Bar none, this is the top draw when any traveler goes to Apayao.
First, for its sheer beauty. Second, for the challenge one has to take to conquer the rocks.
I am 61 years old, and a regular adventure traveler. And so the guide asked whether I am up to climbing Dupag using the hard route. Instinct told me to take the easy route.
The easy route was not at all easy. Even while I was blessed with good weather (a group of friends went 2 weeks earlier but did not make it to the rocks because of incessant rains), the climb was still difficult because the rocks were still rather slippery. I was wearing a good pair of sandals, but for some reason, my soles would slip. Thus, I had to do it more slowly, hanging on to trees and shrubs along the way, and clinging on to rock surfaces.
Higher into the climb, I was beginning to ask myself if I could make it, or retreat and go back down. But heck, I was there already, so I persisted and climbed some more. No harness. And the climb meant inserting my feet, usually just my toes, into tiny crevices of the rocks. And holding fast to the sides of two rocks, if not to the sharp ends of the top surfaces.
Moving from one section to the next is a bigger challenge. To go beyond one rock that looked like a giant blade into the next rock, one could fall. But our able guide perched himself between two rocks and asked me to use his thighs as a step. OMG! If he fell from my weight, we would both fall down. On top of that, I had to hang on for dear life to the top surface of another rock while stepping on his thighs. But I made it to the next spot.
I had lots of water for sustenance. And in many parts, I felt like the wind wasn’t at all blowing, the leaves on the fields still, and so I was gasping for breath, needing oxygen. I fanned myself using my baseball cap. And was unashamed to tell the guide I needed to rest to recover so I can go on.
Finally we made it. Success !
With the difficulty and all, I think I will do it again when I re-visit Apayao. Especially since I have made it once, and know exactly what to expect the next time.
How to get there
From Luna town, visit the Tourism Center in Marag, near the basketball court, about 15-20 minutes from Luna town center. Register and they will provide a guide and head gear for safety.
From the visitor center, we were guide to Dupag.
Vehicles are parked at a point before everyone has to cross a shallow river. There is a small hut afterwards, but it served its purpose better on our return, to rest a little bit.
Somewhere near the rest area was a hut where an old man lived, and he showed us a lambanog (fermented coconut wine) with ginseng and real cobra inside.
Had lunch in a small carinderia near the basketball court.
VISIT MARAG VALLEY
There are other attractions within Marag Valley. Like the Hanging Bridge, and the Manacota Underground River. Will be writing about these attractions, too. Meanwhile, I had to take a souvenir shot to prove my conquest of Dupag.