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Year-End Hike : Mt. Purgatory Traverse

One of the mossy forest sections of the trail
Dubbed as the Mt. Purgatory traverse and approximately 30 KM in length, this very long trail in Bokod, Benguet allows you to see three peaks - Mt. Pack, Mt. Purgatory and Mt, Kom-kompol. Terrain is rolling, non-technical and enchanting with thick mossy forests and a lot of pine trees.  :) 

The naming of Mt. Purgatory as such is attributed to Durham Hale Bennett, a logging superintendent for Benguet Consolidated Inc. (now known as Benguet Corporation), a pioneer in the Philippine mining industry. The mountain was a former site and the place, due to its location and the difficulty it took to get there was how it got its name.  

Together with hiker friends, Ivan, James, Gideon, Coby and company, we scaled three  2,000+ MASL peaks/view decks, all of which are part of the trail. We hiked Mt. Pack, Mt. Purgatory on the first day, then Mt. Kom-Kompol the following morning.  On a clear day, these three  show views of nearby communities and mountain peaks. From Mt. Kom-Kompol, you can even see the Ambangeg trail that leads to the summit of Mt. Pulag.

Estimated total hiking time took about 7.20 hours on the first day where we had to battle rain and mud. Although there were only short and very manageable steep sections, the wet environment made it more physically challenging as it became really cold. Limatiks were present as well but I guess, our body temperatures were too cold for them to detect most of us. Only two of our companions got bitten by these sneaky suckers. 

Despite the discomfort from the chilly temperature, another positive thing was we didn't have to bear super heavy loads. Our goal was to reach a school before night fall so we didn't bring tents and it helped us maintain a consistent speed on our way up. We spent the night cocooned in sleeping bags at Bakian Primary School where there's also water and a restroom.  
L-R : Gideon, Me, James & Ivan. Wet, cold but happy. Photo taken along a mossy forest. Thanks to for this photo. 
Sea of clouds hovering on mountain peaks. This was shot at the side of Bakian Primary School where
we spent the night.
The following morning, we set off at a little past 7:00 AM. Rain had stopped and the sky was in an alluring shade of blue - like a nice, clean pool. :) We again hiked along a mossy forest and my favorite part - an easy trail scattered with pine needles and cones. Air carried the comforting scent of pine trees that stood abundantly around us. It took us around 6.30 hours to get down to "Pe-tal" where our hired jeepney picked us up.
Early morning descent after a quick breakfast

Dangerous parts of the trails were thoughtfully barricaded with wood to prevent hikers
from falling over the cliff. Must hike with precaution. 
After the long hike, we stayed in Baguio for a couple of more hours where we visited two book stores (Mt. Cloud and He-Brews), had dinner at Oh My Gulay and capped off with a short meet-up with other friends who were in the area at Te Quiero (a highly recommended restaurant with a fine dining appeal. The staff are amazingly friendly and accommodating, definitely one who can relieve your fatigue. It's conveniently connected to the 2nd floor of Victory Liner terminal). 

My last adventure for the year is definitely one for the books because of the trails we saw, my positive and happy companions, the post climb meals and the friendly locals we met.   

Oh by the way, I'm sharing with you a video of the hike created by James. Enjoy! :) 

Thanks to Gideon of Pinoy Mountaineer and Coby Sarreal for organizing this amazing trip! A shout-out to the rest of my companions, Ivan, James, Koi, Miki, Daniel, Steve, Ralph, Wilmer! :) Ma'am Gina, thanks for the ride. Happy New Year everyone!  

Itinerary & other information : Via Pinoy Mountaineer

How to get to Bokod, Benguet : 
From Manila take a Victory Liner bus to Baguio. For trip schedules, visit Bus Fare from Pasay Terminal is 460 Pesos/head. From Baguio, take a hired jeepney to the Japas jump-off in Barangay Pito, Bokod, Benguet and meet with your guide/s (travel time is around 3 hours from Baguio). 

Key Contact Persons : 
Jeepney from Baguio to Japas jump-off : Ms. Gina Epe - +63(919)-816-9234 (You can also coordinate with her for packed meals that you can bring during the climb)
Bokod Tourism Office : Mr. Elinger Dayotao - (0910) 405-9738. 
Tourist Guide President : John Buasan - +63(948)-359-8070 

Water Sources : 
You will pass by several springs, some connected to tubes. If your water intake is normal, you can just bring 1.5 Liters of water and refill your bottle along the way. 

Reminders : 
Leave no trace behind. Bring your own trash back down. 
The locals in these communities are very welcoming and friendly, don't forget to greet 
when you run into them. :)

Side Trips around Baguio : Check out my post. :)

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