There are a lot of things that I want to bring before going to Mt. Pulag, thankfully I just brought enough clothes that helped me survive cold weather. Here are the things that are on my backpack:
- Rash Guard
- T shirt
- Hoodie jacket
- Heat tech clothes (long sleeves and pants)
- Head light and flash light
- Neck gear
- Sleeping bag
- Food: century tuna, jelly ace and nuts
- Hygiene: alcohol, wet wipes, mouthwash, tooth brush and soap
- Medicine and first aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Medical Certificate —-> Really important. You will not be allowed to trek if you don’t have this
Note: If you are planning to hike, better get a travel tour packages, some of them offers free van transfer and do all necessary paper works and coordination to the community which is really helpful for you to enjoy your stay. Ours is Travel Explorer. Our package include free T shirt, van transfer, fees required for the hike, camping fee, bag tag and certificate for only 2750.
Our meeting place was at Total Gas Station near LRT Balintawak station. We met other Pulag hikers which has the same meeting place. Unfortunately there’s no convenience store nearby just Chowking restaurant. 😛 I wasn’t able to track our travel time from our meeting place to Benguet but most likely its 6-10hrs?. Its really a long drive. We had a stop over at Baguio which greeted us with cold air. I bought some water there and a mouthwash too. Its was a bad idea as its really expensive. Better plan ahead to avoid buying on convenience stores. Its much cheaper at groceries. 😐 I also did try to taste Strawberry Taho. 😀 After our stop over, more hours of driving to Ambuklao. The entrance there is a long bridge. We again had a stop over at a carinderia to have our breakfast.
In case you don’t own a bonnet, better buy one there. Way cheaper than the ones being sold at the malls.
After our breakfast, we head to the DENR office. Here you’ll be required to attend the seminar before hiking in Mt. Pulag. Its a two part seminar, first you’ll watch a video describing Mt. Pulag. The villagers way of life. Ethics when trekking the mountain, etc. Anyway the second part is someone will revisit again the rules when hiking. That person will also examine the submitted medical certificate. The second part is fun and interactive. The speaker is really lively and has good sense of humor.
The Camp Site
After the seminar we transferred to a jeepney because our van can’t reach the village. Its an hour drive. Its also my first time doing a Top Load ride. You have to try it. Its really exciting. 😀 But you better hold on tight to the grills. 😛 Up there you will see a magnificent view of the mountains. You also need to be really careful while riding because there are waterlines hanging on top so you’ve to watch out and make sure you will not be entangled by it or you’ll be in a big big trouble.
We then reached what they call the ranger station where we get our pass on where to camp. You see there are a lot of paper works to work on. That’s why I really encourage you to get a tour package to not bother and just enjoy the moment.
Anyway, I thought, when we arrived at the place, we’ll prepare to ascend the mountain right away. But its not what happened. We spend our whole Saturday to the community. We setup our tent on the frontyard of one of the houses there. Our tour guide helped us to assemble our tent, because the one we borrowed don’t have any guide. 🙂 There are also stores nearby where you can buy food and souvenirs. The house where we setup our tent offered to cook rice for our lunch and sinigang the baboy for our dinner. It cost less than 100. After lunch, we rest for a while.
Since we had so much time to kill. I can’t check my Social Media accounts because there’s no signal for Globe users. (Smart really rock here.. Even has 3G even on Mt. Pulag itself.) We instead decided to check the surroundings and go on top of a hill. Even if its just a hill, the view is really spectacular. I really loved the green leafy surroundings. Its relaxing and calming. Plus the cold weather. Its a perfect place if you want to unwind. We stayed on top of the hill for more than an hour. Took pictures and just enjoyed the view.
At night the cold air you feel in the afternoon quite doubled. I had to wear my remaining clothes. Some of my friends are drinking liquor to ease the cold. But I guess it has a little effect. They offered me something to drink, but I refused because I know trail to Mt. Pulag will not be easy. Its 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines and highest in Luzon. I don’t feel sleepy at that time so I decided to lie down the tent. The view is really amazing. So many stars. You can see only a few in the metro because of the city lights. Its so nice to see such wonderful sight too bad I can’t take a picture of it because the camera that I have is only basic. I fell asleep just by looking at it. I was awaken when my tent mates came in to sleep. We’re three on our tent btw. 😀 I set my alarm at 12AM in order to prepare for the ascend on the mountain.
The weather gets colder and colder. Our tent moisten because of the sudden drop of temperature. Its been a while since the last time I woke by an alarm. I was so alert at that time. I shut my alarm off and went out of the tent. As I went out, I felt the really cold air. I had to wear the remaining clothes I have because of it. To describe, I wore 2 hoodie jackets, heat tech long sleeve, rash guard, t shirt and sando plus gloves. 😀 It will be a long trek to summit. Our trail is Ambangeg. Its the easiest among the 3 trails. The trails are in resemblance with Mt. Batulao. As we go higher, the air gets colder and colder. One of our friends were able to track the temperature, thanks to Smart’s Nationwidest signal :P, it records 3 degrees celsius. Its like we’re on a refrigerator or something. The moment you stopped walking, the more you’ll feel cold. Eating jelly ace here is awesome. Best jelly ace ever. 😛 Plus it helps generate energy. We arrived at Peak 3 a little early.
Note: You’ll be assigned on 4 different peaks. 1 being the highest. This will depend on what your travel tour is paying. You can still go to the highest peak once the group that reserved the area leaves.
The price of your effort going to Ambuklao and trekking for four hours will be paid off when you see the sunrise and witness the famous “Sea of Clouds”. No wonder why lots of travelers visited this place. Its really a majestic view. I really can’t describe it. Because its too perfect to describe. I’m using so much adjective now. Because that’s what really is. 😀 Apart from the greenish and brownish color of the mountain. You’ll be greeted by the Clouds forming on top. Its really an amazing site. I just really hope I brought a much higher end camera back then, but even with my Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V, I still managed to capture awesome pictures. God is really a great painter, architect, whatever. He blessed us with such wonderful creation. We enjoyed the view taking pictures at any part of the mountain almost 3 hours. Its really an amazing experience.
After enjoying the majestic view on top of the mountain, its time to go down. If only there’s a zipline 😛 Going down is quite easy as like the other mountains that I’ve been to. Though it was a really long walk again. I had to remove some of my clothes as its getting hotter. At the foot of the mountain there’s a service where you can ride a motorcycle going to your tent. But we decided to just walk until the end. We just wrap our things to prepare to go home.
Overall, my weekend at Mt. Pulag is really amazing. There are so many firsts. First Major Climb, First travel of the year, First time sleeping in tent and so on. I will forever treasure the moments. Its really a great experience. So for all of you out there, if you want to see one of the best views. I really suggest to try trekking Mt. Pulag.
For now just enjoy my slideshow below for my travel pictures. 😀