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Mt. Cinco Picos » Do Not Aim for the Summit

Hiker trekking grassland trail of Mt. Cinco Picos in Zambales  hover_share
Success is not about how high you have reached, but the long hike and perseverance you endured.

This is the essence of Mt. Cinco Picos.  

During our recent climb, I felt fatigued. As I climb this mountain, there are times I felt I no longer have energy to climb any higher or any longer. There was an instant that I personally feel that this mountain has defeated me, that I am a quitter. But what I cannot do is cease to walk and just let go. 

So I walked on and on, moving painstakingly forward, but never giving up. I whispered to myself, “as long as I am walking and breathing, I am learning.” 

Over the Mountain 

We arrived at Sitio Cawag at around 5:30 in the morning, three hours behind our original itinerary. It was a perfect break of dawn; the sky shrouded by passing rain clouds is slowly being illuminated by the sun which seems too lazy to rise. 

Group Picture at the summit   hover_share
Souvenir group photo at the peak before descent to Silanguin Cove
This is the first time I saw all the hikers invited by our organizer, Sir Gerry. It was an event posted in Facebook so I tried checking Facebook profiles of the attendees to know a little bit of something in advance – something we have in common to start a conversation perhaps. 

As soon as we arrived at the jump-off, all became busy adjusting their backpacks, preparing rain covers, shifting weight, adjusting straps. All is synchronized, and from the looks of it, these are hardcore mountaineers, I thought. So I also prepped up.  

Mountaineers hiking the Mt. Cinco Picos grassland trail traverse to Silanguin Cove  hover_share
Traversing the grassland - Mt. Cinco Pico trail against picturesque surrounding hills
Very few trees at Mt. Cinco Picos denuded due to illegal logging hover_share
Deforested Mt. Cinco Picos due to illegal logging
The trail is, for the most part, passing a rolling grassy slopes and hills. It is a perfect trail to see and appreciate Zambales’ geographic beauty, from the mighty Mt. Balingkilat and other surrounding mountain ranges to the picturesque Subic Bay to the panoramic islands and coves. 

Dead tree against the grassland hover_share
Dead tree against the green grass and hazy sky hover_share
Remnants of the once lush mountain 
It is sad to note that due to illegal logging and kaingin, Mt. Cinco Picos is now deforested and 80% of the trail is along barren grassland. 

sharp rocks along the Mt. Cinco Picos trail  hover_share
Sharp rocks along the Mt. Cinco Picos trail
It would be like walking in hell if we do the climb in summer. So we are so thankful to have a cloudy day and occasional lovely rain showers during the climb.

Silver rain drops on the leaves of green grass  hover_share
Thankful for the rain
Wild mountain flower along the trail of Mt. Cinco Picos  hover_share
Occasional Treats: Beautiful wild mountain blooms along Mt. Cinco Picos trail 
Bright green leaves like a star along the trail  hover_share
Green star along the trail 

Do not aim for the summit

Mountaineer enjoying the clouds at the summit of Mt. Cinco Picos Peak hover_share
That above-clouds moment is always priceless
Mt. Cinco Picos’ trail stretches on endlessly. There are many times I asked our guide Kuya August, if we are already at the summit. Mt. Cinco Picos literally mean “Five Peaks” and there are sections I thought that we have reached one of the peaks, or that we have arrived at the summit.

Two mountaineers capturing the beauty of clouds at Mt. Cinco Picos hover_share
Capturing the clouds
Hiker looking at another peak at Mt. Cinco Picos climb hover_share
So where's the summit?
But as I look over my shoulder, I would always see another higher mountain, the mighty “Mountain of Thunder” or Mt. Balingkilat on my left; Mt. Dayungan on my right, and yet another beyond that.

Foot shot at the Mt. Cinco Picos trail hover_share
I love doing this shot whenever I travel - My customary foot shot I call "Foot Notes" 
Mountaineers descent from Mt. Cinco Picos going down Silanguin Cove hover_share
The descent to Silanguin Cove
After 4 hours of trekking I finally realize that it is really hard to climb a mountain if you are just aiming for the summit. I missed so much beauty along the trail because I am just aiming at getting up there. 

Picturesque view of Silanguin Cove against the foggy sky from the top of Mt. Cinco Picos hover_share
Picturesque view of Silaguin Cove from the peak of Mt. Cinco Picos
Mountaineer watching the coming typhoon from the peak of Mt. Cinco Picos hover_share
Here comes the typhoon!!

Mt. Cinco Picos has no grand summit. But there are peaks and hills from which you can shout victory. 

Bowing wild grass seeds hover_share
There's always room to grow
A girl meditating at the peak of mountain Cinco Picos overlooking the sea Silanguin Cove hover_share
Making your climb meaningful is a choice
Making this climb meaningful is a moment-by-moment choice. To discover magnificence in every step is truly Mt. Cinco Picos’ greatest reward.

Amazing view of Silanguin Cove from the top of Mt. Cinco Picos hover_share
The mountain-to-sea adventure is what makes this climb more exciting 

P.S. Our trek ended at the lovely Silanguin Cove read part II of this post:

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