For mountain lovers and trekkers, or for who is simply tired of spending his vacation on the beach, the Philippines offer also interesting mountain trekking opportunities.
In this post we will talk about Mount Kalawitan, a mountain that, with its 2714 meters above the sea level, is the tenth highest mountain in the country.
Mt. Kalawitan is located in the Cordillera region, in Luzon.
The trekking starts from the Panorama View Point of Sabangan, located about 1 kilometer away from Sabangan, and easy to reach by bus.
From the Panorama View Point the trail will get you, through the Chico River, in about 1 hour and half, to the Apa campsite, at 1190 meters asl. This campsite once, during the war, was used by locals as a refuge. Here you will be able to rest, eat and even sleep.
From the Apa campsite to the summit there are about 1500 meters of difference in height. The trail will lead you through the Asoan Pine forest, and then across a mossy forest. At the end of this forest you will reach the summit at 2714 meters asl. The hike from Apa campsite to the summit will take about 5 hours, and the journey back will take about 4 hours. We suggest to spend the night at the Apa campsite.
Note: Once there were hunter traps on the trail. Nowadays these traps have been removed from the trail, but they are still present off-trail. You should pay attention at the signals indicating the traps and not go off-trail.
Hereby we list some of the rules of the Province of Sabangan regarding tourists who want to visit Mt. Kalawitan
- Tourists are advised to hire a trained local guide for hiking to Apa Campsite, Mount Kalawitan or the Nambayo Falls and register themselves at the Tourism Officer in the Municipal Hall, at the Police officer of the day, the secretary of the Barangay Captains or at the authorized staff of the Panorama Viewpoint.
- While in Sabangan, you are in indigenous ancestral territory, greet locals respectfully and give them right of way on the trails. In respect to the indigenous believes on the mystical mountain and streams, littering and vulgar behavior are discouraged in this place. There is a ban on fish products up in the mountain. Camping up in the mossy forests of Mt. Kalawitan is also not allowed.
- Walk in single file on narrow trail, minimize the spread of impact by staying on the established trails.
- To prevent wild fires, camp fires and smoking are prohibited in the dry forests and grazing areas.Here you can find the complete list of rules regarding Mt Kalawitan.
How to get to Mt Kalawitan from Manila
From Manila you can take any bus going to Baguio City. Once in Baguio, go to the Dangwa station and take a bus to Sagada. The bus stops directly at the Panorama Viewpoint. The journey from Baguio to the Viewpoint will take about 5 hours and the journey from Manila to Baguio can take 6-7 hours.