Mt. Dulang-Dulang, is the second-highest mountain here in the Philippines, with the elevation of 2,938 meters above sea level. It is a chief among the mountains of the Kitanglad mountain range. Mt. Kitanglad is the fourth-highest summit in the Philippines. Known for its long trek and its peaks that have the most beautiful view of landscapes, beginning from the trails of trees and grasslands and as it transcends into its thick and deep jungles. The jungle is covered with moss and clouds. Its moss gives it this ancient and historic look. The trees found there spiral all over with labyrinthine and intricate branches. Once you find your way out of the thick jungle during a clearing at the peak, brace yourself for a breathtaking view of the whole of the Kitanglad range and including a sight of Mt. Apo.
The “Mt.Dulang-Dulang – Mt. Kitanglad Traverse” is known to be difficult even for experienced climbers. This trip is seen as one of the five most challenging climbs in the country.
Being someone who loves to take on challenges, I decided to take on this climb. Although I thought that the trip was going to end before it even started because almost all of the participants we were supposed to travel with backed out a day before the actual trip. But thanks to IndebtedSoul – Trail Adventures, they still pursue the trip even if there were only 2 of us left.
We left Davao City at 1 AM. It was still dark but all I could feel was the excitement rushing in me. It was about 6 AM when we arrived at Malaybalay. Before going on to our next stop, we decided to have breakfast first. Then after, we headed to DENR to register. We already registered beforehand so the process was fast and easy.
Note: Make sure that you also reserve beforehand because 15pax is the maximum per day for Mt. Kitanglad.
By 8:30 AM, we were done with the securing our permits and went on to look for and ride a bus that was headed to Impasug-ong. Then after, we rode a motor going to Sitio Intavas. It was there where we would meet our guide because there are already pre-assigned guide.
It was 10:00 AM when we started our exciting trek from Sitio Intavas. It was an open trail that was filled with different kinds of vegetables. But the heat was so hot, I thought I was my face my going to melt for a moment, but thankfully there were water sources found along the trail.
At 12:00 PM we have arrived at the base of Mt. Kitanglad. Before we started the “hard part” of the trip, we made sure that we were prepped and ready. We made sure that we refilled our water bottles so that we would be ready for the climb because there aren’t many water sources in the trail, most especially during summer. We also fulfilled our stomachs by having lunch at the area.
And by 1:00 PM, our trip continued on again. We entered the mossy juggle, although there is no need to worry because the trail is fully established because at the summit of Mt. Kitanglad, you would be able to find satellites of GMA, ABS-CBN and other stations.
There weren’t a lot of hikers in the area; you wouldn’t bump into another group so often because the slots are limited. The people that you would see though are the locals, bringing up sand cement up to the construction area. They created us with smiles and acknowledging nods.
From there on, there are signs placed labeled with how many more kilometers you need to trek to reach the summit of Mt. Kitanglad.
I felt like my body was going to give up during the trek. It was exhausting. Every step that I took, I had to release so much energy. There weren’t much flat land areas where we could rest. We spent five hours just climbing up. Thankfully there were parts that had stairs on them; I think there were about 8 of them. These stairs were placed on the areas where it was stiff so that it would be easier to climb for the workers that worked there. The climb was hard but it was an amazing experience because there were flowering shrubs along the trail. Great for nature-lovers!
We arrived at the summit at 5:30 PM. We didn’t need to pitch up our tent because DENR had put up a bunkhouse here for the hikers.
We had a bountiful dinner to make up for the tiring day and as much as we wanted to stay up and enjoy the experience of that day, we ended up falling asleep as early as 9 PM because we were just too tired.
We asked that an alarm would be set by sunrise. Unfortunately, our fatigue and the cold temperature didn’t allow us to wake up that early in the morning. We ended up going out at 7 AM already. The majestic view was unexplainable. There are no words. We saw the beautiful view of the mountains of Mindanao. We also had a clear image of Mt. Dulang-Dulang, it looked so close from where we were. We took in the view before we started cooking our breakfast and packing our lunch.
By 8 AM, we started our trek to traverse down. There were these pygmy bamboo along the trail just like in Mt Pulag. The staggering drop looked like it was 50 meters down.
Note: I recommend you to bring rope for safety and to make your trip down secure. (Although we didn’t have rope. But it’s better to be safe than sorry)
As frightening and dangerous the drop was you would be able to appreciate the mossy jungle that has been untouched by this modernized world. It was a beautiful sight of Mother Nature.
Taking a break from our trek, we decided to have lunch in an area where we could find a water source.
Then by 3:30 PM we have arrived at the summit of Mt. Dulang-Dulang. Of course, we just had to take pictures of how beautiful it was. When you’re in that moment, you forget the fatigue.
I was able to see the pygmy trees and the view of Mt. Kitanglad. Around 20 meters down from where we were was the camp site. The campsite was amazing. It was unexpected. I could definitely say one of the best here in the Philippines. I was reminded of the movie Avatar as I was in the campsite. It was that well-established. We took more and more pictures before finally setting up our tent.
Around 5:00 PM we prepared and cooked our dinner. Then at 6:00 PM we ate and slept.
Note: It is VERY VERY COLD. Best prepare yourself with thermal clothing you have because you wouldn’t want to freeze in your sleep.
It was 4:30 AM when we woke up to see the sunrise. Luckily there was a clearing. What a magnificent view of Mindanao, a true treasure of the Philippines. We brought a burner with us at the summit so that we could heat up water for our coffee while we wait for the sunrise.
We cooked our breakfast and packed up our things.
At 8:00 AM we started our trip down and after on hour we saw another campsite called Manny’s Garden. It was like the campsite near the summit. Around 12 PM we had lunch nearby the river so that we had a water source and from there, we resumed our trek down.
By 2:00 PM we arrived at the base of Mt. Dulang-Dulang. We could already see a site of Sitio Bulugan and the highway. And to finish our trip, it was a must to have a celebratory picture.
We thought that it was going to be close. I expected that there wasn’t going to be a long walk anymore but it turns out it was still far away. The road was also rocky. We arrived at the highway of Brgy Songko at 3:00 PM. We settled first at a nearby store and had a change of clothes and just relaxed to just take in what we had just experienced. And after, we left to ride a jeep headed to malaybalay.
- If you would start your trek at Mt. Dulang-Dulang, you are required to bring a chicken for offering. But if you start at Mt. Kitanglad, there’s no need for that.
- Make sure you supply yourself with a lot of water. It isn’t easy to find a water source for this trek.
We need challenges to make us stronger in life. And this mountain may look like just a physical challenge but mountain climbing is more than physical strength. This experience would not only help you develop physically but also mentally and emotionally.