Historical Hike – Tirad Peak Traverse

Another exciting and worth going is the Tirad Peak, in Gregorio Del Pilar, Ilocos Sur. This is where the Battle of Tirad Pass, sometimes referred to as the “Philippine Thermopylae”was battle in Philippine – American war fought on December 2, 1899, in northern Luzon in which a 60 – man Filipino rear guard commanded by Brigadier General Gregorio Del Pilar succumbed to over 500 Americans, mostly of the 33rd Volunteer Infantry Regiment under Mayor Peyton March, while delaying the American advance to ensure President Emilio Aguinaldo and his troops to escape.

The Marker of Heroism
GDP Monument




Tirad peak is located in the upland part of Ilocos Sur, it’s two-hour travel from Candon City.  It can be done on day hike via back trail to Poblacion, GDP ( Gregorio Del Pilar) or if you want to continue your journey to Baguio or Sagada then you can traverse to Quirino, Ilocos Sur.


How to Get There:

Coming from Manila – you can board buses bound to Vigan, Candon, Laoag or Abra. Buses from Partas, Cubao, Pasay and Manila Terminals have regular trips. The other buses are Florida ( Manila & Cubao) Farinas ( Manila) Dominion Bus Lines ( Cubao & Manila) Viron Transit ( Cubao & Manila), Candon Bus Lines in Sta Cruz, Sta Lucia Bus Lines in Sta Cruz, Manila. But I prefer Partas since they always use the express ways up to Pangasinan making travel time lesser by two hours during night time.

GDP at 400 MASL


Get off  Candon City – McDdonalds ( Town Proper)  – you can have your breakfast here and do the last minute marketing. In Candon they have wide selection of vegetables, meat and other produce for your hiking needs. They also have huge grocery stores and food chain.

Proceed to GDP Jeepney Terminal at the Resonable Hospital along one of the alleys near Mcdonalds.  There is only 1 roundtrip for GDP. Jeep leaving GDP at 8:00AM and arrives in Candon by 10:00AM – locals will do all their appointments, marketing and then jeep being used will be also used back to upland and that would be around 1:00PM – 2:00PM – note that this will make a big impact to your itinerary.  That is why the usual itinerary is to start the trek at 4:00PM and be at the campsite by 6:00PM. It is recommended to rent a jeep at P2,500 for 6 pax which we did, leaving Candon at 8:00AM.

The road to GDP is rough and dusty – passing through the dry rivers, mountain sides and one way roads, try toploading.


Trying to look for 3G


Registration and Guide:

You will pass through the Municipal Hall of GDP – you may want to buy the needful before heading to registration area. The registration area is located at the foothill of the mountain. The jeep will bring you closer to registration area up to where it can manage to drive.


Local P30.00

Foreign 50.00

Student 20.00

Children 10.00

This is a natural park thus the trail to National Shrine is established and wide.

You need to book your hike before the climb by contacting POC at GDP : Sir Ronald 0905 888 4035

We were only asked for P300.00 for overnight guide  but the plan is to trav to Quirino and I think 300 is cheap, so we decided to hand over P900.00 .


The Trek to Tirad Pass and Tirad Peak.

The trail is established – mostly covered during the trek to Shrine ( Campsite).There are 7 bahay kubo’s before reaching the campsite – so you need not to ask if malapit na to your guide.lol! After reaching the campsite in two hours you may take a rest or have a lunch before assaulting Tirad Peak. This is our itinerary and we did not follow the usual assault by the following day since we arrived at the campsite at 12:00NN. We had our lunch and prepare for the summit. The campsite has a bahay Kubo that can accommodate 5 pax, and also a long bench covered with cogon good , so if you opt not to bring tent coordinate first with guide just to make sure no other hikers reserved the Kubo. This is a very good campsite – it has a good facility; they have tiled rest room with flowing water. They have good covered campsite; you can also use the kitchen utensils like plates & mugs but please bring them back to its location cleaned. Cellphone signal is present in most of the trail.

Campsite at the Shrine

We started our trek to summit at 12:40PM – passing through mountain sides. As we trek to summit we had view of Ilocos region mountain side and lowlands. That was three hours up and three hours descend.  From grassland and trail covered with trees that almost transform to mossy forest. There are some steep trails as you reach the peak and will test your knees once you descend. The trail is covered sometimes by fog making the trail picture perfect but prepare for cold breezy wind. We had good weather during our hike – but when we  were descending back to campsite we experienced light rain showers, it was already dark when we reached the campsite. For this itinerary make sure you have 1 liter water, water proof your gadgets and have with you your windbreaker or poncho and headlamp. One should bring bin liner or trash liner in case your bags are not water proofed. One should bring med/first aid kit.

Trail to Peak at around 2:30PM
Short grassland trail.



The Peak

It was indeed a Rad Peak in Tirad Peak! An amazing mountain formations are all around the peak , a 360 view of Ilocos is just amazing creation. The peak is somehow dangerous for me – somehow look a like of Pico De Loro, you will be scrambling with rocks and crawl to trails because it was just so steep and windy. There is rope on the trail to highest peak and only 6 can be accommodated on the peak. Just be very careful when taking photos since if you fell – aww it’s hard. Lol! You will witness the spikes peak with half covered by fog and half at Quirino side clear. It was just a perfect view of Ilocos.

At Tirad Peak – with Spike peak in front

Kabunian Look a like.
The living warrior of GDP




Special Concerns:

Please take note that jeepney is just one travel to GDP at 1:00 – 3:00PM daily. Make a special arrangement for chartred jeep with your guide.

Weather is unpredictable – I thought Ilocos Region is warm but the upland is just like Sagada, and Pulag. Whou! I was not prepared I even use my tent to cover me from chilly night – it was raining that time. I had my sleeping bag and tent as cover up in Kubo. I think it would be warmer if you set up a tent since Kubo is open and have a space for wind to come in but make sure you have good tent and ground sheet in case it will rain.

If you wish to Trav to Quirino coordinate with you guide so he can check the jeep from Qurino to Cervantes. The Trav to Quirino would take another 5 hours from a covered mountain side trails to open boulders and a 2+km paved steep road – ohh that was the hard trek – You may check if trike are available to catch you at the paved road since that is also about 2km for another 1 hour trekking. The trail is not usually utilized so I suggest to wear leggings as protection.


There is water source at the campsite. So you can just bring good enough during your trek to campsite which is only 2 hours.


Actual Itinerary:

Day 0:

9:00PM – Call time Partas, Cubao Terminal ( you can book now your tickets online)

10:30PM – Depart Cubao

Day 1

04:30AM – Arrival Candon – that was fast – Bus took the expressways until the last portion of TPLEX.  Breakfast in Macdo.

05:30AM – Marketing Candon

07:30 AM – Departure via Chartered Jeep.

09:30 AM – Poblacion, GDP –

09:45 AM – Arrival Registration Area  – Register P30.00  400 MASL

09:50 AM – Start Trek

12:00 NN – Arrival Campsite ( Tirad Pass Shrine) 899 MASL – Lunch

12:30 Start Trek to Tirad Peak

03:20 PM – Reach the Summit – Tirad Peak – Picture

03:45 PM – Start Descend

06:45 PM – Arrival Campsite – Dinner.

09:00 PM – Light Off ( plan to start trav at 4:00am but due to cold weather we end up at 8:05AM)


Day 2:

05:00 AM Wake up Call – Prepare Breakfast

05:30 AM Breakfast – went back to sleep haha

08:00AM Start Traverse to Quirino

10:00AM Arrival Highest peak at 1200masl after 2 hours trek from Campsite. Another 3 hours of about 800masl descend.

01:00PM Arrival Quirino Market – lunch we waited two hours for our chartered jeep ( not pre-booked)

03:15PM – Depart Quirino

04:15PM – Arrival Cervantes – check out the view during the ride. It’s is amazing. Take Van to Brgy Bitalag, Tagudin I.Sur.

06:15PM – Arrival Tagudin – wait for buses bound to Manila.

There are falls on your way to Taguidn – you may want to check if you have time – that is in Suyo Urzadan.

Buses bound to Manila are coming from Vigan, Abra, Laoag and Candon. If you have hard time waiting you can take bus back to Candon and get off at Partas, Candon Terminal that is 30 mins ride for P50.00 pesos ( Buses like Dominion, Partas, Viron, Farinas, bound to Vigan, Candon, Abra and Laoag)



Bus two way Mla – Candon – Mla                                               P1,062.00

Jeep Candon to GDP ( chartered)    (P2,500 / 6 pax)                     415.00

Registration                                                                                                     30.00

Food Share and others grp exp                                                          200.00

Guide fee per pax                                                                                       150.00

Jeep rental Quirino to Cervantes (1600/6)                                     260.00

Van Cervantes to Tagudin                                                                       150.00

Bus from Tagudin to Candon Partas Terminal                                  50.00

Total Budget ( food, transpo, fees)                                               P 2,317.00


Hike now to Tirad Peak and learn about Gregorio Del Pilar battle for our country.




“ The General has given me the pick of all the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the Pass. I realize what a terrible task has been given to me. And yet I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great.


Socials while grilling mallows

Reading history of GDP
One hour trekking through the paved road of about 2km+ . that was tiring..
Complete warrior
Boulders at around 11:00AM






More photos here: https://jayromjaramilla.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/tirad-peak/



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