Bluewater Resorts

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mt. Lobo - Mt. Kabunian | Bakun Trio Part 1

“Why am I doing this?” I asked myself, “Why are we here?” I continued. I was desperately groping for answers as these questions lingered in my mind while I was treading the slopes of Mt. Kabunian. “Why am I doing this?” I asked myself halfway through our Bakun Trio climb.

The scent of morning breeze found its way into my lungs as I sipped a cup of Baguio-made strawberry taho. Fine weather seemed to envelope our jeepney as it glided through the sloping road of Halsema en route to the laid back town of Bakun. “Thank God” I said, unsuspecting that those gloomy clouds were charting its dubious plan.

By 09:00 AM, the town of Dada welcomed us with its blue sky and rolling slopes but as we started the hike, slithering darkness threatened to engulf the whole place.

Every step I made took me to higher ground until lo and behold, I was staring down the clouds below as the sun up above was kissing my wind-chilled skin. I tramped the mountain’s wide rock-laden path anticipating a glimpse of Mt. Lobo’s triangular peak...and it did not frustrate me. “Hello” I uttered inside my mind. “Nice to meet you” I silently whispered.

It took us a total of 2 hours to ultimately step on top of our first Bakun summit: 2 hours of battle against the moody weather and the unpredictable temperature. I stood quietly as I stared at the blue sky, unaware of the fact that it would be the last time I’d see it for the whole 3-day climb.

I was still savouring the moment when the clouds began its torment. Gradually, the rain became stronger as we started the trek down to Bakun poblacion. In just a few minutes, we were soaked to our bones. It was the start of an ordeal that would continue for days.

After an hour and a half down-climbing Lobo, we arrived at the quiet town of Bakun. Each one of us muttered “1 down 2 to go”. Definitely, the phrase was a fact but I did not know then how different the 2 remaining mountains were. I never had an idea how it would change me as a climber and as a person.

We all surrendered to a peaceful slumber by 10:00 in the evening.

“Good morning, good morning” our team leader shouted as the sudden burst of light jolted us from our tranquil sleep. It was only 5:00 AM when breakfast was served. The whole room was bustling. Finally, it was the start of the real challenge we were all looking forward to.

The menacing dark sky accosted us as we stood outside the hall saying our initial prayers. I never really expected a psycho-test of a climb but this gloomy atmosphere jumpstarted a haunting yet extraordinary adventure that would forever be etched in my mind.

I started the climb with a heavy heart. I set off with doubt pervading my spirit.

For more than 30 minutes, we were down-climbing the plateau. It frustrated my energized body as it was expecting the climb to be more uphill. The slippery surface of the cemented steps added to the burden. “When will this go up?” again, I asked myself while the mental torture was rising.

We reached the hanging bridge that signaled the start of the uphill assault. It was the one I was longing for but unfortunately, the frustration inside started to build up. More so, tiny droplets of rain water made its way through my face, adding yet another obstacle to the challenge.

As we continued with the trek, my mind was almost blacking out. There were no views to see, no blue skies from atop. I had neither inspiration nor had any goals. Trapped at the bottom of the pack, I was rendered speechless. It was monotonous.

I wanted to pass by the others but the rock-face prevented me from doing so. I was suddenly panting for air. Everything became so messed up. My mind scrambled to clear my thoughts and started to process the questions “Why am I here?”, “Why am I doing this?” I was beginning to question my sanity.

I halted and stood for a moment to catch my breath. Agnes, obviously worried, asked why I was acting weird. With no view in sight and no blue skies from afar, everything added up to my anguish. With rain drops falling, dead leaves scattered around, nothingness filling the air as I said, “Parang di na ako masaya sa pagakyat immediately seconded by “Parang di ko na alam kung bakit ko ginagawa to”.

I was confused. I was tired. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to stop but thankfully, my pride prevailed over my mind.

Agnes advised me to walk on my own pace rather than being stuck at the tail of the group. I was still over-thinking but at least now, the hard panting stopped. My body was beginning to rejuvenate. Maybe, I was just scared that my body wasn’t responding.

I sipped water from my reservoir and gradually regained my usual pace. At last, I was back but still devoid of enthusiasm. Then out of the blue, nature showed me the reason why I was climbing. Like a faraway mirage, a clearing displayed a sheer rock-face outlined by low clouds delicately gliding through the slopes. It literally took my breath away.

Again, I grinded to a halt and had some rest. Finally, a smirk involuntarily rolled up on my face. “This is it” I thought, “this exhilarating feeling” I murmured. I had been longing for this feeling of excitement that emanates from challenging experiences. I felt butterflies in my stomach but it was good. My heart was pumping. I felt alive.

The trail started to get steep as my adrenal glands pumped out chemicals that made me giddy. At last, I felt fear and excitement. I was afraid but again, it was good. I was so apprehensive thus I felt so alive. 

As I stood in front of an almost 70 degree rock-face, my heart pounded incessantly. The non-stop downpour made the path slippery but we did not care. We were all ready for the challenge. Little by little, the rock-face displayed its strength. One by one, we carefully glided up.

After 4 hours of climbing the very beautiful Mt. Kabunian, we touched our 2nd Bakun summit with pride, fulfilled having stepped on the high peak in spite of obstacles strewn around. I stood and smiled. I was happy. But then at that moment, I realized that happiness after all was not the sole answer to my questions. 

I once asked myself the question “Why do I climb?” 
Now, after this very memorable Kabunian day hike, I say that it is when I fear that I feel most alive, it is when I hold on for dear life that I feel most alive, it is when I climb that I feel most alive. I don’t know when I’ll stop but when that opportune time comes, at least I have this feeling of fulfillment having done something I wouldn’t have thought I’ll do in a lifetime.

After an hour at the summit, we went back to base as everyone uttered “2 down 1 to go”

Read the second part of our Bakun Trio adventure here

view of Bakun, Poblacion from half way trail to Kabunian

Group Itinerary (Bakun Trio)

day 0

20:00 - meet up at Victory liner Pasay
21:00 - departure from Manila To Baguio

day 1

03:00 - arrival at Baguio, Board rented jeepney to Bakun
06:00 - breakfast at stopover
09:00 - arrival at Dada, arrange guides
10:00 - start traverse trek to Bakun Poblacion
12:00 - arrival at Mt. Lobo summit, rest
12:30 - continue trek down
14:00 - arrival at Brgy Hall, late lunch, rest
17:00 - prepare dinner
19:00 - dinner, socials
22:00 - lights out

day 2

04:00 - wake up, prepare breakfast
05:00 - breakfast, prepare for hike
07:00 - start trek to Mt. Kabunian
07:30 - arrival at Hanging Bridge
08:00 - arrival at 2nd Hanging Bridge (Mt. Kabunian signage)
09:00 - arrival at first waiting shed
10:00 - arrival at ridge view point
10:45 - arrival at old Burial tomb
11:00 - arrival at Mt. Kabunian summit, lunch
12:00 - start trek down to Bakun Poblacion
14:30 - back at Brgy. hall, tidy up, rest
17:00 - prepare dinner
19:00 - dinner, socials
22:00 - lights out

day 3 to be continued in part 2

How to get to Bakun, Benguet

Take a Baguio Bound Bus at Cubao, Pasay or Sampaloc Bus Stations. From Baguio, you can rent a jeepney straight to Bakun from Maam Geenia Epe.

Make prior arrangements with Ms. Geenia for the jeep going to the jump off. You can contact her at 09198169234. Check out my article about her here:

Maam Gina's Jeepney
For Victory Liner Baguio Bound Buses, you can check their schedules and fares here: 

*Special thanks to Kuya Lear, Kuya Gem, Kuya Val and the whole PACM company!! One of the best and most memorables trips we've had, big thanks to our group!!


  1. "it is when I climb that I feel most alive" - ako din.. ang ganda ng pag-narrate mo ng story. ayos!

    the video is awesome as well. galing mo tlga master dane!

    can't wait for our Mt. Arayat Traverse Dayhike, kitakits soon.

    1. sana nga matuloy na arayat.. hehe. bipolar kasi ng weather e! hehe. kitakits.

  2. nagiisip talaga ako kung paano makkapag Bakun ng walang impact sa work... :C

    once again, i felt like reading a novel.

    1. 4 days kasi talaga kelangan e noh? pag me long weekend.. this coming Nov 1 - 4 long weekend. Maybe me mga group na aakyat nun! hehe.

  3. kasalanan niyo ito... suffering LSS - P.O.D Alive


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