Playing Tourist at Balungao Hilltop

We were invited by co-workers to accompany them for a day tour in the province of Pangasinan where 600 meters and 1.4-kilometer zip-line can be found. In the town of Balungao, the booming tourist attraction of "Balungao Hilltop Adventure" offers not only zip lines but also ATV rides, Hiking, and Hot and Cold Springs. Bungee Trampoline is not yet available though on their website and flyer it is being advertised. 

Balungao Hilltop and Zip-line Adventure is approximately a couple of hours away from Olongapo City. Travel experience is great because of its accessibility if you take the expressways of Subic Clark Tarlac (SCTEx) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan La-Union (TPLex). We exited at Carmen Toll Plaza which is the end of TPLEx as of the time of writing. We then turned right and took Rosales-Balungao-Umingan Road and eventually turned right again for Napudot Road - a barangay road that leads to Balungao Hilltop. No wonder why they named this road "Napudot" because "Napudot" is an Ilocano word for "Hot".  

Balungao Hot Spring
The fun starts here...

The Zip-lines of Balungao

Considered as the longest zip-line in Region 1, its 1.4-kilometer span will give you a total adrenaline, fun, and excitement. This is longer than the boasted zip-line in Pagudpud! The only difference is that Balungao Zip-line is not on an open water. To those who are not brave enough to brace the 1.4-kilometer line, you can try the shorter one which is 600 meters long.

Mt. Balungao Zip Line
The 600-meter zip-line
Pangasinan Zipline
Try the upside down style

The Swimming Pool of Balungao Hilltop

There are five pools to plunge in at Balungao Hilltop; three kiddie pools and two adult pools. Three swimming pools have cold water and two pools for the hot spring.  One of the adult pools is about 8 feet deep, then a shallower one 6 feet deep. Be careful not to submerge immediately in the hot spring but rather let your body adjust to the temperature.

Swimmign Pool Balungao Hot Spring
The group enjoying the 8-feet deep pool.
Balungao Hot Spring
The 600-meter zip line stretches above, across these pools

Trekking / Hiking

We didn't try hiking at Mt. Balungao, instead, we trekked on a creek at the foot of the hill to the source of hot spring. We found candle wax along the way, probably lit by local believers of "bantay" or "guardian" of the area - a typical Filipino myth.

Mt. Balungao
A few meters from the resort, these candle wax on the rocks gave us the goosebumps.

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is available but nobody in the group tried it. We found it a bit expensive for a 15-minute ride.

The restaurant is lacking, only Sari-Sari stores that sell snacks, soda, and such.  Be sure to bring your food when visiting this place. Further improvements like restaurants and additional rooms should be constructed.  Cleanliness of the pool area is also an issue; courtesy of employee needs improvement as well.

Below are the rates acquired from their flyer:
  1. Entrance Fee - P50 for Adult; P25 for Kids (up to 4 feet)
  2. Cottage - P200 (Kubo); P100 (U583-8421mbrella)
  3. Zipline - P300 (600 meters); we are not certain about the price of their 1.4 km zip line.
  4. ATV - P200 for 15 minutes
  5. Bungee Trampoline - P100 
Other Adventure Amenities:
  1. Hot & Cold Swimming Pools
  2.  Hiking/Trail Walking - P300 (guide)
  3. Mountain Biking
  4. Trust Fall
Cabana - P800/room 12 hours only; good for 4 persons.

Sulit Package - P500 includes:
  1. Zipline
  2. Bungee Trampoline
  3. ATV Driving
They have FIVE Contact numbers which is quite funny in my opinion.
  • 075-583-8421
  • 075-583-8412
  • 0921-598-8081
  • 0932-535-8687
  • 0939-448-4799                      

President Ramon Magsaysay Ancestral Home - Castillejos, Zambales

About 100 meters away from our home is the Ancestral House of the late President Ramon Magsaysay. For almost 15 years since it was renovated and reconstructed by the local government, with the effort and support of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the memories of our beloved President Ramon Magsaysay was re-lived. Every day I pass here, had played with friends hide and seek when I was a kid. Yes, this place was once my playground and I can still remember how it looks like before its restoration - almost dilapidated and neglected.

I finally had an idea to be a tourist in my own town. Funny but true, Sunday afternoon August 24, 2014 when some of my friends from the City (Olongapo City) decided to take a trip and take a glance at what’s inside this historical house. Ironically, I myself didn’t even know what’s inside of it now. When we arrived,  the curator approached us with a smile and told us to sign in on the visitor's logbook. Then the group started looking around.

Ramon Magsaysay Museum
The ground floor