Saturday, April 20, 2013

The 3rd Annual Mt. Pulag Climb via Ambangeg Trail

For the past three consecutive years, I've vowed to do an annual climb to Mt. Pulag, the third highest mountain in the country. Mission? To witness a perfect sea of clouds and to become an instrument to both the newbies and revisiting climbers in witnessing its unique beauty by organizing a climb event.

our event shirt

Year 3 came for this climb event, we decided to invite friends and friends of friends which happened on the second weekend of March 2013. This was actually my fifth time in Mt. Pulag including its trails other than Ambangeg. By the way, I normally opt to take Ambangeg, the easiest trail, to provide more relaxing climb so that newbies can easily cope up. For a regular Pulag climber, its beauty may be the same a year after year after year; similar itinerary has always been followed, familar types of trail are encountered and even views are still the same. And I guess, yes, what makes it different are the moments, the way you finish the climb and the memories with new-found friends and companions. And even if there are the same and familiar views, this sacred mountain still brings a fulfilling experience in many ways. 

some plant species in the mossy forest of Mt. Pulag

In this 3rd annual climb to Mt. Pulag, here below list of thoughts is what I'm going to share instead of the usual narration of the sequential happenings of the climb event:

1. I was able to share the passion with my colleagues in HSBC. It was an opportunity to know them more and enjoy their company.

jhun, myself, gretch, honeypie and von

2. The last time I tried to do a topload, I think, was during my childhood days. I never tried it again because I was a little afraid especially when the vehicle is already moving. But not until this event. On our way from Baguio to Ambangeg, I tried it again and the experience was awesome particularly that the road trip was more of Benguet's highlights -- the mountainous views passing through La Trinidad and Ambuklao Dam. Resuming the road trip after orientation at the DENR, almost all of us didn't go "toploading" anymore as the road to Ambangeg is already steep and even more bumpy. 

that's what we called --> topload!

3. Somebody has a birthmark on their ass (just kiddin'). What added on such weekend adventure was that our chartered jeepney wasn't in good condition and it was more than twice that we stopped and waited for assistance. On our last stop, we had no choice but to transfer to another and share with other group. And of course, it could only be on topload since it wasn't the one we've rented. 

road under construction -- this was during the waiting time for another jeepney to pick us up and would bring us to Ranger station

4. As mentioned, the way to Ambangeg is still under construction as it is being made concreted. Good to know that in the future, it would be more convenient to the visitors of the mountain. However, currently it's just a little annoying and incovenient as there's a portion that you have to walk for a few minutes to transfer to another jeepney. It should have been bearable but the time wasted for waiting another jeepney promotes boredom and creates impatience. This is my second time to experience this. The first time was last year and we were completely unaware that There's currently road construction being done. Although there's an alternative route but it would consume an additional one hour or two. I am now thinking if my 4th annual climb next year would still be via Ambangeg since I just find it inconvenient to take the road under construction. Well, not the road itself but the interval and availability of the jeepney for the transfer.

5. It was my first time to have socials in Mt. Pulag during the night. There was a fog rain yet the low temperature was bearable. Unlike my past overnight climb there before, I am normally zipped out and locked already inside the tent as I cannot tolerate the getting colder and colder temperature. This time I am proud to say that I'm just wearing a thin dri-fit long sleeves (comfortable and bearable and and I can't believe that it sustained me through the coldness. Even in our windy Mt. Sicapoo summit assault last climb, it did!)

foggy camp 2

6. Just like my first time in Mt. Pulag, it was a peak season making a count of more than 200 climbers for that weekend in Ambangeg trail alone. We were even assigned to Peak 3 for sunset viewing since summit was already "fully filled in" But what happened in the actual dawn assault was since everyone must have been thinking that it would only be foggy up there, so the number of climbers to have summit assault declined and we were able to proceed right away from peak 3 to summit.

the trail to the summit

7. We didn't have a clearing at the top! It never gave us a great view. It was just like my first time where the background were all white due to thick fog that even some were jokingly saying that you can even take ID picture. We were all able to reach the summit anyway :D

the group at the summit

peak 3 (no sunrise :( )

Having said all the goodness and hassle of this weekend adventure, still Mt Pulag continued to amaze me... and it always does! So how about Akiki- Ambangeg trail next year? Come and join me!

Photos courtesy of Von Rodriguez and Edz Isabela


Day 0 Friday

2000 Assembly at Victory Liner Pasay(Php460.00)  or Cubao Station (Php450)
2100 ETD to Baguio

Day 1 Saturday

0300 ETA Baguio City/Buy Provisions/Contact Rented Jeep
0400 ETD to DENR
0530 Stop at Carinderia/Breakfast/Buy Packed Lunch
0630 Resume ETD to DENR
0800 ETA DENR/Register/Seminar(30mins)
0900 ETD to Ranger Station
1000 ETA Ranger Station/arrange guides and porters (Php330/person-guide fee,green fee,camping fee, registration etc)
1100 Start Trek
1200 ETA Camp 1/Rest
1230 Resume Trek/ETA Camp 2
1300 1st Watersource/refill water bottles
1400 ETA Camp 2/setup camp/Rest
1700 Prepare Dinner
1900 Dinner/Socials
2100 Lights out

Day 2 Sunday (Summit Assault)

0230 Wake-up call/Prepare Breakfast
0330 Start Trek/ETD to Summit
0430 ETA Summit/Sunrise/Sea of Clouds/Picture
0730 Start Descend going back to Camp 2
0830 ETA Camp 2/Prepare Breakfast
1000 Start Descend/ETD Ranger Station
1130 ETA Ranger Station/Prepare Lunch/Wash-up
1400 ETD to DENR
1500 ETA DENR/Logout/Buy souvenir shirt
1530 ETD to Baguio
1700 ETA Baguio/Buy pasalubong
2000 ETD Manila

Day 3 Monday

0200 ETA Manila

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