BAKUN TRIO: THE THREE GEMS OF BAKUN, BENGUET PHILIPPINES

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Bakun is one of the thirteen municipalities of Benguet, Philippines, a mountainous and peaceful province in the north. I honestly can’t imagine how peaceful and clean this place is away from the noise and other pollution in the city. Bakun can be your perfect serene place for soul searching, reflection or simply a relaxation. Let me start when the tourism officer told us that the whole municipality has a cigarette and liquor ban. At first we thought it was because of the Holy Week holiday however she made it clear to us that it is a municipal ordinance and it is strictly implemented. Therefore don’t expect anyone loitering the streets at night being drunk and causing trouble. Next, you will be amazed how clean this place is not only from the fresh air you get but also from their waste management system. They have an organized waste segregation that is followed by the residents and should be complied by the visitors. Another fact, I haven’t seen any stray dogs that wander around the streets. Dog owners are responsible enough to tie their dogs. Lastly, the place shuts down at 8 p.m. Literally, you can’t do anything here after 8 p.m as all stores, markets and eateries close in the center. Since there’s liquor ban don’t be stupid enough to wander around looking for bars. I can say staying here detoxes and cleanses our body and mind from the harsh substances and stress we have in the city.

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Bakun Trio is composed of three mountains, Mt. Lubo, Mt. Kabunian and Mt. Tenglawan. They are near to each other so it makes it easy to climb the 3 mountains one at a time in just 3 days. Although most hikers usually take day hikes to each mountain and sleep in the municipal hall in Poblacion at night, others camp in the mountain to witness the sunrise or take traverse route from Sinacbat- Mt. Tenglawan- Mt. Kabunian- Poblacion. In our case we started to hike Mt. Lubo from Sitio Dada then traverse route to Poblacion. I must say that these mountains are major climbs you need to be physically fit and mentally ready for the hike. Expect a steep, narrow with loose soil path even cliff going to the summit. I must say Mt. Kanubian and Mt. Tenglawan are for professional hikers or mountaineers. Bakun Trio is still a rising star when it comes to popularity as compared to Mt. Pulag in Kabayan, and Mt. Ulap and Mt. Ugo in Itogon. There are not many travel and tour groups that organize event in this place. However I am lucky enough to cross path with Team Ladaw, a travel group in facebook founded by young travel enthusiasts. They invite people to join them on their journey as they hike mountains, dip in waterfalls and swim on beaches. For more inquiries visit their facebook page on this link.

HOW TO GET TO BAKUN

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The Team! Photo Credit to Mr. Abel Sanyver
  1. By bus
  • Daily bus trip to Bakun comes from Caltex Gas Station Km. 5 La Trinidad, Benguet from 6;30 am-7:00 am via Bakun Cooperative Bus. It will take you to barangay Poblacion, the center of Bakun.
  • Bus fare: Php 180
  • Estimated travel time: 6 hours
  1. Private car or rented jeepney or van
  • For big groups I suggest to take rented van or jeepney or might as well your own car. It is more convenient and saves time.
  • Rented jeepney from Bakun that will pick you up in Baguio costs Php 12,000 round trip. (For inquiries contact this number 0912 807 0974)

WHERE TO STAY

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Overnight Camping at Mt. Kabunian

There are no other accommodations in Bakun except the municipal hall in Poblacion or barangay hall in Sinacbat. Usually hikers go on a day hike and sleep in the municipal hall at night. Others camp in the mountain and leave their other stuff there, just like what we did.

Accommodation Rate: Php 200/ person (with gas stove and blanket)

Php 80/ person (without gas stove and blanket)

Baggage Fee:               Php 50/ person (for overnight hike)

 

For more inquiries contact their Tourism Officer Ms. Nenita 0918 352 3722

 

BAKUN TRIO JOURNEY

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Photo credit to Mr. Abel Sanyver

We left Baguio City at 1 a.m took the Halsema Highway passing through La Trinidad, Atok and  Buguias  route. The travel took 5 hours with the rough, bumpy, curvy and foggy road. I must warn you, the ride won’t be easy. We arrived in Sitio Dada, Bakun before 6 a.m. ate breakfast and start to hike at around 8 a.m.

 

  1. MT. LUBO

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As an amateur hiker this is the easiest mountain to hike among the three. We started to ascend from Sitio Dada with a decent pathway. However when we went down the traverse route that will take us to Poblacion, it was very steep with slippery loose soil and dried leaves that fell down from forest trees. I admit I slipped a hundred times so a good hiking shoes and trail stick are recommended. The hike to the summit took us 1 hour 30 minutes while the descending hike took us 2 hours.

 

Registration and Environmental Fee: Php 100

Guide Fee:

  • Traverse: Php 800/ 6 pax (if more than 6 additional Php 100/ person, maximum of 8 pax)
  • Back Trail: Php 600/ 6 pax (if more than 6 additional Php 100/ person, maximum of 8 pax)

2. MT. KABUNIAN

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In one of native Cordilleran dialect Kabunian means God. This mountain is believed to be where their God is staying. I actually agree with it since judging how difficult the path is. It gives an impression that Kabunian doesn’t want to be bothered so he stays in a very difficult to reach place. I would describe this as the most “buwis buhay” (near death) and difficult path I ever took among all of my hiking experience so far. Aside from the steep or assault loose soil path, what makes my knees shake are the cliffs. One mistake and you are done. For those who are scared of heights like me better bag lots of courage with you. I’m telling you it won’t be easy. I admit I almost cried in the middle of the hike since it is already dark and we haven’t reached the camp site yet and seeing how far we need to hike more and the number of cliff and assault we need to pass through. The hike to the campsite is approximately 3 ½ hours, then from the campsite to the summit is 10-15 minutes and the descending hike took around 3 hours.

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The steep path to Mt. Kabunian! Photo credit to Team Ladaw

Registration Fee and Environmental Fee: Php 100

Guide Fee:

  • Day Hike: Php 1000/ 6 pax (if more than 6 additional Php 100/ person, maximum of 8 pax)
  • Overnight: Php 1,300/ 6 pax (if more than 6 additional Php 100/ person, maximum of 8 pax)
  • Note: additional of 100 Php 100/ hour after 12 noon the next day for overnight hike
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The narrowest trail I ever had! Photo credit to Team Ladaw3

3. MT. TENGLAWANDSC04960-01

If Mt. Lubo is the easiest, Mt. Kabunian is the most difficult then Mt. Tenglawan is the longest hike. Approximately 7 hours hike one way, with ascending and descending path. Gladly unlike Mt. Kabunian it doesn’t have cliff however most of the hike will be a battle between assault loose gravel and soil. Most day hikers start the trail as early as 4 am to get to the summit at 10 am or 11 am. As for my team we start to hike at 2:30 pm and arrived at the camping site at 9:30 p.m. It was very creepy to hike in a steep forest in the dark. The campsite has an improvised toilet for your call of nature. From the campsite it takes 30 minutes hike to the summit. The summit is beautiful at sunrise, mostly composed of mountain views however if you are looking for sea of clouds don’t expect it from here.

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6:30 am sunrise of Mt. Tenglawan!

Registration and Environmental Fee: Php 100

Guide Fee:

  • Day hike: Php 1,300 / 6 pax (if more than 6 additional Php 100/ person, maximum of 8 pax)
  • Overnight: Php 1,500/ 6 pax (if more than 6 additional Php 100/ person, maximum of 8 pax)
  • Overtime fee after 12 noon the next day for overnight hike additional Php100/ hour/ guide

For more inquiries contact their Tourism Officer Ms. Nenita at 0918 352 3722

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This post is made possible by Team Ladaw, shout out to the amazing team for organizing this event. For more inquiries about their upcoming events visit their facebook page on the link below or contact them at 0919 311 3226 and 0956 657 5887

https://www.facebook.com/teamladaw/

 

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