Playground of the Gods: Mt. Pulag

Mt. Pulag wasn’t really one of the places I had in mind to visit this year. Not really a fan of hiking but out-of-the-blue I had a strong impulse, so I did and it’s one of the best decisions I made! Pressed with time, I opted to book for a group travel tour instead of DIY. In just a week, I was bound for Mt. Pulag on April 25-27 (Thursday – Saturday).

Sample Itinerary

DAY 0

11:00PM – Meet-up at Cubao, Quezon City
12:00MN – Departed for Baguio

DAY 1

4:00AM – Arrived at Baguio
5:30AM – Arrival at Jangjang, Bokod, Benguet. Breakfast time
7:00AM – DENR Pulag Eco Park/waiting time for orientation and registration
8:00AM – Start of orientation
9:30AM – Departure to Ranger Station, Bokod, Benguet
10:45AM – Arrival at Ranger Station
12:00PM – Lunch time/Check-in at homestay
1:00PM onwards – Free time
7:00PM – Dinner
9:00PM – Lights-off
DAY 2

1:00AM – Wake-up
1:30AM – Start of trek
3:30AM – Reached Camp 1
4:30AM – Reached Camp 2
5:20AM – Mt. Pulag Summit sunrise watching/sea of Clouds
8:00AM – Start descent from summit
10:30AM – Arrival at Ambangeg Ranger Station (rest/lunch/shower)
1:00PM – Departure to DENR Mt. Pulag Eco park visitor’s office (get climb certificate/log-out)
2:00PM – Departure to Baguio
4:00PM – Arrived Baguio
6:00PM – Dinner at Leezas (Pangasinan)
10:30PM – Arrived at Quezon City


Where to eat along the way?

Situated along the main road of Bokod, Benguet going to DENR, Jangjang eatery is the place to eat at. You can also find the Jangjang hanging bridge near the eatery. Unfortunately, it was still closed by the time we got there at 5:30am but it’s a picture-worthy one. Price of food range from P80-P150 with unli rice, it’s a typical “carinderia” so don’t expect much but what you’ll definitely enjoy is the ambiance and the view of the hanging bridge.

DENR Office

Prior heading to Babadak Ranger station, visitors are required to register for a fee (P200) and attend the orientation by the DENR which focuses on the do’s and don’ts in Mt. Pulag, emphasizing the sacredness of the Mountain to locals.

Just across the DENR office, there are stores selling climbing gear and essentials.

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Babadak, Ranger Station

We reached the small town of Babadak Ranger Station (also known as Ambangeg Ranger station) around 10:45am and immediately checked-in at our homestay (P300-P400/night). For those who are taking the ambangeg trail, Ranger station is the jump-off point. People consider this as the “artista trail” as it is the easiest trail among the three trails – Akiki and Tawangan trail which takes 8+ hours one-way but they have different jump-off points located on the different sides of Mt. Pulag.

Ranger Station 1
Ranger Station

Since we have the first day all to ourselves, I sought for nearby places to go to. There are several camp sites on the hills around Ranger station.

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Hilltop 1: Located at the foremost part of the Ranger Station. You can see from this vantage point the other hilltop where you can also set-up camp
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Hilltop 2: Campsite

And the Hike Begins….

1:00am Alarms set-off and we’re all awake in an instant, obviously excited, we prepared our gears the night before. Exactly 1:30am, we started our hike together with around 2-3 other groups. The first thirty minutes was relatively easy as we’re just walking on flat but muddy road until little-by-little, we begin to ascend into the pitch-black forest with only our flashlights illuminating the trail. What made the hike more challenging is the freezing cold weather. I presume that the temperature plummeted down to less than 10 degrees which I underestimated (I just wore 2 layers of clothing and 1 wind-breaker!).

3:00am we reached camp 1 and caught up with the first and second group. With just few minutes of rest, we decided to go at it again until we reached camp 2 around 4:20am. Fortunately, we had clear skies which drove me to take a shot at the milky-way galaxy.

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Peeking into the Heavens

5:00am Minutes away from the summit, the sunrise unveiled Mt. Pulag’s sheer beauty which got us awestruck and teary-eyed.

If you have the entire morning to spare, go to both – summit and tower station but the sea of clouds is much closer at the tower station compared to the summit. In our case, we opted to go for the latter and spent half an hour just gazing at the sea of clouds like it was a movie – except we’re in it and in full HD, indeed captivating and majestic.

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Details

  • Major jump-off point: Ambangeg Ranger Station, Bokod, Benguet
  • LLA: 16 34’58”N, 120 53’15”E; 2922MASL
  • Days required/Hrs. to summit: 1-2 days; 4-5 hours
  • Specs: Major climb; Difficulty: 3/9
  • Trail class: 1-2
  • Trail system: Grand Cordillera trail, Section 3

What’s There to See?

  1. Mossy forest
  2. Golden grassland
  3. Dwarf bamboo slope
  4. Sea of clouds
  5. Mt. Pulag summit

Take Note: Tips and Reminders

  1. Follow LNT (Leave No Trace) principle
  2. Make sure that you’re in good health. Do cardio exercises/work-out weeks before your climb
  3. Better safe than sorry. Don’t push yourself to reach the summit if your body really can’t.
  4. Take time to rest during the hike
  5. Pack light and make sure to bring waterproof protection for your valuables
  6. Don’t underestimate the temperature. Bring layers of clothing – jacket, wind breaker, etc.
  7. Secure a medical certificate (compulsory)
  8. Best day to hike is during weekdays – to avoid the influx of people
  9. Put down your cameras/phones and just let yourself be captivated by the beauty of Mt. Pulag. LIVE IN THE MOMENT

Essential Things to Bring

  1. Drinking water
  2. Trash bag
  3. Better to bring headlamps instead of handheld ones – you’ll need your hands to balance yourself and hold on to whatever especially if the trail gets slippery
  4. Trail food
  5. First-aid kit
  6. Gloves, bonnet, neck and face cover – you’ll definitely need these to keep yourself warm. Otherwise, your face nose, ears and hands will get numb

Damage to the Pocket (expenses)

  • P2,900/pax – Inclusions (Round trip a/c van, registration fee, entrance fee, cultural fee, camping/homestay fee, guide’s fee, coordinator’s fee, dinner and lunch)
  • P100 – Breakfast at Jangjang eatery
  • P100 – Lunch at homestay canteen
  • P100 – Merienda at a nearby canteen
  • P150 – Souvenir ref magnets (3 pcs)
  • P400 – Souvenir dry-fit shirt printed with “I conquered Mt. Pulag”
  • Total Damage: P3,750
  • Note: As much as I wanted to lower down the cost of this travel to cater to my DIY pocket-friendly travel principle, I had no other option but to avail the package considering time constraint and of course, I’m guilty with the spur-of-the-moment element. DIYs would only cost around P1,500-P2,000.
Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs!
Join us as we venture out on new local and international destinations!
Instagram: @marcusregime and @joshuadpacheco

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6 Replies to “Playground of the Gods: Mt. Pulag”

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