Mt. Ulap Traverse

January 29, 2017

MT. ULAP Traverse
Itogon, Benguet
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 (*__*)

Itinerary:

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

Mt. Pamitinan (426+) and Mt. Binacayan (424+)

June 19, 2016

Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA (Pamitinan): 14°43′51.7′′N 121°11′29.2′′ E 426 MASL
LLA (Binacayan): 14°43′30.5′′N 121°11′26.1′′ E 424 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 1.5-3 hours (P); 2-3 hours (B)
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (P); 3/9 (B) / Trail class 1-4
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province
Article history: Created February 8, 2015, last updated June 12, 2015 (pinoymountaineer.com)

I am residing in San Mateo Rizal. Every weekend, Rick and I always have a quick run, LSD run (Long Slow Distance). Whenever we are running in San Rafael, we are always dreaming and hoping that one day, we are able to hike Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan mountains. We are always satisfied of taking a picture of it and even selfies.

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I decided to have an Independence Day hike but it happened a week after Independence Day, not too late though. We came to hike together with Ed Borromeo and his nephew. They stayed the night before our hike in my home in San Mateo Rizal for their travel convenience.

We arrived at Wawa Dam in San Rafael, Montalban Rizal. We registered at the Barangay and we paid P25 per person for the registration fee after we listed our names. We secured our guides afterwards.

These mountains should not be underestimated as there are a lot of challenges that you may encounter along the way going up to the summit.

The summit can be reached in a matter of 1.5hrs-3hrs depending on a person’s pace. Everyone can be rewarded of the view at the top wherein you can have 360 views of the surrounding. This hike is relatively short but safety precautions should be observed first because there is a lot of danger on the rocky portion.

As we started our trek, we passed by the villages where locals lived. We greeted the people as we saw them approaching. We were walking on a concrete road for like 2 kms. We took a rest for a moment.

We bought the local’s best avocado shake, one of their refreshments.

As we ascent back, the road was quite steep until we reached the real trail. The way was quite rocky and sharp. I could say that one wrong step, I am dead as it was very dangerous.

Mt. Binacayan

We first climbed the Mt. Binacayan summit.

Mt.Pamitinan

We descent from Mt. Binacayan to the brgy. We took our lunch before summiting to Mt. Pamitinan.

As we ascent, again same trail as the Mt. Binacayan. However, there were some parts that you need to do 4×4, we had to use our hands going up. The huge formation of rocks were very sharp. Please be careful of holding those for you might get hurt and even be wounded.

At the summit.

Sample Itinerary and Expenses

0500         Take Jeepney from Guitnang Bayan to Crossing bound (P10)
0530            Take Tricycle from Crossing to Brgy. Wawa (P10)
0600        Arrival at DENR-PPL Office, Register, secure guide Reg.Fee: 25php, Guide    Fee:  500php/5pax)
0630        Start trek
0630        Arrival at junction
0800        Mt. Binacayan Peak, photo ops
0830        Descend back to Brgy. Wawa
0945        DENR-PPL Office, BRUNCH
1100         Ascend to Mt. Pamitinan
1200         Mt. Pamitinan peak, photo ops
1230         Descend back to Brgy. Wawa
0230        Arrived at the Brgy, logged out
0300       Tidy up
0400       Headback Home

Mt. Sa Pari + Mt.Binutasan + Maysawa Falls

August 7, 2016

Major jump off: Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day 2-4hrs
Mt. Sapari 591masl; Mt. Binutasan 562masl
Specs: Minor climb, difficulty 2/9
Features: scenic views, sea of clouds

Mt. Sa Pari and Mt. Binutasan are two neighbor mountains comprising the so-called Maysawa Circuit. While both are nestled in the far-off barangay of Maysawa, Tanay, Rizal, their registration area is located at Brgy. Cuyambay which is roughly a 5-minute habal habal ride away from the jump-off. Dubbed a minor hike, Mt. Sa Pari stands a few meters taller than Mt. Binutasan with an elevation of 591 MASL and 562 MASL, respectively. These two mountains have rapidly gained some attention for their sea of clouds success rate, similar to that of the Mt. Maynoba’s.

I organized this event as I tried to let my co-workers share my kind of hobby to them. We knew as an adventure seeker that this kind of experience brought us an extraordinary fulfillment. The target number of persons didn’t meet few days prior to the event day after I sent an invitational email to all of my colleagues. In line with this, I asked help to one of my friends Sky Chan to invite some of her co-workers to join us. Finally, thanks to her because we were completed. We (with Rick – my S.O.) also invited Sir Ed Borromeo and Dennis Bacarisas to join.

We all met at Jollibee in Cubao Farmers. One thing though, it rained when we departed.

We then arrived at the jump off area in Brgy. Cuyambay. It was still raining. I let them wear their raincoats.

As I noticed, there were still a lot of hikers visiting the area. We registered at the Brgy. and paid P30 per head as a registration fee.

We secured guide afterwards and the fee was like P500 for every 5 persons. Our guides on the image below.

We arrived at the sari-sari store few meters away from the jump off area and I let them drink coffee as their breakfast. Afterwards, we started our trek. We didn’t think taking a Habal-habal at that moment and continue to walk despite of rain showers and muddy trail.

At the middle of the trek going to Mt. Sa Pari, one of the participants was challenged with the muddy trail. She was using beach sandals. I let her use my footwear intended for trekking and I used her beach sandals. I was also challenged using her footwear so I decided to walk barefoot. It was more difficult but thank God I survived this kind of experience and that person was safe.

As we continued our trek to Mt. Sa Pari, the guide told us to not stay too long at Mt. Sa Pari so that we can enjoy the view at Mt. Binutasan and witness their own version of Sea of Clouds. We were somehow hopeless that time because it’s late in the morning and obviously we were not able to witness that anymore.

MT. SA PARI

Mt. Sa Pari got its name from the priest who chose to live there his entire life. As we made our way in the long trail of Mt. Sa Pari, according to our guide, the story behind the exploration of the circuit and its neighbor, Mt. Paliparan, when the issue concerning false claim of land ownership in Masungi has started. The local tribe of Dumagats got upset, urging them to seek other gems in their place which they could promote to tourists and also which could support their local community in terms of generating income. Our guide and the locals believed in the potential of the mountains surrounding their place. Hence, the birth of Mt. Paliparan and Maysawa Circuit.

Mt. BINUTASAN

Mt. Binutasan (from the word “binutas” which means “to make a hole”) was once a virgin mountain not open to the public but because of the project wherein they needed to link this area to another barangay, a path had been made.

This mountain was my favorite among the two. It had a long stretch of grassland in which every hiker could definitely enjoy the beautiful view of this mountain. We met several hikers along our way.

One concern though, please be extra careful going down for the trail was very steep and slippery.

Before heading back to the jump off, we went first to the Maysawa Falls. This was the best place to cool down and freshen up after a long twin day hike.

We continued to go down to the jump off. Few kilometers before the jump off area, there were habal-habal waiting for us. It was amounted to P40 per head.

We then arrived to the jump off area and we washed up.

After a few minutes, we headed back to Manila (Cubao).

Important Details:

  1. The registration fee is at P30.00.
  2. The guide fee is priced at P500/5 pax for a day hike and P1,250/5 pax for an overnight hike.
  3. The first jeepney trip to Brgy. Cuyambay departs at around 5:00-5:30 A.M. Thus, if you wish to witness the sea of clouds, consider hiring a van so you can get there earlier.
  4. The last jeepney trip going back to Cogeo is at 6:30 P.M.
  5. The registration area for the circuit is located at Barangay Cuyambay. It is a 5-minute habal habal ride away from Brgy. Maysawa.
  6. There is a water source along the initial part of the trail.
  7. Shower fee is P20.
  8. Habal habal fare to jump-off – P40.00/pax

Itinerary:
12:00mn – 01:00am Meet up Jollibee Farmers Cubao
01:00am – 02:30am  Cubao to Brgy. Cuyambay
02:30am – 03:00am Jump off/registration/guide/briefing
03:00am – 04:00am  Jump off to junction
04:00am – 04:30am  Junction to summit (Mt. Sapari)
04:30am – 06:30am Waiting of sea of clouds (taking photos)
06:30am – 07:15am Summit descend to rest area
07:15am – 07:30am Breakfast
07:30am – 07:45am Rest area to peak 1
07:45am – 08:30am Peak 1 to Binayuyo Peak
08:30am – 09:00am  Binayuyo Peak to Enzo’s Peak
09:00am – 09:20am Enzo’s Peak to Summit
09:20am – 11:30am Summit to Maysawa Falls
11:30am – 02:00pm Lunch and swimming time
02:00pm – 06:00pm  Log out/back to Cubao

Photo credits: Omplongz dela Paz, Dennis Bacarisas, Tats Vi

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

MT. GULUGOD BABOY

October 30 – 31, 2016

GULUGOD-BABOY
Anilao, Mabini, Batangas
Jump-off point: Philpan Dive Resort, Anilao, Mabini
LLA: 13°42’55″N; 120°53’43″E; 525 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: Half-day / 1-2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2
Features: Scenic views of Batangas Bay and Balayan Bay (www.pinoymountaineer.com)

Three weeks before this long weekend (All Saint’s Day), my significant other and I decided to do an overnight camping. We never got a chance to do one prior for the reason of his conflict schedule and he only has one day off in a week. Whenever we do like a quick outdoor adventure, we always make it as quickest as possible like mountain day hike. Sometimes, we invited friends to join us.

Here came the 30th day of October, Sunday, we started packing up our stuffs and we went out by 10am. By the way, we started our journey from San Mateo Rizal as where we live. We had our challenges started already along our way. It took us one hour just to exit Batasan Road. Normally, it would only take 15 minutes to exit. But because of collision happened, it resulted to heavy traffic.

We arrived at Alps Terminal in Cubao and took the Batangas Pier bound. Travel time was 2 hours when we arrived at the Batangas Grand Terminal. We got off at the said terminal and took jeepney bound Mabini, Batangas. We spent one hour travel period by then. When we were at the port already, the jeepney driver brought us to the tricycle terminal at Mabini and dropped off to Philpan Dive Resort. The trip was like a 30-minute travel time.

Finally, we arrived at the Pinagbanderahan Registration Area in Philpan Dive Resort, the jump-off area.

We checked our time, it was like 4pm. We spoke with the DENR person, we paid P40 per head as the registration fee and she offered guide. Having a guide is an option; the fee is P500 for dayhike and P800 for overnight. We opted not to take guide and follow a certain group ahead of us instead to guide our way. But we highly suggest you to take guide for beginners, big groups and to help the community for the conservation and protection of the mountain.

Here came the start of our journey. The trail was not quite as what we expected. We were certain that we were climbing a mountain. But we took roughly 30 minutes as we passed a concrete road. There were locals along our way selling refreshments like buko juice. They were even selling some bottled drinks, ice candies, snacks and some locals were selling rice meals. It was really amazing. Our way was concrete but it was very steep. Your breathing and endurance will be challenged. We took small steps at the time to save our energy as we were exhausted already because of our transportation experience prior. Good thing was, locals were very kind and accommodating. Whenever we greeted them, they responded abruptly and encouraged us that we could make it to the summit.

We then arrived at the real trail.

It was very steep again and our steps were seriously not baby anymore. We were seriously challenged. There was no mud but it was very slippery. I therefore conclude and as I always believe, there’s no easy way to reach the mountain, each mountain has its own difficulties, qualities and beauty, and it takes preparation, determination, hard work and sacrifice. No mountain really breaks what I really believed in.

Mt. Gulugod Baboy (Pig Spine) was really a good mountain to stay for an overnight camping. As we approached the trail of this beautiful mountain, it took us 2 hours to finish the trail all the way to the camp site. Along our way, when looked back, you would see the plants, trees that surrounded us followed by the perfect view of Anilao Sea.

It was almost dawn and we were already using our flashlight as we tried to find the best spot for our tent-pitching. We were surrounded by thick fog and we couldn’t almost see everything around us, even the cow’s poo (its everywhere). It was indeed very cold. There was only thing that we can see that time, which is the gorgeous sunset view covered by an awesome cloud formation.

We pitched our tent at the campsite. We fixed our things and made ourselves ready and prepared our stuffs to cook dinner. The wind is touching our faces and its making us difficult to ready our dinner. Until it’s ready.

After we had our dinner, we tried to have a conversation with our campers. You would hear other groups of campers enjoying their time with their friends. I think they were also having a drinking session. We took a rest afterwards while watching the stars and we had our sleep.

We woke up 5:30am as we were awakening by the sound of the wind blowing. We went outside and we were surprised of the sun in which is hiding, smiling and it was like the sun is trying to greet us “Good morning and welcome to our home – let me hug you”.

The summit is made up of grassy slopes and several hills. The view is really perfect and the feeling is freedom. It’s really unexplainable until you experience it. We went up to the next summit higher. We were waiting for the sun to completely come out and welcome us. And finally, the sun totally came out and we embraced it. We took so many pictures. We thought of a perfect shot while the sun is present.

From the summit, you would see how gorgeous everything down there that created by God. The perfect gift that a person could ever receive.

The green grass, docile dogs and cows, the air that kisses you all the time and the vast of sea. Sombrero Island and Oscar Island are easily seen from the summit as well as the islands of Tingloy and Maribacan. Locals are offering tour packages pertaining to the said islands. We asked about the package. If you’re planning, the boat rental as of today is P2, 800 per 10 persons and additional P150 for the entrance fee once you’re already at the island.

One thing that saddened us, there’s a cemented area not too far from the camp site in which you would noticed parked cars from the tourist. In addition, there were trashes elsewhere. We picked some of those up. Please be mindful of your trashes and always observe LNT – Leave No Trace Policy for the next generation.

After a few minutes, we went down. Again the trail was like slippery again and we made ourselves very careful going down. Until we reached our tent and prepared our breakfast. As we took our breakfast, we noticed that hikers were starting to gather up to the summit. I believe, they were day hikers. Some overnight campers were starting to break camp as the sun was really shinning so bright and it touched our skin so bad. We fixed our things. Came 8am, we went down afterwards. We finished the trail going down by one hour with confidence. We greeted all the people we encountered. Hi y’all. Nice to see you along the trail. Shout out to Sir Aldrin whom we met and surprisingly we already met him during Mt. Purgatory event of BaseKamp Ligaya.

We went to Philpan Dive Resort but we decided not to rest in there instead we tidy up by going back to the registration area.

There were comfort rooms in which you can wash up. The fee is P25. Philpan Dive Resort is actually a good option to tidy up and rest for a moment after a hike. Entrance fee now is P100 per head. You can wash up and take a dip at the beach before heading back to Manila. The beach didn’t have any fine sand but more of the pebbles and rocks, but the water was clear and enough to cool you down.

Ricky and I headed back to Manila but we decided to go to the one of the famous churches first in Bauan, Batangas. But before that, we ate a very much known Lomi.

Ahhh, it’s really rewarding.

After we went to the church, we arrived at the bakery in which we bought Bonete.

It tastes so good.

Finally, we headed back to Manila. T’was a perfect way to spend day offs. It was tiring but it’s all worth it.

Itinerary

Day 1
11:00am – 12:30nn Assembly
12:30nn – 01:00pm Alps Cubao
01:00pm – 03:00pm Batangas Grand Terminal
03:00pm – 04:30pm Jeepney to Philpan
04:30pm – 05:00pm Philpan
05:30pm – 07:30pm Ascend
07:30pm – 09:00pm Campsite;Dinner
09:00pm – onwards Socials/Lights out

Day 2
05:30am – 06:30am Ascend to Summit/Photo Ops
06:30am – 07:30am Breakfast
07:30am – 08:00am Break camp
08:00am – 09:00am Descend
09:00am – 10:00am Tidy Up
10:00am – 12:00nn Side Trip
12:00nn – 01:00pm Lunch
01:00pm – 02:00pm Side Trip
02:00pm – onwards Back to Manila

Expenses per Head

*Bus Fare (Alps Cubao to Grand Terminal) VV – P167
*Jeep Fare (To Tryk Terminal) VV – P37
*Trycycle Fare (To Philpan) VV – P40
*Guide Fee (Optional) – P500
*Wash Up Fee – P25
*Jeep Fare (Side Trip) – P7 Minimum
*Lomi – P30