Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Kitanglad - Dulang-dulang Traverse (K2D)

There must be a hundred blogs written about Kitanglad-Dulangdulang traverse already. And I will be using that as a lame excuse not to write another one.

I have to admit, I really don't know how to write a story anymore. While remnants of pain from the knee injury I got there still linger to remind me that it was not an easy climb, I do not know how to put into detail everything that happened during that climb. After all, it has almost been a month. So if you're here to know about our itinerary, how much time we've spent on the trails, yadda yadda... I am sorry but I will fail you at that.

But if you're interested how our K2D climb went, hop in. I can best summarize it into 3 words: Difficult. Exhausting. Rewarding.

Yes, very rewarding.

I'm pretty sure every blog written about it says the same.
Mount Kitanglad
Jan and I at the base of Mount Kitanglad

Mount Kitanglad (2,899 mASL, 4th highest mountain) and the curse of the steel stairs
Before this climb, I did some research, read blogs, and watched videos about hiking Mount Kitanglad. I thought it would be easy since trails are already well-established. But the truth is, I'd rather take on a 30-foot vertical drop rappel than take the stairs. While the steel stairs are built to assist a hiker in ascending very steep trails, I find it the most wearying. I let out a curse inside my mind whenever I see one. Kasi sa totoo lang, mas nakakapagod yung hagdan. Maybe that's just me.

Mount Kitanglad

The trail in Mount Kitanglad is relatively easy but can still be quite challenging since it's an all-assault trail. And not having a proper training prior to this climb has taken a toll on my quads. My legs almost gave up on me when I started having cramps.
Mount Kitanglad
Thank God for fallen trees that served as our resting couches
But thankfully, we made it to the summit. And even though the weather made sure we don't see anything from above (clearing has really been elusive during our entire climb), we were still rewarded with hot chocolate drinks (to beat energy gap. haha) and cozy bunk beds for the rest of the night. It's actually my first time to sleep on a mountain top comfortably.
Mount Kitanglad

The Traverse
The real challenge comes in between Mount Kitangland and Mount Dulang-dulang. Steep trails, vertical drops that require rappelling, kiss-the-walls, dense jungles, and short vertical rock climb welcomed us.
Kitanglad-Dulangdulang (K2D)
Me and Jan on our way down
Add to that, a torrential downpour just made the hike even more difficult. Nevertheless, the mossy trails had me fascinated all the time.
Kitanglad-Dulangdulang (K2D)
Kitanglad-Dulangdulang (K2D)
View of Mount Kitanglad from Mount Dulang-dulang. That's where we came from.
Mount Dulang-dulang
The only time we had a clearing.
The enchanting forest of Mount Dulang-dulang (2,938 mASL, 2nd highest mountain)
You know you're already in Mount Dulang-dulang when you start gasping for air. Despite the dense forest and thick mosses, air is really thin. We also failed to take photos of the iconic spots on our way to the summit because it rained almost on the entire traverse. And I'm quite disappointed about that.

It was almost night when we reached the summit. We immediately pitched our tents, went inside, and just waited for dinner. We never got to enjoy having socials since it was freezing even though we were already wrapped in layers.
Mount Dulang-dulang
At the summit of Mount Dulang-dulang. Photo by: Anjo Dorado (our guide)

A cold and misty morning greeted us the following day. The sun was a bit shy, there was no clearing, and no view to have our breaths be taken away.

But the campsite revealed the most enchanting forest I've ever been to. It was surreal. It's like Middle Earth's Mirkwood Forest just came to life, except this is even better. Even Gandalf would be left speechless.
The enchanting mossy forest of Mount Dulang-dulang. Photo taken by Paulo Infante
The descent from Mount Dulang-dulang is easy, albeit longer. The trails are just rolling and you will get to enjoy moss-carpeted trails and the rich flora around (I've spotted some critters, quite a few unique flowers, and pretty wild orchids).

I would say this has got to be one of the most exciting climbs I ever had (rated 8/9 trail difficulty). And the most strenuous and painful one at that. I ended up with an injured knee and a dead toenail. Needless to say, I won't be doing any major traverse really really soon. But I don't think that would stop me from conquering more mountains. I have learned new life hacks, gained experience, and made a few more friends during this climb. And I think that's what makes hiking beautiful. :)
Andy, An, Anjo, Me, Jan, Miriam, and Paulo (All of them, except Anjo and obviously me and Jan, are from Manila)


  1. Nice! Did you book before you climb? Or you can just book on the day of the climb?

    1. Hi. I don't think you can just walk-in in Mt. Kitanglad or Dulangdulang. PAMB is quite strict there. They regulate hiking to only 1 group (max of 15 members) per day. You really have to book first before climbing either K2D or D2K.

  2. Hi may i ask on how to book on K2D do they have contact number?

    1. Hi. You may contact Anjo Dorado 09092280108. Or you can search for that name on Facebook. :)

  3. From your 3 words: Difficult. Exhausting. Rewarding... It excites me to climb the 4th highest mountain of the Philippines.. You can join as by clicking .. Thank you

  4. Nice blog!. I'm from bukidnon and Mt. Kitanglas is really one of my bucketlist friend. Thank you for this blog. This is really helpful.
    Do you have any words of encouragement for me?...HAHAHA
    Lets chat somehow. :)
    Thanks and God bless!


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Maira Gall