Travel Guide: Mount Timbak – How to get to Luzon’s third highest peak
Mountains are a regular sight in the Cordilleras. It is also where you can find some of the highest peaks in Luzon. Mount Timbak is no stranger to climbers. When I first heard about this mountain, I was actually surprised that there was such! But now that we do, let me share to you how to reach Luzon’s third highest peak.
Mount Timbak – Luzon’s third highest peak
Standing at 2,717 meters above sea level, Mount Timbak is not a usual climb. Also known as “Mount Singakalsa,” I was surprised because the way up the mountain is just along the Halsema Highway. With a difficulty of 2/9, it is not the usual land terrain that you would hike to, and its trail is concrete at first. If you have a car, you can bring it further to an Elementary School before the land terrain ascent. But for a more thrilling experience, I suggest you start the adventure right when you alight from the highway.
After an hour of walking the concrete trail, you would see the Mongoto (Timbak) Elementary School as a landmark. From there, we asked the locals where the trail to the summit of Mount Timbak is. There will be signages along the way leading you towards the summit.
From there, you can see a clear view of the nearby mountains and if you are lucky enough, you can see Mount Pulag from afar and a ‘sea of clouds’ beneath the Central Cordillera mountain ranges.
For our group, it took us around 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the top because we quite got lost at some point. Though today, the trail is a bit established so you have nothing to worry about.
How to get there
Reaching Mount Timbak is easy. From Baguio, ride a bus bound for Sagada or Bontoc and tell the driver or conductor to drop you at the jump off point (KM 55). Bus terminals are found either at Dangwa Bus Station behind Baguio Centermall or at the Slaughterhouse Covered Court in Magsaysay Avenue.
There are signages at the drop off point (right side) and is easy to locate. Just be aware especially when you reach Atok. The drop off point is usually 5 minutes after the only bus stopover and the former Highest Point in the Philippine Highway System.
The travel time usually is around 4 to 5 hours. I suggest that you take the first trips going to Sagada or Bontoc to see the sunrise. Fare ranges from PhP 70-90. (Fares are subject to change without prior notice!)
What to expect in Mount Timbak
Upon ascent to the mountain, you can see the stations of the cross used during Holy Week and after which, you have reached the summit. The terrain is mostly consisting of farmlands and flower farms (which is also picture-perfect!) Locals would also greet you and it is the perfect chance to ask for directions to the summit.
There is no Ranger Station in the mountain but there are several sari-sari stores along the way. You might as well bring your own trail food and water for convenience. For me, it is one of the easiest hikes I have been to as the main challenge is only experienced on the latter half of the climb.
Once at the summit, you can have a generous view of the mountains. As someone who is in love with good views, I personally recommend this to beginner climbers. On a clear day, you can even see the coast of La Union and Ilocos Sur from afar.
Read also: Travel Guide: Northern Blossom Flower Farm
Before, you can have a side trip to the burial caves upon descent. But as of now, the visit to the site is indefinitely suspended. So the side trip that I can suggest you is the former Highest Point in the Philippine Highway System and the Northern Blossom Flower Farm and Haight’s Place. (Which are all about 10-15 minutes ride from the drop off point.)
We’re born to travel!