Traversing Two Mountains: The Dulang-Dulang – Kitanglad Challenge, Day 1

I am way in over my head here. This is suicide. These were my cheery thoughts as I prepared for the traverse from Mt. Dulang-Dulang to Mt. Kitanglad, the country’s second and fourth highest peaks, respectively. I’ve climbed a few mountains but I still can’t consider myself a mountaineer. Whenever I try to say “I’m a mountaineer,” I break into raucous fits of laughter. By and large, I’m just a wimpy, masochistic idiot whose ambitions far exceed her physical abilities.

I got the idea of doing a traverse on my first Dulang-Dulang climb last October. I saw Mt. Kitanglad from the D2 summit and thought “Wouldn’t it be totally awesome if I managed to walk from here to there?” My flashes of sheer brilliance are priceless, I tell you.

After blogging about the D2K traverse and sending out email blasts to everyone on my contacts list, I got quite a lot of response from people who want to join. I was ecstatic, thinking I won’t be doing this solo after all. Then they all backed out for one reason or another and I was back to square one. I’m used to traveling on my own and wouldn’t mind doing the climb with just a guide but the costs are too high for me to shoulder alone.

Two days before my trip to Bukidnon, I got a call from a random guy who said he read my blog and he wants to come with me. I didn’t expect anything definite until he’d actually show up in Bukidnon with his backpack. And what do you know, he did show up.

Jay, my instant climb buddy.

Ben, our guide, said another climber would be joining us. She’s hardcore and has a lot experience climbing tough mountains, he said. I grinned and thought, “Great! There’s someone to balance out my wimpiness and inexperience.”

Daisy, the hardcore mountaineer.

We scrambled to get food supplies just as stores were closing up, slept in a hostel, and traveled to the bus terminal at the crack of dawn to catch the first trip going to Lantapan, the jump-off point. We started the trek at around 9am with overcast skies. I was getting nervous at the dreadful possibility of getting rained on while on the trail. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t survive it. I’d lose my footing somewhere on the slippery trail, land on a giant rock, and crack my head open. Props for my perennial optimism. Thankfully, the rains didn’t push through. The cloudy skies even became an advantage since we had to hike through a long stretch of open trail before going into the forest canopy.

Climbing Mt. Dulang-Dulang for the second time should’ve been easier. That was what I thought, at least. Wrong. It may even have been harder this time; my pace was slower and my breathing was heavier. Unlike last year when I did Mt. Malindig right before D2, I didn’t have the benefit of a tune-up climb before doing this traverse. My laziness in cardio training took its toll. I also had a full 35-liter backpack this time since we’d be on the mountains for three days. And the fact that I’m a natural-born dork with the agility of a sickly snail may have also worked against me.

Ben and Daisy were so far ahead of me, and Jay (this was his first climb in three years) and Pele, our porter, were so far behind me that I was hiking alone most of the time. The trail was fairly straightforward though that even someone with a horrible sense of direction like me will have no opportunity of getting lost. Hiking solo for hours was quite an experience. I’d get into thinking about some profound crap, then I’d break into an Eraserheads song (I switch between Ang Huling El Bimbo and Magasin), then I’d stop and stare at the moss, which are all very pretty. For the most part, I was really just trying my damnedest not to lose my footing and crack my head open.

See, very pretty.

Look, pitcher plants!

We reached the Plaza, a large campsite about 45 minutes from the summit, at around 5pm. There we caught up with Sir Henry Binahon, the owner of the agro-forestry farm that has become my crash pad in Lantapan. He was guiding a British birdwatcher. They already had their tents set up and had a nice campfire going. I was shivering from the cold and dying of envy. We thought of setting up camp there as well but in the end decided it was better to spend the night at the campsite near the summit so we’d have an early start with the traverse.

We made a side trip to Manny’s Garden for picture-taking and so we could stare at bonsai trees, more mosses and other pretty things. Then we soldiered on to the summit in the dimming late afternoon light.

Guess who’s the coldest of them all.

We reached the summit campsite just as it was about to get dark. Daisy went straight to the peak and was lucky enough to catch a great clearing that revealed a magnificent view. I could hear her squealing “Ang ganda!” while I was huddled underneath a tree on the campsite, trying to coax myself out of possible hypothermia.

We pitched our tents, had a quick dinner and slipped into our sleeping bags as fast as possible. It was freakin’ cold.

Traversing Two Mountains: The Dulang-Dulang – Kitanglad Challenge, Day 2
Traversing Two Mountains: The Dulang-Dulang – Kitanglad Challenge, Day 3

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12 thoughts on “Traversing Two Mountains: The Dulang-Dulang – Kitanglad Challenge, Day 1

  1. tanami

    Wow, glad you were freshly pressed and congratulations on that. I was working near Mt Kitanglad in 1999. Your posts took me back to a time I and a place I loved. There were not to many westerners around there at that time so I stood out a bit on my old yamaha dt175. What a great bunch of people and an amazing landscape. thanks for sharing your adventures. Stu

    Reply
    1. Tintin Post author

      Thank you! I’m glad my posts brought back good memories of your stay there. It must’ve been great working in such a beautiful place. Bukidnon is one of my favorite places and I’ll never get tired of going back there. My dream is to climb most (if not all) of its mountains!

      Reply
  2. Rocket

    Thanks for blogging this.

    Will attempt to set a Fastest Known Time (FKT) D2-Kitanglad Trail this coming weekend —that is, if I figure out how to get there on time and secure all the permits. 🙂

    Anybody willing to join me?

    Reply
    1. Tintin Post author

      Wow, best of luck sir! You can just go directly to the PASU office in DENR Malaybalay for the permit. The permit fee during our climb was P185 but i heard that it has now increased to P200. I hope you can make it. Let us know how it goes!

      Reply
  3. iniel caballero (@iamnoempty)

    Hi Ms. Tin,

    I just had my D2K Dayhike traverse last December 29, 2012. Thanks for this site kasi naencourage akong gawin ang traverse. Thank you also for providing Sir Ben’s contact details, sya naging guide ko at hindi ako nahirapan sa climb (Preparation to Climb Proper) dahil sya nagarrange lahat.

    Thank you ulet ng marami…… 🙂

    Reply
  4. Kai

    Hey tin, we did a reverse of the D2K traverse (wait that was a mouthful of words hehe) last Holy Week. We climbed Kitanglad first then went with the traverse to Dulang. Everything went as planned until on our 3rd day when everything went downhill (figuratively and literally haha) from there. We chose the Dalwangan (Lalawan Falls as one of the highlights) trail on our descent rather than Lantapan since our guide, Sir Mijan of DENR, would also want to survey the extent of damage by typhoon Pablo along the trail. It turned out that the trail was not “passable” anymore due to the huge trees toppled by Pablo. What was supposed to be a 10-hour descent turned out to be 18 hours on our end. Some of our members, together with Sir Mijan had to explore for new trails. It was really an experience which is equal parts the best and the worst. 🙂 I’d love to write a full-blown account of the story but work is getting in the way. hehe So this list will do for now 🙂

    http://neverwhereishere.blogspot.com/2013/04/5-nuggets-of-wisdom-learned-and-un.html

    Also, thanks sa detailed narrative mo about D2K. It sort of gave me an idea on what to expect. Here’s to more climbs this year. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Tintin Post author

      Sa Dalwangan kayo pinadaan?? Ang lupit ni Mijan! Ang hirap kaya ng trail dun, haba pa. Hahaha! Pero at least new experience for you guys. Hehe. Ok na ako dun sa Lantapan trail, maganda naman, di pa buwis-buhay. 😀 Congrats mam! Balak ko next D2-Maagnaw. Sana matuloy soon. Hehe.

      Reply
    1. Tintin Post author

      Di po ako nakagawa ng detalyadong IT nito kasi eto yung mga days na ang climb principle ko eh “let’s just wing it.” Hehe. (That’s a very bad thing, by the way, and I have changed my ways since then.) Kung ano pong kwento sa blogpost, yun lang po basically ang naganap. Detailed naman po ang pagkakwento ko. Mahaba nga lang basahin. hehe. Yung gastos po around 1,500-2k per person, tatlo kaming umakyat.

      Reply

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