Benguet, a province in Cordillera Region in the Philippines is blessed with scenic views of countless mountains. Some of the most popular mountains like Mt. Pulag, Ugo and Ulap don’t need introduction but there are still a lot of underrated mountains and trails waiting to be discovered. One of those is a trail lying in the municipality of Kibungan. The municipality has a lot of trails scattered throughout and somewhat connected with nearby provinces. One safest and simplest trail is Tacadang Circuit. This trail can be done by both beginners and professional since the pathway is paved decently. Using this trail will give you opportunity to pass by rice paddies, blue mountains, waterfalls and hanging coffins. Unfortunately, for us, it was summer when we were there so the waterfalls gone dry or the others don’t have enough water.
We started the journey upon arriving in Municipal Hall in Poblacion, Kibungan, Benguet for the registration and breakfast. The view deck greeted us with a scenic view of the untouched steep slope mountains and rock formation. The trail starts in Sitio Tanap where we pass through Tanap Rice Terraces which was such a good start. The way is decent with narrow but cemented pathway. However summer heat, lack of air and consistent assault trail are the biggest challenges. We marched for four hours until we reached Buga campsite for our lunch and water source. Luckily until here, cellphone signal is consistently strong.
After lunch, we rest and nap for a while. At one thirty in the afternoon, we continued to hike up to Mt. Tagpaya. Unfortunately in the middle of the hike we were greeted with quite heavy rain. We had some rest along the hike because the heavy fog continued to block our way and our view until we reached the summit. I guess we were not that lucky at that time. Our guide joked that our photos resulted to i.d picture with white background. (LOL)
After the summit we trek down to Tacadang where we will spend the night in our homestay. The place is used as a multi-purpose hall. It is not a room with bed that you expect so it is advisable to bring your sleeping bag. For toilet and bathroom you will be guided to houses nearby. Just ask permission if you can use their bathroom and toilet. The people there are nice, they would allow you to use their resources so make sure to always say “Thank you.” They don’t even take payments even if you insist so just be nice and be sure to clean as you go. Don’t litter, the locals are very responsible on their trash so as you. Also there’s no network signal here.
For our second day, on our way back to Poblacion we trek and pass through Barangay Polis going up to Barangay Poblacion where we started our hike from yesterday. The view in this trail is much better or maybe because the weather is calmer than yesterday. But the biggest challenge to us is the summer heat especially the trail is not shady, more exposed, and lesser wind compared to our trek the other day. The path is always decent with enough size to walk and mostly cemented too. There’s not many loose soil but expect a lot of assault which is personally my weakness plus the heat. When we reached Barangay Polis the cellphone signal comes to life again. Overall, it took our team ten hours to finish the hike for this day including our rest from the heat, exhaustion and lunch.
Personally, I would recommend this hike for everyone beginners and experienced. What I like in this trail is that, it may be long but the pathways are decent, cemented and has enough size to walk with two feet. There’s no cliff to deal with and not many loose soil to worry about. As a person that has issues with heights these are the factors that weigh me down during hikes.
6:00 AM: Kibungan Municipal Hall (breakfast, registration)
8:00 AM: Sitio Tanap jump off (start of trek)
11:30 AM: Buga Campsite (water source, lunch)
1:30 PM: Resume trek
4:00 PM: Mt. Tagpaya Summit
6:00 PM: Tacadang (homestay)
8:30 AM: Start trek
1:30 PM: Polis Bario School (lunch)
3:00 PM: Resume trek
6:30 PM: Poblacion (end of trek)
Registration Fee: Php 160/ person
Guide Fee: Php 850/ day for 7 pax
Porter: Php 850/ day (15 kilos)
Homestay: Php 30/ person
This post is in partnership with Team Ladaw. For more hiking activities in Benguet and inquiries visit their facebook page and follow their instagram. (links below)