Weekend glamping at Mt. Balagbag
Not a fan of hiking?
Of course there is a certain sense of accomplishment after gruelling hours of trekking the valleys to the mountaintop but I came to realize that a beautiful view can also be had without having to walk several kilometers under the blazing heat of the sun (especially now that summer in the Philippines practically equates to being in a microwave). Glamping is the answer!
Here’s the thing, our glamping escapade was ~unplanned~. This great idea was only revealed to us at the jump-off point of Mt. Balagbag when one of the guides asked us where we would park – at the barangay hall or at the summit. We were surprised to find out that our friend’s pickup was tough enough to get through the rough road up the summit. I wasn’t sure if everyone was happy about not hiking so I kept a semi-neutral face, trying to hide the joy inside my heart, and said “okay, yay!” (but said “yay” not in that super excited way, if you know what I’m sayin’). Apparently, everyone was stoked about the decision and so we all lived happily ever after.
How to get there:
- Open Waze application and type “Barangay Licao Licao” (Travel time: around 2 hours from Metro Manila)
- Follow the instructions (yup, it’s that easy!)
- Pay the entrance fee of PHP 30 per person at the Barangay Hall
- Pay parking fee of PHP 50 at the second stop on your way to the summit
- Park at the summit and set up camp
The glamping experience
While cooking, we engaged in casual conversation while still not getting over the fact that we did not exert any physical effort to reach the summit. What’s for dinner? Tomato soup and grilled two-cheese sandwich! It was fun until the bugs and beetles started attacking us because one of us spilled tomato soup all over the mat… They were so annoying and screwed up our al fresco dining so we ended up eating our s’mores dessert inside our tent at 7 PM.
After the coast was clear of beetles, we got our sleeping mats from the tent and sat down at the back of the pick up. The weather was nice, chilly but cozy. Stars glistened as if they were in consonance with our conversation. We talked and sat there for hours until I slowly and stealthily lied down and a few minutes later the two other girls rested their heads on my legs. We finally decided to get some shut-eye.
I woke up at 3 AM the following day, returned to the back of the truck and waited for the Milky Way to appear. Unfortunately, it was not too prominent so I just waited for the sunrise.
The truth about this pickup photo: We had to bring the car to this spot not covered by reeds because we are millenials and wanted an awesome photo (for social media purposes of course – just being real here, lol) and so we did. What you do not know is that we actually had to manually fill the tracks with mud and rocks so the car could pass through it – we literally gathered soil with our bare hands and carried heavy rocks. It was so funny! So here’s to Mik, our dedicated photographer and to Jessi, Jo and I, the strong independent women who know what they want and will do anything to make it happen!
- Make sure you have everything you need! The grave mistake we committed during this trip was that we forgot to bring cooking oil so we had no choice but to eat burnt pancakes.
- Cook your dinner early, before the sun goes down to avoid beetle domination.
- Be respectful and considerate to other campers and take care of Mother Nature.