Mt. Kalatungan | 5th Highest Mountain in the Philippines (Day 1)




Mt. Kalatungan is located in the southern part of the Philippines. It is one of the top 10 highest mountains in the country placing the 5th spot, in fact, it is one of those mountains with the most difficult climb with difficulty level 8/9.


Top 10 Highest Mountains in the Philippines


1. Mount Apo (2,954 masl)

2. Mount Dulang-Dulang (2,938 masl)

3. Mount Pulag (2,922 masl)

4. Mount Kitanglad (2,899 masl)

5. Mount Kalatungan (2,880 masl)

6. Mount Tabayoc (2,842 masl)

7. Mount Ragang (2,815 masl)

8. Mount Maagnaw (2,742 masl)

9. Mount Timbak (2,717 masl)

10. Mount Kalawitan (2,714 masl)


Note: Mount Ragang is currently restricted and the next candidate for top 10 is Mount Amuyao with 2,702 masl. MASL means Meters Above Sea Level.



It wasn't my first Major Climb as I was already done with Mt. Makiling but it was my first to climb one of the top 10 highest mountains in the Philippines. I was excited but a bit worried because my body is not really prepared, I only did a 2-hour exercise prior but the only thing I make sure to have is sleep because last time, I almost past out as I don't have even a single hour of sleep.


I joined other hikers who are mostly from Davao and other hikers from Manila and Bukidnon. For now since I am just starting to explore places, I prefer to join than to do do-it-yourself thing but sooner, I will be more active and observant as to the commute options, detailed expenses, etc.


Here is our sample itinerary which I already changed as to what we actually did.

Note that the time stamps and order are just an idea, it still depends on your pacing.



DAY 1


Tourism

After having our breakfast at Maramag Station, we went to Tourism office to sign a waiver and had the orientation. Rules were presented well that includes the consequences of our actions if we do stupid things. Basic rules include restrictions in using tissue or wet wipes, restriction in having loud music during the trek and in the camp site. I don't want to spoil you for everything because being surprised in the entire experience is still valuable.


The Ritual

Before starting the climb, we had to have their local ritual which is a tradition to guard and guide us for the entire experience since Mt. Kalatungan is a very spiritual mountain, all of the mountains actually.


The ritual were started and honestly, I wasn't prepared for the fact that it includes the cutting of a live chicken's head which is part of the tribal sacrifice in Talaandig tribe. The ritual also includes our printed IDs and coins and strip of clothes, red, white, orange that has their specific symbols.




The Trek

We started the trek from Barangay Mendis gym, we've crossed a river, prepared for an assault, scenic view of the trees are classy, it was like the shades of those trees from Tarzan movie. The nature itself is refreshing but your endurance will be really challenged. I was actually surprised that I can able to bring my 15kls Bag but my body was really exhausted.



View Deck

At approximate of 3 hours, we reached the first Kalatungan view deck where we spent the rest of our day. We were the first group to reach the place so we had the chance to use the upper level of wooden cottage where we settled our things and set up our sleeping pads. We had our lunch and have some rest. Actually, I was the first one to sleep after reaching the view deck, I just love the weather and my body was really tired.


I didn't notice that it was raining until my friend woke me up because my sleeping pad is getting wet. The rain is coming in the cottage because of the wind. We decided to set up our tents as the temperature is dropping. We had our dinner and some social talks and a little bit of vitamins. When I say vitamins, it means alcoholic drinks, lol. It is actually prohibited maybe because there are some cases before that hikers lost their control. We just make sure that we will not fall in the insanity stage and still control ourselves. It actually helps in warming our bodies and to have a good night sleep but everything must be in moderation.



There is a signal up there, which is a bit bothering for me because some of the hikers are answering calls from work, still connecting from the cloud that is full of unending thoughts. Water source is also available so you can refill your water bottles for tomorrow's assault. By the way, when we say assault, it means a very tiring hike which is always in upward direction.


Our hardest enemy in this hike is not the tiring trail, it was actually the temperature. I do really recommend to bring thick socks or a cocoon style sleeping bag. Even if you have a winter jacket, cold will always come from your feet or it is actually a good idea if you wear your shoes while sleeping.


Read Day 2

The Mossy Forest and Reaching the Peak


Gallery (Day 1)





2020 ©Deson Cunado 

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