Mt. Timbak Climb Guide – The 3rd Highest Mountain in Luzon

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Quick Facts

Major jump-off: KM. 55 in Atok, Benguet
Elevation: 2,717+ MASL (3rd highest mountain in Luzon; 9th highest peak in the Philippines.)
Specs: Minor Climb
Features: Fire Mummies | Village Life | Vegetable Fields | Magnificent views of major Cordillera peaks.

If you are visiting Baguio and want to make a “travel record”, scaling the third highest peak of Luzon sounds awesome, right?

Mt. Timbak

Mt. Timbak Landmark

Mt. Timbak is very accessible from the summer capital of the Philippines. Although considered as the 9th highest peak in the country and 3rd highest peak in Luzon, this mountain promises a walk-in-the-park kind of trek. No wonder it has been labeled a minor climb because of its easy trail. A cemented road leading to Timbak Elementary School has already been constructed and thus the climb became pretty straightforward. If you have a private car, which can drive up to Timbak Elementary School, the 30 minutes of easy trek will already bring you to the summit. However, if you will commute and start your trek from the jump-off point, you have to walk for almost 2 hours in a cemented road to reach the summit. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not an easy feat.

When we climbed Mt. Timbak, we were lucky enough that a mini truck loaded with veggies passed by and the local driver was so kind enough to give us a lift. It stopped at one of the villager’s home almost atop the mountain and we just had to trek for 15 minutes to reach the summit. Yeah, you read that right, 15 minutes to the summit!

The summit of Mt. Timbak is marked with three crosses, hence it is also called the ‘mini-Calvary’. From the mountaintop you will be able to see the fluffy clouds forming below and the robust peaks of various Cordillera mountains including Mt. Tabayoc, Mt. Pulag, Mt. Ugo. You will also have a glimpse of the Halsema road and the stunning picture of the villages and green fields from above.

How to Get to Mt. Timbak Jump-Off Point (from Baguio City)

Atok, the town where Mt. Timbak jump-off is located is 2.5 hours away from Baguio City. If you are coming from Baguio provided below are the steps on how you can reach Mt. Timbak.

Private Transportation

  1. Head northeast then turn right onto Kisad Road.
  2. Continue driving until you reach Shuntug Road. Turn left to Quirino Highway.
  3. Continue driving until you reach Naguilian Road. Turn right to Bokawkan Road.
  4. Continue driving until you reach Magsaysay Avenue. Turn left when you reach Baguio-La Trinidad-Bontoc Road.
  5. Continue driving towards Halsema Highway – Baguio – La Trinidad-Bontoc Road.
  6. When you see the sign along the road that says “Welcome to the Mummy caves of Timbac”, stop. You’re in the jump-off point.

Public Transportation

  1. Go to Dangwa Terminal (located at the city proper) or at the Slaughterhouse bus terminal along Magsaysay Avenue. Dangwa Terminal is more accessible. Public van transportation departs from Dangwa terminal in as early as 6AM while bus from Slaughterhouse departs at 10:00AM and 12:00NN daily. No more public transportation departs after lunch so make sure that you are in either of the two terminals as early as possible.
  2. Ride a bus bound to Sagada, Bontoc, or Abatan or van bound to Kabayan and tell the driver to drop you at KM 55 in Atok. You will know when you are near KM 55 when the van or bus make a stopover — Morning Star Bus Station (for buses) or Marosan’s Eatery (for vans).

MT. TIMBAK TRAVERSE

Traversing Mt Timbak is not a very good option if you do not have your own car. This is an excellent choice if a.) you plan to do the Luzon 3-2-1 (climbing Luzon’s 3 highest peaks) b.) If you have your own car because public transportation at the other side of the mountain is finite c.) if you want to go to other mummy caves of Kabayan, Benguet d.) If you have all the time in the world which you can freely squander while tramping the concrete road down to the other side.

If it took us just 15 minutes to reach the summit of Mt Timbak, the traverse is another story. It IS more of a painful trek than a challenging and fun climb. Personally, I do not find it fun, unless you find walking with blisters a fun activity then I am wrong. Traversing Mt. Timbak is more of a physically and mentally 4-hour agonizing experience, than a happy hike. Yes, we reached the summit in 15 minutes but we trekked down this mighty mountain in 4 hours! Mind you, that 4 long hours already include the several shortcut trails (according to our guide) that we took.

The trail from the summit is a combination of rocky wide roads to a concrete roads; mostly concrete roads. It is not fun walking through a slope, paved, and concrete road for several hours because it requires more effort compared to trekking down an uneven terrain. Walking down a cemented path needs controlling your steps in order to defy the gravity and keep your balance. What made the traverse more awful is that we have limited time to rest because we need to run after the ONLY bus that passes by Kabayan Barrio road bound for Ballay (for our Mt. Tabayoc climb). We ought to be at the area by 2PM because the bus passes there only between the hours of 2:00 – 2:30 in the afternoon. If we missed that bus, we have to walk all the way through Ballay which I do not think should be considered as an option.

We are lucky still that we managed to reach Kabayan Barrio a quarter before 2PM.

(Provided below are the photos of various trails from summit down to Kabayan Barrio)

Mt. Timbak

Mt. Timbak

Mt. Timbak

Note: If you have your own service there is no need to chase time as you will be snure of a ride when you reach Kabayan Barrio.

Sample Itinerary (Traditional Trail) Climb

0600 From Baguio City, take bus/van bound to Sagada, Bontoc, or Abatan or Kabayan
0800 Alight at KM. 55 in Atok benguet and start the trek.
1100 Summit (pegged in a regular trek; no service, no hitchhiking)
1130 Start descent. Take lunch at the local village.
1200 Proceed to the Burial Rock keeper’s house for the Timbak mummies
1300 Head back and start descent to KM 55.
1430 ETA KM55. Wait for the bus/van bound to Baguio.
1630 Back at Baguio City

*You may also opt to visit the Highest Point of Philippine Highway which is at the Kilometer 52 of Halsema Highway and from there wait for the bus bound for Baguio City.

Sample Itinerary for Mt. Timbak Traverse Climb (without a rented service)

0600 From Baguio City, take bus/van bound to Sagada, Bontoc, or Abatan or Kabayan
0800 Alight at KM. 55 in Atok benguet and start the trek.
0900 Summit (adjust your IT to be at the summit this time especially if you do not have service)
0915 Start descent. (Bringing packed lunch is a very good idea)
1350 ETA Kabayan Barrio. Wait for the ONLY bus that passes by the area that head to Ballay.

Climb Tips for Mt. Timbak Climb

  • You can buy provisions in the bus terminals and stopovers, there are also sari-sari store midway to the summit of Mt. Timbak.
  • If you plan to go back to Baguio AFTER Mt. Timbak climb, traverse is not a very good option. If you do so you have to stay in Barrio until the next day for a 9AM trip back to Baguio or bring/rent your own service.
  • The public bus transportation passes by Kabayan Barrio only twice a day. 9AM bus that goes to Baguio and 2:00-2:30PM bus from Baguio to Ballay.
  • If you want to take advantage of climb services of a travel agency, you can contact Sole Adventours.
  • For more virtual and interactive live updates, you can check our INSTAGRAM PAGE or follow us in TWITTER.
  • Be part of Love. Eat. Wander. Facebook Community Page for more updates, travel tips, and for more photos of Mt. Timbak. You can also visit our YouTube Channel for videos. 

Projected Expenses for Mt Timbak Climb

Van from (Dangwa Terminal) Baguio to KM. 55 9 (Atok) Php110 per way (bus fare is Php80)
Guide Fee Php500
Entrance Fee to the Mummy Cave Php40
Bus to Ballay (if you are hiking Mt. Tabayoc next) Php10
TOTAL EXPENSES = P660

 Interesting Facts About Mt. Timbak

• Located also within the perimeter of Mt Timbak are the Timbak mummies which also are part of this significant destination. Just ask the locals of where to find the mummy caves. There is a caretaker of the mummies and he holds the key to the caves. There is a minimal fee of Php40 to see the preserved bodies.
• Many mountaineers, adventurers, and outdoor enthusiasts are climbing Mt Timbak as part of the ingredient hike for the “Luzon 3-2-1” (A climb that combines the 3 highest peaks of Luzon which are Timbak, Tabayoc, and Pulag). – WE DID THIS!

Acknowledgement

This Mt Timbak climb has been made possible by the help of Mr. Santiago Ballagan and his son Josiah Ballagan. Josiah serves as our guide for Timbak and Tabayoc during our Luzon 3-2-1 climb. They can be reach at numbers (+63910) 752 – 2655 (Santiago Ballagan) and (+63946) 415 – 2355 (Josiah Ballagan).

Thank you for dropping by!

Love,

Missy of 

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Should you want to add/dispute something in this article, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

 

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Note: This entry is part of our Luzon 3-2-1 climb which happened four years ago. This is a repost from our old site, with new updates included.

Climb Guide for Mt. Timbak
Climb Guide for Mt. Tabayoc
Climb Guide for Mt. Pulag via Tawangan Trail
Climb Guide for Luzon 3-2-1

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1 Response

  1. July 13, 2017

    […] our Mt. Timbac (Timbak) Traverse climb that ended in Kabayan Barrio, we rode a bus bound for Ballay to get to the jump-off point of […]

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