January 29, 2017
MT. ULAP Traverse
LLA: 16.2904 N, 120.6312 E, 1846 MASL (Mt. Ulap)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours
Specs: Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3,
Features: Grassland and pine ridges, scenic views of the Cordilleras, burial caves
It was nice to be back to Mt. Ulap in Itogon Benguet. It has been almost a year ago. The first time we visited the mountain was April 2016. I started to fall in love with this mountain for the reason that Mt. Ulap has a beginner-friendly trail, it offers an absolutely cold fresh air and breath-taking view of mountain ranges and grassland.
I invited some friends and their friends to join us in visiting one of the beautiful mountains in Benguet. We all met at Jollibee Cubao Farmers before 11pm.
Oh how much I missed Mt. Ulap.
I suddenly forgot the stressful moment and view that the city brought me. Nothing had changed actually when it comes to the beauty of this mountain except for some trails established and it has even more hikers visiting the place especially during weekend compared before. I definitely agree that through the help of social media, visitors were able to share and express their perfect experiences and thoughts they had with the place like this. That’s why so many beginners would like to be inclined in Hiking. In line with this, through these social media platforms, it encourages people who want to experience the same. In addition, hiking brings an extraordinary feeling and it gives us discipline, patience and perseverance to us by conquering trails. Moreover, exploring this mountain also helps the locals for their daily living and to indirect them from illegal logging and Kaingin activities that destroy the mountains.
We arrived in Barangay Itogon just in time to secure guides and to register our names.
Guide fee is P600 per 7 persons and P100 per head for the registration fee. There are other fees by the way. Our guides gave us a brief orientation and background about Mt. Ulap.
They provided us guidelines on how to preserve the mountain while enjoying the gift of nature. Afterwards, we offered a prayer to ask guidance from Jesus.
We then started our trek from Ampucao to Sta. Fe. We came before the sun rises.
Along the trail, the sun started to greet us and welcome us in exploring the mountain. We were really thrilled with the awesome God’s gift through nature.
Of course, we took the chance in taking a lot of pictures. It was indeed breath-taking. Thanks be to God!
It took us less than 3 hours to reach the first three rock formations. We then reached Ambanaw Paway Peak.
It took us that long because again, we were overwhelmed with the scenic view of nature that was instagrammable and can be posted on Facebook.
Moreover, since most of my companions were beginners, they were challenged by the assault type of trail. I really admired their eagerness to conquer the trail.
I could really say that we took so many pictures while resting. The air was so refreshing and it really healed and cleared our mind from stress of the city.
Before heading to Gungal Rock, along our trail, we saw cattle and they were a lot.
Since, they were a lot them, there were so many cattle poops around the area. It was really awesome seeing them. The mountain is indeed healthy.
We then reached the Gungal Rock. I was really surprised because there were so many hikers and taking pictures at the Rock Formation was first come first served. Our guide let us wait in a convenient area where we could rest.
By the way, please meet our guides.
Jovelyn (yellow cap) and Raymart (red cap)
According to Jovelyn, our sweeper guide, we were at #46, the queue at that time was at #20. So it was more than half-way before our turn. We decided to take our early lunch while waiting.
It was really taken us so much time before our turn. Most of my companions decided to take group pictures instead of us waiting for so long and take our photos at the Gungal Rock individually.
We headed our way to the summit. This time, our trail was downhill and most of our knees were really aching. We needed to support each other, otherwise we would slip away.
We then arrived at the summit and took pictures again.
We saw this tablet at the Mt. Ulap summit. According to our guide, Jovelyn, Lagman was the one who created the trail here. Good to know though.
After a few minutes, we arrived at the campsite. Most of us were already exhausted because of the trail that we went through. We didn’t even let ourselves stand up to take photos again, we needed so much rest at that moment. We let our guide do the photo-capturing.
We then descent to Sta. Fe to finish the trail.
Along our away, we stayed at the store area wherein locals were selling refreshments (like water, soft drinks, buko juice, etc.), food (like pancit canton, kikiam, broiled eggs, junk foods, etc.) and souvenirs (like t-shirts, key chain, ref magnets, bag tags, etc.) As far as I remembered, we saw four stores that offered the above-mentioned stuffs.
Before reaching the Sta. Fe jump off area, we passed three hanging bridges.
Finally, we then reached the Sta. Fe jump off area. We congratulated each one of us as we conquered the Mt. Ulap trail. We survived the new adventure.
We washed up, the fee was P20 per head. They offered hot water shower amounted to P35 per head. The water was extremely cold. I enjoyed the coldness of the water in Benguet, as always.
We arrived at Baguio City by approximately 4pm. We took our early dinner. We absolutely missed Good Taste. Delicious!
I gave them bagtags as a souvenir.
Most of us were already exhausted and tired, I asked them which part of Baguio City they would like to visit. They decided to visit Burnham Park instead of spending time travelling to another places again.
We bought pasalubong, and we headed back to Manila by 6:30pm.
Thank you to those who joined us. Please see their names below.
- Christopher Jay Villena
- Glenn Olaes
- Arnie Joy Olaes
- Ralph Furio
- Roni Raymundo
- Jhun Mark Honorica
- Kristine Llave
- Erickson Lambon
- Jo-Aldrin Garcia
- Sherry Masarenas
- Marc Edwin Soriano
- Arra Calingasan
- Rick dela Paz
- Me (*__*)
Day 0 (Saturday)
10 pm – Assembly at Jollibee Cubao Farmers plaza
11:00pm – ETD Baguio
Day 1 (Sunday)
04:30 am – ETA Brgy. Ampucao. Register & secure guides
05:00 am – Short Orientation & Prayer
05:26 am – Start Trek
07:15 am – Ambanao Paoay
08:30 am – Gungal Rock, pictorials, eat snacks
10:00 am – Mt. Ulap Summit
11:00 am – Descend
01:00 pm – Sta. Fe Wash up
03:00 pm – Depart Baguio
04:00 pm – Early Dinner at Good Taste
05:30 pm – Baguio City Free time
06:30 pm – Depart Manila
Photo credits: The owner