Friday, January 31, 2014

MOUNT DULANG-DULANG CLIMB

Location: Lantapan, Bukidnon
Major Jump-off: Sitio Bol-ogan, Brgy. Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon (Ideal)
Exit point: Sitio Bol-ogan, Brgy. Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon
Coordinates: 8.097980N; 124.96050E
Elevation: 2,938 MASL (9,649 feet)
Days Required/Hours to Summit: 2 days/9-10 hours
Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail Class 2-4
Specs (Traverse): Major climb, Difficulty 8/9, Trail class 2-4 with roped segments
Description: Mount Dulang-Dulang is the second highest mountain of the Philippines, second only to Mount Apo of Davao at 3,412 meters (11,194 feet) and slightly higher than Mount Pulag of Luzon, the third highest at 2,922 meters (9,587 feet).
Descriptive Summary: This climb is actually a part of Mount Kitanglad – Dulang-Dulang Traverse Climb. The itinerary presented here is an ideal non-traverse climb and not necessarily what the blogger did.

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The surrounding mountains taken from the summit of Mount Dulang-Dulang


Originally, my plan was to have a Dulang-Dulang – Kitanglad Traverse but my guide told me that it is so expensive to do this since you have to pay for the ritual to be officiated by the datu as well as the chicken costs P1,500 not to mention that you have to pay for the climbing registration. Part of the ritual is the hanging of bands of white cloth at the summit with coins in it, as they say that it is a show of respect to the native culture. All these are paid to the datu where it will reach around P4,000 and since I was alone to climb the mountain, I have to shoulder the whole amount. With this, I changed my mind and sought the advise of my guide who suggested to me that I better opt to have my entry point in Kitanglad and traverse to Dulang-Dulang to avoid these expenses.

Approaching the vertical trail of Mount Dulang-Dulang from Kitanglad side


That is why, it is really difficult to climb this mountain without prior contact because you do not have a local knowledge about the place and you might end up spending much. It is recommended that groups who wanted to climb have to join the Mindanao-based groups where they know more about the existing climb regulating policies. It is highly recommended, too, that you should have an experienced guide. To make it lighter in your pocket, you arrange with the guide that he is also your porter at a rate of P1,500 per day. Guide and porter has a rate of P1,000 a day.

Another panoramic view from the summit of Mount Dulang-Dulang


In my case, I just bargained to pay my guide the amount of P1,500 but I shouldered all the expenses ranging from our food, transport and registration/park fees for the five of us. My guide asked my permission to allow him to have three companions including a student nurse.

Another worth-sharing panoramic picture taken from the summit


My guide and porters did not observe the time stated in our itinerary as initially agreed and so I find it not worth sharing for purposes of giving the accurate information.

On top of bonsai tree at the mountain's summit


According to my guide, this mountain is regarded by the Talaandig tribe of Lantapan as a sacred place. It is also within the ancestral domain of the tribe.

Mount Kitanglad's summit as viewed from Mount Dulang-Dulang's summit


Just imagine, we woke up at 6:00 A.M. at our Kitanglad’s abandoned bunkhouse but we started the trek at 10:50 A.M. We descended the 90-degree vertical trail equipped with a rope at 11:00 A.M. where this part is grown with cogon grass and was at Kawa-Kawa Campsite at 12:00 Noon but we had our lunch along the trail at around 1:30 P.M. since we had our breakfast late.

Our group enjoying the cool breeze at the summit early in the morning


Later in the afternoon, our group was heading for a Dulang-Dulang Traverse where we were trailing lofty forests. True enough, that according to my previous research, this mountain is a home to a variety of fauna and flora. Accordingly, it was revealed that it is a home to 58 mammal species including bats, squirrels, monkeys, wild boars, flying lemurs, shrews and deer.

A part of the summit where white bands of cloth are hanged with coins as part of the tribal ritual


The Fairy Land just adjacent to the summit


Further, it was revealed that the Philippine Eagle is also sighted within the vicinity of this mountain but that I have not experienced. It maybe disappointing but I only sighted two squirrels along the trail and nothing more. Most of the mammal species in this mountain are endangered species and so climbers should be responsible enough not hunt them or cause damage to their habitat.

The enchanting Fairy Land


Walking through various trails was quite rewarding as you will see pine trees and forests where cicadas can be heard. As you enter the densely forested area, the air is becoming cold and what you will hear is the sound of your footsteps. You can see thick moss abounds along your trail and in open trails you can see clouds on top of you.

Enjoying the mossy forest of the Fairy Land


Nimrod and I were climbing a muddy vertical trail at 4:20 P.M. and finally reached the summit at 5:15 P.M. where we pitched our tent. It was extremely freezing at night comparable with that of Mount Pulag. With this, it is highly recommended that you bring thick and thermal clothing and gears like jackets, gloves and other thermal outfit.

Wanted to stay longer in the Fairy Land


Late in the afternoon until early in the evening, our group was in the summit capturing with our camera the changing hue of the sky and the distant mountains. We had our dinner at 7:00 P.M. and rested at 10:00 P.M. after our socials.

Some more time in the Fairy Land


We woke up at 5:00 P.M. and stayed at the summit while the rest were preparing for hot beverage drinks. After taking hot milk and a pair of bread slices, we stayed in the ‘Fairy Land’ just adjacent to the summit. My companions were getting the coins from the white bands of cloth hanged from the trees. I noticed that trees around are like bonsai.

Still at the Fairy Land


Gasiong and I started to trek at 9:00 A.M. and were at Manny’s Garden at 9:30 A.M. where we stayed there till 11:00 A.M. for cooking our food for our brunch.

The royal grass crown at the Fairy Land


After that was a long and exhausting trek until we reached the jump-off point at 4:00 P.M. in Sitio Bol-ogan. We have not booked for a chartered vehicle and so we waited for a passing jeepney just up to Barangay Balila where we dropped Gasiong and McDong who will be heading to Mountain View College Main Campus while the three of us: Nimrod, Shiela Mae and I headed to Valencia City for three cutting trips.

Last glimpse of the Fairy Land


While at the summit campsite


Sunrise at the summit


Still at the summit witnessing the scenic sunrise


Below is the recommended itinerary from www.pinoymountainer.com which is an ideal one to guide your future climb:

ITINERARY

Day 1
11:00 From CDO’s Agora Terminal, take bus to Malaybalay
15:00 ETA Malaybalay market, meet with the local group
15:30 Take jeep to Lantapan
17:30 ETA Lantapan, Courtesy call with Datu
18:00 Prepare for next day’s climb, dinner
19:00 Attend ritual sacrifice by the Talaandig tribesfolk
21:00 Lights out

Day 2
05:30 Start trek
11:30 Lunch at water source (near river)
16:00 ETA Plaza
16:30 ETA Manny’s Garden (campsite near summit). Set up camp
17:00 Visit the summit (just 5 minutes away)

Day 3
05:45 Wake up to watch the sunrise at the summit, Spot Mount Apo
06:30 Breakfast
08:00 Break camp
08:30 Start descent
12:00 Back at water source
16:00 Back at jump-off point; take jeepney back to Malaybalay
17:30 Take jeep or bus to CDO

Our group enjoying a siesta at the summit campsite


While at the Manny’s Garden


Manny’s Garden is a mystical forest right after the summit area of Dulang-Dulang if you are in a Kitanglad-D2 Traverse. It is named after the late Manny Serina, the great pillar of mountaineering in Mindanao. He was among the pioneers who explored and introduced Dulang-Dulang as a climbing destination.

Preparing our meal for brunch at Manny's Garden


We spent long at the Manny's Garden where we had our brunch since we only have a coffee and a pair of slice bread in the morning.

Trekking a very, very long and winding rough road leading to the jump-off point in Sitio Bol-ogan, Brgy. Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon


TRIVIA

As Guiting-Guiting is dubbed as ‘G2’, Dulang-Dulang is now coined as ‘D2’. It is now high time to correct textbooks and other reference reading materials which give unverified information that Mount Pulag is the second highest mountain in the Philippines as D2 is 16 meters (52.55 feet) higher than Mount Pulag.

HOW TO GET THERE

Take an airplane from Manila to CDO. Take an airconditioned Rural Trans bus from CDO Integrated Bus Terminal going to Valencia for 3 – 4 hours for P180. Take a jeepney from Valencia to Aglayan for P20. Take a multicab from Aglayan to Lantapan town proper for P25. Take habal-habal from Lantapan town proper to Barangay Balila for P10 and a jeepney from Brgy. Balila to Sitio Bol-ogan of Brgy. Songco, Lantapan Municipality.

GUIDE'S CONTACT NUMBER

Nimrod Solis - +639267977522

MOUNT KITANGLAD CLIMB

Location: Between Malaybalay City and the municipalities of Lantapan, Impasug-ong, Sumilao and Libona
Major Jump-off: Sitio Intavas, La Fortuna, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon
Exit Point: Traversed to Mount Dulang-Dulang
Coordinates: 808’2”N; 124047’0”E
Elevation: 2,899 MASL (9,521 feet)
Days Required/Hours to Summit: 2 days/6-7 hours (Ideal)
Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 2-4
Description: It is the fourth highest mountain in the Philippines and an inactive volcano located in the Kitanglad Mountain Range.
Blogger’s Note: This climb is actually a part of Mount Kitanglad – Dulang-Dulang Traverse Climb. The itinerary presented here is an ideal non-traverse climb and not necessarily what the blogger did.


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A panoramic view of Kitanglad Mountain Range


The habal-habal ride from Intavas crossing at La Fortuna was quite breathtaking as I see the full view of Kitanglad Mountain Range. My guide was pointed for me where in this part of the mountain range Mount Kitanglad and Mount Dulang-Dulang were located. We passed through typical rural houses with garden of vegetables and fruit trees. The long road where we took was not cemented but it was not dusty unless a vehicle pass through us.

The mountain derived its name from a legend where according to the tales told, there was once a great flood that submerged the land the native settlers and what remained to be visible (“Kita” in Tagalog) then was the tip of the mountain as small as the size of the “tanglad” (a lemon grass). By then, the place was called Ki’tanglad where it is now considered to be the domain of several old cultural communities like the Bukidnon, Higaonon and Talaandig.

The Intavas crossing in La Fortuna where habal-habal can be hired to the jump-off point


This climb was the second time that I was alone like that of Mount Apo where I only hired one guide in the name of Nimrod Solis and two porters (Mcdong and Asher “Gasiong” Lumayag) along with a student nurse (Shiera Mae Luces) where I paid for all their expenses ranging from food provision and transportation not to mention the guiding and porter’s fee.

With me in the picture is Shiera Mae Luces


With me is one of the tribesmen while heading for Sitio Intavas


The rich green plantation of vegetables


The province of Bukidnon is just one of the fertile land in Mindanao as it is blessed to have a favorable weather and so farmers can easily grow vegetables in their farms.

One of the steel staircase in steep trails


We started the trek from Sitio Intavas at 8:15 A.M. in a wide road running through rice fields and vegetable paddies and arrived in the foot of the mountain at 9:55 A.M. Our group stayed there for a long time cooking a lot of food

Uprooted huge trees along the trail downed by previous typhoons


From the foot of the mountain, we resumed our trekking at 1:00 P.M. I noticed that some of the trails were well-established with steel staircase which according to my guide were intended for the employees who work in the communication facilities at the summit. These steel stairs were a big help in ascending the very steep trails. We were trailing with a densely refreshing forested area and met some climbers who are on their way of descending the mountain. We have to work through big roots of the trees and some big trees were even uprooted due to typhoons that hit the area.

Resting over an uprooted tree after a series of cardiac assaults


Trekking was not only difficult due to a number of cardiac assaults but what made it more difficult that I have to jump, climb and walk over huge logs and in some cases the trail is not traceable because of the logs that covered it.

The photo shows my swollen right foot worn with sandal and the other one with shoes


Trekking with swollen right foot was an agony most particularly that it was not only muddy but you have to walk over with wet trail of muddy pond-like holes and your feet are dipped in the muddy cold water. You are trekking producing a squelching sound of shoes filled with water.

Most of the trails were muddy and steep. But I was amazed to see the aerial roots and some mountains along high cliffs. I became weak then and my numbed feet can hardly move that all my companions left me trekking in the darkness of the night.

Freezing inside an abandoned soldiers' quarter at the summit


I reached the summit at around 8:00 P.M. freezing in coldness. I was disappointed that because of this night trek, I was not able to see the many mountains and places in the Northern and Central Mindanao like the Balatucan mountains, Mount Ragang and the other peaks of the Kitanglad range not to mention Mount Dulang-Dulang. At the summit, our group occupied an abandoned soldiers’ quarters for an overnight since the summit was erected with around seven communication towers.

The following day, we trekked down to the other side to have a traverse to Mount Dulang-Dulang (see the the blog on MOunt Dulang-Dulang Climb).

Communication facilities at the summit of Mount Kitanglad


Early morning at the summit


Other communication towers at the summit


ITINERARY (Recommended from www.pinoymountaineer.com)

Intavas Traip

Day 1
04:00 Depart from CDO to Impasug-ong
08:00 ETA jump-off at Sitio Intavas. Register and start trek.
12:00 ETA “Aerial Roots” area; lunch along the trail
03:30 ETA summit
18:00 Prepare for next day’s climb, dinner
19:00 Attend ritual sacrifice by the Talaandig tribesfolk (Our group did not do this)
21:00 Rest Over Night (RON)

Day 2
06:00 Mountain-viewing session; Mount Ragang, Mt. Balatucan, D2, etc.
07:00 Breakfast, break camp
08:00 Start descent via Intavas trail, muddy and steep
11:00 Reach “Aerial roots”: roots suspended in air
13:00 ETA rough road
14:00 ETA jump-off point at Sitio Intavas
15:00 Take jeepney back to Malaybalay or CDO
18:00 ETA CDO
Note: Our group had a different itinerary since ours was a Kitanglad-Dulang2 Traverse Climb.

The scenic communication towers scraping the rich blue skies


SPECIAL CONCERNS

To avoid a freezing temperature at the summit, you may reserve in advance the DENR – Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park at (088) 813 3453 to reserve for bunk-bed at the summit. Because of the chilling temperature, two persons can warmly fit in one bunkbed. Since the summit is a communication center, there is electricity where you can even watch TV and enjoy a mobile network signal throughout the climb.

Watch your step as you ascend up to the summit since the electric wires run parallel to your trail which might pose a potential risk since they are high-voltage lines. This may also apply with the erected communication towers at the summit which might also be potentially hazardous.

Descending through the 90-degree vertical trail heading to Mount Dulang-Dulang


The mossy and densely forested trail heading towards a Mount Dulang-Dulang traverse


HOW TO GET THERE Take an airplane from Manila via Cagayan De Oro City. Take an airconditioned Rural Trans bus in CDO Integrated Bus Terminal going to Valencia for 3 – 4 hours for P180. Take another bus from Valencia to Intavas Crossing at La Fortuna for 1 hour and 10 minutes for P65. Take habal-habal from Intavas Crossing to Sitio Intavas for 30 minutes for P60 per head or P120 for one habal-habal with 2 maximum riders. GUIDE'S CONTACT NUMBER

Nimrod Solis - +639267977522