Maligcong’s Famed Twin Hike – Mt. Fato to Mt. Kupapey Traverse

In photo: Sitio Favarey as seen from the first view deck of Mt. Fato.

Mt.Fato (est. 1438MASL) and Mt. Kupapey (est. 1647 MASL) - Pinoymountaineer

About Mt. Fato

The rocky sister of Mt. Kupapey, Mt. Fato, got its name from its rocky summit. In Maligcong dialect, fato means “bato” or rocks. The trail en route to its summit is beginner-friendly. It would take around an hour or two to reach the summit depending on your pace. The first part of the trail is a cemented staircase before it gets rocky and muddy (it rained the previous night), with some trace of blue soil similar to Sagada’s Blue Soil Hills. The entire trail was covered with Pine trees and a short mossy area before reaching the summit.

From the view deck and summit, one could see Sitio Favarey and surrounding terraces. You’ll know you’re near it’s highest point when you enter the mossy forest and you’re already there because of the rock formations and a signage of Mt. Fato. Sad to see vandalism among these rocks. Again, some people love to leave their marks in an unappealing way.

About Mt. Kupapey

Mt. Kupapey, also pronouced as Kufapuy in Maligcong dialect, is a relatively beginner-friendly mountain to hike. There are two ways getting there, either do a traverse from Mt. Fato or from the rice terraces which starts at a staircase leading to the already established trail of the mountain. For just a single hike, similar to Mt. Fato, it would  take around one to two hours from jump-off to summit. If doing the traverse, around five to eight hours is enough to finish the entire trip depending on your pace. The trail was covered with pine trees because this mountain also serves as the watershed for the terraces and source of water for the community. There are areas suitable for camping too, however, overnight hikes are not allowed as of the writing.

From its summit, one could see the three Sitios in Maligcong namely Sitio Favarey, Farung-ao, and Favuyan. Also, a top-view of Maligcong Rice Terraces.

If hiking is not your forte, you could ask your guide to take you around the terraces for a close-up view of the rice fields instead.

Our Experience

We started our hike to Mt. Fato at nine (9) in the morning. Along the trail, we were lucky to spot a Mountain Shrike (Lanius validirostris) resting on a branch. It is an uncommon endemic bird usually found above 1000 meters. We took noticed of the blue soil along the trail. When we reached the view deck, we stopped to take photos of Sitio Favarey. Favarey means center or centro. Long before, it is considered as the center of the town of Maligcong. One could take notice how closely-fitted each houses are in the community. Mt. Matu-on could also be seen opposite to Mt. Fato and Kupapey with its highest peak covered with thick fog.

At ten, we arrived at the rocky summit of Mt. Fato. We climbed one of the boulders, however, I find it hard to move around as my shoes were really slippery to rocky terrain or surface, specially that it rained the previous night. Extra precaution is needed when scrambling to these rocks to avoid any accident. We rest for about an hour and went back to the area where the trail diverts traversing to Mt. Kupapey and back to jump-off. It was our first time – me, Pat, and Ate Rowena – to do the traverse. Relying with the the terraces of Maligcong in the east and in Guina-ang’s on the west, we delve deeper into the pine forest. The trail was established with some forks. Some of which were trails en route to Mainit hotspring which is around two to three hours trekking from Sitio Favuyan.

According to Ate Rowena, even if it was her first time to do the traverse, she appreciated the fact that the trail was much more scenic than doing the trek as two separate activities for each mountain. Along the trail traversing to Mt. Kupapey, one can see close up of Guina-ang terraces and if it’s not really foggy, the distant Sagada could also be seen.

At twelve, we reached Mt. Kupapey. We were greeted with a beautiful top-view of the Maligcong rice terraces. It looks so much better in the summit than up close as the rice paddies reflected the sky. Most of the farmers are preparing the rice field for the start of a new agricultural year. On the side of Sitio Favarey, the rice fields are due for harvesting already.

We planned to go back in Maligcong for a dayhike of Mts. Matu-on and Amfomotngor as well.

Going back to Sitio Favuyan, we hiked through the usual trail of Mt. Kupapey. At two in the afternoon, we’re back at Ate Rowena’s guest house. We braved a shortcut going back and honestly, the shortcut was much tiring than the the long way back to the community.

The entire trek we did was a total of five hours with pretty much lots of rest for taking photos.

Take-aways

📍 If doing separate trek on these mountains, it’s best to go to Mt. Fato in the afternoon and Mt. Kupapey in the morning.

📍 If trekking to these mountains was not enough, go to Mainit hotspring in Bontoc.

📍 Explore the rice terraces and pick some kuhol (snail) for lunch. There are different types of kuhol found in the rice paddies.

For accommodation and guide, you may contact Ate Rowena of Maligcong Terraces View Guest House through text or call 09151881732. Our stay there was really homey and the food served were great!

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