Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Few Hours of Waiting @ Syblings Nook

Syblings Nook (SM Baguio)
By Lakwatsero

Syblings Nook
Some of the boys of our group, decided to stay at SM Baguio, and had a few drink of San Mig Light to waste some of time. It was a really good decision, we had a chance to do our post climb activity, we talked and chat regarding the climb, the experiences climbing Mt. Pulag.

want a menu....
on other side....
the entrance
Actually we wasn't able to order a dinner, because we decided to drink first, but as far as i see the menu, it really looks nice and you could find some interesting food choices on their menu. Syblings Nook is located at 2nd floor open view deck of SM Baguio. Their place was actually good. They're offering meals from morning to dinner meals and even catered like us that who just wants to drink and take a beautiful view of Baguio for sidetrip views. About their prices it is quite reasonable and really presented good.

group pic 1st....hehehehe
We started to drink around 6:30pm in the evening. For our 1st order it was 2 buckets of San Mig Light with pika pika, for just P275 each. After few chat, we had our 2nd order this time, it was a 2 bucket of San Mig Light again but this time it is partnered with 2 Pork Sisig, for just P365 each. Of course after exchanging of words, chatting again, and few hours pass by. We had our last order, combination of 2 buckets again, with different pulutan, 1 pikapika and 1 plates of Lumpiang Bangus (for P325 (lumpiang bangus)).
The Pika-Pika Pulutan

Pork Sisig Pulutan
Lumpiang Bangus
We stayed for few hours while drinking beer and even stayed up to closing time of the store and SM Baguio. We had a nice chat and different discussion, and especially one of the topic is for our next destination. And for the record, your's truly is not actually eating any kind of fish meals, i don't really know why, and don't ask me too, because i cannot answer you. But when i tried the Lumpiang Bangus, it was really good and i don't even taste the fish, i think it is pork. Kodus to the cook of Syblings Nook...hehehehehe..ang galing...nasarapan ako eh...So that all....this is my last entry for my Mt. Pulag adventure. Till my next adventures......Lakwatserong tatay signing ganun!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baguio City: SM Baguio and Victory Liner

One Rainy Night at Baguio City
By Lakwatsero

Lakwatserong Tatay @ SM Baguio
How to spend 5 hours while it is raining at the Coldest Center Capital of our Country, "BAGUIO CITY" and waiting for the departure of your scheduled bus trip. Our group arrived at Baguio City around pass 5pm, it rains very hard, actually all our backpacks are wet because as we go back to Baguio our backpacks where placed up or in short it is top load, we haven't got a chance to placed it inside the jeepney because while were near to Baguio proper it rains hard.

some of the summitters
After unloading our packs from our chartered jeepney, we headed to ticketing office to check for available bus going back to Manila, and sad to say for our group there was no earlier trip back to Manila. All of the available tickets wer very late and we don't have a choice we booked for 10:30pm trip to Manila. After booking for a ticket, our group decided to stroll around Baguio, and all of our stuffs were placed in Victory Liner's luggage room, just for P50 all of our bags were on a safe storage.
SPI MC Laguna Summitters
Actually most of us were not decided where to go because we will gonna be waiting up to 5 hours, and what the hell well gonna on Baguio while it is raining. Most of us that time want to go to Public market of Baguio, but due to its weather, we decided to go first at SM Baguio, that is just a walking distance to Victory Liner Station. As you can see above some of the pictures taken at 2nd floor open view deck of SM Baguio where you could have a nice view of Baguio Cathedral Church and some of the School and other famous establishment within Baguio.
drinking time...hehehehe
So what we have decided is most of the boys stayed at Baguio and had a few drinks of San mig light at Syblings Nook to waste some of our time, and it really looks like a post climb activity for us, were we had the chance to voice out our own experiences, the climb itself, and for our next destination too...i hope that i can joined again...Mt. of the Laguna pips, decided to go to stroll around Baguio because the rained suddenly stopped and buy some pasalubongs for their friends, as for the boys who stayed at SM Baguio decided to drink and drink San Mig Light...hehehehe...
carienda store along Victory Liner Station
Luckily for us who have stayed at SM Baguio, we had a free dinner courtesy of Sir Edwin Pedres, who happened to have cousins that selling fried chicken, bulalo, fried tilapia, and many more..(in short they owned a Carinderia)..along Victory Liner, and it really opens at night because it caters some of the overnight taxi's of Baguio City. The food was really good and especially the "Sabaw ng Bulalo" that time, it is really cold, and zipping a hot sabaw of Bulalo was really a good timing....masasabi ko lang ang sarap...definitely if im around the area again when im in Baguio..ill gonna eat there again. Actually the Laguna pips that wasn't joined us at SM baguio was so envy from us...maybe next time we will go there..hehehehe!!!!!
few minutes to go.....Victoty Liner Baguio
One of the last photo opps for our group. We are all ready to go and just waiting for our turn to step in to our designated bus trip. To end our climb and our trip. It is really nice to meet new friends again and meet up again some of my fellow backpackers. It was a weekend full of fun and captured memories, and unforgetable memories, especially the "drinking while raining at camp 2"...hehehehe...
Thanks again to Gilbert of SPIMC who invited me to joined this climbed and SPI Manila pips, and Sir Ryan and Sir Edwin, till the next mga sir. Till our next mountaineering trip. Invite me again ha....

My 2nd Climb to Mt. Pulag

Mt. Pulag (Executive Trail)
(Ambangeg-Ambangeg Trail)
April 24-25, 2010
By Lakwatsero

Sunrise @ Mt. Pulag

The most famous Sea of Clouds @ Pulag
Mount Pulag is the second (apparently it's the third) highest mountain in the Philippines, next to Mount Apo (2,956 meters) and Mount Dulang-Dulang (2,938 meters), making it the highest in Luzon with over 2,922 meters above sea level. Just to give you a clue, Mt. Pulag is so high, it's climate is TEMPERATE with rains predominating the entire year. There are four major trails up the summit - the Ambangeg, Akiki, and Tawangan trails from Benguet and the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Vizcaya - all of them differ in difficulty. We took beginner's trail, Ambangeg, with two camp sites before reaching the peak. Actually this is my 2nd climb to this mountain my first was the trail that is called the killer trail...Akiki Trail, but we go down via Ambangeg trail.
have you ever tried @ Baguio "Strawberry Taho"

our ride

our stopover for breakfast & buy pack lunch

would you want to be part of Mt. Pulag

Orientation Session with Ma'am Emerita Tamiray

contact nos. of DENR-PAO

buying some souvenirs shirts before the climb

it's nice to be back!!!!!

at last i had the oppotunity "Ma'am Emerita Tamiray "park superintendent"

The Baguio-Ranger station part of the trip makes used of a modified jeep for transportation, I don’t think that your car or SUV will be able to survive the rough road part without taking a very bad beating! I highly suggest that you take bonamin for the trip....hehehehe..A trek to this mountain will reward you with a spectacular vista of rocky slopes covered with pine trees, lush vegetation in the mossy forest, rolling grassy hills, and a magnificent sea of clouds at the peak. It also boasts a large diversity of flora and fauna including the endangered mammals like the Philippine Brown Deer, Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat, the Luzon Pygmy Fruit Bat as well as some rare orchids and plants endemic to the mountain.... At this part of the trip the landscape is already beautiful, lush surroundings and breath taking views await you. You will have to take a brief lecture for 20 min. at the DENR-PAO station with Ma'am Emerita Tamiray's lecture us, about an hour and a half from the ranger station on the do’s and don’ts on the mountain, likewise register and pay the climbing fees.

At Ranger Station.....

at last we just arrived!!!!!

SPIMC Laguna pips!!!!

Lenny & Matt from Guam, USA

group pic before the climb....
Major jump-off: Ambangeg, Kabayan, Benguet
LLA: 16°34'58"N 120°53'15"E, 2922 MASL
Level and days required: Level 3, 3-5 days
Hours to summit / Days required: 4-5 hours / 2 days
Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 3
SUGGESTED ITINERARY: (based on our actual climb)

Day 0
24:30 ETD Victory Liner (Pasay terminal). Reserve tickets ahead to be sure.

Day 1
0620 ETA Baguio (Victory Liner terminal)
0640 ETD of chartered jeep for Ambangeg
0700 We passed by a Talipapa, buy foods for our meals (lunch & dinner for day1 & day2) & drinks
0800 Breakfast time & buy pack lunch (Pingkan Jo Eatery @ KM.27 Ambuklao , Bokod, Benguet)
1045 ETA DENR Office, for Registration and Orientation
1145 ETD for Ranger Station
1250 ETA Ranger Station & take heavy lunch
1345 Start treak
1450 ETA Campsite 1
1700 ETA Campsite 2 extension (pitch tent)
1900 Dinner while raining
2000 Socials while raining again.
2230 Lights off and praying rain would stopped.

Day 2
0330 Wake up time (it was still raining but just waiting for almost an hour, there was a clearing)
0500 ETD for morning trek to summit for sunrise
0630 ETA summit (photo opps)
0715 ETD for Campsite 2
0800 ETA Campsite 2
0830 Breakfast
0900 Breakcamp
0940 ETD for Ranger Station
1110 ETA Ranger Station, settle guide fees, buy souvenir from Mt. Pulag store (located few houses from Ranger Station and tidy up time (Warning: the water is very cold!!!!!!)
1300 ETD for DENR
1420 ETA DENR-PAO (Protected Area Office) and log-out time.
1440 ETD for Baguio
1715 ETA Baguio, proceed to Victory Liner for reservations of ticket back to Manila.


P445 Bus to Baguio (from Victory Pasay Terminal)
P8000 Chartered Jeep (V.V. Baguio - Ambangeg) divided to 16 persons
P135 1st day Breakfast and take out Lunch (@ Pingkan Jo Eatery)
P80 2nd day lunch (xl fried chicken, 1/2 rice, 1 softdrinks and free soup) @ Pingkan Jo Eatery
P180 Souvenir Shirts @ DENR-PAO office
P20 Key Chains @ souvenir store nearby Ranger Station
P200 Registration Fee
P100 Guide Fee (P500 pwede sa 6 persons)
P500 2 way porter (Camp 2 only)
P600 2 way porter (to Camp 3)


The elements are at work on your way to Mt. Pulag, so it's best to bring protection against both intense heat and cold, also strong winds and rain.

1. sun block
2. lip balm (if you have sensitive skin)
3. umbrella
4. cap
5. beanie caps or bonnets to cover your ears
6. wind-proof gloves and jacket(those that retain body heat, I recommend you bring leather gloves)
7. fleece sweater and scarf
8. socks (you'll be wearing two pairs of thick socks when sleeping, bring another for the hike)
9. sleeping pad (as an extra insulation just in case your tent gets wet)
10. hiking clothes made of synthetic fabric (should be lightweight, like Nike's Dri-fit line)

The rest of the stuff you should bring like a first aid kit and trail food are already kind of obvious when you're planning to go up a mountain, so I don't need to list them down.
As we arrived at Ranger Station we met some foreign expeditioners, named as Lenny & Matt, from Guam, USA, they said that this is their 1st time to Mt. Pulag, and definitely they'll come back again together with their other friends and stay again for 3-4 days on this mountain (hope if they come back we could meet again on this mountain and hopefully read this blog entry of mine, thanks again, sir). To start our trek from ranger station it will took you about 3-4 hours to the campsite or it will really depends on the facing of your group. You'll be walking mostly uphill on a path for about 3 to 4 hours. There are elevated slopes, so you need to bring rubber shoes with traction. If you don't get much cardiovascular exercise or if you have weak knees, make sure you bring a trekking poles for additional support or some freakin' knee wrap-arounds or something. The descent put more pressure on my left knee because the trail was a bit slippery. Anyway, the hike up isn't that cold, unless it's raining. You don't have to do some layering yet. Apply sunscreen when you get to Ambangeg station and please wear a cap if you don't want your face to look like roasted meat....hehehehe!!!! but our climb isn't like that because we arrived late afternoon, and while were on hiking up nearing camp 2, you will be soon entering ("Hamog"), it is really getting cold when you're getting near to camp 2. But just after we pitch our tents (Camp 2 extension) it rains, as Ma'am Emerita told us, it was raining that week. But even though it rains we manage to cook our dinners at time and even do socials while raining together with the group we met the PACKERS (thanks, again sir), just to ease the cold we felt that time. We have to sleep early due to its bad weather and ready ourselves for an early summit assault, and also praying that night that we could have a clearing by early morning to view the beauty of Mt. Pulag and the famous sea of clouds when you are at the summit.

i really love this shot...

Vegetation area

some of the flower fauna's can be found @ Mt. Pulag

Camp 1

ang sarap ng hamog...ang lamig...hehehehe

our guides

social time....

pampatanggal lamig....

eto pa!!!!!

actually were the only group @ Camp 2 extension drinking outside....

last group....
Early morning the next day, we wake up early but sad to say it still raining but, for waiting just few hours, there was a clearing. All of the climber that time were so happy that God heared our prayers....yes...we have the chance to view the beauty of Mt. we not waste our time, we go ahead to reach the summit....please check below the reasons why do I say Mt. Pulag is so gorgeous and magnificent, & why they were so many climbers and even foreign adventurers wants to climb this mountain.

last signage @ Mt. Pulag

grassland landscape

Camp 2 extension site far away

the rolling hills

photo opps....

the only tree you could see when you go for the summit

photo opps with fellow mountaineers

wanna swim..hehehe...

the summiteers....

epekto ng alak...hehehehe

some of the mountaineers

the silhoutte shot

jumpshot...thanks for the effort of toffer...hehehehe!!!!

at last....the summit

our camp

bye...bye...pulag...ill gonna be back!!!!

The temperature at the campsite usually drops up to 10 degrees celsius. The coldest so far is -2 celsius (this is really!!!!). The problem is, while the cold is trying to sneak inside your clothes like a perv, you'd have to battle the strong winds and when I say strong, it's like having four jumbo electric fans follow you everywhere you go. Luckily i already have my own tadpole type of tent this time. Because the 1st time I climbed Mt. Pulag we used a dome type tent 4-5 persons is fitted inside, but the weather condition is not like as this my 2nd climb (it rains). That's not even the worst part. When it starts to rain, that's when you have to be ready.


Unfortunately for us, the rain started pouring just an hours after we set up camp. We set up our camp to Camp2 extension, lucky for me my tent not got flooded inside even though hours of rain passby. But even though it rains we managed to still have our socials...hehehehe....and were also praying that the rain would stop by early morning so we could see the sunrise at Mt. Pulag, luckily our prayers were us. I slept alone complete with cold gearsto used in my tent but i think when it rains too much, I'm sure water will start seeping inside your tents even though you have the one of the most expensive like "North Face", not that much though, but still enough to give campers frostbite.

So, what the heck do you do when this happens?

1. Make sure you're all warm. Cover your head, neck, ears, hands and feet. If you have too much stuff on, remove them. It might cause you to perspire, making you feel cold all the more.
2. Stay dry. Have a towel ready to wipe your feet or hands dry just in case you become crazy enough to dance in the rain or when you need to go to the latrine while it's raining.
3. Eat. Food is like firewood for your belly. It's better if you can eat warm stuff, although it's kind of hard to boil water at 10 degrees Celsius. You may drink alcoholic beverages, just hydrate yourself. Also, I'm not just saying this because I like to eat....hehehehe...
4. Move. When you're given the chance to move around, do it. Voluntary muscular activity maximizes heat.
5. Wish that you have a friend who owns a helicopter. You don't know how many times you have wished for this while you was stuck wet and shivering inside a tent, with the occassional wind blowing the tent to bitchslap your face.

Luckily for all the climbers that weekend, we did reach the summit because the weather changed and by early morning it shines. We descended Pulag happy and fulfilled. Well, I shall be back to this mountain maybe with my kids by that time and take again awesome jumpshots with those famous floating clouds everyone's talking about.


There are two important contacts to know when climbing Mt. Pulag. First is that of Mang Roger Guzman, who arranges jeepney transportation from Baguio City to the Ranger Station (and elsewhere, i.e. the Akiki jump-off). He may be contacted at +639208068656. For the itinerary detailed above, the going rate for the jeepney transportation ranges from P8000-9000. For small groups, the mode of transportation is by bus -- take the A Liner Bus in Dangwa at Baguio City (around P120). This passes by the Visitors' Center in Ambangeg, and from there you can either rent a jeep up Ranger, walk the road up, or have motorcycles ('habal-habal') to take you to Ranger Station.

The other contact is the DENR Park Superintendent for the Mt. Pulag National Park, Ma'am Emerita Tamiray. She may be reached at +639196315402. Groups usually fax their plans to DENR (Mt. Pulag National Park) office in Baguio ahead of time, to (074) 444 7428. Or you can also text/call Ma'am Mering through her cellphone. You do not have to worry about guides or porters because the system in Pulag is orderly. If in need of an extra tent, one may be rented at the Ranger Station for P75.

Victory Liner is the bus line with the most number of trips to Baguio. Seats are numbered and it is advisable to reserve tickets beforehand especially for large groups. A 2300H departure time is optimal for the itinerary above.
Special thanks to SPIMC Laguna, "gilbert", who invited me to be part of Mt. Pulag climbers this year, hopefully you'll invite me always on your next and future climbs, also to Sir Ryan and Edwin's group thanks also, and to all the mountaineer that we met there...Thank you!!!!!


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