Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Can you hike Mount Kitanglad in one day? That question kept playing in my mind like a catchy tune, days before I faced this behemoth in Bukidnon. With an elevation of 2,899 meters above sea level, the 4th highest mountain in the Philippines is not an easy day hike.

Sure, there have been many brave souls and strong hikers who climbed Mount Kitanglad in just one day.

And truthfully, the trail isn’t as technically challenging as some of the tallest mountains in the Philippines.

But can I do it?

Can a restless insomniac and a not-so-young man with a lot of emotional baggage, injuries, and limited preparation, climb this mountain in one glorious day?

I admit.

Gone are the days when I could run the trails like a gazelle and climb boulders like Spiderman.

Father Time – the enemy none of us can beat – is slowly catching up with me.

Furthermore, my daily grind and stress have crippled my athleticism. 

But here’s the twist. 

Despite the odds stacked against me and my athleticism seeming more like a distant memory, the lure of Mount Kitanglad was irresistible.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

And guess what?

That climb turned into more than just a nature trip and adventure.

It was a journey packed with revelations and a newfound understanding of what “one day”  and “adventure” can truly mean in a person’s life.

So, how did my Mount Kitanglad day hike pan out?

My Mount Kitanglad Day Hike

Day 0 in Davao 

I’m becoming a frequent visitor to Davao City.

In recent months, “the safest city in the Philippines” has become my second home and a springboard to my adventures.

And like most of my hikes in Mindanao, Davao City was the rendezvous of our Mount Kitanglad Day hike.

From Davao International Airport, I made my way to the meet-up point of our hike: McDonald’s Buhangin.

After a quick meal inside this fast-food outlet, I stepped outside to join the other hikers on this day trip from Davao.

And instantly, I made friends with the other hikers of this group.

And that’s one of the perks of traveling and hiking.

Ever since I began exploring our magical world, I’ve met several people in different regions and cultures.

And these people were young and full of life and excitement.

They seemed ready. 

Was I ready?

Heck no.

Still, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to climb Mount Kitanglad.

When my life was going on a downward spiral, I had been waiting and longing to climb towering and jagged peaks.

I kept saying “one day.”

Well, that one day was now, and I may never have this opportunity again.

Day 1 at around 01:20 AM 

Here’s a little tidbit you’ll learn from hiking: life is not a straight line.

Like most adventures, it’s not a smooth sailing and hassle-free journey.

It doesn’t follow a predictable, direct, and simple path.

Life and outdoor adventures are full of twists and turns and unexpected detours.

One day, you feel like you’re at the top of the world, with everything going your way.

The next day, you’re going downhill with the weight of the world on your shoulders.

That’s how life works.

It’s an ever-changing landscape full of ups and downs.

And on my day hike to Mount Kitanglad, we encountered an unexpected hiccup and detour: a flat tire.

Was it a stressful experience?

Absolutely not!

Over the years, my adventures have taught me the art of Stoicism.

I’ve learned to embrace these unexpected twists with open arms.

These unforeseen events may not always work in our favor, but these things add more flavor to our adventure.

Furthermore, these things make our trip more fascinating and memorable.

Life, as I always say, is an endless adventure.

And adventure often involves testing your resilience, pushing your limits, and overcoming obstacles.

My Mount Kitanglad day hike was no different.

Each step, each unexpected turn, was a reminder that life’s beauty often lies in its unpredictability.

Day 1 at 06:03 AM

So far, our day hike to Mount Kitanglad had been riddled with complexities and obstacles.

Besides the flat tire, we didn’t find a fast-food outlet to buy breakfast and lunch for our one-of-a-kind day hike.

Fortunately, there was a convenience store where we bought some bread, trail food, water, and energy drinks.

And when we arrived at our base, the Datu of the tribe told us that we should have spent a night there or arrived at least hours earlier.

The ritual and orientation take a lot of time, he said.

And he was right.

Despite the rushed versions of the orientation and ritual, they did take a chunk of our time.

But who says hiking is all about rainbows and sunshine?

As we were about to embark on our ride to the starting point of our hike, I saw the towering figure of Mount Kitanglad.

I rubbed my eyes because I still couldn’t believe I was about to climb the 4th tallest mountain in the Philippines.

I once told myself that one day, I’d go on an epic adventure across the Philippines.

And this hike was one of the chapters of that thing called adventure.

Day 1 at 06:15 AM: The start of our Mount Kitanglad Day hike

The hike had just started, and I was already huffing and puffing.


This wasn’t a positive sign.

With consecutive sleepless nights, stress, and lack of stretching, I knew this one-day adventure would kick me in the ass.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

And truthfully, I still hadn’t fully recovered from the successive major hikes in the past couple of months.

I mean.

I just hiked Mount Dulang-Dulang and Mount Hamiguitan weeks ago.

What’s more, I had hikes in Lake Holon, Mount Amuyao, and Bohol this year.

After walking and running a few meters, I caught up with the rest of the gang and had a group photo of the rising sun.

The tribe’s Datu told us that sunrise views on this side of Mindanao were beyond amazing, and he was right.

From this vantage point, we followed the trail that would lead us to the top of Mount Kitanglad.

Slowly, my body was getting warm, and I was getting ready for the tough, uphill climb.

And I had to quickly adjust because this was just a quick one-day adventure.

Speaking of “one day”, something popped into my mind as I was hitting the trail to the summit of Mount Kitanglad.

Years ago, life seemed like a never-ending parade of trials and tribulations.

As I battled these challenges, I kept walking and hoping for a better future, leading to a grand adventure.

I fantasized and kept saying “one day” and “puhon”.

When people talk about their dreams and hopes, they usually start with “one day”.

In Bisaya, we also say “puhon”.

And as simple as they sound, these words are powerful and inspiring.

These words frame our ambitions as achievable goals and not just distance fantasies.

Furthermore, “one day” points towards the future, suggesting that something may not be possible now but could happen eventually.

One day signifies hope for the future, embodying dreams, aspirations, and the promise of better things to come.

It’s an expression of faith and optimism.

One day, the word “soon” will be replaced with “finally”.

And one day, all your dreams will become a reality. 

But until that day comes, keep dreaming.

Keep walking.

Keep struggling. 

And don’t forget to always keep your hopes alive.

07:07 AM: Entering the mysterious mossy forest of Mount Kitanglad

The temperatures dropped as we stepped into the mysterious mossy forest of Mount Kitanglad.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

I followed the guides and porters of the other group and listened to their stories about Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

After climbing a flight of stairs, we arrived at an area with an abandoned building and a water source.

Somehow, this area felt a little creepy.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

I’m not a paranormal expert like Ed Caluag, but there’s something wrong and weird about this place.

Then, I went on with my hike and admired the ethereal sights of the mysterious mossy forest of Mount Kitanglad.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Although it was a short day hike, I wasn’t in a mad rush to reach the summit.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure
Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

I took my time savoring the enchanted ambiance, sounds, and sights of the trail.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

This was the experience I badly needed these days.

I was trapped in the digital web, constantly bombarded with news and information.

And I badly needed a breather from the digital whirlwind of pings, dings, and endless scrolling.

The thing is, we all need to embrace the power of resting and pausing in a world that praises constant activity.

You need at least one day to reflect, be mindful, and appreciate the present moment.

Rests, even if it’s just for one day, stimulate innovation and creativity.

My one-day breaks give me the mental space needed for new ideas to emerge, fostering problem-solving and creative thinking.

And that’s why, even though I was tired and a bit unprepared, I still went on this thing called adventure.

I just need one day.

Day 1 at 08:05 AM

I arrived at a beautiful spot overlooking the majestic mountains of Bukidnon with one of the hikers in our group, Delmar.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Occasionally, I bumped into the hikers of the group climbing Mount Kitanglad one day.

But for the most part, I was alone on this one-day hike, which is something I prefer.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

A speedy trail runner, Delmar climbed the mountain like the Flash, and I was once again alone on this adventure.

And I enjoyed every minute of it.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Hiking at my own pace, I soaked up the views and sights of the scenic trail to the top of Mount Kitanglad.

The climb was a bit tough, and it sometimes seemed never-ending.

But I didn’t feel pressured since I was walking at my own pace.

And the best part is that it was therapeutic.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Not only was it releasing my natural mood-boosting chemicals, but the Petrichor was infusing my hike with a sense of renewal and a deep, earthy calm.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Are you familiar with that earthy scent produced when rain falls on the soil?

It’s called Petrichor, and it damn smells like heaven.

My pace was slow, but I didn’t take long breaks on the way to the top of Mount Kitanglad.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

I only took about 10-second breaks to capture the beauty of Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park on my phone and camera.

I particularly loved the view from these stairs.

With crisp blue skies and emerald mountains, the view is picture-perfect.

And it amazes me to see such spectacular scenery in just one day.

Day 1 in Mount Kitanglad at 09:58 AM 

Everything was picture-perfect as I hiked my way through the forest of Mount Kitanglad.

But, like life, hiking often throws a curveball at you.

Soon, the verdant mountains and landscapes were covered in a thick, white blanket.

We all want a clear and heavenly view when we reach the summit, but I’m totally fine with having a not-so-clear view at the top.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

I always say the views are the cherry on top in hiking.

And besides, that’s how adventure works.

It’s unpredictable, and it sometimes doesn’t work in your favor.

So, I continued with my hike, and once again, the words “one day” flashed inside my mind.

Somehow, these words reminded me of 2023, a rollercoaster ride filled with ups and downs.

Some would say I had a fantastic year.

And, on the surface, it does look incredible and unforgettable.

From the remote village of Buscalan to the magical landscapes of Mount Hamiguitan, it was a year filled with surprises and adventures.

But all this success didn’t happen overnight. 

And it sure didn’t happen in one day.

It’s the byproduct of years of hard work, sleepless nights, and hope.

I had to sweat, bleed, and cry to put myself in the position where I am today.

I had to go through chaos, struggles, and pain to give myself an opportunity to do the things I love.

And how did I survive and make it to this day?

By taking one day at a time. 

Just Iike what I did on the way to the top of Mount Kitanglad.

Take a step at a time until you reach your goals.

We all have our dreams, one days, aspirations, and puhons (soons) in life. 

And sometimes, these things take a backseat to our responsibilities. 

Keep fighting and walking, and may all your soons turn to finally and reality. 

10:31 AM: Near the summit of Mount Kitanglad

Anything can happen in one day.

You can fall in love in one day and make life-changing decisions in 24 hours.

You may gain a new skill, have an enlightening conversation, and discover a fascinating fact in one day.

Major life events can even occur, such as ending a long-standing chapter in your life, beginning a journey, moving to a city, and starting a new job.

And in one day, you can also conquer the 4th highest mountain in the Philippines.

I saw the famed tower of Mount Kitanglad and realized I was about to conquer another giant in Mindanao.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Soon, I realized I was getting close to completing the top 10 highest mountains in the Philippines.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

If ever I come face-to-face with the younger version of myself and say that he’s about to do all these hikes, he’ll say I’m a lunatic.

The truth is, I never dreamt of climbing these mountains.

All I wanted was to go on that soul-satisfying adventure.

And this day hike is a piece of that thing called adventure.

10:47 AM: Summit of Mount Kitanglad

I finally made it to the top.

Hours of hiking non-stop on densely forested slopes of Mount Kitanglad have brought me to the top of this ASEAN Heritage site.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Upon my arrival, I explored the area, which was filled with bunkhouses, structures, wires, and towers.

And despite all these man-made structures and persistent fog, the view was still breathtaking.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Relishing the scenery and experience, this adventure made me realize that “one day” is a microcosm of life’s journey.

The successes, challenges, emotions, and experiences of one day hike served as a condensed version of what I’ve encountered over my lifetime.

Carpe Diem

Originally, I wanted to spend a night at the summit to witness the majestic sunrise and sea of clouds in Mount Kitanglad.

But this one-day micro-adventure was enough for me.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

It was enough to satisfy my soul and relieve my stress from my daily grind.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Maybe, one day, I’ll take the famous D2K (Mount Dulang-Dulang to Mount Kitanglad) traverse or the KD2LM hike.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

For now, I was content and happy with my achievement.

I embraced the present and made most of the moments without delays.

Time is fleeting, and I didn’t want to waste it on imagining the future and thinking of the what-ifs in life.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Also, this one-day adventure epitomizes the briefness of time, reminding me that each day is a transient, irreplaceable unit of my life.

Day 1 at noon

The ladies of our 6-person had yet to arrive at the summit of Mount Kitanglad, but we had to start going down.

To me, that’s one of the downsides of a day hike.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

On day hikes, you don’t have the time to rest longer and wait for the rest of the group to arrive.

On the bright side, it’s a reflection of our mortality and time.

It reminds us that all good things come to an end.

And it’s a gentle reminder of my favorite phrase in Stoicism: memento mori (remember you must die).

We don’t live forever, and day hikes often teach us not to waste our precious time.

1:48 PM

I hate going downhill.

I know it’s supposed to be easier and faster, but my knees aren’t as healthy and dynamic as they once were.

So, instead of rushing and running, I took my time on the trail down to the base of our hike.

A year ago, I wouldn’t hike at this pace.

Mount Kitanglad In One Day: That Thing Called Adventure

Today, I’m enjoying it and even gained invaluable insights from walking slowly.

You see.

We’re living in a fast-paced world obsessed with instant gratification and shortcuts.

And slow hikes are teaching me the value of perseverance, patience, and enjoying the process.

It has taught me to live in the moment and appreciate my journey instead of focusing on the goals and fleeting successful moments.

03:15 PM

Remember the water source I mentioned on this hike?

The abandoned building?

Apparently, my gut feeling wasn’t wrong.

I was going down the shaky steel staircase to the water source when I noticed a hefty black dog beside me.

I thought it was going to walk alongside me, but strangely, the dog went on the other side, going downhill in a peculiar way.

It was so strange because the dog was turning and twisting as if it was a massive drill creating a pathway.

At first, I thought it was normal for dogs to explore this area in Mount Kitanglad.

Then, it dawned on me.

There’s no way dogs can reach this area since the nearest houses are miles away.

How did this furry friend get here?

And why does it look strange?

Why is it moving bizarrely?

I opened my backpack, ate a piece of chocolate, and took a sip of water to replenish.

Afterward, I turned to the direction where the dog was standing and found out that it suddenly vanished.

I wasn’t creeped out, and I kept walking because it was starting to rain, and the sky was turning gray.

Later, after the hike, I asked the Datu if he could explain what happened.

He said that it was one of the mountain’s guardians.

One was the black dog I saw, and the other was a white-colored canine.

I know what you’re thinking.

You might think I was hallucinating because I was exhausted from the hike.

But I was in excellent shape when I saw it.

I was hungry and a little thirsty, but I could see things clearly.

And here’s another kicker.

I wasn’t the only one who saw the dog.

Delmar, the fast trail runner way ahead of us, also saw a black dog on this section of the trail.

He, however, said it was smaller and thinner.

Day 1 at 04:01 PM: The end of my Mount Kitanglad Day hike

I completed the day hike in Mount Kitanglad without sweat.

With cool temperatures and the crisp December air, it was almost impossible to sweat on this outdoor adventure.

And even with all the hurdles (lack of sleep and food), I freaking did it with flying colors.

I changed clothes, refueled, and reflected on my experiences in this day hike.

While waiting for the ladies, we explored the area to grab some grub and relax.

Ultimately, the girls arrived and were on cloud nine after completing their first major climb in the Philippines.

Is Mount Kitanglad a volcano?

Mount Kitanglad, situated in Bukidnon, Philippines, is an inactive volcano. Part of the Kitanglad Mountain Range, it’s the fourth-highest mountain in the country.

Is Mt Kitanglad a protected area?

In 2000, Mt Kitanglad was officially declared a protected area by virtue of Republic Act Number 8978.

What is Mt Kitanglad known for? 

Mt Kitanglad is known as a hiking destination in the Philippines. It’s also known as the ancestral domain of indigenous tribes – Bukidnon, Higaonon, and Talaandig. Moreover, it’s home to over 600 endemic and rare species, including the endangered Philippine Eagle.

How to get to Mt Kitanglad

The easiest way to get to Mt Kitanglad is to join an organized hike. Ideal for solo joiners like me, it’s convenient and surprisingly budget-friendly. For day hikes, contact Saka Ta Bai. Likewise, you can contact Boundless Adventure Tours if you want to spend overnight at the summit or do the multi-day traverse to Mount Dulang-Dulang.

Aldrich Infantado is a travel junkie and a writing aficionado who loves to share amazing travel tips to his fellow travelers.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *