Kandungaw was not originally part of our itinerary. We went to Dalaguete to primarily visit Casino Peak. However, our habal-habal driver suggested that we should go straight to Kandungaw after. Convinced, we decided to grab the opportunity and trekked 2 mountains in 1 day.
From Barangay Lunsangan, (Casino Peak) it took us 20 minutes habal-habal ride to Maloray, Dalaguete (Kandungaw Peak). We started trekking around 10:30 AM. The foot of the mountain is located along the barangay road. It was an easy trek at first because it has concrete stairs with 196 steep steps. As the trek continued, we went through farmlands, houses, and played with farm animals.
We left the city at 4:00 AM, reached Dalaguete after 2 hours of bus ride, habal-habal ride for almost 20 minutes and trek straight to Casino Peak for roughly an hour. Obviously, we were drained and hungry as we hiked to the top of Kandungaw. Aside from the sun’s scorching heat, the mountain was higher and steeper.
As we were struggling to the top, I was surprised when we met few kids aged 8-12 years old selling refreshments and snacks along the narrow footpath. They positioned their mini stores near big rocks that protected them from the heat of the sun, and some of them displayed the items they’re selling under worn out umbrellas.
If you happen to pass by those kids, please buy something from them. It would definitely help them have a decent meal. Some families live in the mountains so probably those kids were from there.
We had a talkative old man as our tour guide. He was talking about how farming was difficult and the struggles to make ends meet. We needed to leave him because he made multiple stops resting which we can’t adford to do. Our itinerary was full that day and needed to go back to the city as quick as possible. He was able to catch up with us when we were almost at the top.
The view from the summit of Kandungaw was beautiful. Casino Peak has the mini chocolate hills view while Kandungaw Peak has the vast view of almost half of Badian and most of Dalaguete’s land areas. Osmena Peak was known to be the highest peak in Dalaguete, but I doubt. A cave is also located nearby. Hikers can enjoy the nerve-wracking view from the summit together with the thrill of exploring the cave.
Of course, “the buwis buhay” selfies are part of the itinerary. After the selfies, we headed down to the cave.
The cave is located somewhere at the side of the mountain. So from the peak, we trekked down to a very narrow trail going down to the cave clinging on an old rope, tree branches, twigs and on whatever we can hold onto. Make sure that you have a stable footing, slipping is possible. The cave has a small and narrow entrance. My long legs were struggling to get through. Bring a flashlight inside or rent one at the registration area.
The cave was not too spacious inside. It has beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Caves are not one of my favorite places to visit, I always have this eerie feeling and goosebumps every time. We took few pictures and then left.
Additional Trekking Tips:
1. Register before trekking.
2. A 30.00 pesos fee will be collected upon registration.
3. 20 pesos flashlight for rent, if you need one.
4. Ask your driver to look for a guide, if necessary.
5. Trek guide does not have a specific tariff.
6. There are random kids who can be your guide.
7. Trek light.