12.07.2014

Into the North: Mt. Pulag



Our year-ender is an adventure to the north as we conquer the highest peak in Luzon and third highest in the whole country.

This was a planned adventure of our office trek team 'Coventrek' and made possible with the help of a lot of friends. We get the service of Mt. Pulag Edelweiss Tours to organize our climb, and we recommend their service. Contact them here.

A breakfast at Jangjang's Eatery. Where everyone takes a stop over for breakfast before their climb
Our group met in Victory Liner Pasay Terminal for a direct bus ride to Baguio City at 9 pm, after a long  6 hour travel we reached Baguio City where a private jeep c/o Pulag Edelweiss Tours was already waiting in the middle of midnight. We load our backpacks and headed to DENR office for another two-hour ride from Baguio City. We were quickly briefed on the policies regulating the Pulag National Park including a small video presentation on what to observe during the climb.

Enroute to Babadak Ranger Station. Topload Style.

Before heading to Babadak Ranger station we took our brunch at Summit View Homestay that is being managed by our tour organizer. After repacking our bags we headed to the Ranger station to register.

A Pulag adventure is not complete without a top load jeepney ride.
The climb started by afternoon, we trek on a gradual slope of vegetation with pine trees being prominent along the way. The climb was easy and the ascent was very gradual. After an hour we reached camp 1 where we took a short rest. We continued the ascent until we reach Camp 2 where we decided to camp. After another hour (3:00PM) we reached the campsite. The camp can accommodate big groups of climbers but  since we climb on a Friday and there were just few groups that day, we have the whole campsite for ourselves.

Coventrek at Camp 2 pointing on Mt. Pulag's peak.

Camp 2. The usual crowded campsite on a friday afternoon.
It is very unlikely for our group to reach campsite in mid-afternoon, but the weather is already starting to get cold. By 5:00 PM everyone was already bundled in layers of clothes and jacket. A few of us visited the junior peak just 5 minutes from the campsite to watch the sunset, while some of us prepare dinner. As the sun drops the temperature drops as well. By 7:00 PM we we're not feeling our fingers anymore and wearing gloves and socks are now necessary. After our quick dinner we called it a day and hit our sleeping bags.

At Babadak Ranger Station
View of Mt. Pulag from Camp 2.
We woke up 3:00 a.m. the next day to continue our ascent to the summit and hopefully reach it before sunrise. Another hour of gradual ascent to paved roads and grass lands. We 're just in time to see the sunrise. We reached summit but unluckily no sea of clouds formation that day. Our guide said that if it rained last night there's a greater chance that we will witness the famed playground of the gods. Even without the Sea of Clouds, the view is spectacular that we stayed enduring the freezing blow of the wind just to witness the breaking dawn.

Coventrek at Mt. Pulag's Peak. Bundlde up together against the cold wind.

After a few photo shoot we started to descend back to the camp where breakfast is already waiting. We continued the two-hour descent down to the final few meters before the Babadak Ranger Station to regroup. We met a truck driver and offered to hitch us on the back of the truck he's driving as he's also heading down to Babadak. The ride down to the rough slopes of Babadak was as exciting as the top load ride going up. We went down to Babadak Ranger station to log off and we saw the number of climbers that day doubled compared to the previous day.  We headed to Summit View to feast on a lunch prepared for us.

Looking at the horizon as the sun wakes up. Summit of Mt. Pulag
After cleaning up and a few picture-taking  our jeepney brought us back to Baguio, but before leaving us they offered to bring us to the public market to buy souvenirs and pasalubong. We roamed the busy market of Baguio to find strawberries and ube jam we greatly crave. After an afternoon of shopping, Geiza (one of the climbers in our group) invited us on their rest house in Baguio where her mom prepared a hefty dinner for us; tinolang manok, chop seuy, inihaw na isda and for dessert... Strawberry in cream. Yummy!

The view at the roadside of Babadak. The Village above the clouds.

This is where we part ways as some will be staying to tour Baguio the next day and others decided to leave for Manila that night. We returned to Victory Liner Terminal to catch the Deluxe Bus heading to Manila by 10:00 PM, at exactly 3:00AM we reached Manila.

We might missed the famed of Sea of Clouds, but this gave us a reason to return to Pulag for the Akiki-Ambangeg trail and hopefully the clouds are already waiting.

Itinerary

Day 0
8:00 PM - Assembly @ VICTORY LINER PASAY
9:00 PM - Depart to Baguio

Day 1
4:00 AM - Arrival to and Depart from Baguio via jeep
7:00 AM - Arrival at Visitor's Center, Registration and Orientation
10:00 AM - Depart from PAO bound for Ranger Station
11:00 AM - Arrival and lunch at Summit View Inn
12:00AM - Start trek
1:00 PM - Arrival at Camp 1
3:00 PM - Start trek to Camp 2
5:00 PM - Sunset view
6:00 PM - Dinner, Socials
10:00PM - Lights out

Day 2
3:00 AM - Wake-up call
3:30 AM - Start trekking to summit for sunrise
4:30 AM - Arrival at the summit; perfect time for sunrise
7:00 AM - Start descending from summit
7:30-7:45 AM - Arrival at Camp 3 and breakfast; break camp while waiting for breakfast
9:00 AM - Start descending back to Ranger Station
11:30AM - Arrival at Baban's Residence, Lunch and trip back to Protected Area Office
12:30PM - Arrival at PAO; Log out
1:00 PM - Trip back to Baguio City via jeep
4:00 PM - Arrival in Baguio City


Thank you for Pulag Edelweiss Tours for a great Pulag adventure.

Thank you to Glean Family for a great dinner.

Thanks to Coventrek for grabbed pictures used in this post.

More adventure for 2015!

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