Hiking matters #327: Mt. Tangisan, Mt. Bungkol Baka, and Mt. Kawayan in one dayhike!
Seven months after we did the Mt. Damas dayhike traverse (Hiking matters #282), My friends and I once again joined the GAME-NEST hiking club for a hike in their province, Tarlac. Just like Mt. Damas, this second adventure of ours proved to be a very enjoyable, very challenging dayhike, taking us not one, nor two, but three mountains: Tangisan, Bungkol Baka, and Kawayan, constituting what can be called the ‘San Jose Circuit’ (check out the article here).
From Brgy. Iba, we had to cross a river, which, though shallow, had rocks that were too slippery that there was no choice but to wade in the water. So the very first leg of the hike, no more than 5 minutes from the trailhead, involved having your shoes wet! Anyway, this was not going to dampen our spirits. After five or ten minutes we reached Sitio San Pedro, which is actually also accessible by a jeep or truck and is thus a better jumpoff. Here is where you get guides, and we had ours named Ato to join us.
An initial stroll through rice fields and wide roads will take you to a bridge, where the real hike begins. First up was Mt. Tangisan. It is very hot in Tarlac and we felt it from the very start of the hike. Tangisan was quite steep but not really difficult, yet the intense heat of the sun takes its toll. So we relished brief stops in shaded parts of the mountain, which are few and far between! After an hour or so from the bridge we had reached the summit of Mt. Tangisan (491m).
From there, we assaulted Bungkol Baka, reaching it by 1500H. There are two peaks: the initial one is atop a rocky formation; there is the option to hit the second, higher one, which is probably the highest point in the whole trial system.
From Bungkol Baka, we decided to go for Kawayan, citing the one irrefutable argument of hiking: “Bakit hindi ko pa gagawin e nadyan na? Sayang naman!” It took another hour (and a ‘close encounter’ with a herd of cows before we reached the summit of Kawayan, which stands at 595 MASL. This mountain, which is the southernmost of the three, offers beautiful views of Mt. Arayat and the plains of Tarlac, Pampanga, and Bataan! It’s always nice to spot Arayat (ESE).
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