One of the famous 2-thousander peaks of Bukidnon; has been noted by famous climbers as a mountain that is “difficult to climb”; ranked 5th highest mountain in the Philippines; Mt. Kalatungan in Bukidnon, Northern Mindanao, has created its reputation among mountain climbers. The mountain range stretches in areas of Valencia, Maramag, Talakag and Pangantucan. A mountain that stands 2880 MASL, it is no surprise that only the toughest of the toughest take the challenge. But it is not only seen as majestic because of its credentials but its mossy forest has also made an impact on mountaineers. The diversity within the forest is enchanting and a proof of its diversity was the sighting of the majestic Philippine eagle.
But the Kalatungan Mountain Range has yet another peak that has been included in the list of many famous mountaineers. The Wiji Peak’s elevation is impressed however it is not included in the top highest mountains of the Philippines because of the summit proximity to Mt. Kalatungan. Some also call it as Macaupao Peak that was derived from a wildfire that occurred at the peak.
Wanting to see up close the majestic mountains while making new friends, IndebtedSoul – Trail Adventures, created a 2 day event that would trek these two mountains.
Tracked this map using Runstastic Iphone App
1:00 AM – Departure time from Davao.
4:30 AM -Arrival at Maramag to have breakfast. We then proceeded to Pangantukan for our registration. The registration went like a breeze, no complications. There is also a mandatory climb permit you have to get and a waiver signed before you start your trek .
7:30 AM – An 8Km travel from Pangantukan to Mendez. Another registration was done at the barangay hall and it is there that we would need to present our climb permit.
8:00 AM – We started our trek, seeing some of the locals with their welcoming smiles as we passed through. But it wasn’t only the locals that caught our attention during the trek. What we passed by was an open trail for this side of the mountain, and it was filled with vast fields of wild sunflowers.
10:00 AM – After that beautiful sight of fields of sunflowers, we finally arrived at the viewing deck which also had a spectacular view. We were able to see that were was a house built for climbers. It had a map of the Kalatungan trail traverse Mt. Wiji and each point on the map had a sign to remind where you were currently in the trail.
11:30 AM – It was in Kikikoka where we had our lunch, although we didn’t stay for long because there was quite a big number of bees in the area. Even if they didn’t bite, it still made us want to finish our meals fast because there was really A LOT!
1:00 PM – And finally we reached Buko Buko. But it wasn’t easy! There were numerous false peaks that would make you think “Oh this is it!” but then you realize “Oh wait, there’s more.” In this place you can see Muleta falls but sadly there was no clearing. Then we entered the mossy forest, which was quite interesting.
3:30 PM – We reached the junction, the last stop before reaching the summit. We were able to find water source here in this area and they allow climbers to camp there. We decided to rest and sip a cup of coffee coz it’s freaking cold.
By 4:45 PM, we headed for the summit.
5:30 PM – Upon arriving at the summit, we immediately put up our tents because it was extremely cold. Other climbers actually laughed at how they did not expect it to be that cold even if they wore all the extra clothing they could. So my advice to you my fellow mountaineers, make sure to bring your most ANTI-COLD outfits for when you reach this summit! Trekking for more than 9 hours is no joke, so once we arrived and ate, we just hit the hay and went to dreamland.
4:15 AM – Up and early to see the sunrise. And it was truly a beautiful sight to see! The clearing just made everything a clear sight. I thought I could already see all the mountains of Mindanao. In different directions you see a mountain: Mt. Apo – Mt. Talomo, Kitanglang range and Mt. Piayapayungan. It was such a glorious experience, seeing a new perspective of Mindanao.
Because of the beautiful view, what it would be such a waste if we didn’t take this opportunity to take as many photos as we can, and we did haha! And by 7:30 we had breakfast then left for the Junction.
8:30 AM – Arriving at the junction, we started to pack and prepare ourselves for our next adventure. And onto the mossy forest for our next stop. The mossy forest was extraordinary; the sunlight hit the trees perfectly! Going uphill wasn’t noticeable as much because the forest was just so enticing.
12:00 NN – We finally reached Mt. Wiji! And because we conquered two mountains in less than two days, of course we deserve a celebratory picture! Or more likely we took celebratory pictureS haha!
1:00 PM – And on our way to the popular “Dead nails trail” (Dun dun dun dun!) Thick fog that made it hard to see and sharp grass leaves were what we encountered mostly during our trail here. The sharp grass leaves were due to the fire that happened years ago in the peak. These plants had to adapt once they were regrown.
2:30 PM – Arriving at the Lisihon creek. It was no surprise that by this time our feet would feel a bit of sore and we would need to rehydrate a lot. Thankfully, there is also a water source in this area. But our feet sores were about to get worst.
4:30 PM – After trekking a trail as long as 3.9 KM, we finally, FINALLY arrived at Sitio mahayahay. By this time it felt like we had a sigh of relief because the trail felt like it wasn’t going to end. But upon reaching Sitio Mahayahay, we were already able to spot the Barangay hall and it would be an open trail that we would pass to. On our way to the Barangay hall, kids welcomed us and approached while asking for candies. I wish I also had a candy for myself haha!
5:30 PM – And this marks the end of our trek. Boy was it beautiful! We arrived at Barangay Mendez, where the barangay captain accommodated us in his own house. How welcoming and friendly are these folks! Filipinos truly have the warmest hearts.
Just some last add-on tips
- It is best to contact the tourism office of Pangantucan BEFORE your actual climb dates.
- No need to worry for mountain guides and porters, it will be organized for you.
- DO NOT FORGET to bring Chicken for the tribal ritual in the area. This is mandatory and needs to be given to the tribal chieftain.
- This kind of itinerary are not suited for beginners. It is advisable that beginners should have 3 days and 2 nights trekking trip for these two mountains. It is a long tip that has difficult trails and limited water sources; one MUST not only be physically prepared but also mentally prepared for this.
Like everything in life, nothing comes easy. Just like how trekking these two mountains wasn’t a walk on the park. But like everything else in life, hard work and patience pays off. And the being able to see the view, getting to experiencing trekking two difficult trails, was definitely worth it!