Travel 2017: Climb: Mt Tapulao Dayhike

Time for some hardcore hiking!

Mt Tapulao, Palauig, Zambales

Major jump-off: Sitio Dampay, Brgy. Dampay-Salaza, Palauig
LLA: 15.4833 N, 120.1166 E, 2037 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 6-12 hours
Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Pine forests, views of West Philippine Sea
*Details from:

How to get there

We went there via private van which is the most convenient way to get to the jumpoff point, especially for dayhikes. We planned a Sunday hike and since we wanted to start early, we met at Eton Centris at around 9PM, Saturday.

Basically we just followed the map via Waze. Don't forget to take a right turn once you reached the Dampay-Salaza Road in Palauig. From there it will be a rocky road. You'll know that you reached the jump off point once you see the barangay hall.

The trail

Mt Tapulao's main attraction is its pine trees like that of the Cordillera mountains. In fact, it is named as such because Tapulao means pine trees in the local dialect. The mountain is a challenging 18KM hike from the jumpoff point to the summit. The charm of Mt Tapulao is its varying personalities. Its features includes a very rocky road, a misty pine trail and a mossy forest.
The most dreading part of the trail is the rocky road which consists almost 85% of the trail. From the start, you'll notice the rocks already until they become bigger and looser starting KM 9. Mind you, this knee-buckling part of the trail have tested the faith of a lot of mountaineers already.
Passing the seemingly unending rocky road is my favorite part, the scenic view and the misty pine trees. It made me feel like I transported to one of the mountains in the Cordillera region. The change of view also brought a change of temperature. Going further the pine trail, it became colder that we needed to bring out our jackets.
It took me 5 and a half hours to reach the campsite/bunker. This is where we re-grouped, took our lunch and had some rest.
The last part of the trail going to the summit is the enchanting forest. Bringing only our water and cameras, it took us around 30 minutes to reach the peak.
Some of the hikers before us said that there are some limatik inside the forest. Our group did not encounter any but beware just in case.
Disappointing as it may be, Tapulao's summit has no scenic or overlooking view. It is only a small space with the 18KM mark and the iconic "world tree" (picture above). But, hey, what matters is the climb right? :)
Lo and behold, the EPIC 18KM MARK!
But of course, going down back to the jump off point is as challenging as going up. Get your knees ready for the rocks once again. Nevertheless, finishing Mt Tapulao's trail via dayhike will give you the one of most fulfilling feeling ever! A reminder that if you believe you can, you will. :)

- There is a water source at KM7 and KM10
- It is important to wear a correct footwear in this trek because of the varying trail features
- Don't forget to bring a headlamp
- Bring a sunblock, the rocky road is bare and it may get really hot
- Bring a jacket, it may be very cold in the camp site area
- Bring a lot of patience and prayers ;)

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  1. What I like about Tapulao is the sunrise and sunset in km 16 :-)

  2. Hi what kind of shoes can you recommend?

    1. a good hiking/trail shoes would be good. i dont think the sandals are ok to use because the rocks may get really hot.


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