Mount Kitanglad Traverse Mount Dulang-Dulang – One Of My Dream Climb (PART I)

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Hello there WordPress!

It’s been a long time (almost a year, I think?) since I last posted on this page. Well, to summarize the reason why I haven’t written an entry for almost a year, it is because I forgot my account’s password on WordPress (funny and foolish isn’t it?). 2017 was truly a blessed year for me because finally after a year of having an unstable job, I got hired at a government hospital. *Congrats self* HAHA! It’s really hard for me to spend time on this hobby especially when you have shifting schedule. It takes time for me to adjust on having a shifting schedule plus the workload on a government hospital is different from my previous hospital that I have been affiliated which is a private setting. Anyway, the important thing is, here I am and ready to relive and reinvigorate this page. Wohooo! 

Let me start this blog by continuing my supposed to be last year’s entry. I purposely cut this entry into two parts for me to have a not-so-lengthy post. This entry entails my adventure on Mount Kitanglad traverse to Mount Dulang-dulang.

Mount Kitanglad traverse Mount Dulang-dulang is one of the most famous mountain traverses here in Mindanao apart from the highest peak in the Philippines, Mount Apo. It is located in the province of Bukidnon. Mountaineers often dubbed this traverse as KD2 or D2K depending on which you prefer to start with. This traverse is very known for it’s fascinating and majestic mystical mossy forest which is sometimes being compared to Elven forest of Rivendell in “Lord Of The Rings” movie and as well as the telecommunication tower located at the peak of Mount Kitanglad.  Mount Kitanglad is considered to be the 4th highest mountain here in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,899+ MASL. On the other hand, Mount Dulang-dulang is the 2nd highest mountain with an elevation of 2,938+ MASL.

Mount Kitanglad traverse Mount Dulang-dulang has long been penned on my must climb here in the Philippines ever since I started this hobby. I couldn’t even imagine how I was able to conquer this strenuous and arduous hike. This adventure was supposed to be a 4-peak traverse starting from Kitanglad going to Mount Maagnaw (8th highest peak) but due to sudden shift of weather, we decided to forfeit the original itinerary and instead, make it up to Dulang-dulang only. By the way, the 4-peaks that I mentioned were the following: Mount Kitanglad, Dulang-dulang, Langkayugan and Maagnaw.

The PART I of this blog includes my experiences and struggles in Mount Kitanglad.

Two weeks  after the Mount Sumagaya-Lumot climb I had last July 2016, my friend Anjo  informed me that he booked slots for Mount Kitanglad climb. Without faltering, I immediately joined his climb schedule. Pretty excited because this was one of my dream climb and I’ve been waiting for this moment to come. Good thing because I don’t have a regular job at that time – less hassle on securing vacation leave (I think everybody can relate on this. haha). Thank God, it all went according to my plan. Yahoo! 

Before venturing this climb, I read a lot of articles and blogs about Mount Kitanglad ranges so that I can gather information about the preparation, experiences of the hikers, etc. Plus I’ve seen candid photos especially on the mossy forest of Mount Dulang-dulang. As I read those articles, my inner self invigorates and exhilarates to experience what the hikers describing their venture on the mythical Kitanglad ranges. Big thanks to Gideon Lasco of pinoymountaineer.com and Jovial Wanderer for giving me a glimpse of what to look forward on this traverse. 🙂

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Malaybalay Provincial Capitol
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DENR office. Malaybalay, Bukidnon
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Sitio Intavas – Jump off of KD2 traverse
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Praying for protection, guidance and good weather. 🙂

Barangay Sitio Intavas, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon is the major jump off of KD2 traverse. After 5-6 hours of travel from Davao City, we immediately go to Sitio Intavas which takes around 30 minutes ride. Road condition is bad and not cemented. Van and motorcycles are the preferred vehicle so that you can arrive at this area.

As we arrived at Sitio Intavas, we hired guide/porter, secure a permit and at the same time prepared ourselves for a knee-pounding climb. haha! As I prepared my things, I felt excited and at the same prognosticated that along our hike, harsh weather and heavy downpour of rain might welcomes us before arriving at the summit. Good thing that my predictions went wrong haha! Before we start, we’re praying and asked God’s precious hand to guide and protect us along our way going to summit. 🙂

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With TEAM EXPLORER. Ready to conquer Kitanglad ranges. XD

Before starting the actual hiking, there is an open trail which took us around 1-2 hours starting from Sitio Intavas covered court before arriving at Mount Kitanglad foot. One of the things that I hate on hiking is when there is an open trail especially if the heat is unbearable to endure (It drains you easily). Actually, you can hire a motorcycle going to the starting point (foot of Mount Kitanglad), but its quite expensive because of the condition of road and so, we decided to walk on it so that we can enjoy the sceneries and the mountain ranges that surrounds us.

This is it! Those were the words that I uttered upon arriving at the starting point of climb. Pretty much excited to witness and experience the famous steel stairs of Kitanglad and the telecommunication towers together with the mountain ranges at the peak.

The ascent portion of Mount Kitanglad are well established with its steel stairs on it, but hey I warned you, don’t underestimate it because I tell you it will give you tiresome and knee-pounding ascent. On my part, I find it beneficial for it will help keeping the trail intact and also helps the climbers by having a single trail instead of having a multiple trails or hacking sections due to overtaking of climbers. At the summit, telecommunication towers are present and amazingly, there are cellphone signals and you can surf the net if you want. Cool isn’t it? Also, bunkhouses are present in which it can accommodate two persons per 1 bunkhouse/bunkbed. I find it very advantageous for it will protect the hikers from the chilling temperature at the peak and also less hassle because you don’t need to find a spot to pitch tents.

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Andrei on the move

We start our ascent around 7:30 AM. As we proceed, the weather starts to get gloomy and the air gets thinner. Despite the obstacles, the scenic view especially the exotic shrubs and tall trees along the way provides a calming and relaxing vibe which alleviates our inner spirit to continue and proceed. By the way, we have 2 children on this adventure, Andrei (6 years old) and Babeyboo (1 year old) with their parents. Amazing isn’t it?

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Hello there, steel stairs haha!
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From front to back: Me, Lerma, Jhen and Elser

This is what I’m talking about, the famous trademark of Mount Kitanglad, the steel ladders/stairs. At first, I thought it would be less exhausting because there were ladders that would assist us on our ascent but on my surprise, IT’S FREAKING KNEE-WRECKING ASCENT. It’s almost the same when you’re ascending the usual uphill climb hahaha! such a scam!  Those ladders were placed so that to maintain the trail on it’s established form and also to aid the hikers especially on a slope area and for those ascent with a 80-90 degree angle elevation.

BEWARE: there are some portion of stairs that are not stable and therefore requires you to be cautious and mindful of your steps. Just a reminder! 🙂

I am astonished and amazed by the locals and DENR on how they maintained the virginity of the mountain especially on allowing 15 hikers/organizer policy to avoid overcrowding of hikers just like in Luzon mountains. Due to sudden popularity of this activity here in the Philippines, I felt disappointed and frustrated especially when I saw post on the internet related to overcrowding of hikers on a particular mountain. I mean, I’m not against the overcrowding per se but, what makes me cringe and feel frustrated is the lack of discipline of some hikers. They do not value the essence and importance of LNT (Leave No Trace) principle. They just throw their garbage and trash elsewhere like they’re having a helper or street sweeper that would clean up their mess. I couldn’t help myself but to feel sad and depressed. That is why, I always make myself reminded to instill the LNT principle now matter what so that I can contribute in my own little way on taking good care of our mother nature. Also, the trails were being guided with signposts that would notify the hikers on their progress going to the summit.

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On our way to summit

Hell yeah! We’re halfway on our way going to summit. Every time the guide says that we’re near the campsite, all the agonizing and grueling ascent we endured were temporarily been replaced with calm, relaxing and tranquil feeling.

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Summit at last!

We arrived at the summit/campsite around 6 PM. It took us around 7-8 hours hiking time before we finally arrived which was somewhat a slow pacing hike. Some of my pals had hard time arriving at the summit because it’s getting darker pus the weather starts to get colder and breezy which hinders them to hike faster. While waiting for the others to arrive, we immediately prepared the dinner. When everybody was present, we had our dinner and social gathering right after. When I look outside, a lot of stars awaits which gave me the opportunity to practice shooting star trail photography. On my surprise, I got a good shot I think? haha! That was my first time to do star trail photography using a GoPro. From that day, it motivated me on researching and watching tutorials about star trail photography (feeling photographer side of me HAHA!).

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Good morning, Mount Dulang-dulang.

I felt sad and bit disappointed as I woke up. The weather was gloomy and the fogs was so huge and thick, but my determination of hoping to have a clearing and fine weather never wither. We waited patiently for the sun to rise up and luckily, Mount Kitanglad was very generous for providing us a gazing, fascinating and scenic view.

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Still in awe on the beauty of this Mountain.

Thank God! We are blessed for having such a beautiful and good weather to start our day. We climbed the rooftop of a building and posed for memento. This gave us the opportunity to witness and appreciate the entire geographic features surrounding Mount Kitanglad ranges. My eyes were fed with fascination and can’t contain my inner self to be amazed of how beautiful our nature is. I can’t believe that those pictures and experiences the bloggers shared on their blogs that I’ve read were now right in front in me.

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Anjo, Lisly and Babeyboo at the rooftop.

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It’s already 7:30 AM and the sun starts to penetrate and produce an unbearable heat. At 8:30 AM after having our breakfast, we resumed the trekking going to Mount Dulang-dulang. Of course, before we resumed our adventure, we asked for God’s protection and guidance and everything will go fine and smooth. 🙂

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With TEAM EXPLORER. 🙂

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Before leaving Mount Kitanglad, we took another memento as a group. Wohoo! I would like to thank Anjo Dorado and Lisly Dorado for organizing this fun-filled adventure. For my companies on this climb: Albert, Lerma, EJ, MJ, Elser, Jhen, Andrei and Babeyboo for the opportunity of having you on my quest on completing the top 5 highest mountain in the Philippines and of course for the friendship and bonding we forged. Hope that this friendship will not end here. For our porter, Enan and Jimboy for assisting us all throughout the climb. And lastly to God for being so gracious to us. You never fails to amazed me with your greatness. Another memory to treasure. I will surely come back and promise to complete the 4-peak traverse soon.

Despite all the arduous and grueling experiences we had, we still managed to arrive safe and sound, conquered and enjoyed the adventure. I think that ends my blog on Mount Kitanglad adventure.

For now, all the mountains under Mount Kitanglad range are temporarily closed due to some security issues. I heard that they will re-open it before this year ends.

 

For tips, reminders and itinerary of this climb, stay tune for the PART II of this adventure. Thank you. 🙂


HOW TO GET THERE: 

If you’re from Manila, Cebu and other places within Luzon and Visayas area: 

1. Book a flight going to Davao or Cagayan De Oro City (depending on your meet-up set by the organizer. If you wish to do a Do-It-Yourself trip, CDO is much preferable because it’s nearer and less hassle.

*If you’re from Davao City, ride a bus from Ecoland Terminal going to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. 

TRAVEL TIME: 5-6 hours

*If you’re from CDO, ride a bus from Agora Terminal going to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. 

TRAVEL TIME: 2-3 hours

If you’re from Mindanao:

1. Ride a bus going to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. The fare may depend on where you’re from. In our case, we rented a van. Aircon buses average fare is 450 pesos while the ordinary buses pegged fares at 380 pesos if you’re coming from Davao City. Average fare of 130 pesos if you’re from CDO.

You can visit https://davaoterminal.page.tl/North-bound-Bus-Schedules.htm for bus schedules.

 

From Malaybalay terminal, you can negotiate a jeep or motorcycle going to Sitio Intavas. If you’re asking for the price, better do a research on this. I don’t have any updates right now as to the costs of ride going to Sitio Intavas. Sorry. 😦

 

HIKING INFORMATION: 

GEAR: 

My backpack was a 35L pack with 2 liters of water which helped me survived the adventure. Aside from the necessary equipment needed for hiking, bring things that would protect you from heavy downpour of rain like rainbreaker jacket, poncho, etc. Also, I strongly suggest to bring a tent especially in Dulang-dulang because the weather on campsite is being compared to that of Pulag’s campsite.

CONTACT PERSONNEL: 

You can contact any of the following: (1) Anjo Dorado of TEAM EXPLORER page on Facebook. You can reach him at 0909-228-0108 or you can pm directly on his Facebook account. (2) Banjo Syting of Day Off Adventours page on Facebook. You can reach him at 0910-179-9875 or you can just drop a message on his Facebook. Don’t forget to like their pages for you to be updated on climbing schedule here in Mindanao. 🙂

EXPENSES: 

Php 8,000.00 – Van rental from Davao to Malaybalay. In our case, the driver voluntarily dropped us directly to Sitio Intavas.

Php 1,500.00 – Guide fee/day (ratio of guide to hiker is 1:5)

Php 200.00 – Climbing permit which must be secured at the DENR office in Malaybalay City. 200 pesos is good for two mountains (100/mountain).

*In above expenses, food and other related fees, trips, etc. are not included for it may depend on your itineraries, preferences and other miscellaneous expenses. Also, if you wish to know the itinerary of this adventure, feel free to comment below. Thank you. 🙂

 

NOTE: THE ABOVE EXPENSES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. BETTER TO KEEP UPDATED AND RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME TO AVOID ANY CONFLICT AND PROBLEMS ON LOGISTICS. 🙂

 

FEEL FREE TO COMMENT ON THE COMMENT SECTION IF YOU HAVE ANY CLIMBING EXPERIENCE/S ON THIS MOUNTAIN. 🙂