Mt. Ulap

Mt Ulap is a new mountain getting a lot of attention from all hikers – newbie, seasoned hikers or hardcore hikers. You can enjoy the beauty by simply doing a dayhike. This was featured in Lakbay to Love movie of Solenn Heusaff and Dennis Trillo. So before it became congested and to cure my weekend boredom, I joined the hike of Trail Insanity (c/o Rox) and paid Php 500 for this trek inclusive of dinner plus side trip to Baguio. The fee is lower since I’ll just meet them here in Baguio since I live here. It doeszn’t matter if I have no friends on the trek. Travelling solo made me an independent, confident woman and at the same time, it gives me a chance to meet new friends.

I was so excited for this trip to have my instagram worthy photo at the famous Gungal rock. I woke up at 4am and met the group at 4:30 am at Loakan Airport Arc. We had to stop and wait for another participant at PMA. After few minutes, our group is complete and we’re on our way to Mt Ulap. We arrived past 5am at Ampucao National High School where you need to register and get your guide.

We started the hike at 5:30am and ended the hike by noon time traverse to Barangay Sta Fe. As usual, we are last to arrive the peak together with my new friends – Lher, Ruth and Emz. I enjoyed hiking with these three ladies since we always have time for photo op. We enjoyed the view and talk about a lot of things. Just like me and Bim, they met each other and became friends during a trip only. Then they became travel buddies.

Here’s my photo diary for this trek and some important information.

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pls read 🙂

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Trail Map

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Team Mt. Ulap – Trail Insanity

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let’s start the trek 🙂

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ah! mornings like this ❤

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sea of clouds

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approaching Mt. Amabanao Paoay

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view from Mt. Ambanao Paoay

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twin mountains

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trail to Mt. Gungal

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the hills are alive 🙂

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trail to Mt. Ulap

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at Mt. Gungal

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another breath taking view

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finally, reached the top of Mt. Ulap

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Going down 😦

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Shower Time! for a fresher you 🙂

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

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Let it Go! Let it Go! at TACSIYAPO WALL!!!!

Mad? Angry? But can’t say and release it… All you have to do is go and visit this amazing place in Gerona, Tarlac.This will definitely help you release all those pain and angers that you’ve been holding on for a long time.

Tacsiyapo is the local word for P*tang Ina—the tagalog for son-of-a-bitch. Instead  bad mouthing the situation or the person you are mad at, the wall is the better venue. Here, you can buy ceramics plates and glass and throw them at the TACSIYAPO WALL. You can even purchase a television set to throw at the wall should you fancy doing so.

You can pass by this place when you go down from Baguio to Subic/Manila or vice versa (do not use TPLEX or SCTEX) since it’s located in Gerona Tarlac.

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Here’s the video of us at Tacsiyapo, it’ in Tagalog though. 🙂

Then it’s time to eat at Isdaan. You can even feed the koi and take wonderful photos around the place.

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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

Baguio’s Hunted House: Diplomat Hotel

Diplomat Hotel is an old abandoned former hotel located at Dominican Road, Baguio City, Philippines. It is famous for being a haunted place. Here’s some history:

The Dominican Order in the Philippines decided in May 1911 to construct a vacation house on top of what was later called the Dominican Hill. It was a 17-hectare property the Dominicans acquired from the previous American owners. Construction work was believed to have started in 1913 under Fr. Roque Ruano and the building was inaugurated about two years later on May 23, 1915. To take advantage of tax exemptions, a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario was opened in June 1915 but due to the very small enrollment, the school closed two years later and the building was reverted back to the original plan of setting up a vacation house.

During the 2nd World War, Dominican Hill was occupied by refugees fleeing from the Japanese Army Liberation Forces. Later the Japanese forces bombed the refugees out which resulted in extensive damages to the main structure and the surrounding area. Reconstruction work started in 1947 and was completed in about a year.

Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired ownership of the property in 1973 and remodeled thoroughly the interior into a 33-bedroom hotel but still retaining the unique and distinct personality which was earlier established by the Dominican friars. Even the large white cross on top of the building was retained. The hotel was managed by Tony Agpaoa, a Baguio-based entrepreneur and faith healer whose guests were mostly his patients from Europe. Diplomat Hotel ceased operations with the death of Agpaoa of a heart attack in 1987 and has since been closed to the public.

I’ve been in this place for several times to give tour for my family and friends who visit me from time to time. Yeah, the place is eerie…but I didn’t see or felt anything unusual! Good thing, I have no six sense…but a sick sense as my friend Lei used to tease me when we went there.

Before, you can actually go up and take photos at the cross, but due to the renovations made for the 2013 Cinemalaya Indie Film (The Diplomat Hotel), it’s now prohibited.

 with my good friends – Alelie “Lei” Guevarra, Magdalena “Lecat”  Trapse and Maria Rouchella “Ching” Adap.

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Aside from the hotel, you can also see the Guinness World’s Largest Ten Commandments Tablet beside it which was inaugurated last Oct 2011. This is to remind people of the best behavior that we should have.

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What are you waiting for? Come and visit Baguio! 🙂

BenCab Museum

BenCab Museum is a must see spot in Baguio City. Why? This is just the museum of Benedicto Reyes Cabrera (famously known as BenCab) who is awarded as our National Artist in the Philippines for visual arts (painting) last 2006. It’s just BenCab who is the best selling painter of his generation of Filipino artist.

First, you’ll be fascinated by the wonderful arts at the museum.

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Then you can relax at the garden. Ah..just wanna sleep here! 🙂

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For more information, visit their official website: http://www.bencabmuseum.org.

Camp John Hay: Historical Core

Did you know that Camp John Hay used to be the major hill station used for rest and recreation by the United States Department of Defense employees and their dependents. Although it was officially designated as a communications station. It was named after Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, John Milton Hay when President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order settling aside land in Benguet for a military reservation under the United States Army on October 25,1903. Thanks Wikipedia! 🙂

Now Camp John Hay is one of the famous tourist attraction in Baguio. So what to expect  when you go to Camp John Hay Historical Core?

1. The Bell House was named in honor of Gen. J. Franklin Bell. The house was originally the vacation quarters of the Commanding General of the Philippines. It was General Bell who essentially transformed Camp John Hay into a major military resort. Today, the Bell House serves as a modern museum of colonial architecture and lifestyle. A portrait of John Milton Hay is set at the center of the living room, while the walls adorn images of Camp John Hay history.

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2. Bell Amphitheater, this structure was also designed by and named in honor of General J. Franklin Bell. It’s an auditorium that can seat four thousand people throughout which a whisper can be heard. This is now being utilized for religious services, concerts, lectures, theatrical performances and other forms of public entertainment. Indeed, the Amphitheater serves as an engineering marvel; no wonder that this site offers the perfect backdrop for all occasions.

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2. History Trail. Take a walk under the pine canopy while learning the 100-year history of Camp John Hay through the History Trail. The winding path along the flower beds beside the Bell House has history boards that post the highlights of Camp John Hay’s story. The trail is a 30-minute stroll that ends at the Bell Amphitheater.

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3. Liberty Park.

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4. Treetop Adventure. If you’re an adventure junkie, be sure to visit this place. Visit their website for the full list of adventures (packages) and price – http://www.treetopadventureph.com. 

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5. Cemetery of Negativism. See my post at: https://journeywithroan.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/camp-john-hay-cemetery-of-negativism/

Baguio City Flower Festival (PANAGBENGA Festival)

One of the famous festival in the Philippines is the annual Panagbenga Festival (Blooming Flower Festival in English)held at Baguio City. I’m very lucky that I can witness this event every year since I work here. It’s a month long festival … Continue reading