I think there was a time in Philippine tourism when we had a “Zipline Craze”. After a few successful ziplines in Davao, Bukidnon and my favorite, Lake Sebu, suddenly, a lot of province I had visited to wants to add a zipline as their attraction. In my head I was screaming “Not another zipline!” as a tourism officer enthusiastically shares their plan on site. In Pangasinan, there’s Balungao Hilltop Adventure view that claims to have the longest zipline in the country at 1.4km long. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of the municipality of Balungao. If not for Lakbay Norte 5, this would remain out of my radar. And guess what? We get to try their zipline and more.
Balungao Hilltop Adventure
Balungao is locates southeast of Pangasinan already bordering Nueva Ecija. The Balungao Hilltop Adventure is nestled at the foothills of Mt Balungao, a 382 meter high mountain rising above the agricultural plain. The hot springs and pools were the main draw of this resort before, previously named Mt. Balungao Hot and Cold Springs Resort. It was only in 2011 when it was transformed into an adventure park adding a zipline, bungee trampolines, ATVs, bikes and mountain climbing activities.
Zipline and ATVs
A filling snack of local rice cakes and papaitan where enough to energize us before our activities. There were two for that afternoon – zipline and ATV. Our group tried the zipline first. After signing in the necessary waiver and equipping the gear, they drove us to the jump-off platform where we had to do a bit of a climb up a metal walkways to the highest point of the hill. Even if I have tried many ziplines before, the launch point is always exciting. There are two parts of the Balungao Hilltop Adventure zipline. The first part is the 1.4km zipline. It’s from the highest point leading to a road stop ahead. It was windy as expected and Mt Balungao was the imposing figure on the side. I zipped over heavily vegetated hills, agricultural plains and winding roads.
The ride was long at 1 minute and 20 seconds. After the initial thrill kicked in, it felt great to be just soaring up there. The zipline back is at 640 meters. It was just as exciting as the first one but shorter at 45 seconds and ending at the resort itself where we started. Of course the zip line times here may vary per wind condition and weight of the person.
The ATV trail is still in development when we tried it. Just to be on the safe side we rode along the paved road and back. It would have been more exciting had we passed by dirt trails and even mud and water. Who knows, they might have that now.
It’s good to know there’s an inland attraction in Pangasinan such as the Balungao Hilltop Adventure to add to its already many islands and scenic coastlines.
How to go to Balungao Pangasinan.
- To go to Balungao from Manila ride a Dagupan, Baguio or Urdaneta bound bus.
- Alight at Rosales Crossing (after SM Rosales).
- Ride a jeep headed to San Jose or Umingan and asked to be dropped off at the Balungao Municipal Hall. Jeep fare is Php 20
- Ride a tricycle to the resort. Fare is Php 100 one way.
- Alternatively from Rosales, tricycles can also be hired directly to go to the resort for Php 250–300 per way.
Balungao Hilltop Adventure
Contact: (075) 583.8421, (075) 583.8421, 0921.598.8081.
Operating hours 8am to 5pm
Entrance fee is Php 50
Zipline, ATV driving (15 minutes) and Bungee Trampoline package at Php 500.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.