@ Malaybalay Park
To end 2012, the year where I accomplished solo hikes, few traverses, major climbs and dream mountains, I chose Mt. Dulang dulang - Mt. Kitanglad traverse as my year end climb.
Scheduled during my holiday break in Cagayan de Oro, I could say this was the best Holiday vacation so far. Spent time with my family and squeezed a day for myself.
So what made me choose D2K (Dulang Dulang - Kitanglad)? I've been following a blogger who loves Bukidnon Mountains so much that she usually visits the place from time to time, Ms. Tin-tin of Nagbabasang Pinoy. She was my inspiration....
First Avenue Inn
Day 00 was a whole day stay at Malaybalay Bukidnon. My guide, Sir Ben recommended that I have to stay at Malaybalay prior the climb proper to have enough sleep which was a very good idea because the next day was knee pounding trek.
I roamed around the city for a quick tour, visited the St. Thaddeus church and stayed for an hour at the park observing the locals around. For final preparation, I went to Gaisano mall for trail food and packed lunch for the next day and then met Sir Ben for the final briefing.
Sir Benjamin "Ben" Maputi is a very busy person. His business is tied up with DENR. He co-owns a Nature Park (Mt. Kitanglad Agri-Ecological Techno Demo Center) and spearhead all projects of DENR for Kitanglad Range, all trails leading to every mountains he knows it by heart.
After the very very short briefing, he called up a hostel (First Avenue Inn) and reserved a room for me. The place was clean and the staff were accommodating, I would say a perfect place to stay for backpackers.
Day 01 came and around 4.00am Sir Ben picked me up from the Hostel and headed to the Jump off Point, Sitio Bol-ogan, Brgy. Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon it took us for about an hour and a half to reach the place. We paid visit to the Chieftain of the Barangay to submit the permit and some courtesy call.
Around 5.45am we started the hike. The weather was perfect that early morning, not so cold though Bukidnon is known for its low ala "Baguio" temperature most of the time. For a few minutes, my back starts to ache. I felt my lower spine was about to give up and to think it was just a few meters from the jump off, blamed the holiday week for it.
Tall Tree covered with moss all over
Few meters above, we saw Mt. Kalatungan. Towering at 2,880+ masl its grandeur height caught my curiosity that most of the time I keep on asking information about the mountain. 5th highest mountain in the Philippines and can be traversed in 2 days (the shortest travel recorded) and has a difficulty level of 8/9.
First half of the trek was mostly gradual to few assaults however I was still having a hard time with my pacing. Sir Ben has to wait for me most of the time, my slow pacing was then an advantage because I was able to admire the beauty of Mt. Dulang Dulang Trail.
The pine trees growing at the highest portion of this mountain were different from the pine trees I saw in Benguet and Zambales (Tapulao). According to Sir Ben, the pines growing in the area is where the Philippine Eagle build its nest. And it's the only type of tree (pine) they choose to built there nest (choosy?).
Around 10.30 am we reached the Camp Site..... the widest campsite I have seen so far. What's beautiful about the camp site was that it was inside the mossy forest. Stood amazed, I was immobile by what was in front of me..... my eyes were scouting the area......from left to right..... up then down...... I fell in love with the place.
Tall trees with wide shades covering the entire area. Lichens and mosses on every trees which makes it branches, trunks colored green. Few lights from the Sun can pass through from above.....the chill, eerie feeling creeps the hell out of me. As the wind blows, the trees were like talking to each other.... I think they were talking about me. My mind was then playing around.... what if fairies will then appear, gnomes will then dance around a small bonfire..... what if Dryads and Oreads greets me....... All of a sudden I realized I was alone in the area.
After refilling, Sir Ben called my attention as we were few minutes away from the summit. From time to time, I saw white cloths tied to some bushes, I remembered that this place was a sacred ground and an ancestral domain of Tala'andig tribe. As we reached the summit, mossy forest gets thicker and thicker then we have to scramble all the way up on these rocks just to reach summit while the temperature was then so cold.
The summit was not that wide though, bonsai trees covered most of it. We stayed and ate a quick lunch for 20 minutes at the summit because the wind was crazy that time and it was so cold.... my lips started to dried out. By 11.30am we decided to descend, though we waited for some clearing.... for me to witness Mt. Apo from afar, sad to say Mt. Dulang Dulang did not grant me such request.
The descent was.... I'd say, the entire traverse going to Mt. Kitanglad was a pure challenge....
Scaling down from boulders covered with moss and lichens.... it was a slippery descend. I read some blogs that the traverse requires rope segment because of its almost 90 degrees wall..... Aha! Sir Ben said we do not need one.... "Para sa mga babae lang yun" .... hahahaha.. I laughed yet my heart was pounding so fast when I saw the trail. So I have no choice, placed my entire life on these roots then prayed.... "dahil ginusto ko to!"
I swang twice on the cliffs because the soil was to loose, too muddy that time and no Sir Ben below to catch me... hahahaha.. it was pure fun though swinging, then slid all the way down.
Mt. Dulang-dulang to Mt. Kitanglad is connected by a knife edge trail, mostly covered with trees and 3 assaults. Few eCamps sites can be seen along the trail....... I took some time from this open spot watching how high Mt. Kitanglad was. I was checking if there were trails visible from where I stood that leads to the summit cause all I can see are stone walls, grass and this portion of Kitanglad is way different from Dulang-dulang....it's like 80 degrees to almost 90 slope ..... Will I go 4x4 all the way up?
Sir Ben was then waiting for me at Eagle's Point (where the Philippine Eagle was released), let me rested for 15 minutes then gave me his final instruction before the ascend of all ascends. "The trail is pure ascend, we will be trekking under these tall grasses. This is where the "4 x 4" trail starts and this will cover for about an hour or two" Boom! True indeed, the longest 4 x 4 ascend I ever did.
Though the grasses were that tall and shaded us from the Sun, its blades cuts like cogon grass and so itchy. My hands were shaking most of the time for a fact that I am holding onto these grasses not knowing how sturdy these were.... or else I will be rolling all the way down.
The Traverse Trail
D2 - 2 small mountains - Kitanglad
Sir Ben was nowhere to be found however we gave sound signals to ensure we're on the same track. I rested for a while in an open space while watching the summit of Mt. Dulang-dulang then traced the trail I took all the way to where I was stationed.... Ang layo pala!
A few meters above, Sir Ben was waiting for me then discussed the next moved. Kiss the Wall! What?!!!! after the 4 x 4 climb we will doing a Kiss the Wall climb without any rope... He then pointed the cliff we need to climb. Ready ka na? he asked.... I just nodded.... A nod mixed with fear yet excited (I dunno why I am excited every time a buwis buhay moments awaits everytime I climb).
Up next : Kiss the Wall ............ Mt. Kitanglad
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