Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by Tina
Last March 12, I joined the Eco-Walk for a Cause organized by the Municipal Government of Mankayan for its 108th Founding Anniversary Celebration. The eco-walk was a hike to the top of Mount Gadagad, also known as Prayer Mountain. It was organized for the benefit of three cancer patients from Mankayan. After the walk, the coordinator of the activity announced that they were able to raise Php 51,600.
I was having second thoughts about joining the eco-walk because assembly time is 5:45 AM which means I need to wake up earlier than usual. I have a hard time waking up early, and it’s even more difficult to wake up in Mankayan because of the cold weather. But I’m glad that I joined because the views during the hike were amazing.
For those who do not know, Mankayan is a municipality in Benguet in the Philippines located on the north-western tip of the province. It is a mining town with several mines including Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company.
History of the Prayer Mountain
Mount Gadagad is part of the Hapol-Agan Forest Reserve. It used to be the timberland of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company when there was no log ban in the Philippines yet.
It started as a prayer mountain last year (2020) when one of the members of the UCCP Church had a vision of a place that will serve as a prayer place. He discovered that the place in his vision is Mt. Gadagad. When Mankayan was placed under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine), the members of the UCCP Church would meet at the top of Mt. Gadagad every Saturday for a prayer meeting.
When Mankayan was placed under GCQ (general community quarantine) when the number of positive Covid cases in the municipality increased, the senior citizens and children stopped going there but the other members continued to meet every Saturday.
Now that Mankayan is back to MGCQ, the senior citizens and children are joining the weekly prayer meetings there again.
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Hiking Mount Gadagad
Our hike to Mount Gadagad started at the Lepanto Golf Course. We first had some warm-up exercises before starting the hike. We left the golf course at around 6:15 AM.
The hike to the top of Mt. Gadagad is very easy. If I was to rate it, I would say it’s 1.5/9. I haven’t hiked for almost two years (my last was in Kenting National Park in Taiwan), and I was only wearing sneakers, but I was fine. I thought I would have sore legs the day after the hike. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel any pain.
The trail is very straightforward. Some parts are paved. The trail is actually a road going to Brgy. Cabiten. The most difficult part of the hike is probably the part before reaching the summit. Hike to the top takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
What I love about hiking in Benguet is that it is not too exhausting because of the cold weather especially if you start really early. Also, the trail is mostly shaded because pine trees are everywhere. There are benches at the top. There are also cows.
As of the moment, Mankayan is still closed for tourism. But locals can hike to Mt. Gadagad anytime. Make sure though that you don’t leave any trash anywhere in the mountain. And drinking alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited.
Photos from the Trail
How to Get to Prayer Mountain
From the golf course, walk towards Nayak. When you reach the junction, you will see a sign that says “This Way to Camanpaguey”. Take that road to Camanpaguey. Just follow the road. After about an hour of walking, you will reach a junction again. Take the left path. Keep walking until you reach the top.
Tips When Doing the Mt. Gadagad Hike
- Although hiking in Benguet is not that exhausting because of the cold weather, I recommend you start early because it can still get hot during midday.
- Bring water to hydrate yourself and a face towel to wipe your perspiration.
- Leave no trace. Don’t leave your trash in the mountain.
- Exercise caution at all times.
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