Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Naga Series : Rappelling at Nalalata Falls

After a belly-busting buffet breakfast at The Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga, we traveled 1.5 hours on a private jeep to Bula in Camarines Sur to try rappelling. Being acrophobic, I was not exactly keen on putting on a harness and be suspended from a high place but, as I just had a good breakfast, the day was instantly awesome. I was also excited for the hike going to the falls. The vibrant greenery of the Bicol region impresses me and I feel instantly refreshed whenever I'm around nature. 
Nalalata Falls
A short and easy 15 minute hike took  us to a basin of Nalalata Falls, a clear inviting shade of turquoise.  I wanted to wade in the water right away.  It's a beautiful place for a picnic and a swim, albeit the lack of amenities which I actually prefer. For me, nature is best enjoyed as is or if developments must be done, there should be minimal impact to the environment. 
Bamboo bridge connecting a small river to the picnic area
After Sir Jojo Villareal of Kaddlagan Outdoors gave us a quick orientation on gears and various rappelling positions, the rest of his team assisted us in putting on our gears. Once we're fully equipped, we set off for another 10 minute hike towards the top of the falls. 
Some of the short tricky sections towards the rappelling area
Our jump-off is at 50 feet high and I tried my best to ignore the feeling of dread that always comes to me whenever I'm too far off the ground. I know it's quite ironic that I have a fear of heights given my penchant for hiking mountain trails but over the years of exposing myself to different peaks, I've learn to embrace this phobia rather than stay away from the views I love so much. :)

We took turns going down from the falls. It felt nerve wrecking at the start, facing the waterfalls as you go down but then you get the hang of it and enjoy the rest of the way which only takes about 10 minutes or maybe even less. I didn't have to wait that long for my turn. There were other positions that were more challenging than the usual, such as the Australian which involves facing the water.  
Sir Bong of NagaX doing it Australian style
Here's a video of blogger friend, Darwin (TrackingTreasure). 



All geared up. Group shot from Kara of Travel Up
L-R : With fellow bloggers, Estan (Langyaw.com), Me, Kara (Traveling-Up.com), Chino (JuanderfulPinoy.com) & Darwin (TrackingTreasure.net)


After rappelling, I enjoyed a cool dip at the base of the falls while my other companions rappelled two more times trying out other rappelling techniques. 
Nalalata Falls
Brgy. Lubgan, Bula, Camarines Sur
To book this adventure, get in touch with Kaddlagan Outdoor Shop & Services, a Naga-based outdoor company. You can join a group if you're going solo. Rates vary per number of people in a group. They also organize other waterfalls and hiking adventures  (try Mt. Isarog). 

How to get to Naga City : 
There are several bus companies traveling to Naga from Araneta Bus Terminal (map here) in Cubao, Quezon City (Fare is around 750 Pesos above, depending on bus line/seat type). There are morning and evening schedules, usually at 8-9:30AM and then 4PM-9:30PM. Travel time is 8-10 hours.  I took the 8:30 PM Philtranco bus from Pasay (Fare is aroun 850 Pesos) Contact Number : +(63) 2 851-8078/79. A faster option is to take a plane from Manila via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific.

Tips :
What to wear - expect to get wet. Wear durable clothing -  one that won't slip off of you easily. :P As for footwear, although you can just wear rubber slippers, it is more advisable to wear something with straps so it won't get carried off by the water's current easily. I wore  Keen Venice H2 sandals which is highly recommended for this type of adventure. (Available in R.O.X.) It has excellent traction and has toe protector to prevent stubbed toes (eeks!). 

What to bring - plastic or dry bag for wet clothes, clothes for changing, trash bags, snacks and water

This trip was a collaboration with Naga Tourism. Thank you sir Alec, Bong, Wyne, Rustom & Paolo.


Related Posts :

Do check out Kara's account of our adventure on her blog - Rappelling Down a Waterfall in CamSur





Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hiking : Mt. Pulag in a Day (Akiki-Ambangeg Trail)

We were pleasantly surprised with a full view of a rainbow as we ascended the pine tree forest of the Akiki Trail! :) 
On my 3rd visit to Mt. Pulag, I reunited with hiker friends, Gid of Pinoy Mountaineer, Jenny, Vinci and Koi. :) Our route was via the Akiki-Ambangeg , a 16 Kilometer trail that is estimated to take around 8 hours on a steady pace, short breaks and with smaller packs. The Akiki is known to be notoriously steep while Ambangeg trail with its rolling terrain, is commonly taken by hikers who want to take an easier approach to its summit. 
In one of our short breaks, we sat down to admire some of the mountains of the Cordilleras 
The usual itinerary for this route is 3D 2N as most are keen on witnessing the  sea clouds at the summit during sunrise. Our group on the other hand opted for a day hike. Personally, I find extended day hikes (hikes exceeding 5 hours) enjoyable because you can focus on the scenery without lugging a heavy pack on your back and have more time for side trips once you get down. 

Although hiring porters in Mt. Pulag is easy, I don’t feel comfortable getting one. While others would argue that it’s one of the ways to help locals earn livelihood, I feel that they should be hired for their expertise on the trail and not to carry other people’s load.  
Here's what I brought for the trip. For lunch, I brought two Energy gels. 
We convened at Victory Liner terminal in Baguio at 3:00 AM on a hired jeepney. With almost all sections of the road fixed, we arrived at the Akiki jump-off in Kabayan in 3hours. What used to be a bumpy and dusty road has transformed completely and the jeep cruised on a smooth wider road. I barely recognized it from my trip 2 years ago. 

After enjoying a quick roadside breakfast of tilapia, kangkong, rice and brewed coffee courtesy of Ma’am Gina, we set off to climb the steep cement stairs to the registration area. It was a pain to the lungs; I breathe obscenely and we're not even on the main trail yet!
Road side breakfast at the Akiki jump-off
Group shot at Eddet River. Photo taken by Koi Grey. (L-R) Me, Jenny, Vinci & Gideon
We started our hike at 7:07 AM. The section before Eddet River, a beautiful raging river where some groups camp, was a nice warm-up for the long hike. The terrain was even and how I wished it was the same the entire way. :P  We passed a section with sunflowers growing on both sides and for a while, I forgot how grueling the next few hours would be. 

After the river came the challenging sections which went on until we arrived at the summit. It’s not technical, just a very long steep trail with some pine needles scattered on the ground which made it slippery. 
After a sharp ascent at the pine forest, we took a short break for snacks
After less than two hours of trekking, we arrived at the area dubbed as Marlboro country. A hilly area with plants and pine trees, it is  reminiscent of the views from an old  Marlboro commercial. It is the second campsite and has  a water source and a stable hut for guides. 

Next came my favorite part, the mossy forest. Although it is less steep than the Pine trees section, I was still breathless on most parts. I could tell my lungs have not fully recovered from my 4 week battle with chicken pox last month. 
Mossy forest. If only it wasn't so cold, I would have taken a few minutes to just marvel at the moss that grew on trees
At this point, my companions were around 20-30 minutes ahead of me but the trail was easy to spot so I didn't mind the solitude. It also enabled me to take photos of trees, although I couldn't take as much as I wanted because it started drizzling and stopping for a break made the cold unbearable. 

Lunch was a convenient pack of Stinger energy gel which I was able to consume while trekking. I first learned about energy gels from a trail runner friend and it can fuel you for 10 KM of trail at least. It's also very lightweight and takes very little space in your pack. It costs 75 Pesos a gel which is almost the same price as buying a meal from a fastfood. 

Emerging from the mossy forest, I was welcomed by chilly winds and light drizzle, making my trek to the saddle camp, very cold. I ran into another cheery group and it felt nice to see their warm smiles as I began to feel miserably cold. After a few more steps, I stopped and marveled at some beautiful wildflowers along the trail. 

After another half-hour, I rejoined my friends under a hut for guides at the saddle campsite. We snacked and rested before making our way to the summit. At this point, I felt really tired so I just took one slow step at a time. In 20 minutes, I finally reached the summit. 
At the summit. Photo from Gideon Lasco.
Although there were no views - just stronger winds and cooler temperature - it felt great to finally reach the summit. It meant that trail would be much easier from this point on and I'm closer to getting some warm food inside my revolting tummy. Trail down is 7KM long, not exactly a  breeze but at least, it's a rolling trail - no more heart racing assaults! :) 

By 3:37 PM, we were back to the Babadak Ranger station, the jump-off for those starting at the Ambangeg trail and although we were drenched and feeling very cold, we were all in high spirits. After 8.5 hours in the trail, we were officially done and we feasted on hot Milo and bread from a sari-sari store. 
The entire group. Photo taken after we completed the hike. (L-R) Gideon, Me, Jenny, Vinci & Koi 
We were picked up by our hired jeep across the station. Afterwards, we traveled 30 minutes to Ma'am Gina's place where we washed up and ate our first dinner. 
And then we had desserts at Hill Station in Baguio. 
Then a second dinner at Zola along Session road. :P (They serve good omelettes here) 
A happy feat deserves several happy feasts. :P 

Travel Information : 
Primary jump-off from Manila to Mt. Pulag is Baguio City.
Bus from Manila to Baguio - check Victory Liner for schedules (bus fare : 450 Pesos, one way). Other bus companies with trips to Baguio are Genesis and Dagupan Bus lines.

Accommodation in Baguio City - We checked in at Hotel 45 Extension  the night before our hike. We got a private fan room for 3 with t&b  for 1,400 Pesos (off season rate, booked December 14, 2014).
Hotel 45 Extension  
Extension Hotel Contact
Tel. Phone:+63 (74) 442-3460
Mobile No: +63 0917-588-2759
Email: hotel45new@gmail.com
Rates
*Note that this is different from Hotel 45 Main which is the first branch  and is located along Session Road. Stayed in both, I prefer the extension because it has newer facilities and still near Session road. 

Hiking Information :
When planning a hike to Mt. Pulag, advance coordination must be done through Ma'am Mereng, the DENR-Park Superintendent - +63 09196315402
Guide Fee (mandatory) - 1,800 Pesos/group of 8 (traverse, our guide's name is Oswald)
Registration Fee - 200 Pesos/head (paid at Akiki Registration Area)
Jeepney - 8,500 Pesos (good for 18 persons, coordinated thru Ma'am Gina Epe, +63 09198169234 / 09999916008).

*For a hassle-free hike, book with Trail Adventours. Visit their site for schedules.

For  a 3D 2N itinerary,check out Pinoy Mountaineer. Gideon's account of our hike is also up on his blog under Hiking Matters #441.








Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hiking : Mt. Makiling (UPLB Trail)


Photo taken near the trailhead
After almost 4 weeks of staying indoors due to chicken pox, I returned to one of my favorite mountains, Mt. Makiling in Los Banos, Laguna. Although the trail is known to have lots of leeches (or limatiks as we locals call it), its rainforest is so beautiful - countless enormous trees with branches shrouding the sky, big ferns along the trail, endemic flowers at Peak 2, truly a plant lover's happy place. :) 

I knew I wouldn't be as strong as I was before getting sick since I hardly moved in weeks but it was a familiar trail (and one that I sorely missed!) with a 16 KM long course, out and back that takes 4-5 hours to complete. I figured I'd be okay if I took it easy. 
A customary shot with my favorite tree found along the trail - before we got into the denser section of the forest
We started hiking at 12:45 noon. It rained on the 1st hour  and the limatiks relentlessly sprung towards almost every part of my body, which I fought off by spraying alcohol. 

We weren't even halfway when I started feeling breathless and dizzy. I certainly did not expect my endurance to be that bad  because I actually felt able enough as we started but it was an assumption that almost made me lose consciousness. I survived by taking slow careful steps  and stopped when I was breathless.  

We reached peak 2 in two hours and it took another two hours to return to the jump-off where we bathe and removed the rest of the limatiks that hid inside our clothes. 
Tanny at Peak 2. Medinilla pendula (fuschia flowers) at the background
Still, I consider this a happy hike because well - I was able to hike and inhale generous amounts of fresh mountain air!  :) It was actually a good assessment of how much I need to train to get back into shape so I can do several more long hikes before the year ends. And honestly, with my fitness level down, I found this much more challenging than our Kitanglad-Dulang-Dulang traverse (blog here).  I felt so excited when we finally got down, like it was my first time in a mountain trail. 

Travel Notes & Expenses : 
How to Get to UP Los Banos 
Coming from EDSA (South bound side), just board any bus with a signage, "Alabang" . 
All Alabang buses stop at South Station. Fare is 45 Pesos (aircon bus). From South Station, take a  bus going to Sta. Cruz and ask for the bus conductor to let you off near UPLB campus. Fare from South Station Alabang to Los Banos is 64 PHP with a travel time of 2 hours. It's so much longer going back due to heavy traffic at Calamba. 

Jeep from Los Banos to UPLB College of Forestry - 8.50 PHP (Note that not all jeeps pass by College of Forestry so better ask the driver before boarding if they're driving by that route. 

Registration/hiker - 10 PHP (You will need to leave an ID). 
Jeep from UPLB to Centro Mall - 8.50 PHP (this is where we ate dinner)
Centro Mall to Calamba - 22 PHP
Calamba to Alabang - 50 PHP something

A well constructed itinerary & list of expenses can be found at Pinoy Mountaineer.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Globe Telecom's Data Roaming Flat Rate

Hello wandering subscribers of Globe!  (and if you're not a subscriber and have cherished chums who are, please feel free to forward this :) )

Globe's unlimited data roaming flat rate of P599/day is now available in over 70 countries worldwide! 


This offer is convenient when traveling overseas and you find yourself in dire need of internet access. Let's say, you need to view an online map or a navigation app to make your way around a place, you're scouting for a hotel and restaurant to try or need to send an important email. The service also comes with an excellent complement -  free travel insurance! :) 

What Plans are covered by this service?
All Globe Postpaid Plans. It is currently not available for Globe Prepaid, Load Tipid Plans and Load Allowance Plans.

How to Use?  
No need to register, just switch on your data roaming and you'll be locked on to Globe's partner carrier in your destination. You will receive a notification upon first data usage to signify the beginning of the 24 hour duration. You will also receive another notification 3 hours before the end of the Flat Rate validity. Lastly, you will receive a final notification that your 24 hours of validity has ended.

And just to repeat myself... :P 
Subscribers on the unlimited data roaming service will also receive free 
TravelCare insurance which provides up to P200,000 worth of protection from travel inconveniences for up to 30 days!   

To see all destinations covered visit Globe Data Roaming site.
*FAQs can be found at the lower right side of the page.

For assistance on other roaming concerns,dial *143# or call the Globe Roaming Hotline +6327301212 toll-free even while roaming abroad.

Globe also offers a bunch of call and text plans if you're traveling abroad. To know more about their Postpaid Roaming offers, visit this link.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Batad-Banaue Half-Marathon

As part of my training for a long hike we did last October, I joined the Batad-Banaue Marathon, a destination run organized by Baguio-based running group, Team Malaya

*Blog about our long hike in Mt. Kitanglad & Dulang-Dulang here

Participants had the option to register in either a 21K (half-mary) or a 42K. The route, which  is one of the major draws to this event gave us the opportunity to enjoy a cold, scenic run from the Banaue town proper to the remote community of Batad. It was held August 24, 2014, an excellent time to view the rice terraces as it's greenest from  August-September.  
 A shot of the Banaue Rice Terraces located at the viewing deck called "Side View Point"

Blogger friend Ferdz (Ironwulf.net), my colleague Ian, and I registered for the 21KM division which meant we only ran until the saddle area in Batad while those who joined the marathon had to go down all the way to the community. 

Ferdz and I traveled together from Manila  two days before the run to have more time to adjust to the thinner, cooler weather, relax and gorge on food!
Harvest from the rice terraces as seen from the Side View Deck which can be seen along the road in Banaue
On our first day,  we enjoyed the pool at Banaue hotel where Ferdz was checked in. It was near the garden and I was struck with excitement when I saw it. There's an excellent view of nearby mountains and it was deserted too so we had it to ourselves the entire afternoon! 


The deepest end of the pool is  12 feet with a diving board over it. I've never seen a recreational pool as deep as this one - even the Olympic-size pool where I swim goes only  up to 5 feet. :)

 I was traveling on a budget so I spent the night at People's Lodge near the town proper. I got a 250-Peso private room that had 2 single beds in it, a huge mirror, fan, a desk and a chair and that's about it. Rooms have no sockets so  you can only charge your gadgets at their restaurant downstairs. T&B was outside but it was near my room. I would most likely stay here again because the staff is nice, rooms are clean and place has a good vibe.

Breakfast at the restaurant balcony of People's Lodge 
The following day, we claimed our race kits and attended the briefing.  I was happy to see familiar faces from the sky running community and even happier when I found out that two other close friends, Mariel and Kian was in the area for a valiant family project involving the rice terraces. 
After the briefing, there was a carbo loading party for the participants! Chicken tinola and mounds of rice were served to fellow participants while a band played using native instruments.

And here's our private carbo loading party with Mariel and Kian. This was taken at Las Vegas Lodge & Resto. I enjoyed dining here because they have interesting interiors - a mix of travel memorabilia and native decors. More importantly, food is decent. I love their curry rice  which comes with fresh mixed vegetables. Prices of the meals here range from 70 Pesos above. 


Breakfast the following day were measly pieces of dark chocolate and a bottle of Pocari Sweat. I promised myself to consume more after the run. :P  

Both the 21K and 42K started at the same time at around 5:00 AM and although our route was not as visually rewarding as with the 42K, we were able to see more mountains and other sections of the rice terraces around Banaue.
Ferdz and I at the starting line. The happy look on my face was due to thoughts of what I'll be eating after the run. :P (Photo taken by Kian Vicera)

Here's a shot taken 40 minutes into the run. Our route was mostly on a smooth road. 

And since we started early, we were able to see the sun rising above the mountains at the side of the road. :) 


The road going to Batad is uphill, quite a challenge to the thighs. Prior to the run, I did a combination of swimming, stairs training, a little road running, training on an elliptical machine to prepare and it was quite effective to get me to the finish line. I'm not a fast runner, never had the will to train to be faster but I can finish with a ginormous smile on my face. Hehe! :) 

Ferdz and I ran our respective paces which meant I was pretty much alone until the 40th minute, when I stopped at the first aid station and saw my colleague Ian with his friendly mountaineer friends. 
With Ian & Euan at one of the aid stations, at this point, we still had 8KM til we get to the turn-around point.
Photo borrowed from Lira
I ran with them until we reached the turn-around point which was at the Batad saddle. 
From there, some  decided to take a side trip down to Batad since the organizers allowed it. I had hiked to the community  years ago and was beginning to feel tired and hungry so I headed  back with Ian.

View at the Batad saddle
Had I been running alone, I would have taken an easy stroll back and ate as much dalanghita as I could, which was available at the aid stations. It was seedless, juicy and sweet!  However, Ian, who was used to competing in triathlons kept pushing - and the good thing about forcing yourself to run even when you don't feel like moving a muscle anymore is that  you can finish earlier and eat. :P 

Tremendously happy when I saw friends, Mariel and Kian right before we reached the finish line, they're awesome cheerleaders! (Photo borrowed from Kian Vicera)
Another pleasant thing was when we crossed the finish line after 4 hours 58 minutes, I was informed that I finished 10th among the female runners. To our surprise, they gave out recognition to the first 10 finishers for males and females per category.  Ferdz finished strongly at 8th. :)

Apart from the finisher's medal, I was able to take home extra souvenirs, a carved wood trophy and a certificate.  Thanks for the push Ian! 
I'm smiling so much because I just ate two sets of lunch :P (Photo take by Ferdz Decena)
If you're getting tired of road runs or need to take a breather from city life, I encourage you to train and join destination runs. Held in scenic locations,  it allows you to see gorgeous views, explore a place, meet new people, see old friends, work up a sweat and the most wonderful thing of all - running burns calories so you can indulge on food after! :) 

If you're thinking of joining trail runs or running at high altitudes, do consider joining the Philippine Skyrunning Association or participate in their training sessions or races. Like their FB page for timely updates.

There's also  some excellent trail running tips for beginners at Active.com

Check out Ferdz' post & review about the run  here. He posted some nice photos from the run. :) 

A copy of the race results of the Batad-Banaue marathon is posted at the Team Malaya site. They are also organizing several more runs in the coming months. Just check out their website or  like their Facebook Page.

Thanks team Malaya and congratulations to other runner friends who finished strongly - Ronald Wang, Kirk Patrick Ang, Rashel Pena and Cheryl Bihag, you inspire me! To Mariel, Kian, bffeees Jules, Tan and Mors salamat uli for cheering for me!


Travel Information :
How to Get to Banaue from Manila
Check out schedule of trips via Ohayami Trans
Website : http://www.ohayamitrans.com/
Fare : 450 Pesos (aircon)
Travel Time : 12 hours

Where to Stay in Banaue
Banaue Hotel 
Locatad near the Banaue tourism office but quite a walk to the town proper
You can book via Agoda
Rates start at 1,800+ 
*Their restaurant has amazing mountain views! :)

People's Lodge 
Poblacion, Banaue 
Mobile Nos. - +63 0935-189-5455 | +63 0919-532-5605
Email : jerwin_t@yahoo.com
Rates start at 250 Pesos/head
Free Wifi available, no sockets in the rooms, common toilet and shower
*I checked in alone and although the room I stayed in had two single beds, I was only asked to pay 250 Pesos. Nice! :)

Querencia Hotel & Restaurant 
Poblacion, Banaue
Mobile Nos. - : +63 0939-290-7703 | +63 917 841 0569
Just opened this 2014 and all rooms have a private t&b with hot shower and sockets, free wifi also available
Rates are around 500 Pesos/room (please call to verify, I forgot the exact rates, but it's around that amount)
Pictures of the place can be found at their FB Page here






Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hiking Log : Mt. Kitanglad-Dulang-Dulang Traverse in a Day

A mountain that has appealed to my fascination for trees, plants and long hikes is Mt. Dulang-Dulang. :) Located in the province of Bukidnon, it is known for its beautiful mossy forests and is the 2nd highest peak in the Philippines at 2,938 MASL. A trail exists that connects it to a volcano, Mt. Kitanglad, the country's 4th highest summit. 

Since we needed to fly from Manila to get here, we thought it was more economical to squeeze two peaks in one trip instead of going back for the other in a separate trip. :) 
Trees covered in moss at Mt. Dulang-Dulang
Among local mountaineers, this trail is nicknamed as D2-K, with the usual route starting at Mt. Dulang-Dulang and then on to Mt. Kitanglad. However,  we were advised by our friend from Bukidnon, Ben Maputi, that it's cheaper if we do a reverse so we decided to climb up via  Mt. Kitanglad then go down at Mt. Dulang-Dulang. 

Our small packs which helped us move under the trees! :)
Preparation :
Earlier during the year, I made a commitment to get fitter so I started training 10 months prior to the hike,  doing a variation of  swimming, running, football, stairs training and indoor biking, 3-5 times a week. A week before our trip, my quads were in its strongest form, at least that's what it felt at the time. :P  It proved to be beneficial as the Kitanglad-D2 trail is a very long, tough trail with lots of steep ascents and descents.  My main motivation for training then was to be fit enough so I can enjoy the views and not worry about catching my breath.  

The Journey:
October 14, 2014 – me and my two other bestfriends, the ever-sweet couple,  Mors and Tan took the first flight from Manila to Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental which is roughly an hour from Cagayan de Oro city. 
Breakfast at Missy Bonbon, Limketkai Mall. It was also Mors' birthday so we bought her a cake. :) 
I go crazy excited whenever I'm at Missy Bonbon. The interiors just gives out this happy breakfast vibe and I find myself ordering a lot whenever I'm here - say rice, bread, cakes, coffee and juice! :P 

From the airport, we rode a shuttle (150 Pesos e/c) that brought us directly in front of their  Limketkai Branch which is open daily from 6AM-10:30PM. Price range of food is 100-300 Pesos and you can buy pastries for your trip too!  

We then took a jeep to Agora bus terminal that took us to Bukidnon, the jump-off for our hiking adventure. Travel time from CDO to Bukidnon took around 3 hours and as soon as we arrived in Malaybalay city, we headed directly to the DENR office to secure our permits. 
My hiking buddies, Mors and Tan
Permits cost 170 Pesos/head (85 Pesos/mountain) and after an extensive briefing, we checked in at 1st Avenue Apartelle.  I've stayed here on a previous visit and it feels like a second home to me. It's just a multi-cab ride away from the town proper and the rooms are comfy and the rates - quite cheap at 400 Pesos/night for a private room with cable tv, private t&b and a fan, sweet deal! Malaybalay is a cold town so if you're used to tropical weather, you'd find it rather cold - think Baguio weather minus the chilly wind. 
The night before the hike, we loaded up on seafoods at Amadeo Restaurant. There was no electricity, thus the candle light dinner :P 
Time to hike!
At 5:00 AM the next day,  we were picked up by Ben from the hostel. With him were our two guides - his friend, the very energetic and friendly Joseph and Ben's brother, nice and quiet Nov. He drove us to the highway in Impasugong. From here, road condition is bad, not manageable for a car, so we took a 30-minute motorbike to Sitio Intavas. Here, we rode another motorbike to the Kitanglad jump-off because it was cheaper than getting a motorbike from the highway, all the way to the base of the mountain. It's 300 Pesos/head but if we take two motorbikes - it'll only cost us half its price! 

The butt-bruising ride to the base. We had to go down many times as the road was just too bumpy for two people on a bike
We started our ascent at 7AM. The trail of Mt. Kitanglad is thick with tree branches sticking out from the ground, I bumped my poor legs quite a lot. 

Air was also quite thin up here and being a lowlander, I wasn't used to it. Every motion took a lot of effort and I found myself out of breath countless times even if my legs didn't feel tired at all. It felt as though my lungs weren't getting enough air so I would inhale as much air as I could which helped a bit. The views however, made up for the difficulty. There were flowering shrubs, ferns, truly a visual treat for a nature-lover! :) 
Fern and twisted tree trunks everywhere!
Apart from the forest cover, I was amused to discover the metal stairs that were put up in the steep sections to ensure the safety of hikers. Our friend Ben actually helped put it up, and while I prefer the trail in its natural form,  I think the permanent fixtures does benefit a frequently visited mountain such as this. Having these structures helps keep  the trail intact; everyone passes by a single trail instead of people hacking sections to overtake other hikers. 



After four hours of steady-paced trek and timed breaks of no more than 3 minutes each, we arrived at the summit of Mt. Kitanglad, which was still within schedule. Early on, our group had agreed that if we didn't make it to the summit by 12 noon, we will abort the traverse and head back to town.  
Group shot at the summit of Mt. Kitanglad
The summit had communication towers manned by a couple of friendly guys. DENR also has a bunkhouse here which can be rented out by hikers but advance coordination must be done. 

After a quick snack, we headed down the trail to Mt. Dulang-Dulang. Staggering drops welcomed as we made our way down which looked daunting but I enjoyed it as there were lots of grasses, albeit some were too sharp, for support.

It started to become uncomfortably colder  at this part and we wore our jackets until we finished the hike. 

We saw more mossy sections of the forest and I couldn't help marveling at it despite the fatigue and the cold. It was just gorgeous!  What's even better is that even if it rained, I didn't encounter any limatiks (leeches). 

My least favorite part of the trail was this section where we had to do some minor rock climbing. It only takes around 3 big steps to finish it but the foot holds are narrow and slippery. I had a rock climbing accident back in 2009 and I am still traumatized from it. Every time I have to climb over boulders, a feeling of dread overpowers me and it takes a lot out of me to get through it. (Post here)
This section already has ropes you can use for support
After another 5.5 hours, we safely made it to the summit of Mt. Dulang-Dulang. Our views were of surrounding mountains and dense foliage, a delightful view for plant lovers. We took quick shots and then headed to a lesser windy part of the trail for cover as it was so cold.  I shivered the entire time and we rested for  15 minutes to take a quick snack which comprised of grapes, crackers, nuts and chocolates. I wished I brought more food. 
Summit of Mt. Dulang-Dulang
We thought we'd be able to get down within 3 hours but fatigue had set in our group and the pace became unbearably slow. Still, we focused on taking steady, careful steps to avoid injury and further delay.

It was a very long trek down, grueling to the knees but we couldn't afford to stop because it was too cold, it's annoying. By 7:00 PM, I started feeling very sleepy and it felt as though my feet were moving on its own. 
Last group shot at 5:27 PM before it got really dark.
Famished but unable to stop for a break, Joseph and I munched on mint candy while walking.  (and this I have to share, Mentos Eucamint candy is a good emergency food for hikes. It's handy, light and it can suppress hunger. On shorter low altitude hikes, it's the only trail food I bring and it's enough to last me four hours on the trail.) 
Manny's Garden, named after the person who introduced Mt. Kitanglad as a hiking destination
My knees were fine up until we reached this long trail that terminates at the highway in Lantapan. The final two hours of our hike was the toughest on the legs It was a steady, steep trek down in a dirt road that was muddy and had too many lose rocks. It was just agonizing. 

By 11:00 PM, we reached  the main highway where Ben patiently waited for us. In the dark,  empty highway, I changed into dry clothes. Haha! Dinner was at Mindy's, a 24 hour casual restaurant that serves a hefty serving of soft, delicious bulalo (beef in clear stew) for less than 300 Pesos. Mindy's actually has a new name now but locals still refer to its old name. 

I have a bunch of superlatives  in my head that describes what I felt about the hike but to sum it up - it was very grueling yet fulfilling! Would I do it again? Heck no, but I'll most likely go back in any of the two mountains because of its enchanting mossy forests. :) 



Hiking the tallest peaks in the Philippines within a day is something I enjoy doing out of sheer love for jaw-dropping views without being away too long. It's a great way test your endurance and mental strength, gives you more time to enjoy the place where the mountain is and the best thing of all – you have minimal load on your back! 

Several friends, mostly those who were passionate about skyrunning had already done this before and their encouragement, especially that of our best friend Jules and our Bukidnon friend Ben proved to be excellent support in making this possible. Thank you! :) 

HIKING INFORMATION  : 
Gears 
My backpack was a 14 Liter light pack that had 3.5 Liters of Gatorade and water which sufficed the entire trek. For snacks, I brought peanuts, a pack of grapes (really good trail food but a bit heavy, well, you'll eat it anyway), chocolates, waterproof jacket, headlamp,extra batteries, power bank, first aid kit, emergency blanket/rain coat, multi tool kit, cap, arm sleeves and gloves which were useful on clinging to sharp grasses. 

Contact Person

Guide/organizer  - Ben Maputi is very much familiar in organizing a one day traverse. He'll make sure you'll be fine.  :) Please CALL to make arrangements at  +63 0936-500-4147 

Other helpful Itineraries & Contact Information 
Sha Bedural - Kitanglad-D2 Traverse with their baby 
Pinoy Mountaineer - Mt. Dulang-Dulang | Mt. Kitanglad

Fees 
Guide fee - 1,500 Pesos for a full day traverse (I noticed that a good ratio of guide to hiker is 1 guide for two people)  
Climbing Permit - this must be secured at the DENR office in Malaybalay City. We secured ours one day before the climb and it's 170 Pesos for two mountains or 85 Pesos/mountain. 

Hiking Time 
A traverse from Mt. Kitanglad to Mt. Dulang-Dulang may range from 8 hours-16 hours depending on your training and preparation. My mountain inspiration, first Filipino to summit the 7 highest peaks in the world, Romi Garduce did the same route in just 8 hours last November while our group took twice as long. (Here's sir Romi's blog post about their climb).  

Preparation 
As mentioned earlier, I trained my ass off for this hike. After years of hiking, I've learned to never underestimate any mountain - no matter how tall it is.  I wanted to enjoy the trails and not be a liability to anyone. I specifically focused on the thigh and knee area which is needed in negotiating steep ascents and descents. I also loaded on protein weeks ahead. It's really depends on what your body needs but for me, protein loading works better than filling myself with carbs.  Training climbs are also ideal but I wasn't able to do much of those due to schedule issues. 

Upon arrival in Bukidnon, basic supplies can be bought at Gaisano mall; buses from CDO pass by this area. 

Travel Information 

How to get to Bukidnon
From Manila, take a plane to Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have early morning flights.
How to get to CDO from the airport : Airport Shuttle from Laguindingan Airport to CDO 
From CDO, take public transportation to Agora Bus Terminal. Buses to Bukidnon are 24 hours. Fee : 145 Pesos, aircon bus, travel time : 2.5-3 hours. 
Once in Malaybalay, you can ride a multi-cab to the DENR station - 7 Pesos/head. 

Where to Stay in Malaybalay City
My room at 1st Avenue Apartelle
1st Avenue Apartelle 
Address: Propia Street, Malaybalay City
Tel No. (088) 221-3224 or 0926-432-5382
Rates : 
Single Bed - P 400.00 (Non-Aircon, Private CR)
Double Deck Bed - P 550.00 (Non-Aircon, Private CR)
Single Bed - P 600.00 (Aircon, Private CR)

Twin Bed - P 750.00 (Aircon, Private CR)
More information available at Suroy Pilipinas
*You can get a useful map of Malaybalay city at the reception. 





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