Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by Tina
Last Sunday, my colleague and I did something really tiring. We hiked to the top of Prayer Mountain (Mt. Gadagad), and we started from our camp in Brgy. Colalo, Mankayan. According to my watch, I was able to make more than 36,000 steps and hiked more than 25 km. Our total moving time is almost 6 hours.
I already hiked Mt. Gadagad on my first week here in Mankayan last March. That time, we started at Lepanto Golf Course. Yesterday, we started from our camp which is 9 km away from Lepanto Golf Course and it is located on a much lower elevation. So why did we do this madness and how was the experience?
A Little Background About Mankayan
Before I tell you why we did the hike, let me give you a little background about Mankayan. Mankayan is a mining and agricultural town in the province of Benguet. Right now it is also being developed as a tourist destination. You can come here to do paragliding or go on a farm tour at Lay-odan Farm.
Mankayan is located on the north-western tip of Benguet. It is bordered on the west by Bakun, Buguias on the southeast, Tadian and Bauko, Mountain Province on the east, and on the northwest is Cervantes, Ilocos Sur. Benguet is situated within the Cordillera mountains and is dominantly mountainous.
Why We Hiked From Colalo to Prayer Mountain
While we were doing the hike and experiencing difficulty going up, we asked ourselves why we were doing it. And we agreed that we were doing it as a warm-up for when we visit Sitio Las-igan in Brgy. Cabiten. It is also a part of Mankayan. Las-igan is one of the areas covered by our project, and in the future, we will have to visit the place to talk to the community there and maybe give out a presentation. Las-igan can be reached by foot only, and if I’m not mistaken, it will take more than an hour of hike to get there.
It is also my warm-up for something that I am planning to do in September. It is 4x more difficult than this hike, but as of now I am still determined to do it. I hope my friend (hi Violet!) will encourage me to go for it when I reach the point of backing out.
Another reason we did it is that we were curious and were feeling adventurous. It’s Sunday anyway.
How We Did It
We were planning to start at 8:00 AM, but we were able to leave at 8:40 AM because we had our breakfast first. I don’t normally eat breakfast because I am doing intermittent fasting, but I had to eat before leaving because I need energy for the hike.
In this post, I’m going to do four segments for the hike. The first one is the hike from our camp in Colalo to Poblacion (the town center of Mankayan). The second is the hike from Poblacion to the top of Prayer Mountain. The third is the descent from Prayer Mountain to Lepanto Golf Course and the last one is the hike back to Colalo from Poblacion.
Colalo to Poblacion
Our camp in Colalo is about 6.2 km away from Poblacion. As I have mentioned earlier, Colalo is on a lower elevation. Based on the map, our camp is at 930 m elevation. Poblacion is somewhere around 1300 m. The first 2 kilometers were probably the most difficult part of this segment because the road was much steeper than the last 4 kilometers. We took a few stops to have a water break. Though we started a bit late, it wasn’t that hot. There were instances when it got cloudy.
We finished this segment in one and a half hours. When we arrived in Poblacion, we headed to Continental Cafe and Restaurant where we had our early lunch. We ordered pancit canton and we thought their black forest cake looks yummy so we ordered cake as well. We ate the cake first because it was served immediately. When the pancit was served, we already felt full so we only ate a little and we decided to take away what was left.
Poblacion to Prayer Mountain
After having lunch, we rested for 15 minutes then continued with our hike. The distance from Poblacion to Lepanto Golf Course is around 3 kilometers. It took us 30 minutes to reach the golf course. From the golf course, we walked towards Nayak then turned right at the junction going to the road going to Camanpaguey in Brgy. Cabiten. The trail to Prayer Mountain is the road to Camanpaguey.
The most difficult part of the hike to Prayer Mountain is the paved road right after the quarry area. It is a continuous ascent that is quite steep compared to the rest of the trail. Another difficult part is the stairs going to the top of the Prayer Mountain. We called it the stairway to heaven because it is really tiring to climb but once you reach the top you are rewarded with a very relaxing view.
It took us 1.5 hours to hike from the golf course to the top. We stayed there for around 30 minutes just to relax and enjoy the scenery. Also, the mobile data connection at the top is really good, way better than in our camp.
Prayer Mountain to Lepanto Golf Course
The descent from Prayer Mountain to Lepanto Golf Course was easy, but we were already feeling tired. I was feeling something sore in my left hip like it was twisted. We managed to reach the golf course in an hour. There we rested for an hour and had Halo-halo (a popular Filipino dessert made up of crushed ice, evaporated milk, and various ingredients such as sweetened beans, ube (yam), sago (tapioca pearls), gulaman (gelatin), and other fruits).
It was already 5:00 PM when we left the golf course and we decided to take a tricycle to Poblacion because we felt that we didn’t have the energy anymore for the uphill portion on the way back.
Poblacion to Colalo
We bought something in Poblacion before going back to Colalo. Before going back, I asked my colleague if he could still do it and he said yes and even suggested we do brisk walking because it’s downhill anyway. It was supposed to be easy but we were already really tired. It also didn’t help that it started drizzling when we were just 4 or 3 kilometers away from the finish line. Less than 2 kilometers away from our camp, it started to rain heavily. We brought umbrellas so we were okay, but we didn’t want to get soaked. Luckily, a tricycle passed by.
How Was It After The Hike?
After the hike, I was super tired that I didn’t eat dinner anymore. I wasn’t feeling hungry. And my whole body was sore. But I didn’t get any blisters. I had a hard time walking. I slept early and the following day the pain in my left hip was still there. Surprisingly though, I didn’t feel any pain in my thighs, unlike in my previous hikes. And by lunchtime, the pain in my left hip was gone. And I could walk fine again. I’m surprised that I recovered really fast.
It was really tiring but it was all worth it. I had a great time doing this hike and I’m excited to do more of this in the coming weeks.
Some Tips If You’re Going To Do This Too
- Bring umbrella. It was very useful during the hike. We used it when it got really hot and also when it started to rain.
- Wear comfortable shoes and thick socks.
- Bring lots of water. I think I consumed 2 liters of water during the hike.
- If insects love you (just like me), then make sure you bring insect repellant. There were lots of niknik (horsefly) along the trail so better apply early on or when you start getting bitten by them.
- Apply sunblock to protect your skin from getting sunburned and from harmful UV rays.
- Bring a face towel because you’ll be sweating a lot.
How do you get to Mankayan?
I know no one is as crazy as us to do the hike from Colalo to Prayer Mountain. But maybe you would like to do the Poblacion to Prayer Mountain hike. Trust me it’s fun, and the Lepanto Golf Course is really beautiful. In case you’d like to do that, here’s how to get to Mankayan:
Mankayan is a four-hour drive from Baguio City. If taking public transportation, you can take a van bound to Lepanto at the van terminal located at the back of Baguio Center Mall (Baguio City Dangwa Station).
From San Juan, La Union, Mankayan is a four-hour drive via Bessang Pass.
I hope you enjoyed reading this crazy adventure we did last Sunday. My adventurous side has been awakened again and I found someone willing to do crazy things like me, so expect more content like this in my blog in the coming days or weeks. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, please do so you don’t miss any of my posts. More Baguio and Benguet posts coming soon. And please follow my Facebook page @iwentanyways and like my Instagram accounts @iwentanyways and @tnadeperalta for updates.