Mt. Pulag: What to Expect

Ever since the day my cousin showed me a picture of Mt. Pulag 2 years ago, it has been part of my Bucket List. Little did I know I was scratching it off my list sooner than expected. This trip was a spur of the moment decision. When I found out my brother and his mountaineering friends were going, without second thoughts, I signed up for it as well. The trip was in less than two weeks and there was no time for preparation. I looked at my wardrobe frustrated because I did not own a single thing that can be used for the trek. Not to mention I have never gone on a major camping/trekking trip in my life. I didn’t know what to expect but I was going with a big group and most of them were pros which I found comfort in. I also dragged my adventure junkie bestfriend with me. So here’s how my 3-day Mt. Pulag adventure was like.

Long Travel Time

To see places as beautiful as Mt.  Pulag will not be an easy ride. The journey was quite long for us coming from Cebu; an hour flight to Manila; 6½ hours bus ride from Pasay to Baguio, another 4-5 hours jeepney ride from Baguio to Pulag. That’s almost 12 hours of travel time!

We took the 10pm bus ride arriving Baguio at 4:30am. It was surprisingly very comfortable. The jeepney ride from Baguio to the DENR was utterly nauseating so bring remedies for motion sickness. The DENR is where you register for your climb and join a brief orientation. From the DENR, it takes another hour or so to reach the Ranger Station, where we set up camp for our first night.

IMG_0267
Victory Liner Bus to Baguio
IMG_0761
IMG_0764 Our ride to Mt. Pulag
IMG_0789
DENR Station

IMG_0807IMG_0765

Setting up Camp is Tiring but Fun

One of the things I enjoyed much about the trip is setting up the camp – that’s when you know time to rest is getting nearer. Our first night, we set up our camp at the Ranger Station at night (we had to rely on our flashlights). On our 2nd night, we set up camp at the Saddle (the campsite nearest to the Summit at 2,900ft ASL). We had an abundance of light but the strong wind made it difficult.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Campsite at the Ranger Station
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Campsite at the Saddle – can you see the rainbow?

2015131180833

IMG_0896
Our very comfy tent

 There is no I in TEAM WORK

Team work is the most essential part of the trek. Everyone has to work hand in hand – when setting up the camp, when cooking the meals and even during the trail. Assign a specific task to each person and make sure it’s being done. No one can just sit around and do nothing because that is just annoying. The trail can be very difficult so everyone should be helping one another and no one gets left behind.

We were a total of 16 people so we divided ourselves into 3 groups for the meals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dinner – our first meal at the Ranger Station
IMG_0824
This is my entire group preparing a heavy breakfast before our 5 hour journey to the saddle.
DCIM100GOPROG0483722.
Lunch at the saddle after a 5 hour trek

Freezing Point/Unpredictable Weather

It is definitely not a joke when they say it will be cold. Cold is an understatement! Hypothermia temperature would be a better way to describe it. It could reach below freezing point! So you have to be prepared to be warm especially during the night when the cold creeps in to your clothes making you very uncomfortable. You need to prepare hand warmers and other patches to put in your feet and hands. Wear a beanie and make sure to cover your ears. There is always a possibility of rain so make all your belongings waterproof.

If you were like us, we experienced -2 degrees Celsius in the middle of the night. When we woke up, our tents and the grass were covered in ice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our walk in the Ambangeg Trail was quite difficult due to weather conditions. The sun was very friendly in the morning but decided to play hide and seek on us in the afternoon. It made the trail even harder than it already was. It could be sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon so prepare your clothes for whatever weather that will come your way.

IMG_0892
IMG_0925 Believe it or not, I was wearing 9 layers of clothing here. 2 of which were rain coats.

Sad to say, our Mt. Pulag Trip was a disaster! All the long travel and the tiring walk to the peak only to be welcomed by fog, heavy rain, strong winds and freezing temperature. For an entire day this was how the weather was like. No mesmerizing sunset and no sunrise with the famous sea of clouds. It was very disappointing. All my excitement ruined because of bad weather.

The Ambangeg Trail is NOT a walk in the Park

Sure they say this is the easiest trail but don’t be deceived. It is manageable for first timers but it is still very, very tough! So many things will get to you; the altitude sickness, the weight of your backpack, your tired legs, the unending trail, the cold weather and all other things combined will just want you to fall on your knees and cry. A preclimb preparation is a must! You can’t just wake up one morning and decide to climb Pulag. You need to be physically prepared because hiking uphill with a 10kilo backpack for 5 hours is no joke!

IMG_0838
This is me at the Ranger Station carrying my 10kilo backpack ready to start our journey to the Saddle.

     IMG_0886IMG_0864OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_0321 13081422677756559

No Shower/No Bathroom/No Electricity

To be totally honest with you, showering is not possible! Our last shower was on Thursday night in Cebu –yuck right?? I finally showered when we got back to Baguio on Sunday evening. But the cold weather didn’t make us sweat or smelly or feel gross. #1 can be done anywhere but the #2 will be quite difficult. You have to do some digging.

Enjoying Great Company/ Meeting New People

There will be so many other campers and you’ll get to meet a lot of people. I enjoyed the trip so much mostly because of the people I was with. They were just so much fun! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Especially to my brother who introduced me to his friends and to my bestfriend for tagging along.

IMG_0877DCIM100GOPROG0403631.IMG_0914IMG_2142IMG_7864

TOTAL EXPENSES FOR MT. PULAG PHP 8,310
Cebu Manila Airfare: 3,800
Victory Liner Round Trip Bus Ticket from Pasay to Baguio: 920
DENR Registration: 200
Baguio Apartment 1 night: 200
*Guide and Camping Fee: 387.50
*Jeepney: (9,000/16 people) 562.50
Food/Grocery: 1,500
Souvenirs (Tshirt, Beanie, Magnet, Certificate): 500
Miscellaneous: 200
*Amount is not fixed. This is shared by 16 people

I hope this inspired you to climb Mt. Pulag!

Xoxo

Lesty

January 29-February 02, 2015

2 thoughts on “Mt. Pulag: What to Expect

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s