Mt. Pulag – Playground of Gods

Background:
Mount Pulag is the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines with 2,922 meters above sea level. It is the highest peak in Luzon. The borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountains peak.
It is famous for its majestic “ sea of clouds” and the view of Milky Way Galaxy at dawn, which has attracted many tourist who wishes to witness these exceptional events.
Mount Pulag is designated as National Park through Proclamation No. 56 which aims to preserve the environment around the mountain due to treats from increased development such as increased tourism, agricultural land and hunting.
The national park is inhabited by different tribes such as the Ibalois, Kalanguya, Kankana-eys, karao, Ifugaos and Ilocanos.
Climate:
Because of its high elevation, the climate on Mount Pulag is temperate with rains predominating the whole year. Rainfall on the mountain averages 4,489 mm yearly with August being the wettest month with an average rainfall of 1,135 mm. Snow has not fallen on its top in at least the past 100 years however, there have been mild flurries occurred in the mountain especially during December, January and February, also frost is more common in the mountain due to the low temperature during those months. During the amihan season, the temperature in the highest point of the mountain is known to dip into sub-freezing temperatures making the coldest place in the country. The only recorded incidence of snow was in the late 1800s.

My Journey:
This is my 2nd time to climb Mt. Pulag. The first time was part of my preparation for Mt. Apo last December 2014. I decided to have another try to experience even more how majestic this place is. But for now its different story since we camp at Ranger station that made this 2nd try a new experience and not to mention with new folks.
I had my tour from Kuya Yunan ( Yunan Eligado Reyes – FB) and he assigned her Technical Mylene to assist us on this tour.
We boarded Victory Liner – Pasay at 8:00PM but we took 2 hours to pass by EDSA going to NLEX. It is not advisable to take Pasay terminal specially the usual day of departure from Manila is Friday night.
We arrived in Baguio at 5:00am and had our coffee in 7/11 where Jeepney is waiting bound to Kabayan, Benguet. We were joined to 2 groups. The first one has 10 pax with Balikbayans from the US and two pretty girls Kiesha and Shan. The ride from Baguio to Benguet takes 3 hours with zigzag and mountainous scene along the way.

Hanging bridge at Ambuklao River
We had our breakfast c/o Tour at Ate Gina’s eatery; we head to DENR for the orientation and completed everything at 11AM. We arrived at Ranger station just good time for lunch and we had adobo from Tour. We had all our time after lunch to tidy up, chitchats and take photos in Ranger station. Rain poured around 2PM but then a nice see of clouds appeared after the rain.

after the rain at Ranger station
Dinner was served at 5PM – sinigang good meal for the cold weather. Right after dinner we need to rest and sleep for the early wakeup call 12mid. The weather was cold and sleeping bag is needful to keep you warm.

a good place to have coffee
coffee for the chilly weather
We had noodles and coffee before trek at 12midnight. Local guide is required  by DENR. As we pass by the trail lot of hikers still preparing and having final briefing before the trek. You can feel the cold weather and sometimes windy, it is important to have a good set of trekking outfit like jacket, leggings, gloves, bonnet and shoes to keep you warm. Due to increased tourist in the area it’s hard to overtake if you feel the pace is slow. We started leading the way when some of the groups took rest in camp 1 and camp 2. We reached the summit at 6AM and witness the sunrise. We enjoyed the view in all angles with the sun rise and sea of clouds, the hills and people around us.
We descend at 7AM and started to take photos of the trail. I have collected some photos of wild flora along my way back to Ranger station.     
You must also challenge yourself to take bath and you will surely shout with the cold water! We were picked up by our hired jeep at 12NN and had lunch with Ate Gina’s eatery. The meal is Ilocano dish called Pinikpikan na manok. What I love here is the brown/red rice.
We also had the chance to take photos in one of the hanging bridge in Ambuklao River.
   
    
 

sunrise at the peak
climbers enjoying the sunrise
 When in Baguio while waiting for our scheduled trip to Manila we had our coffee conversation and dinner at the Cafe by the Ruin’s.

at the Cafe by the Ruins in Baguio with friends
For hassle free travel – you may check travel agency that can arrange everything for you. You may contact Yunan Eligado Reyes – Facebook.

with Kuya Iggy and Ms. Mylene – both very nice folks

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