"Bakun's 3 Peak (Kabunian, Lobo, Tenglawan)" Bakun by drunkenmaster4
Bakun Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 8 photos
Bakun is one of the remote towns of Benguet, bordering the Ilocos Sur side of the region. The place has fast gaining popularity as an alternative tourism destination in the North as even the popular Sagada has now been relegated as a traditional tourism destination, overcrowded by weekend tourist of all sorts. It is currently becoming a popular outdoor destination as it offers newer hiking grounds as well as other exhilarating outdoor activities such as an ultimate mountain biking experience as the road to Bakun is extremely challenging. It also offers spectacular views, rich cultural and historical sites as well as traditional cultural practices. Bakun has its own rice terraces, mummies, water falls, river gorges and a lot more.
Bakun lists Mt. Kabunian, Mt. Tenglawan, Bakun Rice Terraces, Mt. Kabunian Waterfalls and Duligen Rock as its tourist attractions. Majority of its indigenous population are Kan-kanai and the minorities are people called Bago, whose origins are from Ilocos Sur. As such local dialects includes Kan-kanai and Ilokano. Bakun is 336 km away from Manila and 86 km from Baguio. Bakun has 7 barangays – Poblacion, Ampusongan, Bagu, Dalipey, Gambang, Kayapa, and Sinacbat. As of the last 1995 census, Bakun has around 12,000 population and a land area of 30,700 ha. Approximately 2.5 hectares per person.
WHICH MOUTAIN TO CLIMB
Bakun tourism promotes three peaks within the surrounding mountains as ideal hiking destinations- Mt. Kabunian, Mt. Lobo and Mt. Tenglawan. The best destination among the three is Mt. Kabunian- which has long been promoted as the premier tourist destination of Bakun compared to Mt. Tenglawan and Mt. Lobo. It would take 3-4 hours of trek to reach Kabunian’s summit. Mt. Lobo is usually considered a side-trip hiking destination you can include on your trip since it would only take you 1.5 to 2 hours to climb it. But for Mt. Tenglawan, it would take you 5-6 hours so you may consider this if you would stay at Bakun for more than 4 days and if you are still physically capable of doing another mountain after the Kabunian trek. Otherwise some groups explore this mountain separately; on a separate date. Most hikers plan a 3-peak climb to maximize their visit to Bakun. But as mentioned, you would need time and planning to do the 3. These 3 mountains have different jump-off points. Lobo can be reached from Dada, an outskirt community of Brgy. Poblacion; and which is a 30 minutes drive from Bgry. Poblacion (it’s on your way to Poblacion from Halsema). You may do this before or after a Kabunian trek. Kabunian can be reached from Brgy. Poblacion. Tenglawan was promoted to be climbed from Brgy. Sinacbat. Brgy. Sinacbat is on a different route, around 2 hours from Dada. But Tenglawan can also be trekked from Brgy. Poblacion with longer trekking time of 5 to 6 hours. Given that, we would rather promote Tenglawan to be climbed from Brgy. Poblacion so that groups can use Brgy. Poblacion as the base camp in exploring the 3 peaks. Ironically, the highest point in Bakun is Mt. Osdong at 2,500 MASL, which is currently not promoted for hiking.
MT. KABUNIAN (1,700 MASL- 16° 48.760N 120° 40.600E)
Has the privilege of being named after the Chief of the “Kan-kanai” gods, Kabunian, the creator of all living things and who apparently resides in Mt. Pulag. It is considered a sacred place, a dwelling place of the gods, as most northern mountains do. Some portions of the trail are a bit challenging for weekend warriors. It would require hands for scrambling around 45 degree steep trails with lots of ridge trekking with both or one side of the trail too steep for comfort. The trail has been established in ancient times by Ifugao traders bartering their local produce to the people on the other side of the mountain. There are trails leading to the bordering towns of Ilocos Sur. The mountain has been considered sacred burial grounds of the Bakun mummies. Also unique to these mountains are the Burial Jars of Bakun. The view from the top is awesome, giving you a 360 viewpoint of the surrounding environs.
MT. LOBO (Upper Lobo at 2,000 MASL)
There are 3 prominent peaks on what the locals calls Mt. Lobo (or Lubo). They have christened the two of the explored peaks as Upper Lobo and Lower Lobo. The Upper Lobo has an elevation of 2,000 MASL, which locals claim as the highest point. But actually, the highest point is still the third unexplored and unnamed peak. The usual hiking destination is what they call the Lower Lobo.Both Upper and Lower can be climbed but as mentioned, hikers usually go to Lower Lobo due to its majestic picturesque image with promising spectacular views. From Lobo, there is a trail directly to Brgy. Pobalcion. But it’s still best to climb Lobo from Dada going back to the Dada jump-off after the climb. Then just take a local transport to and from Brgy. Poblacion.
Mt Tenglawan is also a challenging mountain to climb compared to Mt. Lobo. It may be more challenging than Mt. Kabunian if attempted from Brgy. Poblacion. The usually jump-off point for Tenglawan is Brgy. Sinacbat, but it is way off the Ampusungan, Dada and Poblacion route. If you intend to do two or more climbs which includes Mt. Tenglawan, its better to set up base camp at Brgy. Poblacion and climb Tenglawan from there rather than from Brgy. Sinacbat. Mt. Tenglawan is one of the best places in western Benguet to get a view of the Ilocos coastal lowlands. Just below its peak, there is a fairly flat stretch where the view to the west is panoramic and unobstructed. You can view the Amburayan River as it flows to the sea at Tagudin, Ilocos Sur. When you reach its peak, which is a short narrow ridge running north-south, the view is truly breathtaking. Your naked eye can view the ridges of Mt. Kabunian, Mt. Lobo, and Mt. Data. Mt. Osdung blocks your view to the South-east but further south you can see parts of the Halsema reemerge all the way to La Trinidad. Below your feet is spread out the village of Bakun Poblacion, fairly flat, pastoral with terraces at some distance from the center of the village. Trek from Tenglawan to Poblacion uses the usual route taken by employees of the Bakun Hydro-electric plant who lives in Poblacion. Mt. Tenglawan is also considered an enchanted or sacred mountain to the Kan-kanai’s but some legends considers this as al alter ego of the good Mt. Kabunian- as Mt. Cristobal is to Mt. Banahaw. But I don’t even think of a beautiful place or any other natural environment at that to be negative as they are all wonderful creations of God.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Since there are limited trips going to and from Bakun, arranging transportation options would have significant impact on the trip itinerary. You have to be very detailed in ensuring that all transportation requirements are arranged before the trip and that they would fit in the intended itinerary. It is also ideal to list alternative options in case of extended delays.
When commuting, there are buses going directly to Brgy. Poblacion, Bakun Benguet from La Trinidad Benguet bus terminal near La Trinidad Public Market. From Baguio, you can take the FX cabs to La Trinidad. There are several buses plying this route but all of them depart La Trinidad at around 7 to 8 AM only. To ensure that you catch this ride, be there at around 6 AM. These buses also pass by Ampusongan (Municipal Hall of Bakun), then Dada before ending the trip at Poblacion. Buses arrives at Ampusongan around 1:00 PM, then Dada at around 2:00 PM and Poblacion at around 2:30 PM. I am not sure if there is a separate trip to Brgy. Sinacbat if your goal is to climb Mt. Tenglawan from there.
An alternative way is to take the buses going to Bontoc. Get off at Sitio Sinipsip, Bakun (along Halsema Hi-way), few kilometers after the Philippine Highest Hi-way Marker at Halsema. But from Sinipsip, there are no regular rides going to Poblacion. You have to make prior arrangements with the local contacts so that private vehicles can be rented and who will wait for you at Sinipsip.
In renting, you can already pre-arrange inter Barangay transfers (i.e. Dada to Poblacion) and also going back to Brgy. Sinipsip. Going back to Baguio, buses also leaves Poblacion at around 7 to 8 AM only. You have options of renting private vehicles from Poblacion but only up to Sinipsip at a steeper cost. Bontoc to Baguio buses passes by Sinipsip regularly. The only problem with this arrangement is that if you are with a bigger group, it may be impossible to get that number of spaces from buses passing by Sinipsip. You may need to split your group.
When bringing in your own transport, it is advisable to do this when you have a 4WD vehicle. But we were able to manage bringing in a 4X2 2.0 Escape mini-SUV but there were some difficulties encountered. It was more of learning how to maneuver the vehicle on off road situations (counter weights, low tire pressure, etc.) rather than the vehicle’s capability, which is not necessary if you have a 4WD vehicle. From Baguio, Sinipsip is around 3-4 hours. From Sinipsip, Brgy. Poblacion is around 3-4 hours depending on your off road driving capability. Baguio to Sinipsip portion of Halsema road is already well paved on 1st class cement. Almost entire road from Sinipsip to Brgy. Poblacion is on rough roads, some portions littered with boulders, the most difficult portions are those steep with loose soil and rocks, making it difficult for the vehicle to get traction. There are also a lot of steep sections of the road. Few portions are already cemented, especially on steeper portions of the road.
Here is a list of “must do’s” before the trip:
(Note: Bakun is not yet fully develop in terms of accepting tourist especially hikers so their systems, policies and processes may not be that ideal and may easily change from time to time and on short notices)
1. Contact Bakun Municipal Officials and inform of intended trip. You may be asked to pass by Ampusongan Municipal Hall for a courtesy call to the PNP Chief and/or Mayor/LGU representatives. This is a safeguard to your safety. [Mr. Arthur Tolito, Bakun Tourism Officer- +63 915-570-2064/ Norma Alidao, HRMO- +63 915-405-1854].
2. Contact Bakun Police Chief and inform of intended trip. You will need to log here but since it’s out of the way, you may contact them in advance and request to forgo this process if possible.
3. If passing by Dada, contact Dada Kagawad (Elemia Yubos last 2007). You may also arrange your guides for Mt. Lobo with Kagawad. If you also plan to spend your night at Dada, you may ask Kagawad to assist you in securing accommodations. She may offer you their school rooms.
4. Contact Poblacion Barangay Hall. Tourism Officer/ Kapitan of Poblacion (Brgy. Capt Lambert Tabao-Ec last 2007) are the contact person to arrange guides for Mt. Kabunian and Mt. Tenglawan treks via Poblacion. If you will stay on the town as your base camp, you will also need to inform them so that they can prepare the Barangay Hall as your accommodation. [Lambert Tabao-Ec +63 920-276-1121]
5. If renting vehicle arrange transport with Poblacion Officials.
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