|We were pleasantly surprised with a full view of a rainbow as we ascended the pine tree forest of the Akiki Trail! :)|
|In one of our short breaks, we sat down to admire some of the mountains of the Cordilleras|
Although hiring porters in Mt. Pulag is easy, I don’t feel comfortable getting one. While others would argue that it’s one of the ways to help locals earn livelihood, I feel that they should be hired for their expertise on the trail and not to carry other people’s load.
|Here's what I brought for the trip. For lunch, I brought two Energy gels.|
After enjoying a quick roadside breakfast of tilapia, kangkong, rice and brewed coffee courtesy of Ma’am Gina, we set off to climb the steep cement stairs to the registration area. It was a pain to the lungs; I breathe obscenely and we're not even on the main trail yet!
|Road side breakfast at the Akiki jump-off|
|Group shot at Eddet River. Photo taken by Koi Grey. (L-R) Me, Jenny, Vinci & Gideon|
We started our hike at 7:07 AM. The section before Eddet River, a beautiful raging river where some groups camp, was a nice warm-up for the long hike. The terrain was even and how I wished it was the same the entire way. :P We passed a section with sunflowers growing on both sides and for a while, I forgot how grueling the next few hours would be.
|After a sharp ascent at the pine forest, we took a short break for snacks|
After less than two hours of trekking, we arrived at the area dubbed as Marlboro country. A hilly area with plants and pine trees, it is reminiscent of the views from an old Marlboro commercial. It is the second campsite and has a water source and a stable hut for guides.
Next came my favorite part, the mossy forest. Although it is less steep than the Pine trees section, I was still breathless on most parts. I could tell my lungs have not fully recovered from my 4 week battle with chicken pox last month.
|Mossy forest. If only it wasn't so cold, I would have taken a few minutes to just marvel at the moss that grew on trees|
Lunch was a convenient pack of Stinger energy gel which I was able to consume while trekking. I first learned about energy gels from a trail runner friend and it can fuel you for 10 KM of trail at least. It's also very lightweight and takes very little space in your pack. It costs 75 Pesos a gel which is almost the same price as buying a meal from a fastfood.
After another half-hour, I rejoined my friends under a hut for guides at the saddle campsite. We snacked and rested before making our way to the summit. At this point, I felt really tired so I just took one slow step at a time. In 20 minutes, I finally reached the summit.
|At the summit. Photo from Gideon Lasco.|
By 3:37 PM, we were back to the Babadak Ranger station, the jump-off for those starting at the Ambangeg trail and although we were drenched and feeling very cold, we were all in high spirits. After 8.5 hours in the trail, we were officially done and we feasted on hot Milo and bread from a sari-sari store.
|The entire group. Photo taken after we completed the hike. (L-R) Gideon, Me, Jenny, Vinci & Koi|
And then we had desserts at Hill Station in Baguio.
Then a second dinner at Zola along Session road. :P (They serve good omelettes here)
A happy feat deserves several happy feasts. :P
Travel Information :
Primary jump-off from Manila to Mt. Pulag is Baguio City.
Bus from Manila to Baguio - check Victory Liner for schedules (bus fare : 450 Pesos, one way). Other bus companies with trips to Baguio are Genesis and Dagupan Bus lines.
Accommodation in Baguio City - We checked in at Hotel 45 Extension the night before our hike. We got a private fan room for 3 with t&b for 1,400 Pesos (off season rate, booked December 14, 2014).
Hotel 45 Extension
Extension Hotel Contact
Tel. Phone:+63 (74) 442-3460
Mobile No: +63 0917-588-2759
*Note that this is different from Hotel 45 Main which is the first branch and is located along Session Road. Stayed in both, I prefer the extension because it has newer facilities and still near Session road.
Hiking Information :
When planning a hike to Mt. Pulag, advance coordination must be done through Ma'am Mereng, the DENR-Park Superintendent - +63 09196315402
Guide Fee (mandatory) - 1,800 Pesos/group of 8 (traverse, our guide's name is Oswald)
Registration Fee - 200 Pesos/head (paid at Akiki Registration Area)
Jeepney - 8,500 Pesos (good for 18 persons, coordinated thru Ma'am Gina Epe, +63 09198169234 / 09999916008).
*For a hassle-free hike, book with Trail Adventours. Visit their site for schedules.
For a 3D 2N itinerary,check out Pinoy Mountaineer. Gideon's account of our hike is also up on his blog under Hiking Matters #441.