Hiking Mt. Halcon | Oriental Mindoro

Mt. Halcon 2019
Mindoro Oriental is famous for their fine white sand beaches and diving sites, such as Puerto Galera and Sabang, but did you know that they also have Mt. Halcon, one of the giants and hardest mountains to climb in the Philippines? Though, this mountain garnered a nine over nine rating in terms of difficulty, it's been part of my list of must hiked mountains because of its hidden and majestic beauty. Mt. Halcon has a combination of the difficult trails, wealthy rain forest, vast diversity of plans and animals, spooky stories, and unpredictable weather condition which can bring a remarkable hiking experience.

Mt. Halcon Itinerary

Mt. Halcon trail

Trails of Mt. Halcon

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The Limatik

THE TRAILS OF MT. HALCON: we chose Mayabig Trail for our ascent. Mayabig is a long trail surrounded with banana, coconuts, vegetables, and other plants cultivated by the residents (mostly the mangyans). Our hike was a wet season, as expected, the sticky mud and the limatiks spread on the spread were the two of my biggest challenge. We rested and had our lunch break at the Iglesiang Ebanghelika ng Aruta at the mangyan village. BJ (Buko Juice) can also be ordered from the locals. 

Ayambukog Camp
DAY 1: Camped at Ayambukog, 4-5 hours from the village.

hiking Mt. Halcon
Mt. Halcon water source
Mt. Halcon is one of the mountains in Philippines with a virgin rain forest. Having said that, hikers will encounter rivers and water falls. With enough moisture and less human intervention, most of the terrains are covered with healthy vegetation and hardwood trees. The tranquility and relaxing ambiance is present everywhere. I can't hide the fact that this mountain is rich in bio-diversity, both flora and fauna. Of course, passing on this jungle trail is one of the best feeling in my hiking experience so far.

Mt. Halcon 2019

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Mt. Halcon sea of clouds

Mt. Halcon Camp 1
Photos above were taken at the Camp 1. This area is a wide open space that can handle several tents. On this spot, there's a wide picture and an amazing view of Halcon’s range with several waters falls. It is also the spot where the sea of clouds appear. In addition to the trails of Mt. Halcon, the trail from Camp 1 to Dulangan River was very steep. My hands and feet depended on the roots passing the 90 degrees assault. The trails are somehow established but trail marks are available.

Dulangan River

Mt. Halcon Dulangan River
THE DULANGAN RIVER: From afar, I easily heard the relaxing sound from a splashing and strong current of water. I thought the sound was coming from a waterfalls nearby but I was wrong – it was famous Dulangan River. The splashing sound was harmonized by the sopranos of the birds and insects - such a relaxing nature's orchestra. Dulangan river has a breathtaking beauty and the waters flowing are clean, cool and crystal clear. While the gigantic boulders and trees serve as a perfect backdrop.

The Azothea

Mt. Halcon Knife Edge
Groupie at the Azothea, few meters to before the knife edge.

Most difficult mountain in the Philippines
Water falling on the trails were unforgettable.

OUR JOURNEY TO THE SUMMIT OF MT. HALCON:  DAY 2 - ATTEMPT 1: we attempted to ascend to the summit, but the time is limited, so we headed back to Camp 1. It was sad because we were unable to cross Dulangan River because of the destructive current, so had an emergency camp near Camp 2. No pitching of tent, just flysheets hanging on the branches of the trees. Limited food but had unlimited stories sharing.

camp sites in Mt. Halcon
Had our emergency camp near Dulangan River.

We barely slept during the night because of the insects bites and we were also monitoring the weather for a worse case scenario but everything was calm. The next day, just drank a cup of coffee and crossed Dulangan River heading to Camp 1 to meet the other group. Upon arrival, our food was ready.

Crossing Dulangan River
Crossing Dulangan River, second attemp.

Mt. Halcon death
The destructive flow of Dulangan River.

DAY 2, ATTEMPT 2: Early, we left Camp 1, crossed Dulangan River and headed to the summit. The trails are steep and surrounded by flora and crossed several brooks. While approaching Azothea, thunderstorm came. It was a tough decision, we waited for the weather to calm down but the wind became stronger while the fog became thicker making a zero visibility on the knife edge. As ordered by our guide, we headed back to Camp 1, however, Dulangan river was  not passable again due to its strong current and overflowing water, had an emergency camp inside the small cave near Dulangan River.