Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mt. Tabayoc (2,842+)

Benguet and Ifugao
Major jump-off: Brgy. Ballay, Kabayan, Benguet
LLA: 16.7000° N; 120.88333° E; 2842 MASL (#5)
Days required / Hours to summit: 2-3 days /4-6 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 2-4

Mt. Tabayoc, in Kabayan, Benguet, is the second highest mountain in Luzon and the fifth in the Philippines. Like its southern neighbor, Mt. Pulag, it has name variants, such as Tabayac or Talbayog. The meaning of the name, in the native tongues, is “basin”, alluding perhaps to the four lakes in its base: Lake Tabeo, Ambulalakao, Iculus, Detapnaco. All the lakes can be visited together with a hike to Tabayoc. You could camp near Lake Tabeo on the first day, in the same way that hikers would sometimes camp at Lake Venado before sumitting Mt. Apo. At 2206 MASL, the temperature is already cold up here. As for the Ambulalakao Lake, it is said to be the cleanest lake in Benguet.

The proximity to Tabayoc to Pulag’s famed Tawangan Trail makes it a possible trip before proceeding to Pulag. You can go by foot from Sitio Tabeo, Ballay to reach Brgy. Tawangan, the jump-off for the famed Tawangan trail. From there, you could proceed to the Ambangeg or Akiki trails. Also, you could visit the nearby sites such as the Opdas Mass Burial caves. On the other hand, there is also a trail to Mt. Tabayoc via Tinoc, Ifugao. This approach comes from the east.

The trek to Tabayoc via Ballay passes by forests similar to those encountered in the Tawangan trail. Trees are covered with moss in what is known to be one of the best-preserved virgin forests in the Philippines. Rare species, including those from the orchid genera Dendrochilum, filmy ferns, mosses, and forest trees abound in Tabayoc. The mountain is also habibat to a number of bird species, many of which are endemic and endangered. Unlike Mt. Pulag, which has an open grassland summit offering tantalizing views, Tabayoc is predominantly forested. Its main feature is being the second highest in Luzon, offering an alternate climb to Pulag; hikers will also find refreshment in its beautiful virgin forest.

The climbing conditions have previously been described in PinoyMountaineer as follows: "The trail to the summit of Tabayoc remains virtually unknown. Definitely, guides from Ballay and some preparation will be required. All climbs to Tabayoc, as of 2007, are still exploratory." However, in 2008, it has become clear, thanks to the successful expeditions of Sir Adonis Lloren (April 2008) and the blogger himself (May 2008) that the summit is not only reachable, but quite manageable.

Even without reaching the summit, exploring this mountain, including the mystical Lake Tabeo, is a great experience because it is beautifully unfamiliar. Perhaps this pristine characteristic of the mountain adds to its charms, and sets it apart from its popular neighbor, Mt. Pulag.


Day 10100 ETD for Baguio City via Victory Liner Bus (P395)
0700 ETA Baguio City; breakfast
1000 ETD to Poblacion, Kabayan by A-liner bus (P144)
1630 ETA Brgy. Ballay, Kabayan.
1700 Start trek to Lake Tabeo
1800 Arrival at Lake Tabeo; set up camp or stay in houses there
1900 Dinner / socials

Day 2
0500 Wake-up call / Quick breakfast
0530 Assault Mt. Tabayoc. Prepare for very dense forest trail.
0900 ETA Mt. Tabayoc summit (2842 MASL)
1000 Start descent
1300 Back at jump-off. Lunch.
1400 Explore the three other lakes.
1800 Back at campsite / Lake Tabeo village
1900 Dinner / socials

Day 3
0500 Breakfast
0700 Break camp / Prepare for descent
0900 Head back to Brgy. Ballay
1100 Take A-liner back to Baguio City
1730 Back at Baguio City / Dinner
2000 Take return bus to Manila

Logistics. Tabayoc is under the jurisdiction of the Mt. Pulag National Park, thus the protocol is the same as if you are climbing Pulag: you have the get a permit from the Park Superintendent through the contacts/procedures in the Mt. Pulag pages in PinoyMountaineer. It is also through the PASU by which you can get guides. Do not make personal/unofficial arrangements with the locals as walk-in climbers because the guides must be accredited by the PASU, as per their agreement.

Transportation. The ultimate stop of the A-Liner bus is Ballay, Kabayan - the jumpoff for a Tabayoc and the four lakes -- this is also the one detailed in the above itinerary. It leaves Baguio City at 10 AM and arrives at around 1600 in Ballay. Allow for adjustments in time, but it is okay since Day 1 is just the easy ascent to Lake Tabeo.

Climbing notes. It is important to make sure that your guide knows the way, as the Tabayoc trail can get pretty confusing. It is also difficult to judge your position relative to the summit; but at the summit the trees as dwarven, and you can climb up the branches to afford a view of the Tabeo area.

Early morning view of Mt. Tabayoc. The play of lights in high elevations can be a photographic fascination.

The forest of Mt. Tabayoc is dense and often moist. Here my classmate David tries to climb one of the trees to see the views beneath.

Lake Ambulalakao, one of the four lakes in the Ballay-Tawangan area, is surrounded with a beautiful forest.

A close rival of Mt. Tabayoc for the fifth-highest mountain spot is Mt. Kalatungan in Bukidnon. Other sources report its height to be 2,864 MASL. If confirmed, it could displace Tabayoc to the sixth spot.


Many thanks to David Chan, Robert Sarreal, and Agnes Sarreal, for joining the blogger in Mt. Tabayoc on May 13, 2008.


Anonymous said...

sir, the United Trekkers Club climbed Tabayoc on Aug 2004...they may help you gather data re. this mountain. Pinoy Mountaineer is a very informative site, keep up the good work!

adonis said...

very informative indeed is this site...might i just add too, montanara, climbed tabayoc last feb or march. aug 2006, i had my spur-of-the-moment climb here along with two of my mountaineering buddies (hostile weather conditions impeded us from summiting)...awesome experience. i mean with all that hitched rides along the bumpy abatan-ballay road. and as always, the warmth of the locals. we spent the night at one of the houses at the lake banks.
second attempt was last dec 2006. got my knees sprained during the hellish trek down the near-vertical slope of timbak (ballay face) plus the weather was unpermitting too. settled for the four lakes around the mountain and sidetriped to sagada.
third attempt (foiled)...s'posed to be 12/25/07-01/02/08. buddy low on budget.
mailap si haring tabayoc!

tabayoc links (if serr gid permits)



adonis said...

the four lakes around tabayoc are:
tabeo, ambulalacao (once dubbed as the cleanest inland body of water) and also the biggest of the four; letep ngapos (the guide told us a tale about a deer plunging into the depths of the lake and the locals having had to search for it...if my memory serves me right, they searched for the deer cuz that was the source of the cure to the chieftains malady) the terms letep and ngapos should have something to do with, deer liver and torch! i forget thongs easily...sorry; and lastly lake "incolos" (drained) so called because miners and treasure hunters have all but dried the lake. when we went there, the lake was just a thick cushy bed of moss. but my buddy got reprimanded for going far out to the middle of the lake. the guide said, beneath the moss bed is freezing water!

adonis said...

sorry, that was supposed to be "the cleanest inland body of water in the philippines".

gidyonder said...

sir adonis, many thanks for your contributions! let's do tabayoc in 2008!

Anonymous said...

Sir..our group visited Mt. Tabayoc last june 7 and traversed Mt. pulag via tawangan-ambangeg trail on the 8th-9th . I, personally would say that it's really one of the most preserved mountains in the Philippines. We started our ascend at 1500 and reached the summit at approximately 1800...i would say the night descent would be the hardcore since there is no established trails (not adviseable esp. without guide/s)..the side trip to Mt. Pulag via Tawangan trail was my second best shot...It was my second time to use the trail..I've first visited Mt. Pulag last november of 2007 via tawangan trail when the dept of tourism hosted the trek, then revisited the peak via ambangeg trail early December and joined our group in late December via akiki trail..it was indeed a hell lot of experience!!!your site is very informative...keep it up!!!

gideon said...

hi sir, thanks for sharing with us your climb. hope to hear from ur future climbs as well!

Anonymous said...

No prob sir..Me and my closest buddy are planning to have a 5-7 day climb in benguet...using the killer trails (as they said)..hehehhe..guess we wanted to a more challenging climbs..we will invite u if it materialized...

gideon said...

7 day cordillera climb huh? that would be great won't it? keep me posted on this!

Anonymous said...

i think, the name of the Mountian is not Tabayoc it is TABAYO or TABEYO...

gideon said...

names of mountains -- being derived from ethnic words -- are a matter of opinion, such as pulag vs. pulog or ugu vs. ugo.

pinoymountaineer prefers and recommends the name tabayoc; it is also the preferred name of DENR and other official agencies.

Anonymous said...

sir my group wants to climb mt. tabayoc this summer who can i contact? do you have there contact #? tnx!

Jay Z said...

sir anonymous u can contact mam mering (PASU-Mt. Pulag National Park) also mang roger the jeepney operator i was able to gather info about tabayoc with them last dec im in pulag via ambangueg w fader of MESSAU. together with sykes outdoor members we are planning to climb tabayoc last quarter of this year in preparation for our D2 to kitanglad traverse by nov. ingats sa climb sir enjoy ur tabayoc climb god bless.

alberto said...

hi, baka may gustong sumama punta ako sa mt tabayok to mt pulag, baka may gustong sumama,

Anonymous said...

sir alberto, gandang araw po..
tanung ko lan po kung kelan nyo balak mag-tabayoc-pulag?
plano po kasi namen next week eh..
salamat sir..

deng said...

hi gid, baka bumalik ako dis year dito hehehhe

Anonymous said...

Sir Albert kelan kayo akyat ng tabayoc-pulag tawangan akiki?

Anonymous said...

Fellow climber may akyat po kami timbak-tabeyoc-pulag tawangan akiki this july 11-13, 2,200 po ung budget.. text lng po 09154331631- cris.. for additional info.. thanks

edge said...

were doing these trails also,part of our explo climb...instead we descent to ambangeg only.^_^..somewhere dis september..(tnx to gid for his addt'l infos)!

Sir cris if its ok wud like to copy ur cp# for future assistance..tks

gudluck! hapi trek..

Anonymous said...

Sir Edge.. ok lng.. next year Ambaguio-Akiki na trail namin.. cris..

Anonymous said...

sayang at ngayon ko lang nabasa ang post mo sir cris. for the past 2 months i've been looking for groups planning to climb mt tabayoc.


Anonymous said...

sir edge, baka pwede kaming sumama....


Anonymous said...

astig to mt tabayoc, mhirap lng pag umuulan sobrang dulas. pinagtataka ko lng khit moist ang forest nto walang limatik!?

Anonymous said...

It depends on the kind of flora that thrives there. There is a specific kind of plant na limatik hangout. Watch out for those.


Anonymous said...

blood suckers+


Anonymous said...

mga sirs, baka may aakyat sa inyo ngayong aug21-23?


Anonymous said...

good day sir,

josh here i just wanna ask kung pwede bang magpunta ng mount tabayoc and lake tabeo even the two of us? di po ba delikado? kasi po i have a client na gustong mag-adventure and he likes mountains and lakes..kailan po and punta ng grupo nyo? or is there any mountaineer na pupunta to that area? please let me know asap..you can reach me here..( 09206086800/09052682525/09234024323 )

hope to hear from you soon,



Anonymous said...

hi-- I'm not a serious climber, etc. but I am interested in Mt. Tabayoc. My great-uncle died in a plane crash on Mt. Tabayoc about Dec 19, 1950. Anyone know where I can information on the crash? He was in the US Army. I can be reached at dguyellison@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

sir pwde po bang mag traverse from mt. tabayoc to mt pulag???

student po ako ng central mindanao university
balak kasi ng club namin dito na umakyat jan.
para makatipid sa pamasahe gusto namin isang byahe nalng sana sa pagpunta jan

Anonymous said...

mga sir san po located yung station ng A liner in Baguio?climbing Tabayok on Monday..Thanks..


Anonymous said...

Kung sino po ang interested mag climb sa mt tabayoc, sama po ako thanks!!


melo sanchez said...

hi josh,

akyat ako tabayoc sa nov 7-10
nov 7 1030pm ETD to baguio

melo sanchez -09183436034

melo sanchez said...

sir edge.

yung luzon 321, pano transpo non?? pwd makahinge ng breakdown ng gastos... tnx


Anonymous said...

magkano guide sa tabayok?

Anonymous said...

1k day guide don... sabi ni sir arlan, ranger sa tabayoc

Anonymous said...

Luzon321 (timbak, tabayoc, pulag)
When: oct25-29.
Budget: 2.5k - 3k

anyone interested to join us pls contact me (09272037772) or sir daryl (091764345800, sir janel (09173812567)

-melo sanchez
mountain quest pilipinas

jaymz said...

hi! can anyone share with me his/her contact person for Mount Tabayoc?
who/where can i ask for permit/fees/guide for the climb?

melo sanchez said...

Luzon321 (timbak-tabayoc-pulag) plus jr.pulag
timbak cave
tinongchole cave
tabeyoc 4 lakes
halsema highest point
with free BRC (basic ropemanship course)

Budget 3700

to those who are interested pls contact me:

helmet said...

Anyone interested to join in mt tabayoc at May 26 to 29? you can text me at 09155923895 for details.. Thanks..

www.pbase.com/pikes007 said...

tabayoc climb: Aug26-28, 2011

email me: pikes007@gmail.com

Anonymous said...


Buddy De Dios said...

baka may nagpla2nong umakyat nang Mt. Tayabok Oct.26-28..inform nyo naman ako sa no. ko 09062632543..

Anonymous said...

Standard Luzon 321 Timbak- Tabayoc - Pulag via Tawangan- Ambangeg
NOVEMBER 2-5 2012
3.5k budget all in.
Outreach share
Bus Transfer
Jeep Transfer
All fees
Late lunch last day

Highlights :

Outreach @ Mangoto Elem. School (Timbak)
Lake side Base Camping @ Tabeyo
Mossy Forest Trekking Via Tawangan

2 slots remaining. 1st come 1st served. Txt 0910-790-34-08 - Rhai

Anonymous said...

sir rhai sama ako

Anonymous said...

sir gidz, makiki post lang po. Thanks

Baka may gusto sumama, timbak-akiki-pulag-tawangan ,tabayoc. March 23-28. 2.5k ang budget. food and personal expenses not included. text me at 09175157636..


helmet said...

Hi sir Gidz,,

Share ko lang po..thanks


Anonymous said...

yung mga 321 na yan,, napaka laos na! try nyo 312 makakatipid kayo lakarin nyo Timbak to Tabayoc... -hitler

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