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Crying Mountains of Kibungan: A Hiker's Guide to the Switzerland of Benguet

Discover the Crying Mountains of Kibungan, a hiker's paradise in the Philippines. Trek to towering peaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

Discover the Crying Mountains of Kibungan, a hiker's paradise in the Philippines. Trek to towering peaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. Learn about the indigenous cultures and legends of the area, and help protect this fragile ecosystem.

The Crying Mountains of Kibungan, also known as the Switzerland of Benguet, is a mountain range located in the Cordillera Mountains of the Philippines. It is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers alike, thanks to its towering peaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

The name "Crying Mountains" is thought to come from the mist that often clings to the slopes of the mountains. This mist is said to be the tears of the mountain spirits, who are weeping for the loss of their forests.

The mist is caused by the high altitude of the mountains. The air is cold and moist, and it condenses on the trees and rocks. The mist is often bluish-purple in color, which is thought to be the color of the mountain spirits' tears.

The name "Crying Mountains" is also a reminder of the importance of protecting the environment. The mountains are home to a variety of plants and animals, and they are a vital source of water for the surrounding communities. If we do not protect the mountains, they will continue to cry, and we will lose this precious natural resource.

The "Crying Mountains" of Kibungan, Benguet are a hidden gem of the Philippines. They are only visible during the rainy season, when the water from the mountains cascades down to create stunning waterfalls. Photo: Deya Clarisse

The Crying Mountains in Culture and Religion

The Crying Mountains are an important part of the culture and religion of the indigenous peoples of the region. The Ibaloi, Kankanaey, and Kalanguya tribes have all created stories and myths about the mountains.

In one Ibaloi myth, the mountains are said to be the tears of a giant who was turned to stone. The giant was crying because he was lonely. In another Ibaloi myth, the mountains are said to be the home of the gods. The gods live in the mountains, and they watch over the people of the region.

The Kankanaey and Kalanguya tribes also have stories about the mountains. In one Kankanaey myth, the mountains are said to be the home of the spirits of the dead. The spirits of the dead live in the mountains, and they watch over their descendants. In another Kankanaey myth, the mountains are said to be the home of a giant bird. The giant bird is said to be very powerful, and it can cause storms and earthquakes.

The Crying Mountains are a sacred place for the indigenous peoples of the region. They believe that the mountains are a source of power and protection. The mountains are also a reminder of the importance of respecting nature.

The Kibungan Circuit

The Kibungan Circuit is a popular hiking trail in the Crying Mountains. The trail takes hikers to the peaks of Mt. Tagpaya, Mt. Oten, and Mt. Tagpew. The total distance of the trail is about 20 kilometers, and it takes about 2 days to complete.

The Kibungan Circuit offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and rice terraces. Hikers can also see a number of waterfalls along the way. The trail is challenging, but it is not technically difficult. It is a good option for beginners and families.

The Lungsad Falls Trail

The Lungsad Falls Trail is another popular hiking trail in the Crying Mountains. The trail takes hikers to Lungsad Falls, a beautiful waterfall located in a deep ravine. The total distance of the trail is about 5 kilometers, and it takes about 3 hours to complete.

The Lungsad Falls Trail is shorter and easier than the Kibungan Circuit, making it a good option for families with young children. The trail also offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

This photo shows the majestic Crying Mountains, a tri-province mountainous range in Benguet, Ilocos, and La Union. A must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike! Photo: @lostmonki

Other Activities in the Crying Mountains

In addition to hiking, there are a number of other activities that visitors can enjoy in the Crying Mountains. These include:

  • Camping: There are a number of campsites in the Crying Mountains, where visitors can pitch their tents and spend the night under the stars.
  • Birdwatching: The Crying Mountains are home to a variety of birds, including eagles and pheasants.
  • Relaxing: The Crying Mountains are a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Visitors can enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountains, and they can also soak in the hot springs that are located in the area.

Tips for Visiting the Crying Mountains

Here are some tips for planning your trip to the Crying Mountains:

  • Hire a guide. A guide can help you plan your route, navigate the trails, and keep you safe.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. The weather in the mountains can change quickly, so it's important to stay hydrated and energized.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You'll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure your shoes are supportive and well-fitting.
  • Be prepared for the altitude. The Crying Mountains are located at a high altitude, so it's important to take it easy and acclimatize to the altitude before you start hiking.

The Crying Mountains of Kibungan are a sight to behold. These two towering peaks, which are said to be crying tears of joy, are a testament to the beauty of the Philippines. Photo: Win Calleja

The Future of the Crying Mountains

The future of the Crying Mountains is uncertain. The mountains are facing a number of threats, including deforestation, mining, and climate change. However, there are a number of people who are working to protect the mountains. These people are working to raise awareness of the threats to the mountains, and they are also working to develop sustainable solutions for the future of the mountains.

Here are some specific steps that can be taken to protect the Crying Mountains:

  • Reduce deforestation: The forests of the Crying Mountains need to be protected. This can be done by reducing deforestation, planting trees, and creating sustainable forest management practices.
  • Stop mining: Mining activities in the Crying Mountains need to be stopped. This can be done by imposing a moratorium on mining in the area, and by supporting sustainable alternatives to mining.
  • Address climate change: Climate change is a major threat to the Crying Mountains. This can be addressed by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and by adapting to the effects of climate change.

Conclusion

The Crying Mountains of Kibungan are a beautiful and important part of the Philippines. They are home to a variety of plants and animals, and they are a vital source of water for the surrounding communities. The mountains are also an important part of the culture and religion of the indigenous peoples of the region.

The Crying Mountains are facing a number of threats, but there are also a number of people who are working to protect them. By taking steps to protect the Crying Mountains, we can ensure that they will continue to be a beautiful and important part of the Philippines for generations to come.


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