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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

MT. KAPPUGAN: Duo Trek to Kiangan's Silent Peak

Mt. Kappugan in Kiangan, Ifugao towers 1,305 meters ASL. You might haven't heard of the mountain. Or even the town of Kiangan. Ifugao is not all about the most popular Banaue. Mt. Kappugan is not really popular but trekking to this mountain is truly worth it. Besides, this is just among the many destinations in Kiangan, among others are Ifugao Museum, WWII Shrine, Nagacadan Rice Terraces, Panggagawan Cave, Kiangan Living Museum Uttu Falls and Ambuwaya Lake. Now I'm enumerating enough reasons to visit Kiangan.

I heard of Mt. Kappugan from a swift hiker and great writer, Tintin. Her stories caught my interest of what the town of Kiangan has in store. So, a trip to Luzon with my wife was set to visit this town.

It was 9:00 pm when we departed from Sampaloc via Kiangan-bound Ohayami bus. The bus passes through Lagawe (Banaue's capital) before heading to Kiangan. The ride was almost perfect. But since it was fully booked, we had to resort to sitting on monoblocs along the narrow center isle. We traveled for about 10 hours, lacking sleep, envious of those snoring in comfortable seats. 

We reached Kiangan at 7:00 am. No IT, we used our "ask around" expertise. Luckily, we found a place to fill in our rolling stomachs. Derick's Snack Haus with a very friendly lady owner also became our baggage deposit area. The owner also recommended places to visit and even accompanied us to the entrance of WWII Shrine. 


Inside the compound also lies Ifugao Museum where we gained relevant cultural information. We further toured around and enjoyed the eyesoothing greenery.

 





Our main goal was summitting Mt. Kappugan. We hiked for 20 minutes to reach its base. We had to cross a river before the assault. 




Nobody was there to guide us. We just followed the trail with some crisscrosses. Bat traps which looked like volleyball nets are everywhere.  



Silence and being alone somehow feared us. We sped up like we were in a race. In no time, awesome views of the lowlands compensated our deep panting.

We reached the summit for more than an hour. It was cloudy, misty and so private.


We did not stay long at the summit. We trailed back planning where to go next. 
The look of an exhausted trekker
 

Here's a more exhausted trekker


After taking lunch, we trekked to Ambuwaya Lake unguided. We passed through scenic rice terraces. Asking around finally took us to the lake in an hour.   

 





The day was spent trekking almost the whole time. We went back to Derick's, took snacks, got our baggage, thanked the owner and took a tricycle to Lagawe to catch a jeep to Banaue for more adventure. 
The snack haus owner with her half Sri Lankan son

   
HOW TO GET THERE:

From Sampaloc, Manila, take Ohayami bus direct to Kiangan. There is only one trip daily departing 9:00 pm.

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