Kibungan Circuit: Hike to Mt. Tagpaya

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Nicknamed “The Switzerland of the Philippines” by some, the Kibungan Circuit is an incredibly scenic trek in the heart of the Cordilleras.  It features rice terraces, hanging bridges, pine forests, rivers, waterfalls, small villages, caves used as burial sites and stunning views.  Despite the dramatic mountains and pristine rice terraces, few visitors pass through this region. So if you’re looking for an isolated and unique wilderness adventure, this is it!

This version of the Kibungan Circuit is a 2 day, closed loop trek. Starting in the town of Tanap at 920 MASL (meters above sea level), the path cuts through rice paddies, gradually descending until reaching a long hanging bridge.  After crossing the bridge and passing through a small village, you’ll start a steep ascent that eventually leads to Upper Buga, a campsite with incredible views and a great place to stop for lunch.  Continuing on, you’ll descend past another small village and wind your way through some mossy forests.  Another steep ascent begins and you’ll climb all the way up to Mt. Tagpaya (1820 MASL) where there is a great camping site among the pine trees. Next to the campsite is Tabaw Peak, which boasts a 360 degree view of the surrounding areas, reaching as far as the West Philippine Sea. At night during a clear sky, make sure you take advantage of the spectacular stargazing. 

After camping at Mt. Tagpaya, Day 2 begins on a new path that curves alongside the mountain, with the occasional pine tree for shade and consistent panoramic views.  An ascent through another pine forest will then lead you through a series of switchbacks that lead down the mountain.  At the bottom you’re rewarded with a small spring, great for cooling off. You’ll know you’re there when you cross a small bridge and the path veers left or right.  Stay left to continue on the trail, go right to visit the spring. The trail continues through forests and across some more hanging bridges, eventually leading to a river and rock hopping at Lungsad Falls.  Continue further across another foot bridge, weave your way through vibrant green rice terraces, and after one final ascent, you’ll be back at the trailhead!  Round trip: 17 kilometers. 

Along the way, you'll likely cross paths with locals who live on the mountainside and see caves lined with coffins that are used as burial sites.  

Pack List

  • Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, portable stove)
  • Snacks
  • Meals
  • Layers (hot during day, cool at night)
  • Sunscreen
  • Good shoes
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Camera
  • Hiking sticks or poles are recommended for this hike - very steep terrain
  • Water (water sources available along the way- natural spring water)
  • Guide (Contact Tourism Officer in Kibungan at +639059206276 or seek out adventure company, often based out of Manila. I hiked with TrailAdventours and highly recommend them).
  • Porters (optional, around 500php/day)
  • Nominal registration fee (30php)
Show More
RT Distance 10.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 2952.8 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

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