There is no better time to fulfill my dreams to be a Pinoy On Top than NOW! So I decided and take a risk going to this so-called every mountaineers dream, to climb the Luzon’s highest peak – the Mt. Pulag. I love to wander and take risks! I booked a flight to Manila being a solo traveler and joined a scheduled DIY (Do-It-Yourself) tour.
Got a chance to have a photo op with the Cebu Pacific flight deck crew headed by Captain Delos Reyes together with in-flight cabin crew Cheska and Gel.
Standing at 2,922 meters above sea level (masl), Mt. Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon, the third in the Philippines after Mt. Apo in Davao (2,954 masl) and Mt. Dulang Dulang in Bukidnon (2,938 masl). Situated within the municipalities of Buguias, Kabayan and Bokod in Benguet, Tinoc in Ifugao and Kayapa in Nueva Vizcaya.
Mt. Pulag is one of the best adventure destinations in Northern Luzon. If you are really a seasoned mountaineer, this will be on your must-do bucket list to experience the most well-maintained national park in the country.
It is home of the rare and endangered species of flora and fauna such as the dwarf bamboo, the Edelweiss flower and the cloud rat to name a few.
Tagged as the resting place and playground of the Gods., Mt. Pulag is also home to some of North Luzon’s ethnic tribes such as the Ibaloi, Kalanguya, Kankana-ey, and Ibanag. They are actually residing within the park.
The best part about joining this group adventure aside from the priceless experience is the awesome company of friends-yet-to-meet. Meeting first time with these strangers is already an adventure BUT my Mt. Pulag adventure never stops.
We arrived at the DENR office and everyone is required to attend the DENR orientation as a necessary protocol to the hikers. The person in-charge gave us a brief video documentation of the history of the mountain and the “Leave No Trace” principle reminders.
Some rules were strictly established to make sure that visitors will respect and take care of the area during the course of the hike. Any form of garbage either biodegradable or non-biodegradable are strictly not allowed to loiter in the area. Since Mt. Pulag is a sacred place for the locals and a protected tourist destination, any loud noise or shouting in the area is a big NO! Campfires are also not allowed.
After an 1-hour orientation, we were almost ready for our next step – the adventure going to the Ranger Station where our final preparations to the major hike located. This is the last place where electricity, food and restrooms are available as well as the point to hire guides and porters.
We took a motorcycle ride going up the steep and rough road to the ranger station since the so called “monster jeepney” was not available that time.
At around 1PM, we finally started our trek to Mt. Pulag Camp site. Mountaineers usually climb the mountain by taking the Ambangeg or Akiki Trail. We took the Ambangeg trail for 3 hours to the campsite which is a bit easier compare to the latter.
The trail we took has three campsites. It is easy to recognize the different camp sites because the terrain changes as you trek your way up.
I made a good decision of training my eyes to the wonders of nature. As we trek along, my eyes are already satisfied with all the stunning views including the different kinds of trees and flora. You could also see the view from the top of the cabbage and carrot plantations planted by the locals below.
The surroundings became colder, the ground became muddier and the mossy plants were became visible. We were on the MOSSY FOREST! This part of trail is less steep compared to the the Pine Forest area making this as one of my favorite trails of the whole trek.
I brought too much stuff with me so it made my hike more difficult but it was still worth the pain. I really enjoyed the mossy forest and the whole course of the trail. My hiking shoes and trekking pole helped me a lot from falling and having any scratches. So based from the experience, invest a good pair of shoes!
Finally, we reached the second camping ground at least 1 hour before the sunset. The whole hike to the camp site was breathtaking and still I was breathless because of the view.
I felt like I was in the other world. The 360-degree views ranging from the old clumps of trees, the golden grasses, the bluish-purple sky plus the disappearing bright yellow sun behind the sea of clouds gave a perfect work of art.
Mt. Pulag Camping Ground 2
The night was still young. The temperature became colder and colder. The evening was perfect for storytelling and stargazing. After our prepared dinner, we slept early for an early morning wake up call so we could reach the summit before sunrise.
We were very fortunate because our hike was blessed with good weather and a big bonus – the campsite was all ours on that day. Mostly, hikers flock to the mountains during weekends.
It was barely 3AM, our call time to take the final assault up to the summit of Mt. Pulag. I felt like I was on a verge of migraine attack due to the freezing temperature of the mountain.
The morning was still a lit of stars up in the sky when we reached the summit. It was still dark. The only source of light were our headlights and the stars. The trail was steep, the air was freezing and very thin.
Finally, your Pinoy On Top adventurer was in the maze of dwarf bamboos gently swaying around. Standing beside the summit pole. Slowly the beautiful sun rays began to scatter and illuminated the 360-degree views of the summit.The dull surrounding turned out into a lush green and golden environment.
It was very easy to forget our weariness because the sea of clouds accompanied by the bright sunlight truly welcomed us all.
Truly, conquering Mt. Pulag was the best decision I’ve ever made to quench my thirst for an extraordinary adventure! Hope yours too!
Our Climb Certificate
A special thanks and congratulations to the MT. PULAG Fantastic Four