Mt Dulang-Dulang (2938m) and Mt Kitanglad (2899m) is the second and fourth highest mountain in the Philippines. The traverse is fairly difficult, so an experienced local guide as well as a rope will be needed here.
Summit log:08-Nov-2012: Mt Kitanglad 2899 m (prominence 350 m)
09-Nov-2012: Mt Dulang-Dulang 2938 m (prominence 2440 m)
Participants:Lyngve Skrede - Norway
Emily Homillano - Philippines
Roron - Philippines (local guide)
RR - Philippines (volunteer assistant guide)
Getting there:There is a number of cheap daily flights to Cagayan de Oro (CDO) from both Manila and Cebu City. From the bus terminal in CDO take the frequent buses to Malaybalay (Davao bound buses). You might need a night or two in Malaybalay to arrange the permit at the PENR office (see Red Tape below). There are plenty of hotels in Malaybalay and other activities to do around there including rafting. If you are lucky to get your permit, then take a CDO bound bus back to the Impasug-ong crossing. From this junction it's usually easy to get a motorbike taxi (habal-habal) to take you to Intavas (100 pesos). Here you pick up your local guide and porter (this should be pre-arranged by yourself or with the PENR-office). Buy some food supplies for them in the local store. The guide/porter will most likely proceed on foot from the village, while you can pay the motorbike driver an additional 150 pesos to bring you up to the end of the dirt road. The final km is very steep and rough, so don't expect the motorbike to get you all the way up. There is a shelter at the end of the dirt road. This is the start of the trail and also a good place to have a meal before you start hiking the tough uphills.
Red tape:Ideally you should get in touch with the PENR office in Malaybalay at least 10 days before your climb. We didn't know anything about this requirement. We thought that the local guide we had been in touch with a few days in advance would arranged the permit. We were wrong about this assumption, still we were lucky to get a permit in just a few hours at the PENR office. I don't remember the exact cost of the permit, it was just a small amount, maybe 100-200 pesos. The guide cost 500 pesos per day + food.
If you do the traverse in the reverse order (starting with Dulang-Dulang), please be aware that this is going to be much more complicated and expensive to arrange. The local tribes at the foot of Mt Dulang-Dulang demand that all hikers must participate in a ceremony, including the ritual sacrifice of chickens, in order to please the Gods and bless the climb. This is probably a bit similar to the Puna ceremony in Nepal, and maybe interesting to watch from a cultural point of view. There is no such thing if you start the traverse with Mt Kitanglad.
Route description:Important waypoints, including distance and elevation data based on my GPS recording:
0 km - Trailhead at the end of the dirt road above Intavas (1750m)
2 km - Water source (2200m)
5 km - Kitanglad summit (2899m) - there is a bunkhouse with beds at summit
10 km - Dulang-Dulang summit (2938m) - possible to camp at summit (no water)
11 km - High Camp (Plaza Camp) on Dulang-Dulang (2750m) - water source nearby
14 km - Low Camp on Dulang-Dulang (2200m) - water source nearby
20 km - Main road in Lantapan (1280m)
A steep but well trodden trail continues where the dirt road ends above Intavas. The trail can be muddy and very slippery. The steepest and most technical passages have ladders. It will take a few hours to reach the summit of Kitanglad. Telecom staff are working on the summit year round, because there are dozens of antennas to maintain. Hikers can stay in a bunkhouse at the summit, or camp outside. The bunkhouse even have electricity, a basic kitchen with cooking plates and a television (currently not working).
The traverse between Kitanglad and Dulang-Duland (D2) is the real challenge. The trail is fairly established, but it's a very steep descent from the summit of Mt Kitanglad. A 20 meter rope will come in handy a couple of places, even required in wet conditions. After the initial descent, the trail continues up and down along the ridge towards D2. It's a dense jungle so expect to fight your way through roots and bushes. The steep ascent to D2 looks terrifying from below, but it's not that bad. The crux is a short vertical rock where there is no or little handholds, and where the rock is covered with slippery mud. Your local guide might be your saviour at this point, throwing a rope down for you. Above the crux it's relatively easy "scrambling" to the top. At the summit it's common to perform the ritual of hanging bands of white cloth, as a respect to the native culture.
There is a small campsite just a few meters below the summit of D2, but no water. It's better to descend 1 km to a bigger campsite, where there is a water source nearby. I felt there was a myriad of trails descending from the summit of D2, so a local guide will be essential to choose the right one. The mossy forest below the summit of D2 is outstanding.
The descent from D2 is not steep or difficult, but it's a long way down to the road. In the lower part the trail descends into farming land, and continue on a dirt road until it reaches the main road in Lantapan. From here it's fairly easy to get a bus or jeepney back to Malaybalay (expect two hours for this ride).
My GPS-track at EveryTrail (also possible to download)
Notes from the trip:Emily has written a trip-report on her website. Thus I don't waste any further time to write my own personal account from this traverse :-)