This was where all the madness started. I fell in love with the mountains. And they loved me back.
Mt. Pulag stands at 2,922 MASL and is the highest peak in Luzon. Known for its picturesque cloud formations when atop the summit (dubbed as the “sea of clouds”) and for temperatures dropping to minus 0 degree Celsius, Pulag is by far the most popular hiking destination in the country. It has four (4) known trails: Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawangan and Ambaguio. The first (of four trails) I have already tried, Ambangeg is definitely for the beginners compared to Akiki’s steep portions and Tawangan’s lengthy trek.
Climbing Pulag requires coordination with the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ protected area superintendent (PASU). The DENR Pulag National Park can be reached through PASU Mering Albas at +63 919 6315402. After reserving the entry date of your group, secure a chartered jeepney. Jeepney assignments are now arranged through the DENR-CAR. Our group’s preferred jeepney driver though is Mr. Guillermo “Emong” Cayat. Since Kuya Emong is already overseas, he has recommended a colleague, Mr. Israel Haban. His contact number is +63 930 6031150.
For a quick climb, a weekend itinerary looks like this:
23:00 Depart Metro Manila
05:00 ETA Baguio; prepare stuff and eat breakfast
06:00 Load and take chartered jeepney to Ambangeg
09:00 ETA Visitors’ Center; register, settle fees and attend the orientation (Php100.00 entrance fee, Php50.00 camping fee and Php50.00 green fee)
10:30 Depart for Babadak Ranger Station
11:30 ETA Ranger Station; lunch
13:00 Start trek
14:30 ETA Camp 1
16:00 ETA Camp 2; set up camp (optional summit assault)
18:00 Dinner and socials
04:30 Trek to summit
05:30 ETA summit; sunrise viewing and photo ops
07:00 Resume trek
07:45 ETA Camp 2; breakfast and break camp
09:00 Start descent to Ranger Station
11:30 ETA Ranger Station
12:30 ETA Visitors’ Center; lunch and wash up
14:00 Depart for Baguio City
17:00 ETA Baguio City; dinner
19:00 Depart for Metro Manila
Mt. Pulag will always be a favorite; it is the only mountain in my log that I keep coming back to. Year in, and year out, the breathtaking sights at the summit of the mesmerizing sunrise, the rolling clouds, the golden grasses and the clear blue skies coupled with the cold and blowing winds make for the enchanting appeal of Pulag. It is a must-see and definitely a must-experience even for non-hikers.