Beyond Baguio

With the completion of the Pangasinan portion of TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan- La Union Expressway), the trip to Baguio from Manila via Kennon Road is only 3 to 4 hours. It’s  fast and easy so every weekend, lots of tourist goes to Baguio not only due to cold weather but also to see the famous tourist spots in the city. But did you know that there are other places that you can visit beyond Baguio City?

Here are my top five (5) spots that will surely make your weekend to Baguio more exciting:

1. BALATOC MINES, ITOGON BENGUET. Learn and experience the life of a miner. This is just 30 minutes away from Baguio City. This can be reach via private car or public jeepney bound to Balatoc-Acupan located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 24/pax.  Tour Fee is  Php 250/pax with certificate. It’s a 2 hour tour inside the tunnel where you learn about the stages of gold mining while wearing the proper safety gear. You can contact them at 09212990169 or visit their site at http://www.facebook.com/balatocminestour. Make sure to contact them first since it was closed last November due to the typhoon.

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miner on duty

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Balatoc Mines

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learning about mining

2. DAYHIKE AT MT. ULAP , ITOGON BENGUET. Lose some calories by doing a day hike to Mt. Ulap (4 to 6 hours trek). Here you’ll see the stunning views of mountains, pines and grassland ridges and even burial caves. This is just 40 minutes away from Baguio City. This can be reach via private car or public jeepney bound to Ampucao located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 32/pax.  Just ask local directions on how to reach Ampucao Barangay Hall where you need to register and secure a guide. Better if you hike with your friends so you can save some cash on guide fee.

Mt Ulap EcoTrail Text Lines: 09284831113, 09217292726 &09182788625

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the famous rock…say NO to vandalism

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3. CHASING WATERFALLS: BRIDAL VEIL FALLS & COLORADO FALLS, TUBA BENGUET.  You can visit these falls before going up to Baguio since it’s located at the border between Camp 1 and Camp 2 Kennon Road. But if you’re in Baguio already, ride the public vans located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 70/pax. Just tell the driver to drop you at Twin Peaks, Colorado Falls. Then after hiking at Colorado, you can either walk or ride a tricyle (Php 15) to go to Bridal Veil Falls.

No hike required to reach Bridal Veil Falls, you can actually see it from the highway and can see it closer by crossing the hanging bridge. There is no fee, just bring your swimwear and enjoy the cold water.

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Bridal Veil Falls

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some local boys having fun at the falls

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Just 5 to 10 minutes away from Bridal Veil Falls is the Colorado Falls at Twin Peaks. It’s a 27-tier waterfalls. There’s a “no trespassing sign” so I guess it’s closed now. Make sure you get a local to guide you on your hike/trek since the trail is not that good. You need to cross the hanging bridge, rivers and climb huge boulders. Take extra careful, just one wrong move and it’s game over.

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Colorado Falls

4. KLONDYKE HOT SPRING, TUBA BENGUET. It’s  a small beautiful resort located at Camp 1. You’ll reach this first before going to Baguio via private car. But if you’re in Baguio already, ride the public vans located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 70/pax. Just tell the driver to drop you at the resort. This is a perfect place to relax. Entrance Fee is Php 100/pax.8

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Hot Springs 🙂

5. MT STO TOMAS, TUBA BENGUET. This is one of my favorite place to do hiking even before the famous “Forevermore” TV Series. Make sure not to miss the Sto Tomas Reservoir, radar and the bedrock. You can get here via private car, or rent a taxi (Php 300/hour) or public jeepneys located near Hotel Veniz (fare: less than Php 50/pax).

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Welcome to Mt. Sto Tomas

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love the mountains 🙂

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Mt. Sto Tomas Reservoir

So next time you go to Baguio, make sure not to miss this.

 

 

What do you think about this blog? Leave me a comment or email at roanguerrero@yahoo.com. Thank you! 🙂

 

 

 

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Mystical Kabayan Trek ~ 9 |19-20|2015

I’m a fan of all the hikes of Ate Ibang and Ate Ruby – they are my Indochina buddies  who loves to hike beautiful mountains here and abroad. I always check their albums and so amazed on all their photos. While browsing, I saw an event hosted by Yabag Mountaineering group (liked by Ate Ibang) and  decided to join. I always wanted to do the Mystical Kabayan Tour based from the photos I saw from my Ate’s. I also like the itinerary posted but Yabag is known as a group not following their itinerary. Is that a good or bad thing? Well, I need to join to find out.

So I invited my travel sissy “Bim” and my colleague Lee. But when the event is near, Lee cancelled so it’s me and Bim who went to this trek. Tour fee is Php 3500 which includes transportation (Bus Manila to Baguio 2 way and 2 days rented Monster Jeepney – Baguio to Kabayan), Entrance Fees & Environmental Fees, Guides for the Lake tour and hike and 2 camp meals (Dinner and breakfast).  You can even rent tent from them just like what we did (paid Php 750 for 3 person tent). And since I’m from Baguio, the tour fee that I paid is less the Manila Baguio transportation which is Php 2600. I just wait and meet them at Victory Liner Terminal PNR Baguio.

We met new faces on this trek, Migs – owner of Yabag Mountaineering group, Cris – loves to do solo travel (we plan to do a trip together soon), Ate Lulu – trekker who will be hiking Mt Everest with Ate Ibang, and Jonalyn – a broken hearted soul who wants to mend her heart thru hiking…plus a lot more.

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The beautiful Lake Tabeyo

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” the Gang”

Before starting the trek, we ate breakfast at Good Taste. But since Bim and I are so “pasaway”, we went to Jollibee, eat breakfast and bought pack lunch.

The original itinerary says that we will be hiking Mt Timbac  (3rd highest in Luzon, 9th in the Philippines) but due to the recent typhoon Ineng which caused lots of landslides, the area is closed.

We visit Kabayan National Museum where we see a fire mummy. It’s so amazing how they do the mummification process.

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at Kabayan Museum

The mummification began shortly after a person died where he would digest a very salty drink. After his death, his corpse was washed and set over a fire in a seated position, thus drying the fluids. Smoke from tobacco was blown into the mouth  to dry the body’s inside and internal organs.  Eventually, herbs were rubbed into the body. Mummified bodies are then placed in a coffin made of pinewood and laid to rest in rock shelters, natural caves or man made burial niches. The practice of that mummification ended when Spaniards colonized the Philippines in the 16th century.

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Kabayan Fire Mummy

Then we proceed to Tinonchial Burial Cave where see more fire mummies.

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off to Tinochol Burial Cave

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more fire mummies

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amazing Fire Mummies Burial Caves

We arrived at Lake Tabeyo at around 12 noon where we had our lunch. We just let the  Yabag boys to  set up the camps & tents. They are really organized and very fast in setting up the camps. We had few hours to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The weather is not too hot or too cold. This is a fun base camp since we have toilets and stores where we can buy coke. Yes, Bim and I are addicted to coke. I think we were able to drink two 1.5L coke for this tour.

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nice set up Sir Migs

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the great Mt. Tabayoc

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our home for two days

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kids playing…they have the coziest playground

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lovin’ the view

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beautiful Lake Tabeyo

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off to our trek

We arrived  early since Mt Timbac is closed, it was agreed that we  will start the hike to the three (3) lakes. We were accompanied by our lady guides since the Yabag boys will stay and prepare our dinner. We just bring our trail food (snacks), waterproof jacket, hats and cameras. It’s a monkey trail so I need to bring light items only. We were also reminded to minimize noise while we explore the lakes. I guess they know how noisy I am. My friends in Baguio also told me to always call my name – “Uwi na Roan” since the place is enchanted. This is for me to avoid from getting lost.

We rode the monster jeep and bring us to the foot of Lake Ambulalacao. It was really nice to know the folklores behind the three lakes. According to our guide, some fishermen saw shooting stars going up and down from this lake so it was named Lake Ambulalacao. Sadly, we are not able to see the whole beauty of this lake since it was covered by fog.

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yes, we’re here

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Foggy Lake Ambulalacao

Before reaching the next lake, you will see a lot of beautiful picturesque view.

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monkey trails

Next stop is Lake Letep Ngepos. The trail is muddy, you need to follow the guide’s trail since you might fall on the quicksand. It was believed that there was a young man who dive into it’s waters while holding a lit torch looking for treasures and the torch  didn’t die as he dived.

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Lake Letep Ngepos

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Lake Letep Ngepos

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The last lake is Lake Incolos where I didn’t see any body of water. Our guide explained that we are actually on top of the lake. This explains why it felt like I’m sinking and my shoes are wet. We are also not allowed to do the jumpshot hehe!  Our guide told us that a crocodile lived on this lake but was killed by a fisherman. The lake was covered by the crocodiles blood turning this lake like this now — covered with grasses and thin layer of land. After hearing her story, I’m imagining  that a giant crocodile will appear and will try to eat us… alhough it will not succeed since we are the fastest sweepers haha!

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Lake Incolos

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We continued our trek to Junior Pulag.  No wonder it’s the junior Mt Pulag since it has the same grassy terrain and peak. We stayed for a few minutes to take some rest, share stories and laughs before we head back to campsite.

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Dinner time. Time to drink some booze and learn more things about our new found friends.

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ready to eat and sleep

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Woke up early to see the beautiful view of Lake Tabeyo.

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mornings like this…yes, please

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Our guide teach us also on how to do carrot picking and proper way of cleaning carrots. Jonalyn and Bim have carrots for pasalubong already.

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carrot picking

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time to go home

Side trip to Opdas Cave where we see hundreds of skulls and bones. May they all rest in peace.

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Wash up at a swimming pool. Sorry but I don’t know the name. Most of them took a swim while the three of us – Bim, Jonalyn and I sing our hearts out at the videoke. They all looked fresh after the swim while we look so sweaty..yikes! Don’t worry, I let Bim and Jonalyn  shower at my apartment. We did a quick tour at Oh My Gulay and had dinner at 50’s Diner. Met the Ulupong Mountaineers at Victory Liner while waiting for their bus ride to Manila. Happy to see Ate Ruby again 🙂

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DIY: Mt. Pulag Trek via Ambangeg Trail

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).

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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

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Side Trip – Ambuklao Dam

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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.

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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).

Camp 1

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Camp 2

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Overlooking – Camp 3

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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.

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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.

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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.

Grass Land

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Mossy Forest/ Pine Forest

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Arrived at Ranger Station at 11:00am.

Side trip at Daclan Sulfuric Spring.

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Back in Baguio at 5:00pm. 🙂

Trail: Baguio – Ambuklao – DENR – Ranger Station – Camp 1 – Camp 2 – Mt. Pulag Summit

Hike to Mt. Sto Tomas (now as Sitio La Presa)

Sitio La Presa is one of the famous tourist spot now in Baguio City. Thanks to Forevermore– our local TV series which was shoot in this area. The amount of tourist have increased tremendously due to this series. It’s good … Continue reading