Travel Guide To Climbing Bakun Trio, A Memorable Climb

by - Monday, May 28, 2018

Another backlog post. But the memories of this climb is still fresh to me. This was the year where I climb almost every weekend. Craving for more hardcore and major and difficult climbs and to challenge my capacity and my limits as well as my behavior joining other crews, I asked Belle, my bestest friend if she can join me to climb this so-called Bakun Trio in Benguet and together we will join this group that I just saw on facebook. Even if I myself is also organizing climbs and trips, from time to time, I joined other groups as well. And this was the first.

For any major climbs, pre-climb meeting is mandatory, but it happens that during the pre-climb meeting we just had our major unforgettable stranded experience in one of the mountains in Rizal, so I advised and asked the head of the team, Ate Sheena, if we can skip the pre-climb meeting, kind-hearted Ate Sheena agreed and just relayed the minutes of the meeting to us.

Belle almost backed-out for the fear of pulling the group and slowing them since she hasn’t have much training but I told her that she’s climbing recently and its all good plus I will be there to back her up. But her will to climb and challenge herself is much higher than the fear we set off to the meeting place.

We didn’t know any of the joiners. All of them were strangers. And we are all strangers from each other. There were a total of 11 of us in the group. We waited for our bus number at Victory Liner in Cubao and as we reached Baguio on the wee hours we waited for the rented monster jeep that will take us to the jump-off of the first mountain we’re gonna climb that day. After sipping in and indulging with our favorite strawberry taho we headed to the jump-off.

From Baguio City, it takes another six hours to reach the jump-off. The roads are getting rougher and blind curves are always present. But the fun of riding a monster jeep on that hour is tolerable because of the cold breeze weather of Benguet. The heat is not humid that of the one’s we left in Manila. The hustling of the trees, the rough roads, the dust coming out from it, the laughter’s inside the jeepney, the chirping of the birds, all of these are one of the many reasons climbing far away from the city than most-commonly mountains on the mainlands.

It was around two in the afternoon when we manage to arrive at the jump-off. The roads are definitely much harder to take not just because its rough but because of the previous storm that hit the place. The  climb was almost canceled because of that. But authorities of the place announced that it is probable the mountains of Bakun.

The first mountain is called Mt. Lubo. The highest mountain in Bakun Trio. With 2087+ masl height this mountain has the easiest trail of all the three. The trail consist of just passing through rough roads and a few easy assaults.. On the way to the summit, locals already built a staircase as precaution to the climbers who visits the place. Though still as stiff, it is advisable to take extra caution while climbing. There are some parts where the sands can be really slippery. Bringing heavy baggage is not advisable. At the top you can see a wide nature landscapes and the two other mountains you’re gonna climb on the next days.

After taking photos and eating our snacks, we make our way down back at the jump off and another drive to the barangay where we were staying for the rest of the climb.

To give you an idea about where to stay and how climbing Bakun Trio was done, climbers are allowed to stay in and camp/sleep inside the barangay hall, so there is no need to bring any tents, but if you prefer, you can camp outside and build your tents. During our time, Kibungan Circuit was closed due to the previous typhoon and most of the climbers headed there make their way to Bakun as their option 2 so Bakun was jampacked during our climb and people flock to designated camp places which gives us one of the empty rooms of a school. We climbed during one of the long weekends last October 2016 so no classes that time so they were able to lend us the rooms of the school.

Another information about climbing Bakun is that, you are not required to bring all of your stuff up each mountain. You will be climbing each mountain for a specific entire day and you will go back from where you camp at the end of the day. It is advisable to only bring what’s necessary for that day and of course to start early.

Our plan to start climbing the next day is 5:30 am. By 5 am, we make sure that we are all ready. The second mountain is called Mt. Tenglawan. This mountain can be really tricky and pain in the ass but of course you will not realize this at the start, probably on your way down after few minutes of realizing how your going back to the camp will look like. And yes, going down. 

The first part of the trail is what they called the stairway to hell as you will be descending an enormous height deep down there. Imagine on the way up? After a long tiring day at the mountains and realizing you need to climb just to get back at the camp and rest? Yep, that’s the scenario. But isn’t it part of thrill of climbing mountains?

Most of us curse the idea. But for all I care, the trail going up Mt. Tenglawan happens to be my favorite. Though I haven’t seen the last mountain, I already declared to myself that this mountain is my favorite of the three. The combination of different kinds of trails are present on this mountain. 

The rough roads, the slopes, the muddy trail, the crossing of bridges, the crossing of boulders, the vast landscapes, the pine and tall trees, the forests, the moist forest, the cliffs, the unlimited ascend, the never ending views of the falls we can’t count through our fingers, the ridges, the long terrain, the trail that is perfect for my trail run!

Of all the three mountains, Mt. Tenglawan will eat up much of your time. By the time you’ll reach the summit there will be a long queue for the iconic boulder perched by the side of the summit, on top is a metal cross that serves as a landmark.

Upon arrival at the summit what greeted me was a zero visibility and a thick layer of fog. But good thing when all of my other groupmates arrive we have entire clearing for us to take a good photos. We got separated and grouped with other groups that I end up arriving at the summit around 10 in the morning. 

After taking photos and eating our packed lunch we start our descend and prepare ourselves for what’s waiting for us on the last part of the trail which is unlimited and pure ascend.



By 12:30 in the afternoon we started going down. I then started running as free as a kangaroo. I asked permission if I can go down and run my way back to the camp. It was so liberating during that time. 

The views are even brighter in the afternoon and a rainbow was sighted during our descend. To this kind of view that I stop and took some photos for me to keep as a remembrance. I saw other groups who also runs but only one of them keep-up and we manage to run down at the same time and help each other for some parts of the trail. He even carry me for we took wrong trail and we need to climb a specific long bamboo blockage.




No doubt about the unlimited ascend waiting for us/me. Though excruciating it is, it was fulfilling. I manage to got back at around 4:30 in the afternoon at our campsite. I roam around the place while waiting for the others and rest for there is still another mountain to climb the next day.

We are all exhausted on the second night. Others already declared that they are no longer climbing the last one, too exhausted to climb once more and opt to just rest for the last day. It never occurred to me to ditch the last one given the tiresome we had, though I did not blame them, we have and we know our own capabilities and body and its never a lose if you say no and prefer to have your body rest.




The same call time for the last mountain. And again, the start of the trail is the same of Mt. Tenglawan. The stairway to hell but this time its much slippery. Oh! Our feet and legs are still shaking from previous climb and it doesn’t help on this kind of trail but still, we managed our way down and onto the deepest part of the trail.

The multiple ascent plus heavy and tired feet and shaky legs is not really a good combination. Mt. Kabunian for me, is the most difficult of all the three, maybe because I am exhausted from the previous climbs but no, the technicalities of this mountain is really challenging for me. 

At some point I really want to go back and dare not to finish the entire climb anymore. But with my awesome guide who never leaves my side until I got back from the camp I was able to finish it. Trust me, its not runnable. HAHA! And there are some parts of the trail that requires caution and it’s a must for you will be definitely be dead when you got it all wrong even just one foot. But as they always say, nothing beats the view on the top. It has the most beautiful view at the top.




After taking photos and eating our snacks we make our way down again for we are going back to Manila that night. At times while going down and looking up from where I came from, I wonder how I manage to climb that one? It is so fulfilling. And I am more than happy to climb Bakun again!

For those who wants extra challenge you should climb Bakun Trio and I guarantee another satisfactory. I know some would say that mountains in Benguet has the same views and landscapes but the feeling for each mountain will be definitely be different.

Mt Lobo – 2087 MASL
Mt. Tenglawan – 1943 MASL
Mt. Kabunian – 1943 MASL



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