I was supposed to take Ryk to the Northern Blossom Flower Farm and take some photos of the sunrise. To our disappointment, it was closed. So as any sane traveler would do, I suggested we go check out Mt Timbak.
And is sure as hell felt like I was kicked in the butt when I saw the stunning views on top of Mt Timbak. This place is just an hour and a half away from my hometown.
If you’re planning on going up Mt. Timbak, here’s the ultimate Mt Timbak travel guide.
About Mt. Timbak
With an elevation of 2,717+ MASL, Mt Timbak is considered as the 3rd highest mountain in Luzon and the 9th in the Philippines. The funny thing is, you’ll find the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd highest peaks in Luzon near each other. You can see Mt Tabayoc (2nd highest peak) and Mt Pulag (1st highest peak) from Mt Timbak.
It’s quite funny that these three mountains decided to be near each other. If it were up to me, I’d create an epic tale about three brothers turning into mountains (which is pretty usual with Filipino tales). I’ve already been to Mt Pulag so Mt Tabayoc I’ll come for you someday.
This is just a minor climb, in case you’re wondering. If it’s your first time hiking a mountain, Mt Timbak is the best choice. Plus, if you’re lucky, you get to see the sea of clouds that it’s famous for!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get there?
From Manila, ride a bus to Baguio City.
Travel Tip: You can book bus tickets to Baguio City here in advance.
Then, from Baguio, you have several options. You can either ride the bus or a van.
Ride a bus that pass by Halsema Highway. Look for the ones heading to Bontoc, Sagada, Besao, or Cervantes. Choose from any of the following:
- Terminal: Slaughterhouse Compound, Lower Magsaysay
- Schedule: 4 AM to 4 PM
- Terminal: Dangwa Station, behind Centermall
- Schedule: 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Another option for you is to ride a van which passes by Halsema Highway. These are the ones heading to Mankayan, Lepanto, Kabayan or Abatan. Depending on the number of passengers, vans can depart as early as 3:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
Note: For both modes of transportation, the fare usually ranges from 75 pesos to 120 pesos. The travel time is around 2 hours.
Reaching Mt Timbak from Atok
You have two options if you want to reach the top of Mt Timbak.
First Option: Hike
Ask the driver to drop you off at KM 55 in Atok. This is where you will start hiking.
The time to reach the summit will depend on how fast you can walk. But you can get there in 1 to 3 hours of hiking since you only have to follow the road going up in KM 55. If you think you’re lost, just ask the locals.
This option is for you if you love walking and you’re on a tight budget.
Second Option: Tour
Ask the driver to drop you off at Marosan’s Restaurant in Sayangan, Atok. From here, go to the Brgy Hall of Paoay. It’s just a few meters behind the restaurant.
At the Brgy Hall, ask for a ride going to Mt. Timbak or avail of their Circuit 2 or Circuit 3 Tours. Plus, don’t forget to pay for the environmental fee of 20 pesos per head. It helps the local community.
Circuit 2 Tour (3 Hours):
Price: P 1,500 for the whole tour that’s good for 5 persons
Circuit 3 Tour (5 Hours):
Price: P 3,000 for the whole tour that’s good for 5 persons
To ensure that you have a ride and to ask for the latest prices, text or call these numbers:
For Smart/ TNT
Let them know you got their numbers from Wanderera. 🙂
IMPORTANT: Following the Executive Order No. 09-2020 by Mayor Raymundo Sarac on lifting the temporary suspension on tourism activities, it is asked that all tourists, visitors, and guests visiting the municipality of Atok, to pre-register first at the designated registration area at PAOAY Barangay Hall in Sayangan, Paoay, Atok, Benguet for monitoring purposes. (NO PRE-REGISTRATION, NO ENTRY).
What if I have a car?
You can drive to Mt Timbak. There are parking lots here. However, you’ll still have to walk 20 minutes to reach the summit. Be warned though. The road is pretty narrow, and is only one way.
There are also several super steep roads so you’ll need to have a car that can take on the challenge. Plus, Halsema Highway has a lot of sharp curves. Only bring your car if you have been to these parts of the Cordillera.
Day trip or overnight? Which is the best choice?
If you’re pressed for time, a day trip is okay but there’s a big chance you’ll miss the sunrise.
On the other hand, overnight trips are way better. You can see the sunrise and sunset.
Can we camp in Mt Timbak?
Absolutely! In fact, one of the locals, Aunt Josie Camsol, offers a campsite right beside their house. The campsite is only 2 to 3 minutes from the sunrise viewing site and 10 minutes from the grotto. And the view? Wow! I’ve already planned on going on a camping trip here. The view is just absolutely stunning!
Update! Last March, my friends, Ryk and I decided to go camping. The trip was fun and all but it was so hard to sleep that night in our tents because of the freezing cold temperature.
Unlike our camping trip to Mt Pulag, the wind was blowing fiercely in Mt Timbak which made it super hard to stay outside the tent. We decided to end the night early and cut our bonfire short since everyone just wanted to stay inside the tent.
Camping Tip: Bring sleeping bags that are made for the cold weather. Oh and better not bath in the morning unless you want to do an ice bucket challenge. There’s no heater in the bathrooms.
Contact Aunt Josie at 09207478558 if you’re planning to camp. Let her know you got her number from Wanderera.
You can bring your tent or rent one from them.
Here are the campsite rates:
- Tent Rental: 100 pesos per head
- Camping Fee: 100 pesos per head
They also sell coffee and noodles at affordable prices in case you didn’t bring one. The campsite is about 2 to 3 minutes away from the toilet and bathroom so you might find yourself in a tough situation if you suddenly need to go use the toilet at night.
Is there mobile signal?
Glad you asked! I was pretty stoked when I found out Mt Timbak has a 4G coverage for Globe! Wohooo! (Yes, simple things make me happy. Har har.) Smart has signal, too but I’m not sure about the mobile data connection.
The campsite sells succulents for as low as 25 pesos! And they’re so cute, too. Or you could stop by the former Highest Point and buy some ref magnets or keychains.
When’s the best time to go?
According to our guide Charlie, the best time to view the sea of clouds is in April.
Paoay Barangay Hall (For Tours):
For Smart/ TNT
Mt Timbak Campsite: 09207478558 (Aunt Josie)
What To Pack
For Day Trips:
- Water bottle – Please use a reusable one. Let’s save mother Earth.
- Snacks – You’ll definitely get hungry during the hike.
- Jacket – It’s pretty windy at the top and cold, too. (Don’t be like me. Haha. I’m already used to the cold.)
- Umbrella – It might rain soooooo bring one.
- Tent – Bring one if you’re not going to rent.
- Water bottle – Avoid plastic and bring a reusable one. Let’s be eco-friendly.
- Food – So you won’t go hungry.
- Eating Utensils – Duh. Unless you want to use your hands. That’s okay, too.
- Extra clothes – For the next day and your OOTD shots.
Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments.
Where to next?
Make the most of your trip and avail of the circuit 2 or circuit 3 tours at Paoay Brgy Hall so you can see the Sakura Park, Former Highest Point, and Spanish Trail.
If you’re into mummies, you can ask the locals how to get to the Kabayan mummy caves.
And I know you heard about this place. It has gone viral on social media. Go check out the Northern Blossom Flower Farm. I’ve been there and have written a travel guide. Check it here. If you’re going here, the tour guides for the circuit 2 or 3 will bring you there once the tour is over. It’s the last stop.
Finally, if you want to stop by Baguio before going back to Manila or wherever you came from, here’s a Baguio travel guide (according to a local).
Tips and Reminders
- Use thick jackets. I warned you. It’s super cold.
- Please don’t litter unless you’re an asshole.
- Be mindful of the crops when you hike to the summit. Make sure you don’t damage them. Karma is a b*tch.
- Help the locals by hiring a tour guide. Plus, you’ll get to hear tons of stories and fun facts about the place.
You might also like…
- Check out the Sakura Flowers in Atok, Benguet: Haight’s Place
- Mt. Pulag : DIY Adventure Above the Sea of Clouds
- Weekend Getaways Near Baguio Under 500 Pesos
- Northern Blossom Flower Farm: 2020 Travel Guide (Atok, Benguet)
- Mt Ulap in Itogon, Benguet: The Ultimate 2020 DIY Travel Guide
- Atok, Benguet 2020 Travel Guide: Top Things To Do