Mt. Pulag (Executive Trail)
April 24-25, 2010
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 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....MT. PULAG (AMBANGEG TRAIL)
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)
24:30 ETD Victory Liner (Pasay terminal). Reserve tickets ahead to be sure.
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.
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
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)
WHAT TO BRING:
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)
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.
WHAT THE HIKE'S LIKE:
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...
some of the flower fauna's can be found @ Mt. Pulag
ang sarap ng hamog...ang lamig...hehehehe
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. Pulag...so 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
Camp 2 extension site far away
the rolling hills
the only tree you could see when you go for the summit
photo opps with fellow mountaineers
epekto ng alak...hehehehe
some of the mountaineers
the silhoutte shot
jumpshot...thanks for the effort of toffer...hehehehe!!!!
at last....the summit
bye...bye...pulag...ill gonna be back!!!!HOW COLD IS 'COLD'?
The temperature at the campsite usually drops up to 10 degrees celsius. The coldest so far is -2 celsius (this is really cold...wow!!!!). 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.
WHAT TO DO WHEN IT RAINS THE WHOLE NIGHT?
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 heared....yahoo..for 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!!!!!