HIKING GUIDE: MT. HALCON, Oriental Mindoro

Mt. Halcon 
So far, hiking Mt. Halcon (2582 MASL) in Oriental Mindoro is the toughest. Why not? It is one of the giants to climb in the Philippines. Though, this mountain garnered a nine over nine rating in terms of difficulty, it is part of my "list of the must hiked mountains" because of its hidden and majestic beauty. Mt. Halcon has a combination of long and difficult terrains, wealthy rain forest, vast diversity of plans and animals, spooky stories, and unpredictable weather condition which can bring a remarkable hiking experience (the reason why it's my hardest). By the way, Oriental Mindoro is famous for their fine white sand beaches and diving sites, such as Puerto Galera and Sabang, but Mt. Halcon is something that hikers should experience.

Mt. Halcon update 2020

Mt. Halcon hiking guide

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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. 

Mt. Halcon campsite
DAY 1: Camped at Ayambukog, 4-5 hours from the village.

trails of Mt. Halcon
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

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Mt. Halcon news
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

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DAY 2 - CROSSING 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.

Mt. Halcon news


Mt. Halcon
OUR JOURNEY TO THE SUMMIT OF MT. HALCON:  (DAY 2 - ATTEMPT 1) We ascended to the summit but unsuccessful because the time was limited, so we headed back to CAMP 1. Heading back to CAMP 1 was unsuccessful too because we were unable to cross Dulangan River. The water current was destructive, so we had an emergency camp near CAMP 2. No pitching of tent, just flysheets hanging on the branches of the trees. Limited food supplies but had unlimited stories sharing.

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

DAY 3 - 2ND ATTEMPT TO THE SUMMIT: Mt. Halcon has a rain forest, and as expected, the terrains are wet because of the rain showers. While on the trails, everything was okay, though, we don't have access to see the skies because the trails are covered with hardwood trees. Until we reached the open area called "Azothea," the spot where we confirmed that fog is everywhere and the wind was strong - it was a thunderstorm! A few minutes of  silence. Everyone was thinking "to push or not to push." 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.

Mt. Halcon trails
Water falling on the trails were unforgettable.

Again, heading back to CAMP 1 was unsuccessful because Dulangan river was  not passable due to its strong current and overflowing water, so we had an emergency camp inside the small cave near Dulangan River. We were five, including one of our guides. Supplies were enough for overnight. Everything was okay and the weather was calm overnight but we barely slept because of the insects. The next day, just drank a cup of coffee and crossed Dulangan River heading to CAMP 1, a successful attempt. Upon arrival, our food was ready.

Mt. Halcon
Crossing the Dulangan River

DAY 4, A FULL DAY DESCENT AND THE REST WAS HISTORY


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