Mt. Purgatory Traverse

August 13 – 14, 2016

Mountain Location: Bokod, Benguet.
Trail Route: Brgy. Bobok – Bisal, Poblacion, Pito, Ekip & Karao.
Jump-off Point: Japas, Bobok-Bisal, Bokod, Benguet.
Distance from baguio City: 60 KM for 2 -2.5 hours of travel time.
Climb Specification: Major Climb for 2 or 3 days

Mt. Purgatory is one of the major hikes that I took. This is my second time climbing this mountain. This time, it’s a traditional traverse, from Japas to Ekip. This mountain range has spectacular long mossy forest and pine forest. It has a traverse distance of 26 kilometers passing through 7 peaks. We joined the event of BaseKamp Ligaya on August 13 – 14, 2016. Before, we did a reverse traverse with the fabulous mountaineering group – Putik Mountaineers.

I never planned going back to this mountain but because Rick (my S.O.) never been there, I decided to visit this beautiful mountain again for him to experience a major hike. In addition, my friends also encouraged me to visit it again due to the fact that so many things have changed.

I finally decided to join the event.

The event day. It was raining so hard. My parents didn’t know that I’d be hiking again especially it was raining. I was so concerned with the weather because I know how it felt like hiking while it’s raining and I was thinking also of our safety along our way. But Sir Nabs of Basekamp Ligaya was consistently posting an update on their Facebook Event page about the weather and always assured us that there’s nothing to worry about.

I can still feel the excitement. I can still reminisce climbing Mt. Purgatory, how challenging this mountain is. I can still remember how beautiful this God’s gift. And I can still anticipate the new challenges since I heard that so many things have changed. We took our breakfast first at JangJang’s Eatery.

We aimed to hit three mountains on this one trip, the Mangisi Traverse goes through Mt. Pack or Mt. Banshila (2,290 MASL), Mt. Purgatory (2,080 MASL) and Mt. Kom-kompol (2,325 MASL). Apparently, because of the weather condition, the trail going to Mt. Kom-kompol was not passable. About three hours from Baguio City, the jump off point is located at Japas, Bobok-Bisal in Bokod, Benguet. The trek commenced with a straightforward ascent on unpaved roads leading to the Mangakew community.

By the way, I noticed that the trail going to Mangakew community has changed. There are some parts of the trail are already concrete. In addition, the trail is so muddy and slippery because of a heavy rain.

Foremost, all visitors register in this location and attend an orientation are conducted by a local. We supposedly be having an orientation but we just had like a quick background of this mountain and the trail. As mapped by the Association of Bokod Adventure Eco-Guides (ABADEG) and the Bokod Municipal Tourism Office, the entire Mangisi trail covers more than 21 kilometers from the jump off point in Japas to the endpoint in Ekip.

The trek continues on open and pine tree-forested trails. After passing the Bangtinen campsite, at the junction of Prospect, we entered a long trail of mossy forest.

The cool forest and dense greenery countered the continuous ascending trail to Mt. Pack and Mt. Purgatory.

The summit of Pack is approximately three hours from Mangakew. It is flat and affords a view of the towns of Benguet on one side and Nueva Viscaya on the other. A marker conveniently distinguishes the two provinces’ boundaries from one another. Entering the mossy forest once again, the viewpoint of Mt. Purgatory is reached roughly after 1.5 hours from Mt. Pack.

Wooden railings line the area and a makeshift shelter provides respite to climbers. We had a tough experience because of a bad weather. There’s a strong wind and heavy rain that made it difficult for us to pass the trail. We reached each summit one at a time.

The last stretch of the day’s trek is on the Bakian trail where the beloved limatiks make their presence felt. If camping or staying at the Bakian Primary School, it is another 1.5 hours from the Purgatory viewpoint. Toilets and running water are available in this area. It is highly advised that if a group stays here for the night, a donation be extended to the school (for the use of the facilities). Otherwise, the vast campsite at Mt. Tangbaw is the next option and is only half an hour away. Sir Nabs actually reserved a stay in Bakian. Near Bakian primary school, there were rented houses. I noticed it costs like P500 per night.

As we arrived to our stay, we immediately fixed our stuffs and let ourselves dry. We were somehow upset because all of our things were got wet though we put it inside the plastic bag. We hung all of our clothes inside and let it dry.

After we fixed our things, we took a bath. Since it was raining, the water was extremely cold. Well, even if it’s not raining, the water here is always cold. I thought I can’t get through it but I made it. I might get sick.

Before we end this day, we had our dinner. We cooked sinigang, hotdogs and fried eggs.

 

We had our socials initiated by Sir Nabs. He gave us souvenirs like buff, paracord, etc. We even had our event shirts and bag tags.

The second day of trekking commences with a quick ascent to the grassland summit of Tangbaw.

Supposedly the towns of Benguet should be visible at this point. Again, the weather is still the same and the mountain covered by thick fog. We didn’t go to Mt. Kom-kompol because the trail was not passable. Finally completing the Mangisi trail, the descent brings climbers out of the mossy forest and into a breathtaking pine tree-forested and narrow rocky trail that is characteristic of a typical Benguet hike.

The seemingly long descent ends at Ekip proper where we freshen up at one of the local’s houses. We paid like P20 to tidy up.

We arrived at the Bokod Municipal Tourism Office and got our certificates. It was really rewarding as we finished this trail. Though it was difficult, all of us especially Rick and I were so thrilled of this experience.

The ABADEG and the Bokod Municipal Tourism Office have done a splendid job of organizing tourism and climbing activities in Purgatory. Please meet our awesome guides.

We’re back to Baguio City and had our dinner at the Hotel 456. Sir Nabs treated us dinner.

Finally, we headed back home and took our rest.

This adds as our memorable mountain expedition together with Rick and new friends that we met.

Peaks and Campsite

Mt. Mangagew ( a.k.a Mangakew) 1705 MASL. The first village after hiking from Japas Jump off.

Mt. Pack (a.k.a Banshila) 2310 MASL. One of the highest mountains in Bokod: one of the mossy forest covered mountains of the municipality.

Mt. Purgatory 2100 MASL. Formerly known as line 7, it was once a spar tree site ( jump pole for tramline): named Mt. Purgatory because of its purgatory – like characteristic of coldness, waterless, darkness ( due to thick vegetation) and feeling of isolation as described in Holy Bible.

Mt. Bakian Location of one of the villages along the Mt. Purgatory trail; here Bakian Elementary school is the main landmark. It has few houses with store and water source.

Bayoyo Campsite. It is new location of the campsite around Bakian – Tangbao vicinity. It is wide grassland and is very much proximity to water source.

Mt. Tangbao 2200 MASL. It is where Tangbao view point is located, a great view of parts of Bokod and Benguet Mountains are present on clear days.

Taken from the official website of Mt. Purgatory’s ABADEG

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The itinerary for the Mangisi traverse is as follows:

Day 0

21:00 Van to Baguio City

Day 1

02:30 ETA Baguio City
03:30 Depart Baguio
05:00 Breakfast (along the way)
07:00 Arrival at Japas jumpoff point at Bobok-Bisal, Bokod
07:45 Registration and orientation
08:45 Start Trek
09:00 ETA Mt. Mangakew
09:30 Resume trekking
11:00 Bangtinen campsite (5 km)
12:30 Arrival at Mt. Pack (8 km); take lunch
13:00 Resume trek
14:30 Arrival at Mt. Purgatory (10.5 km)
16:00 ETA Bakian Village; stay overnight inside the school
19:00 Dinner at campsite and socials

Day 2

05:00 Wake up call
06:00 Breakfast; break camp
08:00 Start trek
08:30 ETA Mt. Tangbaw campsite (14 km)
09:00 Start descent
12:30 End of trek at border of Brgy. Ekip (21.5 km); wash up
14:00 Sign out at Bokod Municipal Hall
14:30 Depart for Baguio
17:00 ETA Baguio City; dinner
20:00 Head back to Metro Manila

 Thank you BaseKamp Ligaya

Photo Credits: BaseKamp Ligaya Facebook Page, Omplongz dela Paz

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