Sunday, July 7, 2013

MOUNT PULAG CLIMB

MOUNT PULAG
Location: Provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines

Entry point: Babadac Ranger's Camp
Exit point: Babadac Ranger's Camp
Coordinates: 16°36'10"N, 120°53'32"E
Elevation: 2922 MASL (9,586 feet)
Days required / Hours to summit: 3 days / 3.5 hours
Specs: Major climb, Level III, Strenuous
Important Description: The third highest mountain in the Philippines and the highest in Luzon as it is dubbed to be the "Roof of Luzon". It is one of the most well maintained "premier" National Park in the country.


View mount pulag in a larger map


Taken at Mount Pulag's summit during Day Two's sunrise


The suggested Itinerary in Ambangeg-Ambangeg (Babadac Trail) is shown below:

Day 1

08:00 P.M. - Assembly time Victory Liner Pasay Terminal
09:00 P.M. - ETD to Baguio City

Day 2

03:00 A.M. - ETA Baguio City
03:30 A.M. - ETD for Kabayan, Benguet through jeepney transport
05:30 A.M. - Ambuklao Dam
06:00 A.M. - Breakfast (Karinderya)
07:00 A.M. - ETA DENR (Orientation/Briefing)
08:30 A.M. - ETD to Babadac Ranger's Camp
10:00 A.M. - ETA Ranger's Camp
10:30 A.M. - Start Trek to Campsite
12:00 NN - Lunch (on trail)
01:00 P.M. - Resume trekking
02:00 P.M. - ETA Campsite

Day 3

04:30 A.M. - Wake-up call
04:45 A.M. - Summit assault
05:45 A.M. - SUMMIT
08:00 A.M. - Start Descend
09:00 A.M. - Campsite Breakfast/Break camp
10:00 A.M. - ETD to Ranger's Camp
01:00 P.M. - ETA Ranger's Camp
02:00 P.M. - Late lunch
03:00 P.M. - ETD to Baguio City
06:00 P.M. - ETA Baguio City
09:00 P.M. - ETD to Manila

Day 4

03:00 A.M. - ETA Manila

The house at Ranger's Camp where climbers used to cook for their meals before and after the climb


This was my second time to scale Mount Pulag and yet more memorable. We left in Victory Liner Terminal in Pasay at 10 P.M. and arrived in Baguio City at 3:30 A.M. From Baguio, we boarded a jeepney for Babadak Ranger’s Camp and passed thru Ambuklao Dam at 5:30 A.M. We had breakfast at Jangjang Eatery along the highway located in Sitio Bangao, Barangay Ambuklao, Municipality of Bokod, Benguet Province at 6:12 A.M. and was in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Protected Area Office/Visitors Center of Mount Pulag National Park in Ambangeg, Daclan, Bokod, Benguet for briefing and orientation at 7:20 A.M. conducted by the gorgeous, wacky, humorous and fashionable Protected Area Superintendent, Divorcee Emerita Albas. The rough and exhausting jeepney trip continued and we arrived at Babadak Ranger’s Camp at 10:06 A.M. where we had our early lunch, actually a packed lunch bought in Jangjang Eatery. Trekking started at 10:55 A.M. using the Ambangeg/Babadac Trail.

At first, the trail was just gradual. It was a long walk but refreshing due to cool weather.


Mount Pulag Climb is actually a major climb. It is Level 3 and strenuous and it is dubbed as the “Roof of Luzon”. The entire mountain is located within the municipalities of Buguias, Kabayan and Bokod in Benguet; Tinoc in Ifugao and Kayapa in Nueva Vizcaya where it is characterized to have deep ravines, gorges and steep terrains. Mount Pulag has been a part of the folklore of the various mountain tribes for generations. It is believed to be the home of forest spirits who protect the ethnic tribes and assure bountiful harvests. Four of these tribes, actually, reside within the park --- Ibaloi, Kalanguya, Kankaney and Ibanag. These tribes consider Mount Pulag as a sacred place not only because it is the resting place and playground of their gods and goddesses but also they bury their dead. In fact, the Kabayan side of the park is frequented by visitors because of the mummy caves and burial grounds of natives residing at the foot of the mountain.

Then we passed thru shady area grown by pine trees which made our trek very relaxing.


While taking short rest of five minutes to regain our lost energy


With its uniqueness and majestic beauty, climbing this mountain is a feast for one’s senses. It is the home of the nation’s rare and endangered species of fauna including the cloud rat, cock’s pita, serpent eagle, Philippine deer, Philippine pig, and the Luzon mountain racket-tail parrot. It also has a collection of rare, endemic species of flora particularly the high altitude types like the dwarf bamboo and different kinds of pine trees, mosses and grasses. Its slopes are covered with pine trees and grassy meadows.

Everybody was excited to witness the unfolding beauty of the scenic Mount Pulag at sunrise. (Photo taken by Dada Macusi)


On the other hand, we had more than three hours trek leading to Camp 2 where we pitched our tents and have to stay for an overnight. Pitching tents and beyond was fun as we wander the beauty of the surroundings grown with a rich and rare variety of flora. Grinding cameras followed leaving us in extreme awe as we put our overwhelmed senses in great appreciation of what is in store for us. Our dinner and socials was quite freezing and we almost decided not to go out from our tents to have dinner. Food for dinner which was cooked and served by the organizer was superb, namely: menudo, tinolang manok, coleslaw and unlimited rice. We like the coleslaw of Kenneth for its taste can edge out the commercially prepared coleslaw of KFC outlets. Dinner was indeed great with great company and a great organizer’s cook whose intention is beyond customer satisfaction. Being surprised with such a set-up, we stayed longer for dinner to sip more hot soup of tinolang manok; savor the meat and vegetable mix of menudo and chew freshly prepared coleslaw with accompanying wine.

And lo and behold!!! as the moment of truth unfolded to our naked eyes, the sea of clouds!


Socials was held after dinner which lasted till 12 Midnight with a drinking spree coupled with the getting-to-know-each-otherconversational exchange. It has been a tradition that socials should be done with a moderate drinking party. Though, with the presence of the spirit of wine, our group was still manageable and wholesome discussing topics ranging from travels, mountain climbing, spelunking, work and career, hobbies, interests, sharing of insights with a little of green jokes ideal in mature conversational exchange. Green jokes are meant to inject humor to warm up our freezing adrenalin. The venue for the socials was just an open tent giving us a temporary roof to shield us from thick mists. The night then was freezing at 4 Degrees Centigrade, still moonless and the color of the night was completely pubic black. Most of us had chilled because of extremely cold temperature. Chilling has detonated the power of snoring to some of us and instead moaning as if extremely suffering from pain and illness became more evident.

Everybody was excited and a lot of climbers showed up looking for the best angle they can capture the scenery at its best.


Day 2 was the most awaited moment where we had our wake-up call at 3:30 A.M. Though, extremely cold, nobody has resisted to wake up out rightly for we have to trek for 1 ½ hours leading to the summit. Clad in thick and layered clothing with flashlights and headlamps, ungurgled mouth, unfixed hair and entire appearance, we trailed to the wilderness with the moon above us emitting not so bright light just enough to supplement our flashlights and headlamps. The stars were not as many as I normally see in the sky. Along the established trails were dwarf bamboo, mosses and grasses. Trekking at dawn was less exhausting since the air was crisp and the serenity of the environs adds up to the mysticism of the mountain. As we approached the summit, we noticed that sizable trekkers were coming from different directions highly expectant of what will unfold in the next few moments. Though still dark when we arrived in the summit, everybody was seemed to be very excited. Code of silence was evident and the clicking of cameras can be heard instead. There was an Austrian family who stayed in the summit equipped with only sleeping bags but the rest of the climbing enthusiasts were 95% Filipinos. The crowd at the summit can be roughly estimated at almost 500.

mountain slopes and clouds blended into one majestic scenery




Gradually, the silhouette of the sun appeared until the sunrise gave a glow of golden hue of yellow and its color variances. The view was absolutely majestic --- as if the sky looked like God’s palette, as He was about to finish painting the dawn into a bright morning. Clouds besieged the lower part of the summit particularly the ridges near its saddle giving such a magnificent scenery somewhat a sea of clouds. There was a 360 degrees panoramic view. We felt victorious having felt we conquered the summit of the THIRD highest peak of the Philippines at 2,922 meters above sea level or 9,610 feet above sea level. As per record, the first two highest mountains are in Mindanao which are both inactive volcanoes with Mount Apo in Davao as the highest peak at 2,954 meters or 9,692 feet and followed by Mount Dulang-Dulang at 2,938 meters or 9,637 feet located in Kitanglad Range. Our eyes have feasted with the magnificent beauty around us. Everybody was occupied grinding their cameras. We were like in heaven with the heavenly clouds within our horizon and the serenity of the place adds up to our golden moment savoring every minute of our stay in the summit. IT WAS SUCH A PERFECT MOMENT! We felt so close to Our Almighty Creator.

This shows God's glory as a Mighty Creator!!!!


This photo was taken by Mr. Vincent Ray Endonilla


Finally, we have to let go of this moment and decided to descend going back to Camp 2 where we pitched our tents. A sumptuous breakfast awaited us, namely: Spam, Corned Beef, Dilis, Scrambled egg, Hotdog, Coffee, Hot Chocolate and unlimited fried rice. Breakfast was Service De Luxe considering that we were up in the highlands of Mount Pulag. We had our break camp at 9:00 A.M. Trekking started then at 10:00 A.M. and arrived in Ranger’s Camp at 1:18 P.M. where we had our late lunch there. We left the Ranger’s Camp at 2:20 P.M. and travelled back to Baguio City in a jeepney though we had a stopover in the DENR Protected Area Office/Visitors Center. Finally, we arrived in Baguio City at 7:24 P.M. We had our dinner in SM Baguio and left Baguio City at 10:40 P.M. boarding an airconditioned Victory Liner Bus No. 46.

Our group returned to our campsite for our breakfast and break camp later


Part of the our side trip where we stopped along the highway still a part of Benguet


As we summed up, this great experience in Mount Pulag, we can say, that this became all possible with the mighty hands of the organizer who cradled us for utmost convenience. It was so well organized that not even one untoward incident was encountered by us. The organizers, indeed, has TOUCHED OUR LIVES. It was like having a home away from home that made this climbing so comfortable and convenient. Somewhat like a FAMILY in the midst of chilling environs. We just love it. To commend for this, our main organizers are: Mr. Kenneth C. Taguilaso who can be contacted in his mobile phone at 0917666000 or email address at kennethtaguilaso@yahoo.comand his brother, Peter Glenn C. Taguilaso with mobile number at 09163571131 and email address at busingot_89@yahoo.com. Along with the organizers were the core group members who were as accommodating as the aforementioned, namely: Glenn Glindro, Apple Bucayo, Mark Stephen Endonilla and Vincent Ray Endonilla. TRY TO AVAIL OF THEIR PACKAGE AND THE REST WILL BE HISTORY!!!!

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! This is a sea of clouds!!!!! Am I dreaming of a sea of cotton clouds? Amazing experience!!! You are now my idol!!!

    ReplyDelete