Finally, after almost seven (7) years living in Baguio City, I was able to climb Mount Pulag, the third highest (used to be second 😦 ) mountain in the Philippines, next to Mount Apo and Mount Dulang Dulang last February 22 to 23 (Sunday to Monday). We didn’t hike during weekend since lots of climbers are visiting Mt. Pulag during Saturday and Sunday. Around 700 hikers climb the mountain during that weekend..so it’s very crowded at the peak.
Mt. Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,922 meters above sea level. The border between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain’s peak. Highlights of the climb includes the montane forests and the grassland summit with its “sea of clouds” phenomenon. There are four major trails up the summit: the Ambangeg, Akiki, and Tawangan trails from Benguet and the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Vizcaya. These trails are managed by the Mount Pulag National Park, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Be sure to make reservations for your hike at DENR. They will no longer allow hike with no reservation due to the increase of hikers going to Mt. Pulag. We took the Ambangeg trail, the easy trail and a two day trek only. Perfect for beginners! I had no muscle pain after the trek and was able to heels at work — so far, my Mt. Pico de Loro trek is still the hardest. But this climb is special, as this became a one day trek (8rs up and down the summit).
We are a small group of hikers (8 hikers – Efren & wife Joy, Mac2 & wife Maribel, Jeff & girlfriend Maryfe, Mernie and me) from Baguio. They are my colleagues at Moog with their partners. We hired a jeepney to get us from Baguio City to Mt. Pulag Ranger station (cost is PHP 8,000 or $177). We left the meet up place (Caltex Station near Victory Liner Station) at 6:10am and arrived at DENR at 9:00am for our orientation. It took us two hours as we had to eat breakfast and sidetrip at Ambuklao Dam. 🙂
Breakfast at Pinkan Jo Eatery
Side Trip – Ambuklao Dam
Orientation at DENR (need to pay PHP100/pax or $2/pax). We thought we are the first to arrive but there are three (3) groups doing their orientation already. So we had to wait for our turn. You can also reserve your souvenir shirts already and get it after the trek. I bought a shirt, a refrigerator magnet and got myself my Mt Pulag Certificate.
There are three camping site at Mt. Pulag (Camp 1, 2 and 3). But since it’s been raining a few days before, Camp 2 is closed since it’s muddy. It was only closed last Friday. Camp 1 can only accomodate 4 to 7 tents so the first group got the spot already. And then, Camp 3 it’s for the hikers who will be taking the Akiki Trail. So we have no choice but to camp at the Ranger Station. You can actually choose if you want to do homestay or put your tents (camping fee is PHP50/pax or $1/pax).
Overlooking – Camp 3
We arrived at the Ranger Station at 11:10am. You need to pay PHP80/pax for the environmental fee and guide fee PHP120/pax. We will start our hike to Mt. Pulag Summit at 1:00am (Monday morning). It’s still a long day for us so we had our afternoon nap so we have energy for the very early morning trek.
Thanks to Jeff and Maryfe, they bought and cooked our dinner. It was so cold so make sure you bring thick clothes (sweater, thermal shirt & pants, gloves, bonnet). I had to wear 4 layers of clothes and still catch a cold. We slept at 9:30pm but woke up at 11:00pm since I can’t breathe due to colds. Good thing, I bought my medicines.
We started our trek at 2:00am. We had to leave Mac and his wife since he is not feeling well. It’s ok since this is not their first time to visit Pulag.
When we started the trek, I had to stop and remove some of my sweaters since it felt so warm. I also continue to sneeze as the temperature changes (hot — cold then hot). After almost 30 mins, we arrive at Camp 1. Get some short rest and starts walking again, arrived at Camp 2 at 4:00am. Sorry, no photos during this trek as it’s too dark. We had our headlights and flashlights on to be our eyes.
After 3 hours of walking and sneezing (I have colds huhu!), we finally arrived at the summit (5:00am) and waited for the sunrise. It’s too cold so had to wear all my sweater and gloves again.
Sadly, I didn’t see any sea of clouds. Good thing, we have this time elapsed video from one of the hikers — Bong Bajo “Prelude of Dreams”. Enjoy! 🙂
After staying at the summit for almost two hours, it’s time to go down and enjoy the beautiful sites.
Can’t resist not to stop and take lots of photos.
Mossy Forest/ Pine Forest
Arrived at Ranger Station at 11:00am.
Side trip at Daclan Sulfuric Spring.
Back in Baguio at 5:00pm. 🙂
Trail: Baguio – Ambuklao – DENR – Ranger Station – Camp 1 – Camp 2 – Mt. Pulag Summit