The Kibungan Summit Cross Country Traverse is a challenging and exhilarating trek that takes adventurers through the rugged and picturesque landscapes of the Kibungan mountain range in the province of Benguet, Philippines. This traverse offers a unique opportunity to explore the remote and untouched beauty of the region while immersing oneself in the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous communities. In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the route, highlights, and essential information for undertaking the Kibungan Summit Cross Country Traverse.
Route Overview: The Kibungan Summit Cross Country Traverse typically starts from the municipality of Kibungan itself or from nearby jump-off points such as Barangay Palina or Barangay Buguias. The traverse can be done in either direction, but for the purpose of this guide, we will describe the route from Kibungan to Buguias.
Day 1: Kibungan to Sitio Nabag-o The trek begins in Kibungan, where you will navigate through forested trails, river crossings, and ascending slopes. The trail meanders through breathtaking landscapes, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. After several hours of trekking, you will reach Sitio Nabag-o, where you can set up camp for the night.
Day 2: Sitio Nabag-o to Sitio Malatdang Continuing the traverse, you will proceed to Sitio Malatdang. This leg of the journey takes you through mossy forests, steep ascents, and challenging terrains. Along the way, you may encounter vibrant flora and fauna endemic to the area. The trail will test your endurance and agility, rewarding you with stunning vistas as you reach Sitio Malatdang, where you will camp overnight.
Day 3: Sitio Malatdang to Buguias The final day involves descending towards Buguias, passing through verdant landscapes, rice terraces, and rural communities. You will be greeted by the warm hospitality of the locals, who will provide insights into their culture and traditions. The trek culminates in Buguias, where you can celebrate the completion of the traverse and reflect on the incredible journey you have experienced.
Highlights and Essential Tips:
- Scenic Landscapes: The Kibungan Summit Cross Country Traverse offers breathtaking views of rolling hills, lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and terraced rice fields. Be sure to take your time and appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings.
- Cultural Immersion: Along the traverse, you will have opportunities to interact with the indigenous communities, such as the Ibalois and Kankanaeys. Engage in conversations, learn about their way of life, and respect their customs and traditions.
- Physical Fitness and Preparation: The Kibungan Summit Cross Country Traverse requires a good level of physical fitness and endurance. Prepare yourself by engaging in regular exercise, cardiovascular activities, and strength training prior to the trek. It is also advisable to consult with a local guide or experienced mountaineer for advice on the difficulty level and suitability of the traverse for your fitness level.
- Pack Essentials: When embarking on the traverse, ensure you have essential trekking gear, including a sturdy backpack, proper hiking shoes, lightweight and quick-drying clothing, a reliable tent, a sleeping bag suitable for the weather conditions, a camping stove, sufficient food and water supplies, and basic first aid equipment.
- Local Guide and Permits: Engaging a local guide familiar with the traverse and the area is highly recommended for safety and navigation purposes. Additionally, check with the local authorities or tourism office for any required permits or fees before embarking on the trek.
- Leave No Trace: Practice responsible tourism and leave no trace behind. Respect the environment, follow designated trails, dispose of waste properly, and minimize your impact on the natural surroundings.
The Kibungan Summit Cross Country Traverse offers an unforgettable adventure through some of the most stunning landscapes in the Philippines. It provides an opportunity to connect with nature, appreciate indigenous cultures, and challenge yourself physically. Remember to plan and prepare adequately, respect the local communities and environment, and embrace the journey with an open heart and a sense of adventure.