 fasl and terminate at 8950 fasl. In my case I gave up after running out of sodium and potassium supply at 8202 fasl where I spent the night at the house of the key-keeper of the burial rock of the Mt Timbak mummies.

taken at the Mini Calvary (Oct 2010) 
The main attractions of the mountain are the marvelous sea of clouds at sunset, the mummies and the kind locals that inhabit the slopes of the mountain! The western vista also affords a breath-taking view of the Atok vegetable terrace complex which could rival the rice terraces of Banaue.
Just like in Mt Tabayoc, the secret to a perfect experience in Mt Timbak is TIME. Stay until sundown when the sea of clouds appears in its full splendor! Take time to know how the locals live and experience life in this mountain and you’ll know this mountain has an allure different from that of Mt Pulag but just as irresistible!
taken in August 2006, this is probably the first photographed appearance of Mt Timbak  on the internet
Since its first photographed appearance in the internet in 2006, Mt Timbak has attracted more and more visitors. Its inclusion in the popular Luzon 321 expedition also spurred an increase in the number of climbers. Either out of annoyance with the visitors (who sometimes dirturb their peace and fields) or out of the spell of money, the owner of the vegetable garden above (who also claims private ownership of the Mini Calvary ) has started to impose fees to visitors of Mt Timbak! The owner Flordeliza Biray has authorized The Camsols (Kuya Salvador and Ate Josie) to collect the fees. P20/pax + P100 for the group. I consulted this issue at the municipal hall of Atok, Benguet and found out that this has not been passed or ratified. The councilor tasked with the promotion of tourism in Atok and the municipal planner along with the Camsols are all against the idea of charging visitors such fees. Unfortunately, I did not find the chance to personally discuss matters with Mrs. Biray but I have her number. Whatever the resolution to this issue is, I hope it is for the good of the mountain!
centuries old Timbak mummy
Mt Timbak is not a national park and is not supervised and protected by any governing body. The mountain is inhabited by vegetable farmers up to its summit! The summit which houses the Mini Calvary is considered sacred ground by the locals. An unmarried couple spending the night in one tent or room is considered taboo and believed to yield bad harvest or bad season! Yes you’re lucky you’re multiplying but you’re leaving the crops barren!
Vegetable is the source of living of all the locals of Mt Timbak! Please walk lightly and don’t step on the vegetable plots. Even if you don’t see green things growing out of the ground, that doesn’t mean you can step on these plots. Sometimes there are seeds sown on them! Just walk lightly on the trail! If you can’t recognize the trail go back to Baguio!
Homes above the 5000fasl get their water supply from the rain! Sometimes they fetch water from below. If you are a big group, bring your own water!
Don’t offer money. It will just poison their minds! Pay their kindness in kind! A box of donuts is a good treat! Something that can make the kids happy consequently delights the adults too!
Take down whatever you bring up! You may be welcome but not your trash!
Minimize noise! These people are not used to hearing screams and hysteric laughter! They hear the humming of the pine trees and the chirping of the birds all the time. Your voice is a discordant addition to this orchestra of nature!
Tinongchol Burial Rock

Kabayan Barrio—KM 55
Day 1 (March 28, 2011)
Logged in at the Kabayan Barrio Brgy Hall
Kabayan Barrio is just 2 hours away from the Akiki Trail entry point on foot.
The bus going to Ballay, Kabayan from Baguio passes by Kabayan Barrio around 2 pm. The bus from Ballay to Baguio passes by Kabayan Barrio at 8 am.
Kabayan Barrio is a river-valley farming community. You may get your water here!
Noticed the short cut (you may still follow the long road to be safe)
Went through the gate that cuts through the road
Passed by the first house from below. This house is surrounded by cows and dogs. I had lunch here in 2008 with my Luzon 321 buddies.
Arrival at Ate Ila’s place. It started to rain as soon as I entered the house. Ate Ila is the key-keeper of the Timbak mummies burial rock.
Their house has a little store. I always buy cup noodles there (P20) and cook scrambled eggs (P7). They sell Coke 1.5L, and gin too. Their house affords a panoramic view of Mt Tabayoc, Mt Al-al and Mt Pulag on the horizon! No electricity here!
I waited for the rain to stop but to my chagrin and to their delight, the rain didn’t let up. They said they had been waiting for the rain for three days. Their crops were starting to die! Their vegetable gardens are not supported by irrigation.
Took a nap!
Ate Ila roused me smiling. The rain had not abated. They all didn’t want me to leave. You’re always welcome in Benguet homes when you’re alone!
Prepared dinner
Socials with Ate Ila’s son and nephew
Lights out
The night was freezing!
Day 2 (March 29, 2011)
Had a cup of their wild mountain tea! Aaahh!
Said goodbye! (Cloudy day)
Head for Mongoto Elementary School
Arrival @ Mongoto Elem. School
The wall is now completely painted! (No more Itutuloy)
Bought some goodies for the kids at the summit.
Left my backpack at the store beside the school.
Headed for the summit (look for the shortcut)
Arrived @ Ate Josie’s place. Had a chat with Kuya Salvador. Ate Josie was in Baguio
Mt Timbak summit
Head back to Mongoto
Got my backpack
Headed down to Halsema Highway.
On my way down, there was a van going to Sayangan, Atok. Talk about perfect timing! I intended to go to Sayangan to talk with the municipal council and this van was there to pick me up!
Arrival @ Sayangan
Took the bus to Baguio
Arrival @Baguio
Left for Manila
Back home!

Traverse trek from Kabayan Barrio to KM 55
Day 1: Altitude profile: Kabayan Barrio to Timbak Mummies (yellow track)
Day2 Altitude profile: Timbak mummies to summit then to KM55


  1. "my feet is my only carriage"

    i always admired the way you deal with locals, sir.


  2. Nice update, sir! So "Natuloy..." na pala ang wall :)

    Sir, did you get my text message? Nag-email din ako pero nag-bounce back. Thanks!

  3. This is informative. Let me post this page in my blog, as a personal reference.

  4. @Dee, thanks for the visit and feel free to post any page of this blog over at The Quixotic World.

  5. sir,
    sa Sayangan po ba may regular na byahe pabalik ng Baguio? Bus po ba o jeep? alam nyo po ba ang last trip? maraming salamat po!
    - Rhian

  6. @ Rhian: Thanks for dropping by. I'm not so sure pero baka 5 pm ang last trip pa-Baguio sa Sayangan kasi 3pm dun sa Abatan...para sigurado, contact the tourism officer in Sayangan 09219866658.

  7. bossing ask lang, kalsada po ba ang ruta puntang mongoto galing kabayan barrio? tnX! >alex ambos

  8. @ Sir Alex: Yep. Kalsada po yun hanggang Mongoto. pero zigzag at mahaba ang kalsadang ito...sana mahanap niyo ang apat (ata) na mga shortcuts na hihiwa sa zigzag na road na to.

  9. ser, sa km55 ba may sakayan pabalik ng baguio or sa Sayangan lang meron?magkano po kaya estimated budget para dito?salamat ser. - dom

  10. Sir pahelp naman po, balak ko pong idayhike itong si Mt. Timbak sa Friday (-6) or Saturday (7) ? possible po ba? Kung from Baguio san at ano pong route ang sasakyan ko? hindi po ba delikado isolo climb ito sa babaeng tulad ko?

    thank you sir and more power.


  11. Sir yung may sign along Halsema hiway "To Timbac Caves", yun ba ang daan papunta doon? can we bring our service vehicle up to Mongoto Elem Schl para kunti na lng ang hiking? we'll be visiting timbac cave this aug 21 po. we'll enter at halsema, then exit also at halsema and goin back to baguio. (robert)

  12. Pasensya na po sa hindi ko pagreply nang maaga. Happy New Year na lang po sa lahat ng taga subaybay ng

  13. Hi po. nakapunta po ba kayo sa waterfalls sa tigbak? Wala kasi akong makuha na info...

  14. Hats off to you sir!!! Ang lupit mo... hanga ako sa mapa na ginawa mo. I needed it for my work/ business! More power!

  15. Hello, we would like to hike this trek, but comming with our mothers, so we will need to know if we can make an overnight stop on a "half way" and build a tent on the way (Mogoto El. School or Ate Josie's place). Do we need to have a guide or it is allowed to enter there freely. We are experience mountaineers, but we don't want to crack any taboos, as we don't know the culture.
    Would you able to give us the track log from your gps to make our navigation easier?
    Thanks a lot for all information,
    Barbora and Lukas

    1. Hi Lukas and Barbora. Thanks for dropping in.
      Mt Timbak is a convenient and safe place. You can play everything by ear when you get there. When you get my gps tracks you won't be needing a guide. Having your mothers with you will attract help from the're definitely in good hands. you'll need to communicate with me through for the gps tracks and some numbers if you feel the need to communicate with Ate Josie.

  16. Đ…ome truly nice stuff on this site, I like it.


YOU deserve a holiday!
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