Monday, February 16, 2009

Mount Pulag 02: The Ambangeg Trail

There are at least five (5) established trails going to Mount Pulag. These are: Tawangan, Akiki, Eddet in Kabayan, Benguet; Ambaguio in Nueva Vizcaya, and Ambangeg in Bokod, Benguet.

Most first timers opt to go with the Ambangeg trail, the easiest. Others would go to the more challenging route, the Akiki trail. It is dubbed as the “killer trail” attributing to the steep slopes, uneven paths, and the difficulty of the trail going to the summit. It will require 10-11 hours to reach the peak. Adventurous climbers will probably try different trails in one climb the most common of which is the Akiki-Ambangeg combination. But whichever trail you choose, climbing Mount Pulag promises to be one heck of an adventure. Most especially if you are a nature lover like me. I promise you, reaching the top of Mount Pulag is the closest you will ever get to heaven.

jump-off point going to Mount Pulag

Start of the hike going to Mount Pulag

Our group was the first batch to arrive at the Badabak Ranger Station, the jump-off point to Mount Pulag. After arranging all our backpacks, we got ourselves ready for the long hike. We were met by our guide, Andrew. He doesn’t talk much but he sure knows how to lead our pack traversing the patchy trail with such an ease. Most of us at the pack would shout: "Manong Andrew, antayin mo kami!" (please wait for us!)

Andrew our guide

Andrew, our guide

We were informed that from the Ranger Station to Campsite 2, it would take around 3-4 hours depending on the phase of the climbers. We arrived at the Ranger Sstation around 11 am so we’d probably reach Camp 2 before three in the afternoon. I immediately assumed the 4-hour hike since I would be taking photos along the way.

wide trail

Start of the trail passing through the green, lush vegetation

steep trail

Passing through tall pine trees

From the station, the trail was easy. Definitely much easier than the Summit Trail to Mount Kinabalu, which I fondly dubbed as the “distressing stairways to heaven”. We passed by wide trails that even small vehicles could pass through. The smell of pine tree was a refreshing boost. One of the best perks of mountain climbing is enjoying the lush, green vegetation and the picturesque landscape.

marks and notice

Signs along the trail

Along the way, we found signs and markings to constantly remind climbers on how to respect the mountain. There were also markings for the nearest water source.

Oki improvising?

Oki is improvising, hehe (She was just joking around of course)

Around 2:30 pm, we reached Camp 2, the saddle campsite. Camp 2 is the most preferred campsite among climbers due to some of its “amenities”—wide and flat camping area, latrines, and close water source. But since this camp is the closest to the summit, the temperature is freezing cold. When we got to the camp it was around 5-6 degrees C. Well for someone like me who hates the cold weather, my hands and feet got numb at an instant. Brrrrr.

freezing cold

Darn, the weather was just freezing cold!

Aside from the thick fog, it was raining when we got to Camp 2. The good thing about getting into the campsite first was that we get to scout for the most convenient spot ahead of the other groups. We built our tent inside a shed, just a few steps away from the open campsite. The weather is manageable there. Some of our fellow hikers went there to cook their dinner.

cooking at the camp

Fellow climbers cooking a sumptous dinner

Since it was foggy and the weather was quite unpredictable, we postponed our initial plan of going to the summit for the sunset. It was raining anyway. We opted to take the assault very early in the morning hoping and wishing that the gods and goddess of the mountains would let us witness the sunrise amidst the snub weather.

Noli and Niel

Father and son, Noli and Niel (9 years old, the youngest climber in the group)

it was freezing cold at the camp

The campsite

We went early to bed to get ready for the early morning assault to the summit.

Will we ever see the sunrise?


lagal[og] said...

wow pulag. miss ko na rin 'tong bundok na'to. funny, it's the question in everybody's head: will we ever see the sunrise? guess i was lucky i saw it first and last time i was over there :D i've had mountaineer-acquaintances who've tried and tried to no avail.

pieterbie said...

Wow, terrific, looks pretty spectacular to me.
Great storyline, I cannot wait for you next contribution.
I won't have to wait long, will I?

paoruiz said...

ang lamig tignan nito ha. =) nilamig ako hahaha.

my gulch said...

you're one lucky person. meron kaming isang kasama, pangatlong akyat na niya sa Pulag, laging umuulan, hehe. siguro gaya ng panahon, weather-weather lang yan.

nah. will post the next series soon. i just wanted to present it with a great story for better appreciation.

malamig talaga sa Camp 2, pramis e di lalo na sa summit. dyosko. itong itim ko, akalain mong nagka-wind burn ako pagbalik sa Manila(kabaliktaran ng sunburn). ampanget. haha!

the donG said...

yay! super astig ng trail. sino nga ba namang hindi ma eenganyong umakyat dyan.

yang lamig na yan ang hanap hanap ko.

i like the last shot. foggy shots has always been my favorite.

Sidney said...

I guess mountaineers are a bit masochistic and they like to suffer... ;-)

my gulch said...

hehe. naku fog ba kamo? matutuwa ka sa trail during the assault, wala ka ng makikita sa kapal ng fog. lamig ng tama sa mukha, yung feeling mo wala ka ng mukha sa sobrang manhid, hehe. sana ma-akyat mo ang Pulag.

well, that is one way of seeing it. but we all like to believe more in the saying, "No PAIN, No GLORY". pain is a good lesson of life. i reckon that we tend to appreciate life more if we survived the pain that goes along with it. Pablo Neruda says it all in the "power of opposites" ;-)

the donG said...

astig talaga! yon na yon ang gusto ko. siguradong makakapunta ako doon.

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