Mt. Dulang-Dulang Summit
Mt. Dulang-Dulang, also called “D2″, is highest peak in the Kitanglad Mountain Range and the second highest mountain in the Philippines at 2,938 meters above sea level. This mountain serves as a sacred place and ancestral domain to the Talaandig tribe of Lantapan in Bukidnon. There are also sightings of rare species and endemic wildlife such as the monkey-eating eagle known as the Great Philippine Eagle.
How can a typical lowlander like me can withstand the cold and the stunning view from the top?
Day 1. June 12. It took us about 3 hours to travel from Agora Terminal in Cagayan de Oro until we reached Binahon Agro-Forestry Farm and Lodging House in Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon. We met Cholo and Per as they shared us their “Linie Aquavit”. While waiting for dinner, some of us warmed up a bit with coffee, Tanduay, chicharon, and mani, as everybody cheered “Skull!” At 8:50 PM, we had buffet dinner, served with organic lettuce salad, fresh native chicken soup, and dinuguan brought by our group. After dinner, we had our final trek plan briefing. Lights went off at 11 and spent our first night in the cozy sleeping quarters of BAFF.
Day 2. June 13 at 8AM. Our trek starts with a send-off prayer in BAFF and walked a few blocks to the datu’s place. We had pictures with Datu Malunay and started our initial ascend to Mt. Dulang-Dulang.
It was a fine morning when we started our trek on a rocky, muddy wide trail. We passed by some lettuce farms, polite local farmers, and caromata filled with harvested crops. There is also a long huge pipe installed in the ground that provides water to the local community below. While trekking, one could see another mountain range behind us and several farms are clearly visible along its slopes. After almost two hours of hiking, we came into a junction of an old concession road and had our first stop there.
1st stop. We were already at 5,750 feet and the sky started to gloom. We’re still not in the forest line as trees and tall grasses were still familiar and are common to see on lowlands. Conversations started like “how was the 1st hour trek? kapoy ba? (is it tiring?)” as we passed the trail foods to each other’s hands. A couple of minutes after, Cholo, Per, Henry Binahon’s team walked ahead of us while we continue chatting, resting, and crunched some trail bits. “See you at the top guys!”
Rain Forest. We’ve reached the forest line in Kitanglad mountain range and interesting sights started to appear. We walked over a long large fallen log as it seems to serve as bridge along the trail. There were logs lying across the trail and sometimes we need to climb over it carefully as some parts are mossy. Around 11AM, it started to rain. We grab our raincoats and continued our trek to the middle of the forest.
Lunch time. We stopped near a water source (50 meters estimate away from the water) and had our lunch with chili sisig. We were already 6,810 feet and temperature’s starting to cool down to 20 degrees. Some of us started to shiver as the rain’s pouring gently on our coats. Water containers, bottles, and hydration packs were refilled with a very cold spring water before we continued our journey.
Muds, waters, and colds. The rain continued to pour as waters started to erode some parts of the trail. Our shoes were covered with mud and some of us were soaked wet. We’re challenged by the large slippery logs that block the trail, loose soils, slippery roots, and the cold that slowly crawls within our arms and legs. It will still took us hours until we reached the camp site. We had our 3rd stop over under a fallen tree for a regroup and re-filled our water containers in a nearby water source.
Camp site. Finally, after hours of hiking with heavy, wet loads and clouded mind, I was relieved to see the camp site. I started to shiver as my hands started to numb while cutting and knotting strings for our tent. I was soaked wet that time (too bad I didn’t have enough thermal suits) but still managed to change dry clothes outside our tent. Cernan handed me a mug of hot coffee and took a sip as I passed it around the camp. Just when I started to shiver again, I hurriedly went inside our tent and felt unpleasant headache. Karl gave me a medicine and took a rest. Zzz…
““The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution” – Bertrand Russell
Summit revealed some weaknesses. That night, before dinner, I woke up with a headache never felt before. Billy gave me again some medicines and glad Karl served me hot noodles and humba as I seem cannot stand up and I feel like throwing up inside the tent. I didn’t complain about the cold and the heavy loads I have back then, but I am worried about tomorrow. The whole trek I did, I was actually overriding the negativities inside me and trying to push in advantages of what I am and wanted to be. The thought of being strong and being so optimistic turned out to be a poison to my esteem. What went wrong? As I was taking my dinner, I could hear voices outside. There was a change of plan. It was supposed to be a traverse climb from D2 to Kitanglad. But for safety reasons, we won’t pursue our journey and ends right on top of Mt. Dulang-Dulang. I was disappointed. I felt weak. Maybe we were just not ready enough. It’s okay, we can still have it next time..
Silent night, alcoholy night. Things started to heat up now. Laughter filled the cold ambience and cold spring waters were replaced with hard beverages. Though I passed the tagay, I joined the conversation and even laughed at some stories where starring ‘ko. There were jokes, serious topics.. hmm yeah, there were a lot of jokes! It was fun! We were playing with spotlights. I’m glad we made it to the top. We’re safe. That night, the comfort of the fleece covered me, with gloves and socks on my limbs, bonnet on my head, I slept very well.
Sunrise at Mt. Dulang-Dulang peak. Day 3. Woke up around 5AM, I hurriedly grab the cam and joined the guys to the summit. It’s just a few steps away from the camp site and from the bushes and mossy trees, a stunning overlooking scene was revealed. A reward that awaits to every mountaineer who surpasses all the challenges. Priceless. Stunning.