HIKING GUIDE: Mt. Damas, Tarlac

Mt. Damas
Until now, Mt. Damas, the pride of Tarlac, is in debate if it’s really a minor or a major hike. Others would say it’s minor because of its elevation but others would say its major because of its trail type and technicalities. During our ascent, they are both correct, the entire journey was composed of an uphill and downhill trek with river crossing.  That doesn't end there, since it was wet season, the muddy and slippery terrains made our journey remarkable. By the way, this mountain is the home of the eatas who protect the forest from illegal activities.
 
trails of Mt. Damas
THE TRAILS OF MT. DAMAS: The first part is walking on a simple but an uphill trail where the terrain is covered with trees, grass and shrubs on the sides. Next part is a major assault and then a steep descent to the Dueg river. Then, another assault to the summit. I enjoyed its terrain because there were colorful flowers on the ground, orchids hanging on the trees and the birds were like nightingales singing melodies.

Mt. Damas Dueg river
THE DUEG RIVER: Part of the river crossing is the long stretch of Dueg river where hikers need to hop on and off the boulders to reach the other side. If you're tired, you can replenish and relax your muscles here by swimming in its cool and crystal clear water. Since the area is surrounded by greens, the calming ambiance is preserved. Plus, the sound of the splashing water is perfect for yoga and meditation.

Mt. Damas itinerary

Mt. Damas summit
THE SUMMIT AND CAMPSITE OF MT. DAMAS: On top, there's a 360 degrees view of the nearby towns and mountain ranges. Every side is covered with green, especially the farmlands from afar. The ambiance is relaxing because the wind is cool and refreshing. By the way, Mt. Damas has an open area that serves as the campsite. The area can handle less than ten tents, depending on the sizes. The next day, while we were still surrounded by darkness, we already started preparing our breakfast. The weather was fine, so we witnessed the vibrant "sea of clouds" like those in Mt. Pulag.

Mt. Damas waterfalls
MT. DAMAS TRAVERSE CIRCUIT: On our second day, aside from the downhill, the challenging part was the river crossing. We were hopping on and off the slippery boulders and walking against the water current. In fairness, the forest area is really protected because the terrain has a combination of vines, trees, and some ornaments hanging on the branches. To those who are seeking an adventure, Mount Damas is perfect for you!

HOW TO GET TO MT. DAMAS: We rode in a bus to Camiling, Tarlac and alighted by the highway near Camiling Market and the old Camiling Catholic Church. Then we chartered a jeep to the jump off in Brgy. Papaac, Camiling, Tarlac.