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Wednesday, December 19

Planning a Day Hike to Mount Osdung

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Wonderful views of Cordillera Mountains en route to Mt. Osdung for a day hike.
Mount Osdung, having the 16th highest peak in the entire Philippines, is an easy day hike for mountaineers. It lies in the municipality of Kibungan, Benguet and is situated about 3 hours from Baguio City. The jump-off point is at Collideng Junction in Buguias, Benguet (marker is the yellow Trader’s Café) and from there an hour of walk trail is expected along the way to the peak of Mt. Osdung. It may be one of the easiest climb but the view from the mountain is awesome. Road trails going to Sagada, cabbage farms, mountain walls and other peaks can be viewed 360 degrees.

See a sea of clouds under mountain peaks in the road part of Buguias, Benguet.

Part 1 of Hiking Benguet Mountains: Mount Osdung

If you plan a day hike to this part of Benguet, these are a handful of tips that you may want to consider when you visit the scenic views from the peak of Mount Osdung.

THE TRAIL. If you’ve been to Baguio and walked to Camp John Hay several times already then walking the trail to Mount Osdung will surely be easy for you. It is one of the easiest trails to a mountain peak. It was my first time to actually day hike a mountain peak (well the daily hiking I do in Baguio City does not really count). I am not really into hiking but when I tried it, it felt good. The scenic mountain views are refreshing. You’ll just have to walk like 1.5 hours from the junction to the main peak. But if you will be luck (like us) you can catch a truck or jeepney where you can do back load or top load and drop off at the Madaymen-Cagam-is intersection and voila! The walk trail is now reduced to 15 minutes! Easy indeed!
Truck load--the easiest way to hike! Haha. (From left to right: Agnes, Bryan, Dane, Ivan and Allan)
THE PEAK. It may not be as scenic as the other mountain peaks but it is at least worth it to hike Mount Osdung for good. From the peak you can actually view like endless farms of cabbage, ranges of the Cordillera Mountains, road trails to Sagada and pine trees of course! I don’t know if in any chance the sunrise is spectacular that there will also be sea of clouds. But going there for Mt. Osdung via the buses bound to Sagada at early in the morning is already a sight to see. Morning fogs and sea of clouds plus the cascading views of the mountains is indeed one of the best sceneries in the province of Benguet.
Farms and farms of cabbage on top of Mt. Osdung.
THE TRANSPORTATION. Three things to remember: ride-drop-hike. From Baguio City you’ll have to ride a bus bound to Sagada (or Bontoc) then drop off at the Collideng Junction (remember the yellow café). From there, you’ll have to walk the trail to Mount Osdung (you can ask the locals for directions). Or you can top load to any truck getting to somewhere near the peak (in case the barangays of Cagam-is or Madaymen) and tell them to drop you off either to the Cagam-is-Madaymen junction or the Kibungan Municipal Hall branch then walk your way to the peak. On going back, you’ll have to walk the same route again. Do not worry as the route is not really confusing like other mountain trails maybe. (Check out How to Go to Mount Osdung, Kibungan, Benguet for details and maps)
To get to Mount Osdung, you will have to ride the GL bus bound to Sagada.
THE TIME. Getting from Baguio to the junction part in Buguias, Benguet will take around 2.5 to 3 hours of bus ride. I suggest you to do the hike early in the morning (catch the first trip to Sagada leaving at 6:30 AM) and arrive at the junction around 9:00 – 9:30 in the morning. The walk trail to the peak is about 1.5 to 2 hours, though we haven’t really computed because we hitch-hiked to the trucks getting to and getting from the peak. In our day hike we finished it at around 12:30 in the afternoon and got back to Baguio City at around 3:00 PM. If you are coming from Manila and you want to catch the earliest trip to Sagada for Mt. Osdung day hike, then you will have to leave the city by 11:00-12:00 midnight so you will have time to eat breakfast because the first bus stop will be around 8:30 in the morning already.
Collideng Junction and the Traders Cafe, on your way to walk trail to Mt. Osdung
THE FOOD. There will be a bus stop before the junction (roughly 2 hours away from Baguio City). From the bus stop you can eat your breakfast and pack some more snacks and water you will need for the hike. There is this café though in Collideng junction where you can also buy food.
Kibungan Municipal Branch Office
THE BUDGET. Not much. If you are coming from Manila then you have to allot your budget for the bus fare to Baguio. From Baguio regular fare to Collideng junction is P96 (as of October 2012). It’s open-air but no worries, it’s cold during the road trip. Your food will depend on you. Excluding fare from Manila to Baguio, the day hike budget of P400 will already be okay.

Madaymen-Cagam-is intersection (follow Cagam-is trail)
OTHER NOTES. We did not register of any sort and thus it does not require any guide or guide fee. If you happen to see locals smiling at you, just smile back at them. It’s a friendly custom. Remember that Mt. Osdung is also a farm so be careful not to walk on their veggies. You also have to take note that Igorots and other cultural communities have their own traditions. Respect them. One of the traditions you may encounter in your trip is their burial customs and rituals. Taking of pictures during their ritual is a no-no. They do not want any sort of disturbance during their ceremonies.

The cabbage terraces of Kibungan, Benguet (side slopes of Mt. Osdung)
So there I hope it helps you in planning your day hike to one of the 20 highest peaks in the Philippines! Mount Osdung although rated as 2/10 over its difficulty is still worth it because the views are just so beautiful and refreshing!

Sea of clouds over Cordillera!
At the peak fo Mt. Osdung, from right to left: Dane, Bryan, Agnes, Ivan and me.
Hiking Benguet Mountains: Mount Osdung Travel Series:
Part 1: Planning a Day Hike to Mount Osdung
Part 3: How to Go to Mount Osdung, Kibungan,Benguet

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