La Trinidad, the capital town of Benguet, is more than just a home to the famous strawberry farms. It is also a mountaineering hub. One of its rising destinations is Mt Yangbew. It is the tallest mountain in the municipality and is also most frequented by local hiking enthusiasts.
An adventure-filled weekend afforded me an opportunity to assault this mountain once more. Yep, I have climbed Mt Yangbew at least twice while I was in college. But I just love doing it again and again especially when my wander lust strikes (as it always does).
How to Get to Mt Yangbew?
If you are coming from Baguio City or La Trinidad, you may ride a taxi all the way to sitio Binat at barangay Tawang. This is the trailhead to Mt Yangbew. Taxi fare from Baguio city ranges from 170 pesos to 200 pesos. On the other hand, fare from La Trinidad proper ranges from 100 pesos and above, depending from where you are coming from.
Another option is to ride a jeep at Pines Park. To get here, follow an alighting road in front of Tiong San in Km 4. There are regular jeepney schedules and each leaves once filled to capacity. Tell the driver to drop you by the trailhead.
If you simply want to walk, you can do so. Just follow the road leading to Balili and later on, climbed a long series of stairs. Yes, the trail is that steep. There is only one signage so if you’re confused with the way, just ask the locals there. Once you reach the road, walk to the left for a few minutes and you will see the jump-off point. There is a yellow signage there pointing the way.
Trailing your way to Mt Yangbew
The path to the zenith of Mt Yangbew is well-established. Initially, you’ll be walking on paved road. After some minutes, you then tread on dusty path. It did not rain for the past weeks when we went there. Therefore, the earth was loose and slippery. What more if it’s rainy and wet? Fortunately, there are detour trails alongside.
The trek is pretty much easy. Well, that’s for me since I have been used to even more extreme hiking. Frankly, anybody can actually assault the mountain without so much sweat and effort. Even beginners can do so. In fact, there are people who simply jog all the way to the top.
All in all, it took us 30 minutes to reach the top from the jump-off point.
While Atop Mt Yangbew
We reached the summit of Mt Yangbew summit at around 7:20 am. The early and chilly morning atmosphere was rejuvenating. Pine-scented breeze wafted all around, providing natural relief after the hike.
Fortunately, it was a clear day so we were rewarded with a magnificent view of La Trinidad and Baguio City. We also caught a glimpse of the surrounding mountain ranges of Benguet. From there, we could see the towering height of distant Mt. Pulag of Kabayan and nearby Mt. Santo Tomas of Tuba. The barangays and flower farms of Tomay and Alno are also visible atop including Mt. Pokgong of Sablan and Tublay.
The summit is covered in grasses and shrubs. That is why, locals call it junior Mt. Pulag. However, according to our informants, big pine trees used to cover the area. However, these were logged during the American period. Burning of the mountain was also rampant in the past, thus, only grasses and a few trees managed to grow.
Another feature that makes the summit interesting is the presence of limestone rock formations. We all know that these are supposed to be found underneath the ocean or at least, just along the seashore. But why on top of Mt Yangbew? Certainly, this conjures anybody’s interest and imagination. Some acclaim that these limestone formed during “The Great Flood.”
By the way, the mountain is named as Mt Yangbew because it used to be a jamboree site of the Americans in the past. Yangbew is a localized term for jamboree. In fact, the mountain was previously called Mt. Jambo/Jumbo.
Extra sights/activities at Mt Yangbew
Horseback riding can be done atop Mt Yangbew. The Yangbew Riders Association takes care of this. For an hour of ride, the fee is 300 pesos. This can be halved if one ought for 30 minutes only. For picture taking with the horses, fee is 25 pesos.
I am not really fond of animals being used for commercial purposes. I just hope though that they are well-taken care of. We all hear/read of the elephant abuses in Thailand and elsewhere for tourists’ sake. I hope that is not the case with the horses at Mt Yangbew.
One of our informants also mentioned that there is a cave near the summit. However, it is still closed during our visit since its undergoing assessment. They say the cave is deep and one needs to rappel to get inside. I can’t wait to see what wonderful spectacles it offers.
From Mt Yangbew, one can also visit Tawang Stone Church. We did that. From the summit, we hiked back to the road and followed it for some 30 minutes before finally reaching the church.
Fees to Pay
All tourists or visitors bound to Mt Yangbew are required to pay the environmental fee. For local tourists, fee is 30 pesos each while for local students, it’s 25 pesos. On the other hand, international tourists (whether adult or students) must pay 50 pesos. For those planning to camp overnight, 100 pesos per person is required.
Tips and Reminders
- The best time to visit Mt Yangbew is during early morning and late afternoon to catch sight of spectacular sunrises and sunsets. During early morning, a sea of clouds occasionally appears. Besides, you don’t want to get burned out when you opt to hike in the middle of the day. Remember, there is sparse vegetation along the trail, thus, not much shade available.
- Always pay the corresponding fees. That is one way for you to help the local economy and the lives of the locals there.
- Since the trail is well-established, there is no need for a guide. However, if the need arises, you can still ask for one at the barangay hall or at the trailhead reception area.
- Please don’t ever litter. Help protect Mt Yangbew by adhering to basic protocols. If you want, you can also pick up litters along the way.
For your Information:
If you need further information that may help in setting up your itinerary to Mt. Yangbew in La Trinidad, simply ask them on the comment section below. You can also message us on our facebook page namely, Daniel’s Eco-Travels. I will be more than glad and willing to answer them whenever I can:)
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