Hitting three mountains in one trip, the Mangisi Traverse goes through Mt. Pack or Mt. Banshila (2,290 MASL), Mt. Purgatory (2,080 MASL) and Mt. Kom-kompol (2,325 MASL). About three hours from Baguio City, the jumpoff point is located at Japas, Bobok-Bisal in Bokod, Benguet. The trek commences with a straightforward ascent on unpaved roads leading to the Mangakew community. All visitors register here and attend an orientation conducted by a local. As mapped by the Association of Bokod Adventure Eco-Guides (ABADEG) and the Bokod Municipal Tourism Office, the entire Mangisi trail covers more than 21 kilometers from the jumpoff point in Japas to the endpoint in Ekip.
The trek continues on open and pine tree-forested trails. After passing the Bangtinen campsite, at the junction of Prospect, climbers enter a mossy forest that goes all the way to Bakian and even past Mt. Kom-kompol. The cool forest and dense greenery counter the continuous ascending trail to Mt. Pack and Mt. Purgatory. The summit of Pack is approximately three hours from Mangakew. It is flat and affords a view of the towns of Benguet on one side and Nueva Viscaya on the other. A marker conveniently distinguishes the two provinces’ boundaries from one another. Entering the mossy forest once again, the viewpoint of Mt. Purgatory is reached after 1.5 hours from Mt. Pack. Wooden railings line the area and a makeshift shelter provides respite to climbers.
The last stretch of the day’s trek is on the Bakian trail where the beloved limatiks make their presence felt. If camping or staying at the Bakian Primary School, it is another 1.5 hours from the Purgatory viewpoint. Toilets and running water are available in this area. It is highly advised that if a group stays here for the night, a donation be extended to the school (for the use of the facilities). Otherwise, the vast campsite at Mt. Tangbaw is the next option and is only half an hour away.
The second day of trekking commences with a quick ascent to the grassland summit of Tangbaw. Towns of Benguet are also visible at this point. Afterwards, another section of thick vegetation is negotiated to get to Mt. Kom-kompol. It affords a view of the golden peaks of Mt. Pulag on one side. Finally completing the Mangisi trail, the descent brings climbers out of the mossy forest and into a breathtaking pine tree-forested and narrow rocky trail that is characteristic of a typical Benguet hike. The seemingly long descent ends at Ekip proper where climbers can freshen up at one of the local’s houses.
The ABADEG and the Bokod Municipal Tourism Office have done a splendid job of organizing tourism and climbing activities in Purgatory. They maintain a website where information on reservation, available trails, camping rules, fees and the contact numbers of accredited local guides are enumerated.
Taken from the official website of Mt. Purgatory’s ABADEG.
The itinerary for the Mangisi traverse is as follows:
21:00 Take bus to Baguio City
02:30 ETA Baguio City; take chartered jeepney to Bokod
03:30 Depart Baguio
05:00 Breakfast (along the way)
07:00 Arrival at Japas jumpoff point at Bobok-Bisal, Bokod
07:45 Start trek
08:45 ETA Mt. Mangakew
09:00 Registration and orientation
09:30 Resume trekking
11:00 Bangtinen campsite (5 km)
12:30 Arrival at Mt. Pack (8 km); take lunch
13:00 Resume trek
14:30 Arrival at Mt. Purgatory (10.5 km)
16:00 ETA Bakian Primary School; stay overnight inside the school
19:00 Dinner at campsite and socials
04:00 Wake up call
05:00 Breakfast; break camp
07:00 Start trek
07:30 ETA Mt. Tangbaw campsite (14 km)
08:30 Arrival at Mt. Kom-kompol (17 km)
09:00 Start descent
12:00 End of trek at border of Brgy. Ekip (21.5 km); wash up
14:00 Depart for Baguio
14:30 Sign out at Bokod Municipal Hall
17:00 ETA Baguio City; dinner
20:00 Head back to Metro Manila