Would you rather pursue a dream that fears you most or continue dreaming for the rest of your life?
I’ve been traveling, passing through the Kitanglad Mountain Range almost my whole life being. Every time I got a glimpse of it, hopes of actually getting at its highest point is always at my mind’s back. When can I reach its summit? Can I do it? How will I make it to the top? Questions keep bugging my consciousness until one question pop up and answered everything.
“Let’s climb Mt. Kitanglad.” Without a second thought, I said “Yes” and asked, “When?” I then found myself doing research and plotting the itinerary thereafter. This is a chance that I should give a chance. Finally, Tribu AdOBo would be kicking off 2019 with a major event – a traverse from Mt. Dulang2x to Mt. Kitanglad.
Determination. Courage. Motivation. These are all you need to succeed.
Allow me to share our experience should you have the same dream as me. You might just get an overview and some tips before packing up and taking the strenuous, challenging trails up there. Excuse us for being boisterous. We just make happiness at that level. Bullies at most times. But one thing is for sure: we are fun to be with. 😉 🙂
- Kitanglad Mountain Range dominates Bukidnon’s north central region. The range encompasses eight municipalities and cities. It includes Mount Kitanglad, Mount Dulang-Dulang, and Mount Ma-agnaw. Also, it is proclaimed by ASEAN as a Heritage Park.
- Mount Kitanglad is a dormant volcano in the range with an elevation of 2,899 m, making it the fourth highest in the Philippines. Intavas in Impasug-ong is its easiest route.
- Mount Dulang-Dulang or D2 is the highest elevation peak in the range and the second in the Philippines at 2938 m.
- Climbing these mountains is only limited to 15 per group. This is important before planning to take the trails.
Kitanglad ascent difficulty – 8/9
Traverse – 9/9 face the wall challenge (almost 90°)
No falls and river, only the sound of nature and birds chirping along the way as well as the freezing coldness
*Kitanglad peak (for cooking only)
*halfway Dulang2x to Sitio Bol-ogon
I know from the very first that this climb would be different. With pals who consider almost everything for fun and enjoyment, it would be quiet challenging. Guidelines and reminders are at stake. Let this memoir tell you what happened.
Before starting-off the climb, we need to attend an orientation at Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) office in Malaybalay City – a requirement for every climber to know the dos and don’ts in the Kitanglad Range Natural Park. LNT, of course, is always part of the list alongside following the established trail and respect for the park. Break the rules, and you’ll face legal consequences since they are legislated under R.A. 8978.
We then headed to Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon for a ritual at Talaandig chieftain Datu Makapukaw’s house. The Datu discussed the rules to follow and things to avoid. Among them are the restriction of uttering the words asin (salt), sabon (soap), and any four-legged animals. Talking aloud, badmouthing, and having loud music are prohibited. For which the group seems to take strictly and for which consequences we all embrace with pride. Never take these lightly. You will know why along with your journey in the wilderness. Keep in mind that taking photo or video during the solemn ritual activity can be prohibited, so it’s better to ask permission first.
We slept-over at a local’s house in Sitio Bol-ogan for our early climb the following day. It’s 4 am, and everybody’s up to prepare breakfast and lunch. We had our morning meal, did some stretching, and said our prayer for safety and protection. Our local guide gave us a briefing on what we should do or say and not to do or say at the park.
As the sun starts bursting its rays, we started our a bit long journey. The weather was fine, and we are just enjoying the naturescapes around. We pass by the Binahon Agroforestry Farm. We had our lunch along the trail then resumed the trek after an hour. The trail became steeper and more difficult nearing the summit. We arrived at the campsite of Mt. Dulang2x almost 3 in the afternoon. The temperature lowers, and raindrop starts to fall that we decided to pitch our tents and call it a day.
It rained the whole night giving us a 6-degree temperature. Staying outside the tent for hours will leave us freezing although we were wrapped in layers already. Some of us even got chills and colds. Everyone still managed to stay calm and just enjoyed the moment — some even made-play of the cold with their foggy, smoking mouth.
A misty morning woke us up. It was surreal. I’m used to cold places, but the temperature was just beyond my imagination. I’m awake almost all night with that bone-chilling coldness and surface of the area.
Passed 9 am when we continued to Dulang2x summit dropping by the Money’s Garden. (Note: Taking photos or videos of its altar and the other altars scattered anywhere in the park is prohibited.)
Indeed, the mountain is enchanted. Going up made us gasp air thinner and thinner despite its thick mosses and dense forest. It’s like you’re entering into a magical world. I wished to have snaps of some of its iconic spots but I just can’t as it rained almost the whole climb.
Yes, the trails are rolling up and down with vertical drops. We had kiss the wall, monkey climbs, and rappelling especially while traversing to Mt. Kitanglad. The never-ending assault, the saddle, and the rope course are as challenging as ever. The 150 m-rappel towards the summit of Mt. Kitanglad is an absolute epic. Look back, and you might shake your knees off and trigger your acrophobia – the silver lining most of us might say.
A torrential downpour add-up to our exhausting hike.
What’s rewarding? You’ve got to enjoy stepping on the moss-carpeted trails while being entertained by the rich flora around. I have spotted unique flowers, wild orchids, and different bird species. I just hope everyone did as well.
The Sea of Clouds
Though we had no clearing at Mt. Dulang2x summit, the lead pack (since we’re divided into lead, middle and tail groups) got to witness the sea of clouds as we reached the summit around 4:40 pm. At 12 degrees early morning the following day, we were blessed with the intermittent clearing at the view deck of the summit.
The clock ticked at 9 am, and heaven never stopped sharing its confetti. Off we continued our exit from the national park with weights almost doubled as we are all soaked with rainwater. The trail this time was a lot easier though it’s slippery with, I think, more than a thousand steps and a new set of concrete stairs leading to the base. We had lunch at the base of Mt. Kitanglad for a while. It took us 4 hours to finally settle at our exit point at Sitio Intavas covered court.
How’s the climb?
D2K is one of the most exciting, albeit challenging climbs I had so far. I ended up having bruises and muscle pain. But this would definitely not stop me from summiting more mountains, not too soon as yet though. I learned a lot, made new friends, and gained experience from this traverse.
Our experience here could have been way better or different should we had strictly followed the rules. The bullies are difficult to contain; it can, I don’t know how yet though. Still, I’m thankful that nothing worst happen despite and in spite of unfortunate circumstances. Well, that’s what makes Tribu AdOBo’s every single trip an ADVENTURE – the laughs, bullies, and care for each other’s well-being. You read it right. That’s how we are in whatever situation and wherever we may be. And that makes the climb a memory of a lifetime. Lablab you guys 🙂
Thank God for the successful event. Thank you Tubod Mountaineering Society for joining us. Thanks sir John Donasco along with our local guide and porters for keeping us safe and protected throughout. Kudos to all!
Should we climb again? We will still be, for certainty. Hopefully, our story will help yours in the future. What’s your wild, wild story? I would love to hear them as well.
So until our next adventure fellas!
Here are the videos of this climb by Mark Buhawe:
- Keep the LNT (Leave No Trace) principle
- Be mindful of the rules (every penalty costs 10,000)
- Wear proper hiking attire such as trekking shoes or sandals with good traction for slippery rock and loose soil and dryfit or rash guard (weather in Bukidnon is unpredictable)
- Bring trail food, energy or ion-rich beverage, water (2 liters), eating utensils, food container for packed lunch
- Practice climb and other physical activities are a must
- Proper rest before the climb
- Sun, prickly plant, rain and skin/body protection like pants/leggings, cap, fleece/thermal jacket, umbrella, gloves, socks, first aid kit
- salonpas linement for cramps
- sleeping bag
- Waterproof your belongings in case of heavy downpours (weather in Bukidnon is unpredictable)
- Bring extra clothes and extra cash for emergency
- Medicine for those having med maintenance
- Camp gear especially for the assigned things to bring
- Notify the group on any illness before or during the climb
- Pray and be safe
- Respect each other’s time and effort, in short, be on time
- Hike with fun
Day 0 (for those coming from Visayas)
6 pm – Meet up @ Cebu Port
8 pm-7 am – Cebu-CDO
Day 1 (for those coming from Mindanao)
9:00 am – Agora Terminal (breakfast)
9:30 am-12:30 pm – CDO-Valencia
1 pm – Valencia (lunch)
3:00 pm-4:00 pm – Valencia-Malaybalay
4:30 pm-5:00 pm – PAMB for climb orientation
5:30 pm – Depart to Songco, Lantapan for ritual
7:00 pm – ritual at Datu Makapukaw’s house
8:30 pm – Sleepover at Sitio Bol-ogan
4 am – wake up call
5 am – cook breakfast and lunch
6:30 am – start trek cook/breakfast
10: 30 pm – lunch @ base watersource
3 pm – Dulang2x campsite, pitch tent
9 pm-lights off
4 am – wakeup call
5 am – prepare breakfast and lunch, sunrise/picture taking
6:30 am – breakfast
9 am – start trek to Mt. Kitanglad2x, descend is assault almost an hour with rappelling
10:30 am – Dulang2x summit
12 nn – lunch along the trail
1 pm – kiss the wall ascent 90 degrees
4:40 pm – Kitanglad summit, picture taking
7 pm – dinner
9 pm – lights off
4 am – wakeup call
5 am – sunrise/picture taking
6:30 am – breakfast
9 am – start trek to exit point
11:30 am – lunch at the base of Kitanglad
1:15 pm – Sitio Intavas
3-4 pm – CEDAR for wash up
4-5:45 pm – CEDAR to CDO
6:45 pm – CDO Port
8 pm-7:30 am – CDO-Cebu
8 am – Touchdown Cebu
Climb package – 3500
Jersey add on (sublimation) – 250
Climb meals – 430
Van (CEDAR-CDO Port) – 180
Porter (3 days) – 250
Butane – 43
Accommodation at jump off – 21
Total – 4674 (excluding transportation fees and meals outside the climb package and other personal expenses)
Climb Package (3500)
*Climb fee for 2 peaks
*Event jersey (sublimation add on 200)
Climb meals (8 meals)
Personal porter (1000/day up to 15 kls.)
*some photos credit to participants