Mt Pulag, Playground of the Gods. Tour 1

One of my favourite mountains is Mt. Pulag. When I was a kid I saw it featured on a TV show and I started to dream that I’m going to be a mountaineer and I am going to climb it. I admired the footages and those who climbed it and I said to myself, one day, I’m going to conquer it. It was just a dream of a kid that came into reality when I got the chance to experience its beauty.

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This was my first tour to the playground of the gods (as the locals call it). I joined an exploration team (an organiser of mountain tours) with a registration fee of P4,500,00 (more or less). This includes:

1. bus fare from Manila to Baguio

2. monster jeep from Baguio to Kabayan, Benguet

3. DENR registration

4. another ride from DENR to Babadak Ranger Station

5. breakfast

6. bag tag

7. t-shirt

8. certificate

9. dinner

10. another breakfast

11. guide fee (local guide— members of Kankanaey tribe)

12. trail food

13. bus fare from Baguio to Manila

It was a bit pricy but the experience compensates everything.

Anyway. We left Manila on a Friday night at 10 pm and reached Baguio at 3 am. From there, we took another ride, the monster jeep, going to Benguet. We reached Benguet at 7 am. Took our breakfast at Manang Gina’s eatery where the breakfast was unlimited. 😛 I didn’t know of it, that is why I did not come back for another round. Well, I don’t usually eat breakfast, so it didn’t matter anyway. After a quick breakfast, we headed to DENR for an orientation. A few reminders and some information were discussed at that time and from there, it was recorded that the current temperature was 4 degrees celsius. I got excited because I want to know how cold it was but also I was a bit worried because somebody just died two weeks prior our scheduled hike. But we were there so, yeah, bring it on!

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Gina’s Canteen

It took us another 1 to 2 hours ride from DENR to Babadak Ranger Station. The road wasn’t friendly. It was really a rough ride and our jeep stopped near a cliff. We had to go down and push the jeep out of the mud. Good thing we didn’t fall. It was too high already from where we were and I am pretty sure that we’re not going to survive if we fall.

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This photo was taken after we got through the rough road.

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At 12 pm, we reached the ranger station, and took some time to rest and prepare our gears. The sun was so high but I could feel the chill. Now I was starting to believe that Benguet is 10 times colder than Baguio.

We hit the trail at around 1 pm. We were just having our first few steps but we already felt heavy breathing. Haha! It was really embarrassing but we took our first 5 minute break!

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I could say, climbing this mountain was a different experience. I’ve been into mountains but this one is so magical in a way that it gives you a feeling of you are in a different world. As we ascend, I could feel my sweat inside my shirt but this time I enjoyed sweating. It was like, you have an air-condition unit inside. Instead of feeling the heat, you feel cold, and I enjoyed it. As if I was inside a huge office where the air-condition is set to full.

In this hike, carrying too much stuff inside your bag would not give you a happy back. I have a problem with my back and what I learned in this hike was that I brought unnecessary stuff that made every step higher became more difficult. It wasn’t my first hike but this mountain is the highest in Luzon. Considering the high altitude, another difficulty was the foot traffic on the trail. The volume of people going to the summit was too high thus making the trail too tight to those who wants to advance and to those who were climbing down. I could not count how many times we took a 5 minute break just to get to camp one.

From camp one, it was another one and a half hours hike to get to camp two. A water source is near camp one. But I did not dare to get a mountain water for safety reasons. Aside from I still have three litters of water in my bag, I don’t want to have LBM while in the jungle. That would be a serious problem if ever.

From camp one to camp two, it took us almost two hours. My bag was getting so heavy and we were taking too much breaks, nevertheless i still enjoyed the view because of the mossy forest. The feeling was like I am part of the movie Alice in Wonderland.

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Mossy Forest

2:30 when we reached camp two. I dropped my bag and took a deep breathe. It was spectacular! I was filled with awe. The group was only at camp two but we already have had a scenic view behind our tents. Now I got more excited about what we’re going to see the next day.

We fixed the tent immediately and grabbed my camera and tripod. I was enjoying view the from different peaks. But it was a big mistake to go wandering alone. The wind became colder and colder. Little by little, my hands were getting numb. My face felt like it thickened. Slowly I became disoriented and I felt head aches. I could not feel the buttons of my camera anymore. Good thing my friend looked for me and found me on one of the peaks sitting on a rock and chilling. LESSON LEARNED, NEVER GO ALONE. I assumed it was a rescue already. 😛

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I tried to get some shots of the stars after dinner but I had no clearance of the sky, just a glimpse. Now I became worried if we’re going to see the sea of clouds the next morning. We don’t have much to do so we tried to sleep early. Unfortunately, we couldn’t it was too cold that we could feel the chill even we were wearing double layers of jacket. We do not have a choice but to bear with it.

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4 am, we set out. The moon was so shiny that we could literally see the pathway. It was a nice experience. I could already see the beauty of the mountain. If my camera was powerful enough to record the view on a moonlight, maybe i could give justice describing it.

5 am, we reached the summit. Thanks to the moon, we can already see not only sea but oceans of clouds! I could not help myself but to take pictures and record videos and take pictures again and again! No words could describe the experience of seeing it. After getting shots, I paused for a while and live the moment. Just wow!

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It was 7 am when we decided to descend. The clouds were too low that we literally walked in it. I could see the droplets floating. I was like a kid discovering it. Our guide told us that it never happened before. We were so blessed I must say. 🙂  Again, no words can describe the experience. I fell in love with a mountain.

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ALL PHOTOS IN THIS BLOG ENTRY ARE OWNED BY TRAVELINGTSINELAS, SHOULD YOU WISH TO USE IT, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND DON’T FORGET TO PUT CREDIT TO THIS BLOG.

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’til next adventure! See you all! 12498786_10208212295650211_1009755843_n

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