I get really excited whenever I know that an itinerary got a sidetrip. Who doesn’t want to do more than just one outdoor activity anyway? I guess no one would say “No” to a trip coupled with swimming be it on a beach or a falls. That’s why the moment I found out that Mt. Cinco Picos showcases these sidetrips, I just couldn’t say no to it. It was a climb and dive adventure! Let me walk you through our 2-day journey in this mountain and I hope that you get fascinated by it the way I did. 🙂
The group left Manila at around 0430 using a rented mini bus. We were roughly around 40 including the guests and the members. It was over all a smooth quite a long ride since we arrived at Sitio Cawag at around 0900, a little late with our supposedly 0800 plan.
The group started the trek with a prayer and some stretching to prep up for that roughly 7 hours trek. Mt. Cinco Picos as cited by Pinoy Mountaineer is at 3/9 difficulty and is tagged as a Major Climb. However, with its 881 MASL, MMS tagged it as a Minor Climb.
I love how the whole trail of this mountain got a mix of everything that contribute to its beauty: dry and wet rivers, telletubby-looking hills, muddy roads, boulders, and a vast array of grasslands mainly consist of tall cogon grasses. I would definitely suggest for you to wear arm warmers or a long-sleeve hiking gear to prevent cuts from these grasses. A bush hat as well is highly recommended to battle from the scorching heat of the sun. I got mine from Fluid Surf , and I believe it’s better than the one being sold by Pitman Outdoors or even TNF, it’s sturdier and got a good ventilation.
We arrived at this river that got a small pool and really cold flowing water, enough for you to freshen up. I found myself soaking into, I’m really a big fan of swimming into flowing water streams. It was already 1130 and most of us were already feeling the hunger so we’ve decided to have our lunch here instead of the planned Old Tamayo’s place.
We continued the trek with these big rocks along the way. It was like one of those Bear Gryll’s episodes exploring the wild and up into a thrilling adventure. I love how rivers just come in along the trail. I was wearing my Merrel Waterpro Manistee shoes for the first time here and I just got the feeling that it really fits this mountain. As how its name goes, it is water-pro which allows the water to go in and out of your shoes. It dries really quick and is ideal for river crossings. It’s like wearing a shoes and a sandals in one. The only downside I guess was when I used it without socks, it gave me blisters. Not sure if it was because it’s new and my feet was still adjusting to it. Nevertheless, I would have to wear it with a quick-dry socks moving forward.
We arrived at the campsite at around 1530. Surprisingly, we were the only group to camp in there so it felt like we own the whole campsite. It is divided into two areas and pretty small I guess for our big group. We even had to pitch our tent at the grassy areas in there. It was also my first time to use my Coleman Tadpole tent, the blue one. I had it shared with Cha, one of my batchmates. It was just enough for the two of us to move and I’m really satisfied with how it gave me a straight comfortable sleep the whole night.
We prepared dinner afterwards and our group meal menu was Pork Sinigang. Yes, it is possible to prepare real food in the mountain. Real food meaning the one that deviates from the preserved-in-can meals. I had my 4 guests (Homer, Joy, Emma, Jay) and my batchmates Marc and Cha to share with the meal. Cooking is something that I look forward to during climbs. I just love how the mountains give that added flavor into the food that you eat, making it sumptuous and really tasty. Add up how satisfied your groupmates are with the food especially if you’re the one who prepared. Luckily, we have our resident chef in the group, Cha, who is really passionate in cooking. You guys have to experience her cooking skill for real.
Wake up call was set at 0500 for the summit assault. The trail to the summit wasn’t that steep and is just enough for newbies. It was roughly I guess an hour assault, I barely noticed. Atop, you’ll see the peaks and you would know on why it’s called Cinco Picos which means Five Peaks. The view was breathtaking that looms Mt. Balingkilat from afar. And it being a coastal mountain, expect the air breeze to be really refreshing.
I can’t help but again, thank God for His wonderful gift of nature. As when people asks me on why I climb mountains, I would always say that I’ve always been in the pursuit for the view in the summit. And how the mountains give you that humbling feeling to make you realize how small you are compared to the world.
We then went down to prepare for breakfast. At 0800 we had our break camp then started descent at 0900. We took the shorter route as suggested by our guides. This led us to arriving an hour earlier at the Big River at around 1400 where we had our lunch. We also took the chance in dipping ourselves in the cold water there to freshen up.
It was over-all a fun climb and I really enjoyed the whole trek. I hope I was able to express that in here. 😀 Kudos to our team leader Marc Angelo Santos who did a great job in organizing the whole climb! Cheers!