This is a narrative of our second day in Mt. Namandiraan. Start the journey here: Mt. Namandiraan – an Epitome of Hardship and Beauty
The campsite of Mt. Namandiraan, according to my co-hikers, is quite similar to Mt. Ugo’s. The difference, however, is the presence of foxholes used by Japanese occupants – miners and soldiers alike – as they passed by the mountain as they head to Benguet way, way back. Water source is present about thirty minutes from the site according to our guides. They gladly assist us by gathering our water bottles to fill up for our cooking needs the previous night. It was a cold evening, with the stars above us when we had our much awaited dinner and socials. At sunrise, we were welcomed by the magnificent view of the Cordillera mountain range which includes part of Sagada, Bontoc, Bakun, and even Amuyao.
As I am strolling around the campsite taking photographs, I stumble upon a beautiful flower I’ve been longing to see at full bloom. Finally! our very own Edelweiss, locally known as “Bunot“, and recorded to be present at Mt. Pulag is right before my eyes that morning.
At ten, our group started descend. The descent were characterized by steep slopes and ridges in between two mossy forests. Limatik or blood leeches are present along the trail. From the ridge, one could also see Mt. Tuwato, a 9/9-rated (difficulty) mountain also in Ilocos Sur which is currently, as of writing, closed to hiking activities. The trail needs to be established further, but was halted due to security purposes.
Continuing, we finally reached the fallow area near the river. A short assault followed by a steep descent will lead to Dapnog falls – a single tier waterfalls – surely a treat for someone tired of the longs walks. The water is definitely cold and is safe for drinking.
After having our lunch and much needed plunge in the refreshing water of Dapnog falls, we proceeded onto the last assault going to the community at Bessang Pass. The trail was pretty straightforward uphill and we found ourselves drenched in sweat again. Finally reaching the community was another one hour of continuous walk on rolling hills, passing by houses and locals, wild sunflower beds, and scenic scape along the way before getting to the Bessang Pass Monument.
Despite of its difficulty, given a chance, I would still love to spend one of my weekend for this mountain. It’s worth it!