This traverse made me realized that there are people who are way better than us. I used to climb famous multi-day hikes here in Mindanao, but Mount Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang teaches me to humble myself and erased the notion of being a
hardcore wannabe. HAHA! Some of my companions here on this adventure are first timer and I am stunned by how they managed to have a faster pacing than me. Indeed, this mountain helped me inculcate that mountaineering is not just about the bravado of posting on social media to say “Look… I’m doing this. Amazing isn’t it?” OR having the idea of doing things that you think you’re better than others just because you have done things that other’s don’t have. It is more on being aware and sensitive of one’s environment. It also reminded me of our role as stewards in the entirety of His creation. Mountaineering gave me an eye-opening realization that we are just a speck of this universe, and that makes this world full of mysteries and puts a lot of queries in my mind. We have tons of things to learn and explore on our perspective journeys. This entry is a continuation of my adventure in Kitanglad Ranges, but this time it’s more on our experiences and struggles in Mount Dulang-Dulang. 🙂
Mount Dulang-Dulang ranked as 2nd highest mountain in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,938+ MASL. It is very known for having a unique mossy forest which is sometimes being compared to Lord of the Rings settings. As you go along on the peak, denser jungles and the white moss radiates brightly which gives an ancient and historic approach to the hikers. Like Mount Apo, Dulang-Dulang is sacred to the locals. If your adventure starts with Dulang-Dulang going to Kitanglad (D2K trail), ritual is being officiated by the Datu. It is done by offering chicken which cost around 1,500 PHP (so expensive for a chicken though haha), then at the summit, you must hang a white cloth with coins inside as a sign of respect to their native culture. Our guide says that, it roughly costs around 4,000 PHP/climber if you wish to do the mentioned trail. Economically, KD2 trail gives a cheaper cost and I think majority of the climbers and guide usually follow or recommend this trail. It is difficult to climb this especially if you don’t have any knowledge about the place. That is why it is preferable to contact a Mindanao based mountaineers for they know more about the updates on policies, rate, etc.
We started descending Mount Kitanglad around 8:30 AM. Along the descent, there is a 90-degree vertical trail equipped with a rope and cogon grass which was somehow a big help on making the trail intact and more easier to be access. Mount Dulang-Dulang is considered to be a difficult climb especially if you traverse it going to Mount Kitanglad. 8/9 difficulty as rated by pinoymountaineer.com and therefore, not advisable for newbies. It requires an experience guide, companions and a strong will and grit for you to climb this mountain.
Majority of the trail especially the descent part were cogon grasses, so long sleeves and rash guard are recommended to avoid itchiness and sharp object brought by the grasses.
This is what I’m telling you, the most awaited and thrilling part going to the saddle point of Mount Dulang-Dulang. If you’re acrophobic, I bet you’ll think of rescinding your climb going to Kitanglad haha! By the way, two of our companions, Andrei and his mother (I forgot her name) decided to forfeit the traverse because they can’t continue it anymore and instead, they wait for us at the Malaybalay City. At first, I was dubious if I can make it or not. To remove the feeling of anxiety and reluctance, I decided to go first on the rope portion. We took around 30 minutes on this portion because some of our companions are having hard time rappelling on the rope.
Before reaching the summit and campsite, you have to pass another 90-degree like vertical trail which I find it more difficult than the previous rope segment portion because this time, it’s ascending not descending. Aside from that, the trail mainly composed of large rocks attached on a mud and moss ground which makes it slippery especially when wet. On this part, I struggled a lot because I don’t have enough energy and strength to lift myself and endure the grueling trail. It took me some time before I was able to surpass the obstacle.
After hours of dealing on the ridges, vertical trails and rope portion which test our patience and endurance, finally we arrived at the summit. YES! It was around 5:30 PM when we summited the peak. We didn’t able to catch the sunset, but the surreal feeling of achievement and cloud nine moment when you were able to step foot on top 2 and 4 highest peaks in the Philippines was PRICELESS. I couldn’t believe that I was able to endure all the tiresome and knee-pounding obstacles.
Manny’s Garden is the main campsite of Mount Dulang-Dulang. It was named after Manny Serina which is a famous mountaineer in Mindanao. By the way, I got the information at pinoymountaineer.com because of being curious on why it was named “Manny’s Garden” HAHA! From campsite, 5-10 minutes walking is the summit. In terms of water source, there a lot of spots for water sources available. BEWARE: some of the water sources are product of accumulated water coming from pouring of rain and moist build up from the white moss that have been stagnated.
During night, the freezing weather is akin to that of Mount Pulag or Apo, so I highly recommended to bring with you a thick thermal clothing and gears to avoid hypothermia. If you bring with you your love ones, well at least, you can somehow manage the cold and frigid climate. hahaha kidding!
We woke up around 5:30 AM and waited for sunrise. At the summit, splendid views of mountain ranges surrounding this mountain awaits with it’s silk and gloomy skies on it. Views of Mount Kitanglad, Apo, Kalatungan, Ragang, and other mountain ranges in Mindanao can be seen. Though we don’t have the radiant and bright morning kind of day, but seeing views like this was enough for us to be fascinated. The scenic view fed our eyes and souls with blissful and unforgettable experiences plus the awesome people I was within the entire 4 days of adventure was a blast!
Strolling around the vicinity of campsite was a rewarding one. You can’t just get enough of being amazed of the mossy forest and pine trees because of it’s unique orientation. It was such an enchanting and ancient feeling. You can obviously hear the birds chirping and cicadas as well. The whole campsite of this mountain is composed mainly thick moss. We pose and took pictures while waiting for the breakfast prepared by Anjo.
There was a part of summit at Dulang-Dulang where white bands of clothes are hanged with coins inside of it. This is one of the tribal ritual done by the Talaandig tribe when visiting the mountain. As I mentioned earlier, rituals were done as a sign of respect of their native culture.
Let me introduce to you our youngest companion on this adventure, Anjolette Skyzx “Babeyboo” Dorado. She is the daughter of Anjo and Lisly Dorado, the one’s who organizes our trip. She’s 2 years old right now but hey, she is not just an ordinary toddler who usually enjoy playing or cozying up with toys, coloring materials, etc., She took her toddler stage to the next level. What makes her amazing is that, she was able to set foot on country’s top five highest peaks. Amazing isn’t it? I think she is the youngest girl to ever step the summits of the top mountains here in Philippines. Aside from that, she was also able to reach other mountains such as Mount Matutum, Lake Holon, Mount Pinatubo and Osmeña Peak. Both her parents are adventure junkies which makes their daughter a certified outdoor folks too. I am with their adventures in this mountain and in Lake Holon and I am astonished on how Anjo and Lisly handled the chilly weather, possible insect bites, unbearable heat during day time and other inevitable risks that the mountains may bring to her. They make sure that they have the essentials and must bring goods that Babeyboo needs on every adventure she has. Grit and guts is what makes Babeyboo’s parents to have her on every risky adventures they have to see the world on it’s raw and virgin aspect – sunrise and sunsets, scenic mountain ranges, mystical forestry, among others. Anjo and Lisly plans on taking Babeyboo on conquering the other top highest mountains here in Philippines. They’re aiming on unlocking the top 10 highest mountain in Philippines. (except for Mount Ragang – it is closed for climbers due to security issues).
The family that bonds together, stays together. #Familygoals for Dorado family for having such a unique and one-of-a-kind bonding. Many of those who knows them admire the type of trip they have and some are dubious upon bringing a baby on this type of outdoor activities.
What’s unique about Mount Dulang-Dulang was their mossy forest. Unlike Mount Talomo, Lumot and Pulag, Dulang-Dulang has this mysterious and enchanting feels. It’s like you’re in a setting of Encantadia or Lord of The Rings. hahaha! It is also the home of variety of fauna and floras as well as wild boars, monkeys, deer, bats and other mammal species. Most of the animals here are endangered species so climbers should be responsible enough not to hunt or harm them.
Thanks to our guide, Jimboy and Enan for having this adventure a worthy one. Even though we had some problem meeting our itinerary because of unexpected circumstances, our guide helped us in terms of carrying some of my companion’s load (some of them are very tired already) so that we can arrived on time or earlier than the expected time.
The final phase of the trail is an open trail portion going to highway in Sitio Bol-ogan, Lantapan, Bukidnon. The final phase was a tough one. It consists mainly of steady, slope trail down with a muddy, slippery lose rocks on it. It was hard for me to maintain my usual pacing. It was just agonizing the fact that we have to slow down and it was a heck painful on my legs enduring the sloping portion added by muddy and rocky trail. Unfortunately, rain pours as we continuously hike the open trail which adds up on the difficulty of completing the whole open trail going to the highway (end point).
I am in cloud on describing the experiences I had about the hike, but to summarize this adventure, It was a worthy yet arduous hiking experience! It exceeds my expectation about the difficulty of trail plus the sceneries itself. If given the chance to come back again? Yes, I would gladly go back again and continue my unfinished business – the 4-peak traverse (Mount Kitanglad-Dulang2x-Langkayugan-Maagnaw).
Climbing Mount Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang requires a great fortitude. It really tests your endurance and patiences. Hiking one of the pinnacle of Philippine mountains is another milestone and fulfilling journey in my life. We were blessed with good and fine weather and no ones got hurt or injured upon the duration of climb.
By this, I am determine to complete the TOUGH five highest peaks in Philippines which are: Mount Apo (#1), Mount Dulang-Dulang (#2), Mount Pulag (#3), Mount Kitanglad (#4) and Mount Kalatungan (#5). Current list on the top highest peaks replaced Kalatungan by Mount Piapayungan (wherein Mount Ragang is located).
Again, see you on my next blog post! 🙂
TIPS AND REMINDERS;
1. This climb is not advisable for beginners for it is a multi-day traverse. Just like what I have written on my previous blog (Mount Sumagaya-Lumot). It is best to have proper training – jogging for 2-3 times a week plus have some minor hike of at least 2-3. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLIMB IF YOU ARE FIRST TIMER NOT UNLESS IF YOU HAVE ANY ATHLETIC AFFILIATION (running, marathon, etc). *Note: This is just my own opinion. It’s up to you if you follow it or not. 🙂
2. It is advisable to have an event organizer. Get an event organize r who are well versed on the logistics on KD2 or D2K trail. It is difficult to climb this mountain without any prior contact. It is recommended to hire or join groups who are Mindanao-based for they know more about the existing climbing policies and fees.
3. Protective gears are very vital on this climb. Bring with you the following: tent, trapal, raincoat/poncho, COLD WEATHER GEAR (yes i purposely capitalized it because it’s freakin’ cold on this mountain haha), earthpads/insulator.
4. Always instill the idea and essence of LNT principle. Again, I’m always reminding everyone and on my previous hiking blogs about LNT principle. Repetitive reminders make things done. HA HA!
5. In packing your gears, it is best to insert a large plastic cellophane on your bag then altogether arranged your belongings. This is to avoid your belongings being wet brought by the rain. Sometimes rain cover of the bag does not guarantee your belongings being protected.
6. As much as possible, bring medicine such as anti-pyretics, NSAIDS/pain reliever, anti-histamine, meds for diarrhea and other gastric problems you might encounter and other first aid equipment.
7. Before the proper climb (a week or days before), refrain from doing stressful activities. Save energy as much as possible.
8. There are a lot of water sources on this mountain. If you are the type of person who happens to have a sensitive stomach, bring with you your water filtering device.
9. In terms of food, packed it on a separate bag or zip lock especially for meaty dishes. Meat must be prepared on a pre-cooked manner. Estimate your food based on the duration of the climb. Bring with you also your trail food (jelly ace, nuts, chocolates, candies, etc).
10. Ask guidance to God before starting your adventure. It is best to have His blessings along the journey AND don’t forget to give thanks always not just for the safety but also in every opportunity you had on your adventure. 🙂
11. For contact information, hiking information and expenses, just visit the PART I of this blog. 🙂
1200: Meet up at at Roxas Night Market, Davao City
0600: ETA Malaybalay Market; Breakfast
0630: Going to Sitio Intavas
0800: ETA jump off at Sitio Intavas. Register and start trek
1200: ETA “aerial roots” area; lunch along the trail
1700: Arrived at summit
1800: Prepare for dinner and tomorrow’s climb
1900: Dinner and socials
2100: Lights off
0530: Waiting for sunrise and sight-seeing on Mount Apo, Dulang-dulang, etc
0700: Breakfast, pack up things
0800: Resume trekking going to Mount Dulang-Dulang
1200: Ridge portion of Mount Dulang-Dulang; lunch at trail
1700: Manny’s Garden. Set up camp
1710: Visit the summit. (5 minutes away)
1730: Prepare for dinner
1800: Dinner and socials
2000: Lights off