Tirad Pass’ Historical Trails in Ilocos Sur


Tirad Pass was the site of the battle chronicled by international correspondents at the turn of the century. Part of the Tirad Pass National Park, it snakes upwards to at the turn of the century. Part of Tirad Pass National Park, it snakes upwards to just kilometers from the peak of Mt. Tirad and includes the lower zigzag road portion (and earth road with boulders and dry riprapped shoulders). With an elevation of over 4,000 feet above sea level, Mt. Tirad could well pose itself as a northern challenge to mountaineers. Its peak is marked by a distinctive ‘gaping mouth’ or Pettak (literally means crack), which lies near the summit. Strong winds blow at this portion of Mt. Tirad” (www.ilocossur.gov.ph).

Since I was acquainted of the website, pinoymountaineer.com (your guide to hiking in the Philippines), the hunger to know more about hiking intensified. So I read, read, and read up to a time the inspiration to share my photos primarily, and maybe stories about my mountaineering experiences crossed my mind. Hence, this third entry.

Being a part of another “climb for a cause” by pinoymountaineer through the Second Annual Charity Climb is another endeavor to be proud of because of two things:

1. This climb helped the recipient (a baby with congenital deformity) financially for her cleft lip and palate operation.

2. This climb was an exploration up Mt. Tirad which has never been summited.

Our journey started at the Partas Bus Station (in Pasay City) at 11:00 PM of 05 February 2010. We arrived in Candon, Ilocos Sur at 7:00 AM where we had breakfast and lunch.

Prior to the ascent, there was a medical mission and introduction of the recipient for that year’s Charity Climb. After giving a free medical clinic at the town plaza, the 62 participants, proceeded to climb the historical trail of Tirad Pass. Nice trails and views (which include the plains of Ilocos Sur and South China Sea beyond, abundant pine trees, and the cave where del Pilar slept the night before he was slain in the battle) kept us going until we reached the Tirad Pass Shrine featuring Gregorio del Pilar’s statue mounted on a horse. It was there where we spent the night.

The highlight of this climb is  the exploration made possible by the Municipality of Gregorio del Pilar on the second day. From the Tirad Pass Shrine where we had camped, we woke up at 3:00 AM to prepare for the start of the assault and trekked the sturdy portion of the trail. It was easy with no declivitous parts but when we were nearing the peak, we were completely surprised by its imperial ascension.

There’s a huge rock pointing upwards living up to its name ‘Tirad’, meaning sharp. Indeed this part of the trail was quite precarious: only 5-10 climbers at a time could ascend or descend from the very peak. And the ravines on both sides were deep” (pinoymountaineer.com).

The last thing that caught my attention was the multitude of graffiti at almost every point of the trail.

Mt. Tirad Pass was my third conquered mountain.

For more information (special concerns, how to get to the place, trivia, climbing notes, even stories, etc.), visit this website: pinoymountaineer.com.

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi! I didn’t realize that there were so many places to hike in the Philippines. Next time I am back I will definitley take advantage of the views. It makes me so proud of being Pinoy!



    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      I’m glad to know that! 🙂


  2. john tugano says:

    I should have known you before pa so I can savor your entries in your blog pero I’ll take time rummaging in your previous entries..Andami mo na palng adventures nakakinggit.The day I started my blog sabi q I’m going to make it a travel blog just like yours pero there are certain things that constrained me to do that.Una magastos hehehe so saka na lang..Parang ang saya sumama sa hiking hahaha..=)


    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      It’s never too late, bro. Ako nga wala pang budget ngayon for travel and busy kasi talaga sa school and office kaya gumawa nalang ako new folder called “The Prequels” where I will be posting pictures and little stories from my travels before. The least I could in times like this.

      Salamat bro for the support. It means a lot to me. Anyway, sabi ko nga hindi pa huli. I love how you started. The way you give colors to the subtleties of life is definitely interesting.


      1. teddy Zaragoza says:


        I want to go and visit Tirad Pass Shrine and marker, can I bring an SUV upto
        the shrine so I can bring along my wife and daughter?

        Thank you.

        T. E. ZARAGOZA


      2. Sony Fugaban says:

        Hi, Teddy.

        Regarding your question, I believe it’s not possible to bring your SUV up to the Shrine. Only at the jupm off point.


      3. teddy Zaragoza says:

        Hi Sonny,

        Thank you for the prompt reply. How far is the jump-off point from the shrine, in terms of
        kilometer and hour of hike?

        Thank you.

        Teddy Zaragoza


      4. Sony Fugaban says:

        You’re very much welcome, Teddy.

        The distance is 0.95 kilometer. It will take about an hour to get there according to pinoymountaineeer.com.


  3. Nito Azada says:

    I guess there’s no accounting for taste. To whoever painted those snippets of historical trivia, commitments to environmental protection and inspirational messages on the rocks and wooden signboards in the area : It’s so much graffiti rendered with the artistic skill and impact of a “Bawal ang umihi dito” brush painter. The epic heroism and stark natural beauty of the area deserve to be celebrated with much more dignity and propriety.


    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      It may be late to reply but I will as interesting comments like this deserves it.

      Now that the place looks rather littered to me, I must say I agree with you. Those graffiti turned into evidence of the place’s destruction.

      Aprreciate the heads up, Nito.


  4. Chia says:

    Climbing for a cause. This is soooo great! You had fun and you were able to help others too! Reading this gives me a reason to visit Ilocos Sur again. 🙂 Do you think I can climb Mt. Tirad?


    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      Oh yes, Chia. That fit body sure can.

      Liked by 1 person



    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      We spent ten hours of walk, Amalia.


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