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I woke up inside my tent at past 4:00 AM, shivering from the wind blowing from everywhere at the saddle campsite of Mt. Pulag. I groaned when I realized I overslept. A couple of my companions were already up and preparing for their hike to the summit while I had to pack in the dark and start my hike down a different trail so I can catch the 11:00 AM bus back to Baguio.
The Akiki trail is dubbed by local mountaineers as the "Killer Trail" to Luzon's highest peak. Majority of its terrain is very steep which knocks your breath away while some are slippery due to the scattered pine needles that fell on the ground.
Despite its reputation, many are still enamored to take this challenging trail as it presents a different perspective of the mountain with its mossy forest and imposing views of its neighboring mountains.
Though I was very much excited and determined to set foot at the Akiki Trail, I was terrified to get out of the tent and battle the cold which was the lowest temperature I've ever experienced. It's a painful type of cold that penetrates your bones and reduces you to a little kid, clamoring for mom's warm, comforting hug.
I put on two jackets on top of my shirt, covered my head with its two hoods and brazed myself for the freezing winds as I unzipped the door of the tent.
It was cold!
I pulled out all my stuff from the tent and packed as quickly as I could. I overheard my friends talking and I could not grab a hold of my social skills to join in the excited chatter as most of us in the group were here for the first time. I ignored them and focused on shoving everything inside my backpack.
Soriano, my guide had just arrived and I apologized for being late.
I finished packing in record time, put on my gloves and bid goodbye to my friends. It was still dark and the wind pounded against my skin mercilessly. It was tough to breathe.
Finally, we started descending and my lungs no longer had to gasp for air. I began to enjoy the hike, even if it was just me and Soriano treading the trails.
The sun started to rise on my right, revealing the numerous peaks that surrounded us. I could see clouds floating like fluffy pillows over the horizon. I could not help but stop and gawk at the amazing sight.
From where I stood, I could see a huge crowd that had engulfed the summit.
I smiled with gratitude that I was able to enjoy the sunrise in peace which is exactly how I want each day to begin - quiet and with a beautiful view.
For a full account of my first time visit to Mt. Pulag and some travel information on how to get here, please visit this link.