I’m always terrified of climbing mountains. That might be a little exaggerated, but the idea of hanging from cliffs and tumbling down to my death just sounds scary to me. I don’t have a weak stamina (I can work for miles) and I’m not as brittle as I think, but I just never really had the courage to try climbing mountains because I let the fear take over me. I’m afraid to find myself in situations that I am not prepared for, in between boulders that I’m not fit to climb, in cliffs where I might fall down. This fear has stopped me from conquering mountains and has led me to believe that climbing was one thing that I can’t do. I was proven wrong when I experienced Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Yangbew, realizing that there are mountains that are really beginner friendly (most people would share their “beginner friendly” journeys, only for us to find out that it’s not as easy as they made it sound). I realized that maybe if I put myself out there and let myself be acquainted with terrains, then I won’t be so afraid.
During our trip to Baguio, one part of our itinerary was an early morning visit to Mt. Yangbew. Compared to most mountains, Mt. Yangbew was relatively easy — just a 30-40 minute trek from the jump off point. I have always been doubtful with posts on blogs about “easy hikes”, as I feel like most people who share them are actually frequent climbers. Whenever I see their ‘buwis-buhay’ photos, I would quickly opt out of their site, thinking that they can’t be trusted as their threshold is something that I can’t be at par with. I’m okay with long walks and a bit of ascend, but I am totally not down with climbing on all fours, or going through areas that are too steep. I may sound like a whining kid, but I guess I’m just not ready YET to actually commit and experience those kinds of hardships. I’m the type of person who likes to take things at my own pace, and I guess at this point, I’d just like to stay on the safer side, please.
Mt. Yangbew has proven to be a perfect climb for my anxious self, as it is really easy. There are some steep areas, but it’s not as scary, as the steps are pretty stable. I climbed and went down the mountain with no difficulty, as there were no life-threatening cliffs to be afraid of. There were steep areas but it was very minimal, and the steps are also stable so there’s no reason to be afraid of slipping. If you have a low stamina, climbing might be a bit of a challenge for you as the concrete trail is at 45 degrees, and it would require you to exert more effort going up.
The view from above was breathtaking. Much like most things in life, going through hardships and conquering them makes everything more beautiful and satisfying. We were able to get to the top a couple of minutes before sunrise, and we saw the majestic view unfolding before our very eyes. It’s best to climb before sunrise / sunset, as the scene was too gorgeous to pass up.
Up in the mountain was rolling grasslands, which is considered by many to look like Mt. Pulag’s peak. There are no trees in the area for shade, but there are plenty of space for you to set up your tents. From up above, you’ll be able to see the entirety of La Trinidad, Benguet, as well as the faint silhouettes of the neighboring mountains nearby. If you’re lucky, you might also witness the famous ‘sea of clouds’ from the summit.
Unlike most mountains, climbing Mt. Yangbew doesn’t require a tour guide, as the trail is straight forward. You just go up and you’ll find yourself to the top. There are a lot of locals around so you can also ask if you feel a bit lost.
Mt. Yangbew was closed for a while due to an unfortunate incident that took place just this April. However, upon checking online, the mountain has been reopened again after performing cleansing rituals and reinforcing more barangay and police officials. Much like anywhere else, when climbing a mountain or exploring a new area, stay vigilant and make sure to register yourself on the local tourism board to ensure your safety.
How to get there
From Baguio City, you can ride a jeepney bound for Tomay, La Trinidad. Ask the driver to drop you off at Barangay Tawang. From there, you can walk going to Tawang Elementary School, where the jump off point is located. Mt. Yangbew is relatively near Strawberry Farm, which you can easily visit after the trek. Travel time from Baguio to La Trinidad is around 30-40 minutes.
How about you? Do you know any good place for a beginner’s hike? Let me know on the comment section below, I would love to climb more (easy-to-conquer) mountains!