Mt. Sawi is located in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, one of the newest mountains opened for hikers. It is part of the Aurora Memorial National Park that offers a beautiful view of the plains of Nueva Ecija and the mountain ranges Of Nueva Ecija and Aurora.
It took us a year to finally make this happen. We planned it in 2017 to push ourselves on climbing more mountains and capturing beautiful landscapes. But, a lot had happened and made us move it date after date.
Our trip got delayed because of the huge traffic of commuters and the slow arrival of the next bus at the station. We were planning to leave at around 2:00 A.M. but ended up leaving at 5:00 A.M. On our way to the jumpoff, the mountain ranges started to show in front of us and I can’t keep on being amazed at what I’m seeing. We arrive at Barangay Malinao around 12:00 P.M. The sun was already high and to our surprise, we were the only ones climbing the mountain. After registering. We had our lunch, secured our guide, and started our climb.
The trail started with a steep ascent. We were having difficulty with every step but we were able to manage. Fortunately, we were covered by green lush trees. Our guide offered us to visit Simbahang Bato but since we were late, we decided not to go. But if you have the time, I suggest you make the visit as you will see a beautiful rock formation sacred to local healers. Instead, we just stopped at a water source and rested at a nearby hut for a while. As things were starting to get more exciting, my zoom lens got broken. I was downhearted to not have taken a wide shot of the beautiful landscape manifested in front of us.
On our left is a view of the fields and on our right is the view of the rolling slopes of the mountain ranges. It was a view to see. I was in awe looking at my surroundings — 360 degrees of awesomeness! We were still not at the summit but Mt. Sawi offered us a view we’ll never forget.
As we were going higher and higher, trees started to diminish and tall grasses started to fill our way. We had a better view of what we saw halfway and it offered more perspectives of the surrounding land.
There are a lot of stories about Mt. Sawi and one of them is about the lone tree on the summit. Legend says that a heartbroken woman hanged herself by the tree. This led to the mountain’s name Sawi (Unfortunate, Broken). Locals say that the tree is mystical because years had come by the tree never decayed.
Despite the sad story, being at the summit was pure joy. We had reached another beautiful destination. It was hot, but the wind blew in our direction, the sight of the setting sun on our horizon and an awesome view of the nature around us. These things may not be enough to explain the sight and the feelings we had seen and experienced. You’ll want to stay for hours to absorb the wonderful memories it brings and get over the beauty of that mountain.
Unfortunately, we have to go down before the sun sets completely, as we were still going to Dingalan, Aurora after. Before taking the next steps going down, I stood and turned around 360 degrees. I gazed at the view whole-heartedly to keep that beautiful landscape in my memory.
Mt. Sawi is far from the Metro but you’ll want to visit it again and again. If I had the time, I’ll surely come back and relieved this memory and even create more.
The next post will be our side trip to Dingalan, Aurora, don’t forget to also check it out. Cheers!
Shout-out to Sharlaine and Miky for having this trip with me! 🙂
- Barangay Malinao, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
- Jump-off: Barangay Malinao, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija
- Elevation: 594 MASL
- Difficulty: 3/9, Minor Climb
- Hours to climb: 2-3 Hours
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Private Vehicle:
- Drive to NLEX and exit to Mabalacat
- Enter SCTEX and Exit to Tarlac City
- Take Santa Rosa – Tarlac Rd and continue up to Barangay Malinao
- On the left side, there is a sign saying “Mt. Sawi”
- Public Transportation:
- Ride bus at Five Star Bus Terminal in Cubao going to Cabanatuan City (Fare = ₱202, Travel Time = 3-4 Hours)
- Ride van at Cabanatuan City Terminal going to Gabaldon (Fare = ₱90, Travel Time = 1 and a Half Hours)
- Tell the driver to drop you off at Malinao’s Barangay Hall or Mt. Sawi.
- Environmental/Registration Fee: ₱30/Person
- Guide Fee: ₱500
- Christian (Malinao Barangay Hall) [Mobile Number]: 09354273243
- Bino Abellano (Mt. Sawi Guide) [Mobile Number]: 09107646906
- You can make a side trip to Dingalan, Aurora, just a 30-minute ride from Gabaldon.
- Leave No Trace. Always keep your trash with you. Let’s keep Mt. Sawi clean and natural.
- Wear clothing that will cover your skin. There are limited trees as you go higher the mountain.
- The vans from Cabanatuan to Gabaldon need to be filled with the max. passengers, sometimes it can take a while before it can leave.
- There is a store just along the highway, if you need something to eat, they have snacks, appetizers, and drinks.