Nov 5, 2016

Sunrise Chasing in Mt. Pulag | DIY COMPLETE GUIDE - PART 1






Mt. Pulag is probably Philippine's most visited mountain and the 3rd highest mountain. It sits between the borders of Benget, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya in the northern part of Luzon. The mountain is famous for its "sea of clouds" and the Milky Way Galaxy at dawn, which has attracted hundreds of tourist monthly. Because of my eagerness and desire to witness Pulag's raw natural beauty, we decided to pay it a visit last February at its coldest. As you know, I'm one of the many people who suffers from Migraine and I rather hike in a cold environment than hiking under the heat of the sun that could trigger an attack and will surely ruin our trip. It's our first climbing trip so we have few rounds of sit-ups and exercises for a week before climbing Mt. Pulag.

Mount Pulag, also known as Mount Pulog, takes its name from the Ibaloi word “pulag,” which means “to roll” or “moving down,”
Mt. Pulag Tips

• Be sure to make reservation/s for your hike because climbing without prior notice with DENR is discouraged. Text her or him the requested schedule and the number of people coming with you. There is now a limit to the number of climbers, or a maximum of 150, who can go to the summit to watch the spectacular sunrise. Contact: Ms. Emerita Albas (+639196315402) or Mr. Roy Tello ( +639291668864)

• Jeepney from Baguio- Badabak - Baguio. Contact Gina Epe (+639198169234)
• Park no longer grant permits to groups exceeding 20.
• Camping (if trekking via the Ambangeg Trail) is not allowed from Friday to Sunday.
• Mt. Pulag will be closed to tourists on Saturdays starting 2017.
• The coldest month of Mt. Pulag are from December to February.

DO IF YOURSELF:

For Non-Budget Conscious ( Hassle-free)

A plenitude of tour operators to Mt. Pulag can be found online. Rate is around Php 3,000 to Php 4,500 / person and may vary if you're coming from Manila or Baguio City. The package includes just about everything Bus fares (Manila-Baguio-Manila), Jeepney (Baguio-Bokod-Ranger-Bokod-Baguio), DENR fees, GUIDE fees, Tents, Food ( they do the cooking), Travel Insurance and a souvenir shirt. Hassle-free but expensive.

For Semi- Budget Conscious ( DIY 1-20 PERSONS)

One can take a Victory Liner bus in Cubao and Pasay to Baguio City. First trip is at 1:00 am and last trip us at 11:55 pm for regular aircon buses. Fare is pegged at Php 445. Victory First Class buses leave as early as 12:15 am and as late as 11:00 pm via SCTEX. Fare is Php 715.00. From Baguio, you can rent a monster jeepney to and from Mt. Pulag. It cost around Php 12,000 that can accommodate for 19 people ( Php 631 / pax) . However, rental rates are generally based on the full seating capacity of the vehicle which may range from 20 to 30 passengers.

Jeepney from Baguio- Badabak - Baguio. Contact Gina Epe (+639198169234)

The Visitor Center is open from 8:00 am. All climbers are required to attend the briefing conducted by the park superintendent. Climbers are required to pay P225 each for registration and green fees. Guide fee is P500 for a maximum of five persons plus P100 for each additional climber. Porter fee is P300 one way for a maximum weight of 15 kilos, plus P20 per additional kilo. The guides and porters belong to the Kankaney and Kalanguya tribes and they also help find suitable camping sites, fetch water and pitch tents. A P30 cultural fee is collected in Babadak.

CLIMB FEES

• Registration Fee - Php 225.00
• Camping Fee - Php 80.00
• Cultural and Heritage fee - Php 80.00 ( Collected in Bababak Ranger Station)
• Guide Fee - Php 500.00 ( Good for five persons plus Php 100.00 for each additional climber)
• Porter Fee - Php 300.00 (One way for a maximum weight of 15 kilos, plus P20 per additional kilo)

For Budget Conscious ( 1-5 persons)

One can take a Victory Liner bus in Cubao and Pasay to Baguio City. First trip is at 1:00 am and last trip us at 11:55 pm for regular aircon buses. Fare is Php 445. Victory First Class buses leave as early as 12:15 am and as late as 11:00 pm via SCTEX. Fare is Php 715.00. From Baguio, take a metered taxi to the Old Slaughterhouse and take a regular passenger van from Baguio to Kabayan, Benguet. It passes by Ambangeg. First trip usually leaves at 7:00AM or until the van to gets full of passengers. Succeeding trips depend on the number of commuters/passengers. Tell the driver to drop you off at the junction in Ambangeg (Bokod, Benguet) near the DENR Station. Travel time is 3-4 hours. Once in Ambangeg (Bokod, Benguet), walk in the direction of the DENR Office for registration and orientation.


ARE YOU PHYSICALLY FIT?

The management of the Mt. Pulag National Park in Cordillera is now requiring health clearances from authorized physicians before climbing Mt. Pulag. The advisory was issued after a 51- year old tourist died of cardiac arrest at Camp 2. We went there with no health clearances but we got a tip from habal-habal drivers that there's a hospital nearby that issues health clearances prior to climb. Dennis Molintas Memorial Hospital in Bokod is just 5 min away from DENR Office.

Once we arrived we fill out a form that they provided and paid Php 20.00 to have our heart rate and blood pressure checked. Both test came out normal and waited 10 min before our names we're called by the doctor on duty. You should fully declare pre-existing medical conditions such as allergies, asthma, heart ailments or a recent injury if you do have one. You will received your medical certificate after paying a nominal fee for check-up.

WILD RIDE

Mt. Pulag has four major trails – the Ambangeg or easy trail, the challenging Akiki trail, Tawangan trails from Benguet and the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Vizcaya. We took the easy trail Ambangeg and decided to pitch our tent at Camp 2. We were advise that the temperature up there drops down to 2-3 degrees Celsius at night or even lower. Because of that advisory I bought a pair of extra gloves for Php 100.00 sold at DENR Office. We then took a 30 minute motorcycle ride to Babadak Ranger Station. The road was mostly unpaved dusty and scary - hairpin turns, steep cliffs, dizzying heights. Fare is Php 250.00 - one way / person.


BABADAK RANGER STATION

Cultural and Heritage fee is collected here as well as Guide and Porter fees. The place is a one stop shop for camping supplies - tents, sleeping bags, butane, portable stove, food. We hired one guide and one porter to carry our bags to Camp 2 and back. I requested a male lad to be our porter but a woman in her 50's showed up and volunteered. I was quite hesitant at first but our guide - Ate Wella told us that she can carry more than 15 kilos and been doing it for over a year now. She put our things in a sack-like bag consisting of a broad strap that passes across the forehead and lashed around the heavy bag.


THE LONG HIKE UP

We were hiking at a normal pace but our porter easily overtake us with 15 kilos on her back. The trail was mostly flat for first hour but the trail gets more difficult as we gradually ascend towards Camp 2. The best part was walking into the mossy forest full of ferns, lichens and moss and had a few bites of wild blue berries abundantly growing in Mt. Pulag.
Distance from Badabak Ranger Station to Camp 2 is 10 kilometers


MT. PULAG CAMPSITES

It was around 3:00 pm when we arrived at Camp 1. The campsite is still in the Mossy forest and can only accommodate to 4- 7 tents only. Camp 2 can accommodate more and Camp 3 is fore hikers who will be taking the Akiki trail. After a brief rest and hydration, we continued our way to Camp 2 which is an hour away according to Ate Wella.


 Ate Wella was always making sure that we're fine and ok. Our porter have to go back down to the Badabak after delivering our things at Camp 2 and comeback the following morning to haul our things again back to Badabak. They belong to the Kankaney and Kalanguya tribes of the Cordillera Region in Northern Philippines.



CAMP 2 GRASSLANDS

Yes, we made it! We pitch our tent and have a quick snack before drinking my pain pill. Got a mild headache maybe because of the sudden increase in altitude but not worse. We hike a few meters up and saw thick fog rolling in from the valley. It almost blanketed the whole camp site.


A NIGHT OF COLD AND DARKNESS

We layered some clothes on because the temperature starts to drop and losing daylight fast. We set up our rented portable stove and had rice, a can of beans, some tuna, corned beef and hot choco to go with it. I was quite amazed how my hot choco turn into a cold one in just a matter of minutes.

After having our dinner we went to bed early as we were exhausted from our hike. Few hours have past and suddenly woke up from a howling noise. I check my watch and it was already dawn.Went outside to investigate but only to find out that the noise was from a snore by fellow hikers near out tent. It was really loud and I think even the tiniest bug can hear it lolz. Before stepping back into the tent, I looked up in the sky and saw the Milky Way Galaxy. Amazing sight to behold!

SOME TRAVEL TIPS TO PONDER

• Bring enough food and water
• Flashlight, Torch and headlamp is a must
• Bring your own sleeping bag for hygiene reason.
• Thermal wear ( Jacket, gloves and bonnet)
• Good Hiking shoes
• Bring your trash with you

The post is quite long so I have to split it into two parts. Click here for the second part.
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13 comments:

  1. Great post on this one, as a Landscape Photographer, I always wanted to visit places like this one. I have seen some ocean clouds on mountain shots in 500Px, but they were from other countries like China, glad to know that we have one here in our country, hoping to visit there and capture one for my Photography Portfolio in 500Px one day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great reading. I love the views from the top of Mt. Pulog. Philippines is such a beautiful place. Rich with beautiful beaches as well as mountains. I'm not a fond of mountain trekking but I'm gonna put this on my list.

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  3. Awesome post! Been planning to try hiking and Mt. Pulag is the first place that always crosses my mind, and I can now understand why. Wow! It's just amazing!

    xx
    Vanessa
    http://www.blushinggeek.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am Nikki and i’m looking for Travel site. I’m also looking for guest posts with backpacking and travel related Sites and blogs. I am a content writer and I love writing articles as a hobby on topics related to Travel.

    Thanks
    Nikki

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great Post!I also wanted to visit places like this.I wanted to have seen some ocean clouds on mountain.Glad that I saw this post.Thanks for share with us

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah you should try Mt. Pulag :-). Thanks for dropping by.

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  6. I'm glad to read your post.I'm really excited to visit this place after see your pictures.All Pictures are great.Thanks for posting.

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  7. Eto yung trending sa kabataan ngayon ah. Affordable to, next stop... this place tara na! I'm still looking for best place to stay in manila

    ReplyDelete
  8. Do you have a contact person or number for securing guides in Pulag? - Sam

    ReplyDelete

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