Location: Benguet, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya
Elevation: 2,926 masl
Easiest route: Ambangeg Trail (Artista Trail)
Major jump-off: Ranger Station, Bokod, Benguet
Days required | Hours to summit: 4-5 hours | 1-2 days
Specs: Major Climb | Difficulty 3/9| Trail class 1-2
Features: Sea of Clouds | Mossy Oak Forest | Pine Forest | Dwarf Bamboo Slopes
Mt. Pulag (pronounced as Pul-ag) is the name given to the third highest mountain in the Philippines coined by the locals particularly by the different tribes living within the area. The term Pulag (pronounced as Pul-Ag) is associated to the term bald or “kalbo” and it was given to the mountain due to the reason that from afar, you can see that the top of the mountain is made naturally out of grassland instead of tall pine trees. The locals also believe that it is the resting place of their ancestors and a playground of gods.
The first rays of the sun that will break through the horizon and the warm orange that will light slowly and will seep through the rolling sea of clouds as it break against the mountain peaks of Luzon’s highest pinnacles is all what we are expecting but unfortunately, it was too foggy the moment we reached the summit that it totally obscured and restricted the visibility of the view from the top. All we got was a body numbing cold mixed up nicely with drizzles that actually went through in our thick layers of clothing. Grrr!
If you are coming from a place other than Baguio then you’ll need to arrive first at the city of Pines to start your adventure going to Mt. Pulag.
From Baguio, we took a jeepney going to the Ranger Station (about 4 hours ride) with a stop over at Jang-jang Hanging Bridge for breakfast. The hanging bridge at Jang-jang is 290 meters long and is one of the longest hanging bridges in Benguet. You may want to take some photos here, it’s free of charge. Then, the next stop will be at the DENR office to attend the mandatory orientation and to pay the necessary environmental fees. Please keep it to your heart the things that the DENR officials will tell you during the orientation because it is really important as those things will benefit the locals, the mountain and you as well. Along the way to the ranger station where we will camp, magnificient view of the cordillera mountain ranges can be seen especially when you try top load-ing.
The easiest trail is the Ambangeg Trail when the above trails are compared to each other. But it should not be taken as literally “easy” because this trail still has the parts that are steep especially going to the tower area (where the best view of the sunset is said to be viewed) and eventually to the summit. We started our hike at around 2:30 at dawn and was at the summit around before 6:00. As described earlier, there are parts of the trail that are steep especially on the first part going to camp 1 and from camp 2 to the summit. Nevertheless, most of the trail was in gradual form. The only enemy you have when climbing Mt. Pulag is the too cold weather.
Photo ops while trekking down from the summit.
So there you go! IT’S OFFICIAL. WE DID IT! WE SURVIVED MOUNT PULAG!
It may have been disappointing from a weather perspective, but the new found friends, the camaraderie and the sense of achievement have made up for the disappointment felt and it was a truly memorable trip.
- Medical Certificate is required before the climb.
- For mobility and ease of trekking, the use of backpacks is recommended. Rule is to make sure your hands are free, so that you can support yourself (or your companions) in case you slip or fall. Pack light!
- Waterproof everything! You’ll notice how it gets progressively colder the higher you go. This is especially true at night, as everything gets moist and wet.
- To ensure minimal impact to the environment, make sure you follow the “Leave No Trace” principle.
- Trash and litter have no place in the mountain. Campfires are NOT allowed. Picking, gathering, hunting and especially damaging the vegetation is strictly prohibited.
- The temperature at Mt. Pulag may drop to 4 degrees or less, so make sure you have thick clothing that will keep you warm.
- Attend the pre-climb orientation so you’ll know what to expect and the dos and donts during your stay at the campsite.
- The local tribes consider the mountain as a sacred place. Learn how to respect it.
- There are available “Karinderyas” at the ranger station.
- Camping at Camp 1 is not allowed during weekends.
THINGS TO BRING:
– Jacket at least 2
– Arm guard
– Trekking pants/Jogging pants
– Trekking shoes
– Bonnet/Beannie hat
– Personal First aid kit
– Warming Oil
– Raincoat (Important)
– Falshlight /headlamp with extra batteries
– Trail water
– Trail Food (mixed nuts, chocolates,jelly ace)
– Extra Socks
– Extra clothes
– Personal Meds (biogesic, neozep, imodium, bioflu)
HOW TO GET THERE:
Take a bus from Manila to Baguio. Victory Liner have Baguio Trips every hour. Fee is Php450. (It is best to leave Manila at night around 11 pm)
From Baguio, rent a jeepney to the jump-off point (Badabak Ranger Station). Jeeps are available near the Victory bus station located at Engineer’s hill, just in front of 7-11 convenience store or at the petron gasoline station. There will be 2 stopovers – 1) Jang-Jang’s Eatery also known as “Kainan” and at 2) DENR.
If convenience is your top priority, choose a tour package (this is what we did!)
Mt Pulag Climb for Php 2,700 which included the following:
– 2 way transportation MANILA – BAGUIO – MANILA
– 2 way transportation BAGUIO – PULAG – BAGUIO
– LGU fee, Camping fee
– Cultural fee, Environmental fee
– Accredited local ranger guide fee
– Expedition leader service
– Day 1 Dinner
– Day 2 Breakfast
– Day 2 Lunch
– ID bagtag
– Certificate of Conquest
10PM – CALL DAGUPAN BUS CO INC. (CUBAO)
VAN – QUEZON AVE MCDONALDS
11PM – ETD CUBAO – BAGUIO
5AM – ETA BAGUIO
10AM – ETA DENR KABAYAN
12NN – ETA RANGER STATION – REST
2AM – WAKE- UP CALL, BFAST,FINAL PREP
3AM – START TREK
5AM – ETA CAMP 2, SUNRISE
7AM – START DESCENT
10AM – ETA BACK AT RANGER STATION, EAT MEALS
12NN – ETD RANGER STN – BAGUIO
5PM – ETA BAGUIO, SIDETRIP
7PM – ETD BAGUIO – MANILA
12AM – ETA MANILA
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