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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mt. Oten - Kibungan Circuit

Mt. Oten in Kibungan Benguet

Rented Monster Jeep
Kibungan Circuit - Mt. Tagpaya, Mt. Oten and Mt. Tagpew were usually climbed into one trip to maximize the journey to the top. It is kilometers away from Baguio City and hours of torturous ride in the heart of Cordillera.

We again joined the Conquer Team for the fourth time to explore another mountain, not just one but three mountains in a row. For three days we will feed our soul and stay to this place that we can call home.

Breakfast - Fresh Water Shrimp


Day 0
Municipal Hall

2200 - Assembly at Victory Liner Cubao
2300 - ETD Baguio

Day 1

0500 - ETA Baguio -
0530 - Transfer to rented Jeep
0800 - Stop Over (breakfast/buy packed lunch)
0900 - ETA Poblacion Kibungan / Arrange guide / Register
1000 - Depart to Jump-off
1100 - Start Trek
1130 - Early lunch - along the trail
Official Seal of  Kibungan
1400 - ETA Mt. Buga
1430 - Resume trek to Mt. Tagpaya
1730 - ETA Mt. Tagpaya Campsite
1800 - Pitch Tents / Prepare Dinner
1900 - Dinner / Socials
2030 - Lights out

Day 2

0500 - Wake up call
0530 - Prepare Breakfast and Packed lunch
0630 - Breakfast
0730 - Summit Assault
Warming up
0800 - ETA Mt. Tagpaya / Photo-ops
0830 - Start Descend
0900 - Start Trekking to Mt. Oten
1200 - ETA Mt. Oten - Lunch
1330 - Start Descend
1400 - ETD Mt. Tagpew
1600 - ETA Mt. Tagpew Campsite
1700 - Prepare Dinner
1800 - Dinner / Socials
2000 - Lights out

Day 3

0500 - Wake up call
0530 - Prepare Breakfast and packed lunch
0630 - Breakfast
0730 - Summit Assault
0800 - ETA Mt. Tagpew / Photo-ops
0830 - Start Descend
1200 - Lunch along the trail
1300 - ETA Poblacion Kibungan / Wash-up
1600 - Post Climb
1630 - ETD Baguio
2030 - ETA Baguio / Dinner
Trekking near rice terraces
2200 - ETD Manila

Day 4

0400 - ETA Manila

Tanap Hanging Bridge
photo ops
Our day started at 1000 in the evening along Victory Liner Cubao. Then we headed to Baguio around 11PM. After 6 hours of travelling, we transferred to our rented monster jeep going to Kibungan Proper. We had a stop over along the way, we took breakfast and bought packed lunch. Afterwards, we resume our ride. We arrived at Kibungan Town Hall around 10AM. While M'Jane securing our permits and arranging our guides, some of us replenished our food supplies .

crossing Tanap Hangin Bridge
Lunch along the trail
Ascending Mt. Buga

View of rice terraces from Mt. Buga

 Before starting our hike, we had a quick briefing from our guides.We started our trek around 1045 in the morning. We were so blessed that God gave us a favorable weather. The first part of the trail is walk in the park - passing some rice paddies then woodland. We crossed Tanap river through hanging bridge. As we went higher, we witnessed and embraced the beauty of Kibungan mountain range.

View from Mt. Buga
Take 5 - Mt. Buga
Resume Trek
We took our lunch along the trail and rest a bit - it is also a time to mingle with other participants. Around 1230PM, we resumed our trek. This time the trail became more difficult, with steep assaults and continuous uphills that elevates to up to 80-90 degree at some point. The terrain's certainly ain't getting any easier. We passed by several streams and rocky cliffs. We reached Mt. Buga around 0200PM - rested for 30 minutes and then took snacks while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

Morning View from Mt. Tagpaya Campsite
Mt. Tagpaya Summit
panoramic shot of Mt. Tagpaya Summit
Start a day with a prayer
Strengthened with bread and fresh water, we resumed the hike. The trail is a bit okay but what made the climb a bit harder were the thick patches of entangled trees, thorns and sharp wild grass which serve as agility obstacles. The hike soon became steep, rocky and slippery and the rain sure didn’t make hiking easier. After about 3 hours we rest at the covered area of large rock. Afterwards, we then headed to Mt. Tagpaya campsite. We pitched our tents and prepared food. No socials for us that night. We chose to rest to be able to regain our energy after a tiring hours of trekking.
Descending to Mt. Oten
Take 5 - otw to Mt. Oten
Pitcher Plant along the trail
Enjoying the view

2nd day - Good Morning from Mt. Tagpaya Campsite. After carbo loading we explore the summit and enjoyed the cool breeze and being able to pose for a few shots.

 Nice weather - It was enough to dry our wet tents.  We broke camp immediately and proceeded to Mt. Oten. Upon descending to the other mountain, the view going down was just breath-taking. It's not the usual type of landscape you regularly see

Trail to Mt. Oten
the "oldest pine tree" - according to locals

travel gear
Summit of Mt. Oten
Endless Mossy forest approaching Mt. Tagpew
view from Mt. Tagpew Campsite
After the strenuous assault to Mt Oten, we finally made it - we were on top about 1875 meters high. The climate and scenery up there were just unreal. Clouds blowing by and into our faces, a moon-like scenery around us and everything covered in thick mist.
We still got some photo-ops. And after a while it even cleared up a little along the way and we were rewarded with some beautiful sights of the surrounding area. It was great and at that point we felt that the exhausting climb was sure worth it.

home of adventure
sweet explorer preparing CHAMPORADO
Mt. Tagpew Summit
view along the trail
view along the trail
The best part of the trail going to Mt. Tagpew campsite is the "Endless mossy forest" It's quite scary but more challenging as you trekked alone. We tried to have socials but the rain started the whole night that's why we chose to rest, as we all knew that adventure awaits in our next day.

3rd day - Still a good morning from Mt. Tagpew campsite. Foggy and rainy, We were not so fortunate to see the beauty of Mt. Tagpew summit. But we were fortunate that we enjoy the view along the trail and all of the participants were able to descend safely.
panoramic shot of Saint Paul Church with the group
Post Climb
Halcon Buddies re-united
The Cordilleras is the most mountainous and the only landlocked region in the Philippines. In a country of coastlines, it stands out because of its unique geography and cultural tradition. In this adventure, you will immerse yourself in the mystique of its nature and its people. I have visited Benguet and have seen a lot of it, but there is still so much more to see and do. I can say that it is the one of the very few provinces that I will definitely visit again.

Special Thanks to Conquer Outdoor Equipment and support group and to (S'Jenner and Jerry)to all the participants. Until our next adventure soyah!

sweet reward
group pic
The Conquerors of Kibungan Circuit with our Guides
Kibungan Circuit - Mt. Oten Video <------

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