Dulang-dulang Kitanglad Traverse

Mt. Dulang-dulang to Mt. Kitanglad Traverse | Climbing the Philippines’ 2nd and 4th highest peaks

The traverse from Mt. Dulang Dulang to Mt. Kitanglad (dubbed as D2K) is one of the most challenging trails I have braved. The majestic mountains belong to Kitanglad Mountain Range, a popular destination for Filipino hikers due to its elevation, summit views, and difficulty level.

Mt. Dulang Dulang (D2) is the second highest mountain in the country with an elevation of 2,938 masl,  while Mt. Kitanglad is the fourth highest at 2,899 masl. Other great mountains to climb like Mt. Kalatungan (2,824 masl), Mt. Maagnaw (2742 masl), Mt. Sumagaya (2,248 masl)—a plane crash site, and Mt. Apo can be spotted from D2K peaks.

What makes the traverse a difficult climb, aside from its elevation and long hours of hiking is the cold temperature which is typical of tall mountains. It can really get cold at night that others can’t sleep well. We crawled inside our tents early, right after dinner because we couldn’t stand the cold outside – we’re used to a warm weather!

It was also raining during our climb making the trail dangerous. We were prone to tumbling from stepping on wet boulders, also to tripping over the muddy and slippery narrow ridge path. You got to step on soggy tree branches, embrace roots, and in the later part clutch a handful of blady cogon grasses on a vertical route before reaching Kitanglad peak.

There are steep portions that you need to surpass by holding on to braided nylon ropes that might give you a friction burn. This was the most challenging part—largely due to the fact that it was getting dark when we reached the “Halik ni Hudas” trail where we had to climb up the almost 90° route with heavy backpacks.

dulang dulang kitanglad traverse.
Descending path of tree branches.

Only a limited number of climbers are allowed to traverse–not more than 20 per day to avoid damaging the trails. Climbers are also required to secure a permit from PAMB/PENR for a fee. Our guide John Murs took care of that. Guide Contact Number: +639 2954 25100 Peter John Muring.

Before commencing the climb, a traditional ritual with the Talaandig Tribe will be performed with the Datu’s blessing. The ritual needs 1 native chicken per group of 5 persons, 2-meter white cloth, and 2 eggs. Our porter-guides belong to this tribe and both were really fast hikers despite carrying a heavy load on their backs. They would rather have longer rest periods and finish early to lessen the burden of hiking for hours carrying their 60-liter backpacks.

Team Chill with Talaandig Tribe's Datu or Chief at his house. (Left to Right: Mike, Karl, Benjie S., the Datu, Cielo, Emily, Marc, Me, JohnMurs and down center were Bhernz and Benjie W.)
Team Chill with Talaandig Tribe’s Datu or Chief at his house. (Left to Right: Mike, Karl, Benjie S., the Datu, Cielo, Emily, Marc, Myself, JohnMurs and down center were Bhernz and Benjie W.)

We took the traditional trail starting off at Lantapan for about two hours of walking on a rocky and hot road. The real climb starts when you get deeper into the forest where the air gets colder.

Our group got camp water supply from a clean river that we passed before reaching the campsite. We refilled our own empty water bottles here.

The first campsite is at Manny’s Garden, near D2’s summit, surrounded by slender mossy trees. Our evening temperature here was chilling so make sure to bring sufficient gears to stay warm and dry. Note that the weather can be unpredictable in the mountains. It was mid-March, but it was raining on the 2nd and 3rd day of our hike.

Early morning the next day, we visited Manny’s garden ritual site before summiting D2 then crossed the ridge to Kitanglad.

Manny's Garden. Mt. Dulang-dulang.
Manny’s Garden Campsite
Manny's Garden
Table for placing ritual sacrifices at Manny’s Garden. The mountain spirits love Skyflakes biscuits.

When we reached D2 peak, we were rewarded by a sweeping view of the mountains and sea of clouds. Not content, we climbed up a tree for the fun of getting a bird’s eye view. Mt. Dulang Dulang's Peak

Mt. Dulang Dulang, Bukidnon
Jonh Murs climbing a tree at D2 peak.
mytaveldigest D2K Traverse
The group at the Mt. Dulang-dulang peak. Marc, Mike, Myself, Karl, Emily, Cielo, Benjie (Adik-atik), Benjie Wong and Bhernz.

You will be able to get this panoramic view of Mt. Kitanglad during the ridge crossing. There’s a satellite tower at the peak seen from afar.

Mt. Kitanglad. D2K Traverse Bukidnon.
Kitanglad peak looks near from here, but is still hours to go.
Mt. Dulang Dulang. D2K Traverse Bukidnon.
Cielo at the steep cogon path with D2 at the background. Layu na sad diay amo nalakaw ani.

Here we are – happy that we finished the struggle scrambling with large backpacks on a steep vertical route with ropes. It was already dark and raining lightly when we’re almost near the bunkhouse cabin at Kitanglad’s peak. The bunkhouse has running water, a kitchen sink, a toilet and with small enclosed bunk beds slightly larger than coffins to keep you warm.

Benjie, Mike, Me and Cielo during a short night trek.
Mt. Kitanglad bunkhouse.
John Murs and Emily. I only had one shot of Emperador just to warm me up. We didn’t really have a drinking session but the guide porters had quite a few drinks.

During the last day of our climb, we trailed down the path of slippery boulders and many stair-steps with light rain to Sitio Intavas. It’s the jump off point if you do the reverse KD2 climb.

We ended with an easy hike on a wide non-paved farm road, but with very tired feet. Sunflowers, carrots and cabbage plots were along-way. After the hike, we finally had refreshing softdrinks and a crazy karaoke fun while waiting for the van to pick up us to go back to CDO. These guys sang really loud and well after a few shots of Tanduay and Emperador but nobody was really drunk.

Mt. Kitanglad Peak. D2K Traverse Bukidnon.
Myself with the satellite towers in the background. It was rainy and foggy so we did not have photos of the nice views at the Kitanglad peak.
Saturated Brain. D2k traverse.
This trail used to be difficult but easier now since stairs were installed.
Mt. Kitanglad. D2K Traverse Bukidnon.
Be careful when stepping on slippery boulders. I think I slid twice or so. (Mike, Cielo, Emily and the rest)

Upon reaching the foot of Mt. Kitanglad, I took a jumpshot photo of these crazy guys who never look exhausted after all.  Thanks Team Chill! Mt. Kitanglad. D2K Traverse Bukidnon..

You might also like reading:
 D2K Itinerary Page
Dulang-Dulang – Kitanglad Itinerary and Notes PDF



8 thoughts on “Mt. Dulang-dulang to Mt. Kitanglad Traverse | Climbing the Philippines’ 2nd and 4th highest peaks

    1. Hi Charly, yes tugnaw pagclimb namo esp. kay rainy during that time in the middle of March last year. Try it, it’s a nice and challenging trail. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice one! We were supposed to climb KD2 this July but we had to cancel our trip due to security reasons (there was a high-profile case going on in Bukidnon during our scheduled climb) and bad weather.


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