Mt. Damas

Mt. Damas
Major jump-off: Dueg Resettlement, San Clemente Tarlac
Days required / Hours to crater: 1-2 days/ 4-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 5/9, trail class 1-3

Mt. Damas is situated near the border of 3 Tarlac towns: Mayantoc to the southeast, Camiling to the north and San Clemente to the west. The trek starts off at the Dueg resettlement - a relocation site established after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Although there were original settlers before the eruption almost half of the population in the community were resettled from the various towns that were hardly hit by the eruption and the lahar flow.

The view from the jump-off itself is rewarding. One can experience a panoramic view of the Tarlac and Pangasinan plains and Mt. Arayat from afar. Despite not having much tree cover throughout the climb, the first 45 minutes of descent through the cogon grass will lead you to a river. From there 30 minutes of river crossing will commence the 3 hour assault to the summit. The trail from this point is not well established but guides can be asked to clear the trail so expect a lot of rest in during the assault. A small nipa hut can be found around 30 minutes before the peak to provide shelter in case of a downpour or strong winds since the summit itself has no pronounced windbreakers.

Ubod fallsMt. Damas may arguably have the distinction of being the most scenic mountain in Tarlac. One of the more exciting highlights, aside from the captivating sunrise amid the morning clouds is the 2 and a half hour descent to Ubod falls. Again, the trail is not well established and the slope gets steeper as you descend towards the river from this point 15 minutes of river trekking will take you to Si-eL falls, (named after the school were all of the first explorers were studying). Another 30 minutes of river trekking will lead you to the 120 foot Ubod falls. From there, one can have lunch and explore the area.

After taking your lunch, backtracking 45 minutes to the river will lead you to a fork, take the left turn and proceed with river trekking, you will have to climb on the side of smaller waterfalls during this 2 hours of river trekking after which you will enter a forest trail leading to another hour of trekking to Papaac, Camilng.

Mt. Damas trail

Safety concerns: River trekking may be dangerous during the rainy season, so it is best to coordinate with your guides about the safety of climbing in the event of inclement weather.

The best option going to the jump off is to hire a jeep from Tarlac City to Canding San Clemente. The two-way trip may cost about 3300 pesos. From this point, accessibility to the jump-off poses some concern since there the route is only serviced by two trips twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday). The jeep leaves Camiling town at 2pm so commuting is not an option not unless you have a 3 day itinerary. Thus, the best way is to rent a jeepney. To the jump off from Canding San Clemente, one-way trip could cost about 1500 pesos. On the second day the jeep will meet you at Barangay Papaac, Camiling and on the way back to Tarlac City.

The people of Dueg Resettlement are very hospitable. The guide’s rate is very cheap at 250-300 pesos for the 2-day itinerary. One can prearrange the guide through Manong Jody, one of the community’s Chieftain. He is also the caretaker of the rest house owned by Dr. Toledo often there stay every time we go to Dueg and conduct outreach programs.

There are no accessible water sources near the summit. The last river before the assault serves as the most accessible water source. Cell phone signal is rather sporadic althroughout the climb.

Note from GAME-NEST: The group strongly adheres to the “LEAVE NO TRACE” policy. It took us 2 years to decide whether to post an article because we would not want Mt. Damas to suffer the same fate as the other popular but polluted mountains.

Trail Masters Outdoor Group

TMOG's (Trail Masters Outdoor Group) 1st climb for a cause for the year 2012... also a very special climb because we will support the 1st CKMA climb... part of the budget will go to the project to help kids with cancer. We will join the group GAME-Nest : a Tarlac based mountaineering group. They are the 1st one to explored Mt. Damas.



Day 1 (Traverse)

0430 Assembly at Bus Station Cubao/Pasay( Victory liner or five star)
0515 ETD to Camiling Tarlac via Alaminos bound bus
0900 ETA, Camiling, buy supplies
0930 ETD to Dueg resetlement
1030 ETA, Dueg resettlement(jump off)
1100 Start trek ( lunch along the trail)
1500 Summit Mt. Damas!
1830 Dinner time!
2100 Lights off.

Day 2

0600 Wake-up call
0630 Breakfast
0800 Break camp
0830 Start trek to Ubod Falls
1100 ETA, Ubod Falls( lunch)
1300 Resume trek to Papaac Camiling
1600 ETA, Papaac,Camiling Tarlac
1800 ETA, Siesta Bus Station Tarlac


Source: PinoyMountaineer

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