Ambaguio touchdown

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Five years after my first Pulag hike, I have finally completed all of her four (known) trails: Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawangan, and Ambaguio. The Ambangeg-Ambaguio traverse records a total walking distance of 34.5 kilometers with a trekking time of twelve hours. While most Ambaguio treks commence at Ambaguio and end at either Ambangeg or Akiki, a weekend hike is possible by doing a reverse traverse. Hiking begins at Babadak, progresses to the summit using the Ambangeg trail, and then traverses to Ambaguio via the Lusod trail. This is more manageable as the lengthy portion of the trek (about two thirds of it) involves the descent to Ambaguio.

After summitting Mt. Pulag, hikers enter the Lusod trail. Entry to Lusod is near the first campsite. Unlike Ambangeg’s mostly stoned steps and moderately inclined trails, Lusod is established albeit slippery and steep. The moss-covered trees are reminiscent of those found along the Tawangan trail sans the beloved limatiks. Since the trail is mostly used by locals, a number of resting sheds provide shelter along the way.

The first day ends at Lower Napo, and hikers may settle for the night at the Napo-Tuyak Integrated School. There is a restroom and a water pump within the school compound available for use. The other possible camping area is at Upper Napo’s elementary school which is about one hour away.

The second day is straightforward and covers a very long scenic trek through local villages, rice and corn fields, farmlands, and communities. At the last village, if fortunate, motorbikes are available for rent to take hikers to Ambaguio town and then onwards to Bayombong. Otherwise, the last leg of the trip will be a one- or two-hour walk to the town proper where those motorbikes will take you to the national highway in Bayombong.

If commencing at Babadak, the cost is similar to a typical Pulag trek. The guide fee is Php3,000.00 for a group of seven (minimum). The suggested itinerary is as follows:

Day 1
09:30 Start trek via Ambangeg
12:00 Camp 2; lunch
13:00 Assault to peak
14:00 Summit
14:45 Camp 2
15:00 Start traverse via Lusod
18:30 Sitio Napo, Brgy. Balete (Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya)
19:00 Settle down at Lower Napo (Napo-Tuyak Integrated School)

Day 2
06:30 Start trek
07:30 Upper Napo (Napo Elementary School)
10:30 Ban-aw Village
11:30 Bukig Village; lunch
12:30 Ride habal-habal to Wangwang Junction (at the poblacion)
13:00 Ambaguio Town
13:30 Continue ride to Bayombong
15:00 ETA Bayombong

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