Mountains and Volcanoes
Why Is This Majestic Mountain Named Semilya? No, It's Not What You're Thinking!
Diwata Ng Bicolandia | Jan 12, 2017
Another hiking destination located at the landlocked province of Central Luzon in the Philippines characterized by rocky, grassy, rolling slopes, occasionally forcing you to scramble up with caution and care is Mount Semilya.
The companion mountain of Mountains Damas and Tulongan, Semilya comes from the word "Silya" or "Saddle," meaning a chair that supports a rider or other load, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type of saddle is designed for horses, and is usually used by local shepherds of Dueg.
Going up the trail of Mount Semilya, the hiker can choose from two options: one can start either at Barangay Papaac or at Dueg Resettlement Area, with the Resettlement Area requiring a 4x4 vehicle (3,000 pesos, two-way) or habal-habal (150 pesos per head, one-way) to reach.
Highlights of the hike includes 360-degree panoramic views of the impressive Mountains Damas, Tapulao (highest peak of Zambales), Tulongan, Arayat, and of course, the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Possible sea of clouds may also be seen along the way, especially during rainy seasons either in the morning (Sunrise) or in the afternoon (Sunset). Summit holds 10-15 hikers at a time.
I T I N E R A R Y
0000 Meetup Jolibee Farmers Cubao
0100 ETD to Camiling, Tarlac
0430 ETA Camiling, Tarlac
0530 ETA Brgy. Papaac at Jump-off. Start Trek via Papaac- Dueg trail
0600 Start trek to Mt Sem-ilya
0900 ETA Mt Sem-ilya summit
1030 Start descent, back to Dueg
1200 ETA Dueg Resettlement
1430 Start Descent to Brgy Papaac via National Road
1600 ETA Brgy Papaac. Wash up.
1700 ETA Camiling, Tarlac
1800 ETA Manila
Contact: Mother Tessie Dadulla 09073139992
Elevation and Route
How to get Mount Sem-ilya?
Via Public Transportation
1. From Cubao, ride a bus bound to Camiling in Tarlac.
2.1 Hire a 4x4 or a jeep bound to Dueg Resettlement Area (Major Jump-off).
2.2 Hire a tricycle and get off Purok 7, Barangay Papaac (Alternative Jump-off which also that will also pass through Dueg Resettlement Area, from Papaac to Dueg may take 2-3 hrs assault trek).
Via Public Transportation
1. Take North Luzon Express Way to Paniqui - Ramos Rd in Tarlac. Exit toward Ramos/Paniqui from N Luzon W Expy then turn left onto NLEX Segment 8.1/C-5.
2. At the interchange Smart Connect, keep right and follow signs for NLEX. Take the exit toward SCTEX/Clark Airport the keep left to continue toward N Luzon W Expy/SCTEx/Subic - Clark - Tarlac Expy/R-8.
3. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Clark North/Concepcion/Hacienda Luisita/Tarlac City/Baguio/TPLEX and merge onto N Luzon W Expy/SCTEx/Subic - Clark - Tarlac Expy/R-8. Take the exit toward Ramos/Paniqui.
4. Take Paniqui - Camiling Rd to Quezon Ave in Camiling. Head west then turn left toward Bonifacio Street. Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Bonifacio Street. Turn right onto Paterno Street then turn right again.
5. Head North, turn left the go straight until you reach Purok 7 of Barangay Papaac where the Registration located.
Registration is 20 pesos while guide is 500 pesos per day with 7 is to 1 ratio. Fortunately water source are available along the trail from Papaac to Dueg specially at the resettlement area.
Trivia: Because of the unavailability of commuting vehicle to and from the resettlement, the people of Dueg alternatively use another trail leading to Barangay Papaac. So, if you are up to the challenge, you can jump off from Papaac, this time adding 2-3 hours from the first day itinerary. (Source: Pinoy Mountaineer)
Pro-Tip: Water sources are present at resettlement areas and along the trail. However, if you plan to hike Mount Semilya, be sure to consult the local authorities before climbing or secure a local guide for security reasons, as some members of the NPA are known to roam the area. If you are up for the challenge and are properly trained, you can do a twin dayhike (Sem-ilya to Damas + Ubod Falls) making your day even more productive and exciting!
Most of the photos used in this article were from the recent climb organized by Michael Reyes and his team.