One of my so-many-to-do-things in my bucket list is to climb Luzon’s highest mountain with the bone-chilling name Mt. Pulag.
It is located in one of the coldest province in the Philippines which is Benguet, a 2 and half hour drive from Baguio. It’s also known as the Playground of the Gods.
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We left Manila at 12 midnight and arrived in Baguio at 4:30 AM. Our driver was badass at driving because we reached Baguio earlier than expected.
Top-loading experience for sight-seeing
One of the exciting part of the trip was top loading on the jeep. It was cold but the view was amazing, you can already see the sea of clouds.
Jang Jang Eatery & Stop Over for Breakfast.
There’s a hanging bridge at the back of the Jang Jang Eatery.
You might see some cute kids playing at the bridge but once you’re on your way back they will block you and ask for money. I wonder how they got that idea.
Registration at DENR Office.
We spent almost an hour here for the orientation before hiking. I think every hiking spot should have this kind of office and orientation to guide the newbies as well as to maintain the cleanliness of the place. I had colds at that time and it stuck in my head to bring a separate plastic bag where I can put my used tissue, empty cans and food wrappers.
A 30-minute orientation about Mt. Pulag
You can buy items here if you forgot something.
On our way to Ranger’s Station
Almost 1 and a half hour bumpy ride to the Ranger’s Station.
It was surprising to see a lot of houses and people there especially children playing outside. There’s no mobile signal in the area, too.
Our home for 2 days.
From Ranger’s Station we walked for 10 minutes. The girls occupied the available room in the house while the boys stayed in the living room.
Our things in one room.
Lunch at Luzon’s Highest Peak Store
For lunch we found a store named Luzon’s Highest Peak Store. We ordered Pork Sinigang, Chicken Adobo and Watercress, which is a dish in Cordillera Province. It tasted a little bitter but was still delicious.
Watercress is rich in Vitamin A and C
After lunch on a foggy and rainy weather.
After our lunch, we headed back to our home-stay and took a shower with freezing water. Our travel crew were drinking Rice Wine which is famous in Benguet and they made us try it. It kinda tasted like it has vinegar but it was good.
We had Pinikpikan for dinner, another dish in the region. It’s a chicken dish prepared by beating the chicken meat before cooking.
We woke up at 11PM to prepare for our trek. We put on layers of jackets. Don’t want to catch hypothermia or anything.
It was my first night trek and I really prayed for good weather throughout the hike. Thankfully, we were blessed with a fine weather.
Ready for our night trek.
Everyone’s all set.
We started our trek at 1PM. We wore everything expecting a chilly hike however as we ascend to Camp 1, all of us were complaining how hot it was with all the jackets on. After 30 minutes and upon arrival at Camp 1, we removed all the jackets. I only had my long sleeves and T-shirt on.
At Camp 1, they were looking at the stars.
Walking through the muddy and mossy forest was tricky because you have to make sure where to step on and to always lean to your right.
We arrived at Camp 2 at 2:30 AM so we took a break and ate some of our packed snacks. That was also the time when we wore all the jackets again and everything that will make us warm. It was freezing and you can see fog through your breath.
Under the stars at Camp 2, on our way to the summit.
The temperature drops even more as we climb closer to the summit. I had to wrap my scarf around my face to protect it from freezing that you can only see my eyes. The path becomes steeper too and tall grasses are every where so you have to make your way through it. You can only see mountains’ shadows and once you’re over one mountain here comes another. It felt like a never-ending walk.
Are we there yet?
The gang with our local guides finally reached the Summit. Hooray!
Finally at 4:30 AM we reached the Summit of Mount Pulag. We were the first group to arrive since it was Monday and only a few hikers were there.
While waiting for the sunrise, look for Venus.
I’m in awe of the breathtaking sunrise.
Sunrise, sea of clouds and the mountains.
The sea of clouds were too low tide and far from the summit but I was still satisfied with the view.
Sea of Clouds
I can feel you, Rod.
Sir Glenn Santos, the photographer for all the SLR photos in this article.
Yours truly with one of our guides. I forgot his name but he’s 59 years old.
Yours truly, it’s freezing but I need to look good at this sign.
I felt badass! Mission Accomplished! I’m so proud of myself! I can’t contain the happiness I felt when I finally saw that sign.
The guys in our group did something crazy at the summit. They removed all their jackets and took pictures of them half-naked. I can’t post the photos though since it’s Rated PG. I’m leaving it to your imagination.
Snack time at the summit before we went down.
Don’t forget to clean up and bring your garbage bag along with you when you go down. Leave nothing but footprints.
I wonder when will I see this sign again.
We went down at 7:00 AM. The weather was bearable and so we removed some of our jackets. We took our time going down to see the view that we missed while going up. This time it was all green mountains and blue skies under the blazing sun.
I said this before, I love climbing up but I hate going down. It’s too dangerous and I’m afraid to slide down. I almost got my left ankle twisted two times while going down.
The view on our way down.
It looks surreal.
Find them! I bet you can’t see them.
Arrival at the Camp 2, how Camp 2 looked like by day.
Another rest at Camp 2.
We were the last group to go down so we can take more pictures.
The part of the hike that I hated because of the mud.
The little bridge in Mossy Forest.
We found the 2nd group in Camp 1 having a rest too. Our last stop-over for the hike. I’m at the last stretch of my energy and patience too. I was wishing that when I open my eyes, I’m at our home-stay.
One last picture, trying not to look exhausted in here.
We arrived at 11AM before the fog got in the way and just in time for the afternoon rain. We were all dead tired. This was the longest and the farthest hike I ever did.
Ranger’s Station is 8 kilometers from the Mt. Pulag Summit. We walked back and forth for almost 10 hours. Do the math now.
Certificate of Conquest
And here’s where I’d say how I salute, hands down and bow down to all the hikers that had gone to Mt. Pulag, those who endured the long walk, the cold weather and for staying sane.
Also for all the hikers who continue to climb one mountain after another all-over the world. Stay safe everyone.
I hope you all enjoyed our little adventure conquering the highest mountain in Luzon.
Don’t be shy to share your experiences, too whether it’s good or not-so-good ones. Be proud!
Mt. Pulag Survival Shirt
We survived Mt. Pulag!
Proofread and Edited by Vany Piol