Hiking Mt. Sawi

Located at Barangay Malinao, Gabaldon in the province of Nueva Ecija, Mt. Sawi is a fairly new but totally must-try hiking destination of the province. 

Mt. Sawi Gabaldon
Mt. Sawi

Mt. Sawi Details:

Height: 594 MASL
Trailhead: Stone 8 Resort, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija
Climb Time: 2-3 hours to the peak

Originally called Mt. Sawing Balete, taken from the story of one person's tragic suicide at the balete tree near the peak, the name was shortened to Mt. Sawi to be "in" with the growing popularity of the "hugot" lines introduced by the numerous Filipino romantic comedy (RomCom) films. Others, including me, believe that it was shortened to disassociate the mountain from ghost stories and suicides. Ironically, the word sawi still means "die" in Filipino... so thank goodness to those RomCom films for giving the tragic word a new meaning. 

Mt. Sawi as seen from the highway

Mt. Sawi jump-off point

We started our hike with 10 members...

... however, the farther we went the fewer we become.

Check out the pigs and the trash we saw on our way to the mountain

This is officially the start of the ascent to the peak of the mountain


Did a few stops for photo ops...

... and rest

Mt. Sawi stands at 595 MASL. It's a relatively easy hike and can be done in more or less 4 hours depending on your pace and stamina. Those who'd successfully reach its summit will be rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view of the valley where Gabaldon lies and also the Mingan Mountains of the Aurora Memorial National Park. Speaking of the Mingan Mountains, Mt. Sawi is but one of the peaks of the said mountain range. It is usually used by some as a jump-off point to reach the other peaks or to explore other parts of the Aurora Memorial National Park. 

The higher we got...

... the better the view

Check out the valley below. 

Do you see the Mt. Sawi marker?

Here's a closer view...

I got to hike Mt. Sawi with my siblings and the husband of my cousin a few months back. Originally, it was supposed to be a family hike with 10 other members of our clan. However, the higher we get the lesser we become as others surrender and decide to go down. In the end, there were only 4 of us who managed to summit the mountain. 

We did not miss out on the opportunity to take a picture with the marker

Down we go...

Although the trek is pretty straightforward, those who feel the need to hire a guide can head to Barangay Malinao where they can hire the services of one. They usually charge around P300 -500 for a whole day trek. You also need to register and pay a P20 environmental fee to hike the mountain. 

If you're planning to hike Mt. Sawi, I highly suggest that you start very early in the morning so that you'd be spared from the heat of the sun as there are lesser and lesser tree cover as you get higher up the mountain. Aside from that, make sure that you bring plenty of water as well to remain hydrated as there are no water sources on the mountain.

Overall, I highly suggest that you add Mt. Sawi to your list of mountains to visit this year. It's a mountain worth exploring.

Mt. Sawi itinerary:

12AM - Catch the midnight bus to Cabatuan City from Victory Liner in Sampaloc, Manila.
4:30 AM - ETA Cabanatuan City, Ride a jeepney or van to Gabaldon
6AM - ETA Stone 8 Resort
6:10AM - Register at Stone 8 Resort
6:15AM - Start of the hike
8AM - Arrival at the summit
8-10AM - Photo Ops / late breakfast at the summit
10AM - Descent
11:30AM - ETA Stone 8 Resort
11:30-12NN - Lunch at Stone 8 Resort

Option 1:
Swim in the springs of the resort and stay for the night.
Rates: Stone 8 Resort

Option 2:
Head back home.
12NN - Ride a jeep/ van back to Cabanatuan City
1:30PM - Ride a bus back to Manila
6PM - ETA Manila

Why hike Mt. Sawi?

Mt. Sawi is fairly a lesser-known mountain so expect that you'd have the trail and peak all for yourself. Aside from that, it only has an easy straightforward trail so you don't need to hire a local guide. The peak of the mountain also gives an awesome view of the valley down below. Another cool thing to add to your reasons to hike this mountain is that you have the option to take a dip in the springs and pools of Stone 8 Resort after the tiring hike to soothe your muscles. 

Getting to Mt. Sawi:

From Sampaloc, Manila, ride a Victory Liner or Five Star Bus going to Cabanatuan. 
The bus fare is 190-230 pesos. 
Travel time is about 4-5 hours

From there, ride a van or jeep to Gabaldon and tell the driver to drop you off Stone 8 Resort.
Fare is about 50 -100 pesos
Travel time is about 1-1 1/2 hours

From the resort, register and follow the signages to the path to Mt. Sawi.

Overall rating


  1. This must be a great experience...I loved the pics and it's a great post for travel lovers!!

  2. Beautiful! Looks like such a fun hike!

  3. Too bad about all the trash! The view is magnificent from the top though.

    1. I had the same sentiments. Darn uneducated people. =(

  4. Wow. The view is amazing and breathtaking. I think I'd be one of those family members who gives up and decides to go down in the middle of the hike. lol

    1. Hahahaha! That's just sad. If you're a kid I'd carry you up. hahaha

  5. Thank you for sharing this, to travel is one of my weakness and it is all envy when I see this.

    1. I'm happy to have shared with you the beauty of the Philippines thru my lens. =)

  6. Wait did you say it was named after a suicide take. Sounds scary for me to hike up to that place.

  7. That was a nice view..Glad that you enjoyed the trek with your siblings.

  8. The views from the top are really cool but the trash really broke my heart. When will we learn to travel responsibly.

    1. I agree with you. I really don't know why people would leave their trash behind after seeing this beautiful scenery.

  9. Been wanting to climb Mount Sawi ever since I broke up with my jowabells. #bucketlist I didn't know much about it until now. Thank you for the timely post!!!!

    1. Tamang tama yan! Isama mo X mo dito tapos itulak mo. =)

  10. This seems a nice adventurous place to travel. I like the stupendous view from the mountain.

    1. That's true Sarah! Mt. Sawi is one of those mountains worth visiting in the Philippines.

  11. Mt. Sawi looks like such a great hike. I would love to visit!


  12. Can't believe that beautiful scenery as such would be spoiled by human-beings with trash...

    1. That's the sad reality of life. There are plenty of idiots with money who'd get the chance to enjoy a place then mess it up.

  13. Wow, this post is so inspiring. It’s been so long I have been not hiking. I should go now.


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