One in my bucket list is to become crazy and wear Kigurumi (that’s a japanese word for stuff toy costumes) in a mountain. And last year that dream became a reality. I climbed Pulag and became STITCH for a day! 😊
Mt. Pulag is the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines, next to Mt. Apo of Davao and Mt. Dulang Dulang of Bukidnon. It is considered as the highest mountain in Luzon. Located in the Cordillera Region, this mountain is also known as “The Playground of Gods”.
There are four major trails up the summit: the Ambangeg, Akiki, and Tawangan trails from Benguet and the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Vizcaya. Those inexperienced ones usually took the Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail, which is the easier one.
Well, to be honest, me and my bf are not hikers. And prior to this climb, we didn’t have any pre-climbed (in which you must do if you’re not into work-outs or exercise). I just thought that i passed my excruciating experience spelunking in Sumaguing-Lumiang Caves in Sagada and that impromptu “Indiana Jones” spelunking in Gigantes without any work-out or whatsoever, so might aswell do it here. 😂 Well, i don’t advice you to do so, we just wanted to push ourselves into our limits, yeah talk about being a masochist. 😬
My bf is actually not into this kind of activities, but the perks of having a crazy girlfriend like me is you’ll be into the zone of doing things out of your comfort! 😁😁😁
So How Do You Get Here?
Ambangeg – Ambangeg Trail DIY (this is what we did!)
1. Get yourself to Baguio – We took Victory Liner in Cubao
2. Upon reaching Baguio, go to the Kabayan, Benguet Fx Terminal
- We took the van at the Dangwa Terminal (this terminal is at the back of Baguio Center Mall. Same terminal if your riding the Lizardo Bus to Sagada. So if you’re in Session Road, get yourself at the start of the road which is infront of the Baguio Public Market. While facing the market, turn right untill you reach the Mall. Then turn right again towards the Terminal. The First Van will start the journey at around 6 am.
- You may opt to hire a Taxi and go to the Old Slaughter House, they have also vans going to Kabayan
3. The driver will dropped you off at the Ambangeg Junction near the DENR office. That’s a 3 minutes uphill from the road.
4. Once you’re there, you have to attend a mini lecture and logged in.
5. Take a Habal Habal outside the office to the starting point or the Ranger Station. You have to get a guide from there and pay for the Camping and some cultural Fees.
Stitch in Mt. Pulag
We started our journey at around 6 am, we took the van from Dangwa Terminal going to Kabayan, Benguet. Lucky for us, the van is quite full already when we got there. We then stated our journey at around 6:15 am. Arrived at the Ambangeg Junction after 2 hrs. The DENR is still closed when we got there. So we decided to eat our free packed breakfast (which we got from our hotel) while waiting. After 30 minutes, we saw the DENR officer and she asked for our reservation and our medical certificates. Registered our names, paid for the environmental fees and were asked to wait for the orientation. It’s compulsary to attend one prior to the climb and we were the first ones to have the orientation on that day.
At around 9:30 we’re all set and started our journey to Babadak Ranger Station with our habal habal Drivers. The journey is around 45 mins to 1 hr.
We arrived after 45 mins! Peeewww! We rented our camping gears such as tents and sleeping bags at a store nearby. We were given a girl guide and started our journey 15 minutes later.
Ambangeg has 3 trails, the Vegetative, the Montane Forest and the Glassland. The summit is steep and filled with dwarf bamboos.
Camp 1 is located right after the Vegetative area, while Camp 2 is right at the start of the grassland. The journey up took around 3 hours. Camp 1 is 30 minutes after the vegetation area, while the rest of the 2 1/2 hrs is covered by the montane forest. This trail is actually for beginners, no rivers nor rocky areas. Though the trail offers some steep and elevated slopes.
The Vegetative Trail
The Montane Forest
The start of the Grassland is Camp 2. From there, you can now see the Summit of Mt. Pulag. You may opt to climb the radar station if you want to see the sunset. We were there at around 1:30 PM and the first ones to arrived on that day. That made us lucky as we have the luxury of choosing the best camp site in the area. And i know we did the right choice! Hahaha. Our guide help us in building our tent, as this is also our first time to camp!
The Grass Land
After settling in, we just enjoyed the sceneries. I wore my Stitch Kigurumi and goof around like there’s no tomorrow! hahaha
The place is gorgeous and serene. You can literally touch the clouds (tho’ you can’t actually feel them as clouds were like mists). After several hours, few groups were starting to came in.
Beautiful Edelweiss Flowers
Pulag is beautiful even at night as it houses the most spectacular star show you will ever see in your life! It’s like the stars were just around waiting to be fetch. It’s so romantic and magical. Tho’ it’s extremely cold at night and the clouds moisture is a killer. They can make your whole tent wet even the floors you’re gonna sleep in. So make sure to cover it with mats, heat pads and sleeping bags.
Ascend to the Summit
Our call time is at 4:00 AM but we were awake by 3:00 AM. I slept at around 12:00 am as camping isn’t my comfort zone, i had difficulty getting some sleep. Our guide awoke us and we started preparing. With tons of layers ofcourse, bubble jacket, winter scarf, my cute pink striped mitten gloves which i accidentally bought in Seoul years back because my hands were starting to feel numb that time… hahaha, and my super cute black cat bonnet! 😻
We then started our journey at around 4:30 AM, passing through some steep, crooked and narrow trails. The area is still dark so make sure you have head lamps and/or flashlights. Ascending to the summit is about an hour to 1 1/2 depending on your pace. We arrived there at 5:30 am, just right to witness the sun rise and what this mountain is famous for, The Dreamy Sea Of Clouds.
And indeed Pulag is a dream land, Mighty, Beautiful and Magical. The hard work paid of as i’ve witness how the beauty of nature unfolds right before my eyes. It’s like a dream come true! “Sigh”
A dreamer’s Dream! This moment is one of the few in life that is worthy and undeniably priceless!
I ❤️ u Pulag! Thank God for Life! 😘
The Lonely Tree
I’m Here With You
If you’re going to ask me if i’ll do it again. I will but will consider getting the much harder trail! Hahaha. Time to beat that ENERGY GAP! 😂
1. You have to make a Reservation prior to the climb if doing a DIY. Mt. Pulag is already a well-protected national Park.
2. It’s better to do a Week day climb than on Weekend. They don’t allow sleeping on camp sites during weekends. You have to start your journey up to the Summit at around 10 PM. While on a week day, you have an option to sleep on either Camp 1, Camp 2 or Camp 3.
3. The best month to climb is usually November – May or Any day without Rain! 😂
4. Mt. Pulag is Freezing Cold! So please make sure you have everything. Fight cold in a Fashionable Way! 😂
5. You may opt not to bring Camping tools especially during weekdays (do reserve one during weekend) as they have camping rentals at the Ranger Station.
6. Camp 1 and 2 have toilets (not that Clean tho’)
7. You have to bring a medical certificate prior to the climb. Make sure you incorporate one before going there to avoid inconvenience.
8. Pulag is the home of Edelweiss flowers, the flowers originated from the Swiss Alps and only grow in less than 10 degree-weather. Make sure to find one once you’re in Camp 2. Small version tho’ but still a joy to capture one! I’m a big fan of The Sound Of Music that’s why Edelweiss is so special to me as i grew-up listening to that song.
9. Descending from Pulag is much easier, we made it to Ranger Station for about 3 1/2 hrs from the Summit.
10. Round-trip Climb is about 8 hrs. Medium-pace.
11. Do bring trail food (instant noodles, bread, water, etc). Just bring your trash with you upon descending.
Total Expenses: (per PAX)
Bus to Baguio (r/t) – 890 php
Van to Ambangeg Junction – 250 php
Environmental Fees – 225 php
Camping Fees – 80 php
Culture and Heritage Fee – 80 php
Guide – 500 php (for 2, 250 php each)
Habal-Habal – 200 php to 300 php (per way)
Camping Rentals (Tent and Sleeping Bags) – 500 php (for 2)
TOTAL: 2325 php