Hiking Mt. Pulag, Mountain Province, Philippines

mt.pulag

Hiking Mt. Pulag was not part of the plan, it was a result of my desire to further enjoy the cold climate of the north and the serenity that mountainous landscape offers.

I don’t want to come back to a loud metro just yet, so after an overnight bus trip from Banaue to Baguio and after a day rest I decided that hiking Mt. Pulag is a must.

At 2,922m height above sea level and officially designated as 3rd highest peak in the country, climbing Mt. Pulag is often consider as one of the best hiking expedition in the Philippines.

Every year thousands of Filipinos normally in huge mountaineering and expedition group scale the peak of Mt. Pulag, however my experience led me to believe that Mt. Pulag can be done independently.

After asking around in Baguio, I was advised to go to a transport terminal called Slaughterhouse and ask for a passenger van that can bring me to Bokod where the Mt. Pulag National Park Protected Area Office is located. From the National Park office, then I need to ask around for a transportation for hire that can bring me all the way to the Ranger Station, the jump off point for the famous Ambangeg Hiking Trail.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

After spending almost two hours at the Slaughterhouse terminal waiting for the van to get full, we finally get going and made our way to Bokod. Upon reaching Bokod, I was directed by the van driver to the National Park Office for the mandatory registration and orientation.

The video orientation not only informative, it also made me so excited to see the beautiful trail and terrain of Mt. Pulag. The lady who facilitates the orientation was extremely helpful, she gave me her mobile number just in case of emergency.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

After the orientation, I asked the National Park facilitator’s help for a way to reach the Ranger station. Seeing that I am alone and there was no point to suggest renting a more expensive jeepney or van, I was asked if I don’t mind back riding on a motorcycle. Never done that before though I am quite nervous I agreed since it was the only obvious option available.
mt. pulag

After almost thirty minutes zooming around the small sometimes dangerous and damaged roads on the mountainside we reached the Ranger station. It is mandatory to have a hiking guide provided by the National Park Office, so while waiting for my guide I hang out at the only sari-sari store (general store), bought bars of Cloud 9 (our local version of Snickers chocolate bar), bread, boiled egg and bottled water- the provisions that will sustain me for the rest of the hike.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

Though I have ample time to hike back and forth within the day, I was advised at the Park Office not to since I will miss out the sunrise and sea of clouds view which Mt. Pulag peak is known for. So I decided to make this as an overnight hiking trip even though I came unprepared. With no proper hiking equipment or camping gear, I am hopeful that layering all the clothes inside my backpack should be able to sustain me during cold night and early morning, however I will not survive the night without any shelter or tent. I asked the sari-sari store owner if she has any tent that can be rented for a night, like an answered prayer she had one and the plan to stay overnight push thru.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

By mid-afternoon, we finally commenced our hike. Enjoying the serenity of the trail sheltered with trees and the beautiful landscape of surrounding mountains.

My guide is a good company too, orienting me on poisonous plants and the types that I can easily pick and eat for survival.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

I find the Ambangeg Trail quiet easy, maybe attributing to my past hiking experience. I would definitely recommend this trail to anyone who wanted to dip their toes into hiking.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

Finally, we reached Camping Ground 2 the designated spot for overnight campers. My guide helped me to setup my tent and settled in. After few minutes a huge group of climbers arrived, their tents occupying the rest of the place.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

With plenty of time before dawn, I decided to walk around and explore the nearby surrounding.

I imagine that if I will be sent into space and landed on some unknown place the view will be exactly like these, me with nothing but a barren land and a wide open space- cue in repeat the song Space Odyssey by David Bowie in my head.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

The rest of the afternoon did not disappoint. Together with the other campers and guides, the nearby smaller mountains closed to Camping Ground 2 was explored. The air was crisp, the view was superb, it was more than what I imagine Mt. Pulag is.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

It was a very cold and sleepless night. At one point, I expected that my tent will rip apart and I will be drag towards the cliff, the wind was howling and too strong.
mt. pulag

At around four in the morning, my guide and I get ready to move forward for our ascend towards the peak. With headlamps on, we hiked the remaining 2km distance towards the peak, to be there just in time for the sunrise. The wind still quite strong prevented everyone to fully enjoy the sea of clouds view. The hiking guides consensus that it was a very unusual weather, maybe a signal of an impending storm.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

One final look at the sea of clouds, we made our descend back to Camping Ground 2.
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag
mt. pulag

Afterwards, we packed our things and start our way back to the Ranger Station. I returned my rented tent and say goodbye to the sari-sari store owner and her kids, my reliable hiking guide and the officer at Ranger Station. The same rented motorcycle ride was waiting for me and took me back to the National Park Office at Bokod where I signed out, thus completing the wonderful hiking trip at Mt. Pulag.
mt. pulag

Advertisements

58 thoughts on “Hiking Mt. Pulag, Mountain Province, Philippines

    1. I’m starting to miss Mt.pulag again. I’ve been in Pulag and the experience was great . I joined the team of HideOut Travel and Tours and It only cost me 2600 all in all. You can try to join them I believe this is the site hideouttravelandtours.com

  1. Wow! These are some beautiful views. What a place to hike. I especially this line given that you’re hiking in a land that I think was once populated by headhunters … “After asking around in Baguio, I was advised to go to a transport terminal called Slaughterhouse”. What an adventure!

      1. Wow, I came across your blog when I’m searching for Mt. Pulag and I was blown away by your pics. And you made the hike alone, you are so brave and fearless. I envy you. I would like to do that too. Is it really safe to venture that mountain alone (me also a girl)? And as a beginner as in zero hiking experience? I would like to do some nature tripping and soul searching myself. I’m so thrilled and excited. πŸ™‚ Nice blog.

        1. Hi Marie, thank you for such nice and encouraging words. Nothing to envy to be honest, these days solo female travel is a norm which is great. I believe anyone can do it but of course we must be prepared and prioritise safety at all times.

          Regarding Mt. Pulag and hiking in general, it can be done solo without a doubt, however I would suggest if you can do sort of practice hiking on smaller mountains and other trails prior Pulag, this will get you into the mood of the whole hiking experience.

          Good luck and message me if you need further help πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Mitchell, thank you. yes, very safe climb and the provided guide of National Park Protected Area Office are helpful and reliable.

      For the motorbike, i would suggest to seek the help of the National Park office as well. Good luck!

  2. Hi! I love your blog. And I love your shots. Nainlove na ko agad sa Mt. Pulag di pa man din ako nakakarating. I’m into hiking too and we’ve been planning to go there next month. Can you share with us how much your overall expenses there? Though there are tour/hiking packages offered online, we prefer to explore it on our own.

    1. Hi , thank you very much!
      I dont remember the overall expenses, sorry about that and it might not be applicable on your case particularly travelling in a group.

      My sister went to Pulag prior my trip and she joined one of the offered group tour that is tied up with Victory Liner, you might want to check that out. I think price is reasonable because the biggest part of your trip will be the transportation cost. She also informed me that package includes basically everything including packed lunch/dinner. So the plus size is you just simply show up and hike, then the tour organizer will do the rest.

      However, I am an advocate of independent travel. After all, the mishaps on the road is actually what makes it more fun and always the idea that you are not binded to a schedule is always a good thing. Once again, biggest cost will be the transportation-try to find out the price of bus to Baguio, rental of jeep or van to Pulag Ranger station back and forth.

      Good luck and enjoy your hike πŸ™‚

  3. Wow you made it all by yourself. I was inspired by this, makes me want to climb pulag also. I’m just wondering, how much did it cost you? Beautiful pictures also, did you use mirrorless on this?

    1. Hi, thank you πŸ™‚

      To be honest I dont remember all the cost details, though as expected transportation fees will take huge chunk on the budget. Also be ready with the mandatory guide fee of 500pesos.

      I’m using my favorite camera – very old olympus micro 4/3 epl-2.

  4. Wow, you made it all by yourself. I was inspired by this, makes me want to climb pulag also. I’m Just wondering, how much did it cost you? Beautiful pictures also, did you use mirrorless camera?

  5. Beautiful and what a nice view there, since u travelling alone, and can i know the cost u have been into while scaling this mountain? i mean from Slaughterhouse. Appreciate it a lot if u can share it with me. πŸ™‚ . Thank you dear

    1. Hi, thank you very much!
      if i remember correctly van from Slaughtherhouse to National Park Office is 300Php one way and motorcycle to ranger station back and forth is 600.

  6. Hello your blog is brilliant! I was wondering if you’d like to continue the Element 1 story I wrote. Two paragraphs would be enough (no need to finish the story just build) , You seem like the perfect person for the job! It’s fine if you don’t want to however it would be a pleasure. Feel free to email me the paras at orangepeople12@gmail.com

  7. Hi! your blog is very helpful to me. πŸ™‚ It actually gave me Self Confidence and Will to push through my plan hiking Mt. Pulag alone. I am planning to hike Mt. Pulag on the 25th of April (i hope that is a good date to climb Mt. Pulag) LOL!. I’ve been hiking since i was in Highschool with my friends, but this time will be very different. πŸ™‚ i will do it on my own.

    i just want to ask you if how much did you pay for the Guide? is it free? is 2K enough for a budget going there back and forth?

    Hoping for your warm response. πŸ™‚
    Thank You Luna.

    1. Hi Dennis, sorry for late reply been extremely busy with work.
      First, thank you for your message and I support your plan to hike solo πŸ™‚

      I believe there are things best experience with friends but sometimes there are things that has to be savour alone and hiking is one of them.

      The price for guide is around Php 500 but not sure of the increase the rate recently. For your transpo budget of 2k, I think its more than enough but to be on budget of course you need to negotiate or wait for the public transpo to filled up.

      Good luck and all the best! Enjoy!

  8. Hello! Kudos to you making it to the top alone! You are an inspiration!

    The photos you took are so mesmerizing that I got excited to finally hike Mt. Pulag this August. What camera did you use in capturing these stunning photos? I can’t help but wonder how would I take pictures as gorgeous as these when I finally get there. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Eddie, thank you! I used olympus epl2 for this trip.

      Dont worry about the outcome of your photos, I believe that it requires no special skills and no special camera to capture everything magnificent about Mt. Pulag.

      Good luck on your trip and enjoy!

    1. Hi there, thank you. You should go for it. Suggestion would be january-february, weather is perfect though colder. Good luck!

  9. Hi, I am planning to pack my bag an go hiking this is my goal before this year end. thanks for a piece of information to add up to my knowledge though had previous climb but this is different. God bless

    1. Hi there, go for it! December – January for me is the best time to climb pulag so your timing is just right Let me know about your experience πŸ™‚

  10. Trying to find the best time to go to mt pulag as am taking my friend who is a true hiker. Our trip to Philippines will be mid January next. I thought a day would be nice but it seems to be an over night one. Are there lots of travel agent in Baguio to ask around or better to go direct?

    1. January is good weather and possibly one of the busiest. I think Mt. Pulag is doable for a day hike but it is recommended to do it overnight then hike early morning for sunrise and sea of clouds. I know it might sound like a total cliche but that’s the primary reason of hiking Pulag and a worthy reason.

      Based on my experience, you might have difficulty finding travel agents or even people to help you around in Baguio. My suggestion research well orif you can try to find a travel group in Manila. I heard there are plenty as this is becoming a famous hike.

    1. hi, if i recall correctly maybe around 500Php. not sure what is the rate these days? have a safe trip and enjoy! πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Luna,

    What a wunderful trip you have made πŸ™‚ Inspiring a lot of people!
    I see you posted this story in September, does that mean you took the trip in August/September?

    I am planning to be in Philippines in August, but am doubting if that is a good time of the year to make this Mount Pulag hike….

    Would be great to hear your opinion on that?

    1. hi, sorry for the late response. august is consider as wet/ typhoon season in Philippines, so it might not be the best time to hike but if you are lucky there could be some in-between days or week of good weather.

      i actually did Mt. Pulag in the month of January, which i believe is the best time. not too hot, no rain too.

      enjoy Philippines and stay safe!

  12. I LOVE YOUR BLOG! And you inspire me to go to Mt. Pulag already. I’m thinking of going to my birthday on September, do you think it would be a good month to climb and see the sea of clouds?

    1. hi Charmaigne, how are things? have you visited Mt.Pulag? September, perhaps is a Ok time to go but I will always recommend Dec-Jan-Feb for a more guaranteed good weather.
      but, weather can change anytime of the year, so I guess just hope for the best 😊 enjoy Mt. Pulag 😊

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s