NEBMC Trail Recovery Program for Mt. Kemalugong (Paasa Peak) – The Highest Point of Nueva Ecija


By Anthony Awat and Perry Saico

Mt. Kemalugong Paasa Peak

After more than a year since an exploration team visited  Mt. Kemalugong in January 17, 2016, NEBMCI carries out a Trail Recovery and Reassessment Program in partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Brgy. Siclong, Laur, Nueva Ecija. With  Mt. Kemalugong possibly opening to public anytime soon, the Trail Recovery Program is an important part of the preparation that will ensure a safe and fun adventure for all tourists coming to see the mountain and the spectacular scenery around it. The first wave of the program was conducted last February 18-19, 2017 while the second wave was March 25-26, 2017. NEBMCI plans to continue this effort until the trail becomes safe and well established.


Mt. Kemalugong Trail Recovery Team- Wave 1


Mt. Kemalugong Trail recovery team- Wave 2


A. Mt. Kemalugong Background

Nueva Ecija is home to many of the most beautiful hiking destinations in the region. Among the most popular include Mt. 387 Batong Amat in Caranglan, Mt. Sawi in Gabaldon, Mt. Mapait in Palayan, Mt. Labi in Bongabon and Mt. Kemalugong in Laur. Mt. Kemalugong is considered the highest peak of Nueva Ecija at an estimated  elevation of 1750 meters above sea level. The name “Kemalugong” is an Ilocano term from the rootword “Kallugong” meaning hat. The clouds surrounding the top part of the mountain gives people the impression that it is wearing a hat. Mt. kemalugong  is located at the boundary of Aurora and Nueva Ecija provinces and is part a of the Sierra Madre mountain range. From its summit, the provinces of  Pampangga,  Nueva Vizcaya, Rizal, Quezon Province, Pangasinan, Tarlac and some parts of Cordillera  can be seen as well.

The summit of Mt. Kemalugong was given the name “Paasa Peak”. The reason behind  was that during the first exploration, it happened several times that the team expected to have reached the summit, only to find out that they still did not, hence the name “Paasa Peak”- a reminder of how the exploration team struggled to reach the true summit of Mt. Kemalugong. The trail- “Tobal Trail” was named after the local guide Mr. Christobal Linda.

 Learn more about Mt. Kemalugong (5/9) – Laur, Nueva Ecija

B. Features

Mt. Kemalugong is not yet open to public. The Local Gorvernment Unit (LGU) of Laur Nueva Ecija partnered with NEBMCI in its exploration and development. Organizations who want to visit requires a referral from NEBMCI to be given permission.

Entry Point/Jump off Location: Brgy Hall Siclong, Laur Nueva Ecija

Summit Coordinates: LAT 15.58395  LONG 121.30634

Coordinates: LAT 15.580455  LONG 121.222735

Estimated Elevation: 1750+ MASL

Days required/ Hours to summit: 1-2 days/ 20-24 hours

Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, trail class 1-4

Phone signal: +

Limatik: NA

Rattan: ++

Lipa (Poison Ivy): +++


Mt. Kemalugong Hybrid Map

C. Difficulty

With a 5/9 difficulty rating featuring an exhausting 10 to 12 hours of unlimited assault and 5 to 6 hours of knee-shaking descent, Mt. Kemalugong is not advisable for beginners. Climbing this mountain requires training and a great deal of patience and stamina.

The trek to Mt. Kemalugong begins at the foot of the Gordon Hill. Don’t be misled by the name “Gordon Hill”, it is not the usual welcome trail you think. After 15 minutes from jump off, the trail going upward the Gordon Hill begins with a series of 50 to 70 degrees assault that continues for almost 3 hours. Following the Gordon Hill is the entrance to the forest area which features the same and even much more difficulty. For another 8 to 9 hours, be prepared for a continuous and patience-draining successive assaults that will really test you to your limits. Expect 30 to 60 minutes of continuous climb on a more than 50 degrees inclined trail with 5 to 15 minutes of downward or flat trails in between. There are 3 campsites where trekkers can have a rest, meal and a power nap. The key to surviving Mt. Kemalugong is practicing the so called “Lakad Everest” or slow-paced walk.  It is not a matter of how fast you walk but how far you can go. Energy conservation is important.

Another major contributing factor to the difficulty of Mt. Kemalugong is the lack of water source. A water source can be found at the middle of Gordon Hill which is 10  hours from the summit. For a group of 10, each team member must be able to bring a minimum of 4 liters of water which will be used for hydrating and cooking. To lessen the amount of water carried by each person, the team can leave liters of water at some parts of the trail which can be used during descent the following day.

Along the trail, there are several areas with Poison Ivy or Lipa. This is why climbers are advised to wear long sleeves, trekking pants and trekking shoes for safety purposes.


D. Kemalugong Trail Recovery Photo Gallery ( by Anthony Awat and Nesly Mateo)

Gordon Hill

A view from Gordon Hill featuring the Municipality of Laur and surrounding  mountains


Trail recovery team group picture at Gordon Hill summit


A beautiful morning scenery at Gordon Hill


Trail Recovery Team pointing to Mt. Kemalugong


Going up the Gordon Hill


Summit (Paasa Peak- 1750+ MASL)

Sunrise at Mt. Kemalugong Summit (Paasa Peak)


Sea of clouds seen from Paasa Peak


Group phot at Mt. Kemalugong Summit


Trail Recovery Team enjoying the view of the summit from a pine tree


Campsite 3 near the summit (Paasa Peak)


Trail Recovery Team enjoying lunch at campsite


View deck (Bonzai Area)

Group photo at viewdeck







Smallest Rafflesia Specie

This rare Rafflesia specie (corpse flower) – Rafflesia consueloae  is exclusively found in the Philippines. It is also known as the “dwarf among the giants”.



Know more about the world’s smallest Rafflessia:

World’s smallest Rafflesia flower discovered in Nueva Ecija


Grass and pine ridge

A view you would only expect to see in the North







E. Itinerary

Day 01

2230 At Cubao, Take a bus ride bound to Cabanatuan City

0130 ETA Cabanatuan City Terminal,

0200 ETD going to Brgy. Siclong (Private Vehicle)

0330 ETA Jumpoff Point Brgy. Siclong, Registration @Brgy. HallEntry Point side of Brgy. Cemetery

0400 Start trek (Farmland)

0415 River Crossing

0510 ETA Gordon River(water source)

0530 ETA Kubo sa Kawayanan

0600 Start Trek up to Gordon Hill/Cogon Area

0645 Arrival at Forested Area

0715 ETA Giant Baliti Tree

0720 Start trek up (series of uphill and downhill)

0930 ETA @ Creepy Kubo

1130 Possible Lunch stop at the trail

1230 Start Trek Up

1330 ETA Tobal’s Trail/ Hunter’s Trail

1600 Arrival @Campsite Set up tent (optional)

Day 02

0500 Wake up Call/Breakfast

0600 Start trek to Paasa Peak via Paasa Ridge

0725 ETA @ Paasa Peak Campsite

0735 ETA @ Mt. Kemalugong Summit (Paasa Peak)

0830 Start Descent

0945 Campsite (Break Camp)

1100 Start Descent via Tobal’s Trail

1445 ETA at Giant Baliti Tree

1500 Arrival Gordon Hill/Cogon Area

1630 ETA Gordon River

1745 River Crossing

1800 Farmlands

1830 Arrival at Brgy. Hall (Tidy Up)

1850 Head Back to Cabanatuan City (via rented service)

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