Nature-ral High

Nature-ral High
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

April 26, 2011

Kibungan, Benguet to Sugpon, Ilocos Sur (Cross Country Trek)

Maybe your wondering why there is no mountain name in the title of my blog. Because this hike is a cross country trek which consist of climbing several mountains. I have been longing to do this trek for several years now, and when a friend invited me, without hesitation I immediately joined. I had been into several major climbs but this is the first time I will climb without a porter, only guides. I also had been practicing lightpacking for sometime now, but without guides on a multi day hike will put my skill on the next level, so don't be surprise if you'll see me wearing same shirt for several days. LOL!

   The jumpoff point is Sitio (small village) Tanap which is about 30 minutes from the municipality of Kibungan, Benguet . The start of the trek ascending in between valleys. Eventhough were in the mountain province it was still very humid and hot. The campsite for day 1 is in the Sitio Agdanganan, its a village for locals which is located in between mountains. At 1300 masl, it was very cold in the night.

map of Kibungan with all the mountains and Sitios 


Rice paddies 
Close up 

1st camp 

With the local kids 

   Second day consist of 4 hours of non stop assault. The destination were the mountains that can be seen on the 1st camp, Mt. Bulalakaw (1,772 masl) and Mt Almase (1,811 masl). The view was spectacular and the mountain walls are like pillars. After the assault was the mossy forrest that lead us to the highest peak of our climb. Mt. Oten (1854 masl). During our descent it started to rain, our guide advice us to camp about an hour away to our intended destination. We lodge at Sitio Dalipey, yes lodge because they have dormitories for students who live far away. Sitio Dalipey is one of the few Sitios that have highschool. The place is very secluded that they don't know how to speak tagalog, even speaking the local dialect ilocano was a struggle. They also dont have electricity. But locals are so hospitable that we are like celebrities. They dont mind we enter their village unscheduled and the even serve us coffee before we left. 

There are lots of hanging bridges

steep steep!

rest stop

summit of Mt. Almase

Summit of Mt. Oten 

Resting near summit of Mt. Oten

Grass eating pig

Pic with the locals.

Igorot house

Benguet Mountain coffee anyone?

Third day consist of passing by Mt. Dalipey (1300++ masl). The summit is an open field with wild flowers everywhere. From a distance you can see big mountain walls that makes you think you are in the Lord of the Rings! After a few hours walk will lead you to Pipi-wan stairs that I can say is about 70-80* inclination, makes me really wonder how they were able to create this way, there are some part which are cemented but most part are carve from the stoned wall. Continuing will lead you to the view of Les-eng rice terraces. After which there will be another assault to Sitio Batangan then Mt Batangan, the last high point of our trek. There were no complete clearing but we were able to peek from the clouds from time to time. The view was very grand and amazing. After this summit was a complete descent for 4 hours! We were only able to rest at Likungan, Sugpon Ilocos Sur (Yes we are already in Ilocos). This was the most difficult descent I have experience.  Very steep and very long. Our trek ended we we reach Amburayan river. A very wide river but has less water during summer. Finally, we were able to take a dip and clean up without feeling cold.
Summit of Mt. Dalipey

A local carrying Rice Stalks

Cherry Blossoms?
Stairs to Infinity

Les-Eng rice terraces

Wild mushrooms for dinner

 Peek at Mt. Batangan



 Our initial plan was to trek all the way to Sugpon town proper on the 4th day. But since the river was low, jeepneys can be hired. Yippee! The jeep has wheels of the bus so that it can navigate to the stoney trail of the river. The jeepney ride took three hours, imagine how long it will take us to trek. The river is just like the pinatubo trail so there was not really much to see. Our cross country trek ended when we reach Sugpon town proper.

Jeep Bus


Kibungan to Sugpon
      This trek was one of the most enjoyable for me. The views were magnificent and spectacular. The place was really great. Our Lead said that this was the "easier" trail compared to the one he had last. I might opt to go back here again, and try the other trail for a different experience. 


  1. Nice blog. With these photos and artistically descriptive words, I suddenly missed climbing the mountains of my hometown Kibungan.
    I'll post a link to this on our FB Page - IKIBUNGANAK

  2. Hi Cris,

    Thanks for the compliments. Your lucky to be born in a place which is blessed with such natural beauty and culture. My daughter is starting to climb and I want her to see this place someday the way I did. =D


  3. Wonderful!!!! My mother is from kibungan and I didn't realise how beautiful is my home town. I wish I could do what you did in the future...thanks for the pictures..

  4. interesting, how about we do it the other way around( from Ilocos Sur to Kibungan) haha...just I wish i was there to join...nice post

  5. @Jo Lopez, of course you can do it too. Where are you base now btw?

    @anonymous, I think its possible, but the difficult part is the river trek. =)

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  7. Reading this blog made me gasping for breath. Whew! Nice photos and narration, sir Naldy!

  8. Thanks for the compliments Egay!

    I plan to go back there, maybe on the tougher but the better trail. Sama ka!

  9. This comment is 2yrs too late...

    I am from Sugpon and seeing your photo infront of our humble townhall made me smile. :)

  10. HI Ely,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. You have a very lovely town, very quite and clean. Our overnight stay in Amburayan River is one of the best part of the trek. Water is so fresh and cool. Hoping to go back there soon.


  11. This trek is on my bucketlist. I wish we could do this trip too -someday...

    1. Hi Sir. Yes such a lovely place. Its been several years since our trek but I still love to reminisce the memories.

      Trekking this trail was also just a wish for me, and you know what it came true. :)