TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Kalinga recently launched the Lumin-awa Mountain Trekking Adventure as part of the celebration of the 28th Kalinga Foundation and 4th Bodong Festival.
The first ever provincial government-sponsored hiking event was epic in scale with more than 200 people from different parts of the Philippines ranging from early twenties to late seventies and with varying levels of hiking experience signing up to conquer the backcountries of Pasil and Tinglayan.
Spanning four days, the journey took the hikers to the wondrous Sulfur Hills in Batong Buhay, tested their resolve as they crossed the icy Colayo River fourteen times to reach the towering Hugwiik Falls, and then across rice terraces and enchanting mossy forests to the village of Balay before ending the trail in Tulgao to see the majestic Palang-ah Falls and hot springs.
It was nothing short of a logistical feat to move, feed, guide, and secure such a large contingent of people. It was not always smooth sailing but, in the end, the committee in charge did their job of ensuring that everyone returned home safe and sound.
The Lumin-awa Mountain Trekking Adventure was both an introduction to the Kalinga people’s extraordinary hospitality and an invitation to anyone looking for their next adventure: “Come to Kalinga. We have so much to offer.”
Here’s what some of the participants have to say about the experience:
Cyrelle Kate Attabana from Baguio City: “The most memorable experience for me is the hospitality of the people we met from the village we’ve been through. I never expected how good the people are in the span of time we were there. They never knew us and still chose to offer us food and coffee on our way. The places we’ve visited are extraordinary. I never expected that Kalinga has that side of beauty. I only knew a few destinations in Kalinga and was shocked that there is such beauty lying in Kalinga.
My impression of the hike was that it was difficult but fun at the same time. The trail was fresh. You can see that few people are using that route. The trail is extraordinary. You will be in a different trail like mossy forest and ridge. I’m happy that I continued joining despite the busy sched.”
Lorane Ora Esteves, 33, from Sta. Mesa, Manila: “I will rate it 9/10; there’s several lapses but it was tolerable and there’s always room for improvement. Most memorable moment of the hike is the hospitality of the locals for us. They are very accommodating. We’re planning to visit again soon. Gagawan namin ng paraan.”
Liza Palangdan Palpal, 44, from Bauko, Mountain Province: “The most memorable part of the trekking is having more than 100 people behind me. It was memorable as well because I was the first lady to finish it. Going down from Balay was the most thrilling part of the journey for me. It was dangerous and a heart-throbbing experience. That’s just for me. It was remarkable to have the army assisting and serving us on the way to Balay and at Balay itself. Kudos to all the men in uniform. Salute to all of them.
For Kalinga and to the Governor who was very hospitable from the get-go, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for this trekking tale. I will always tell my friends and new friends along the way how Kalinga was so accommodating and respectful. Thank you.”
Leo Mark Belgica, 31, from Tabuk City: “It was a difficult trail. The trail reminded me of Mount Labo and Mount Napulawan. The breathtaking view of the rice terraces is a reward for the arduous trek to Tulgao. I am more impressed with Kalinga, my native province, because I have never gone to Colayo, Balatoc, or Tulgao. I shall always be proud of our area’s breathtaking scenery.
Eunice Nabehet, 33, from La Union: “Super amazing experience ang paghike sa Kalinga with that amazing view of the mountains na kahit super super major the hike lalo na ‘yung pa-Colayo to Tulgao pero worth it ang hike.”
Frederick Laping, 44, from San Mateo, Rizal: “Experience during the Lumin-awa adventure over all is very challenging in terms of the terrain, topography, and language.
However, the most memorable one is taking charge as a team leader to a group in a trek also unknown to me. The trek from Colayo to Balay, then later on to Tulgao. Thanks to the training in basic mountaineering skills, the security forces in the sideways keeping us safe along the trail and the generosity that every Cordillera tribe possesses. Our team’s experience in sitio Balay was one of a kind. It was very personal, closely knitted and very familial. Our team’s success is nothing without the hospitality of the village elders of Balay. Our experience of the warm welcome, generosity, and hospitality in Sitio Balay, will summarize my personal impression of what is Kalinga, after the hike.” By Iryll Sicnao and Freeche Lacson