Being the only daughter, I understand how my parents became too protective in nature. Believe me, I understand, I really understand. 🙂 That’s why I decided not to let my parents know, especially my Mom what I did this weekend… Sssssh! (I’m not really good in lying nor in keeping my mouth shut but this I should never ever tell them, I want to keep them away from sleepless nights or from endlessly dialing my number on their cellphones. See, Im just being sweet.)

So, let me share you my Weekend Secret. (Good thing, my parents don’t have a Facebook nor a Twitter account to follow this post. Love it!)

Weeeeheeehoooo!!!

1. PLEASE DON’T TELL MY MOM I DID NOT RIDE A BUS TO BAGUIO
To get to Mt. Pulag (Benguet), one needs to ride a bus from Manila to Baguio. Yes, that’s the usual comfy way, it should be, for a long drive like this. But when my friend told me about the idea of secretly riding a 14-wheeler-truck of fruits and veggies, without any second thoughts, I said, “Gusto ko Yan!”

It’s my first time to ride a 14-wheeler truck. I am just really so happy.

IT’S A 14-WHEELER TRUCK! Don’t expect that it’s air conditioned. There are also no comfortable reclining lazy boy chairs inside. Everything is made of cold steel. But good news, you can get some carton boxes and give these cartons their once-in-a-lifetime-chance to be sleeping bags.

Backpain? Uncomfortable? Hmmm… You might feel that, but, it’s not the end of the world. That’s me sleeping… SOUNDLY.

Friendly Tip: Since it’s a closed container truck, those with claustrophobia are not advisable to do this. Also, take a Bonamine an hour before the ride for those w/ motion sickness. But if you forgot to do so¸ you can sneak some calamansi as your alternative, hmm, we did. Hehe


The fruits and vegetables should be delivered fresh, there would be no stopovers for you to grab some snacks and do bio breaks. Take note: I had to control my bladder for more than 6 hours.
Tinago ni Manong yung mga orange sa ilalim niya. Tsk, sayang! Gusto ko sana papakin! 🙂

Anyways, aside from the experience, the thought of saving Php350-500 is a big plus. We gave the driver Php143.00 for letting us hitch.

2. PLEASE DON’T TELL MY MOM I HAD MY FIRST TOPLOAD RIDE
My family (my parents, my tita, my brother) promote safe driving a lot. They strictly observe traffic rules. Seatbelts and other safety gears should always be on. But there are some things in life I just couldn’t miss – tsararan! The FAMOUS TOPLOAD!

A Must-Try!


FYI: Topload is the popular way of riding the jeepneys in the countryside. Passengers can opt to seat on top of the jeepney.

It’s not your ordinary ride!

All the jeepneys to Mt. Pulag stops in this one particular canteen, I forgot the exact name though. Locals and the jeepney drivers call it as “Kainan”. You can have your brunch here, buy some packed lunch, water, energy drinks, snack, etc. I tell you, the food is cheap but awesome!

On the walls of the canteen, you can see pictures of Filipino celebrities who have been here. Pictures of the store owners with Kristine Hermosa, Robin Padilla, Jericho Rosales, Diether Ocampo, and Jeffrey Santos are neatly framed.

In my ambition to have my picture be displayed also, I asked my friend to take a pic of me. Unfortunately, the canteen owner didn’t ask for a copy (asa! :P), so I’ll just post it here.

Feeling artista! 😛

After the 3 and a half hour of bumpy topload ride, we arrived at DENR Center. We had our names listed in their logbook and took a 20-minute briefing about Mt. Pulag (15mins video presentation and a 5 minute lecture by Ms. Daisy). During the briefing, I’ve noticed that the room was filled with people of different nationalities; that made me wonder and more excited to discover the beauty of Mt. Pulag.

At DENR, you’ll see numerous tarpaulins of Mountaineering Groups and companies who visited Mt. Pulag already. There is also a booth here where hundreds of ID’s have been pinned. Souvenir items are also being sold here.

Top – Ms. Daisy discussing the different trails of Mt. Pulag; bottom left – booth of ID’s where you can brag that you’ve been here; bottom right – my new pals checking if everyone’s listed already

Coz I’m a big fan of bloggers, I stopped my world and asked a pic with the blogger of PinoyMountaineer.com…

with Gideon Lasco, founder/blogger of PinoyMountaineer.com

Okay, the adventure continues…

After another hour of jeepney ride from DENR Center, we arrived at the Ranger Station of Mt. Pulag. We had our lunch there and took advantage of the presence of a comfort room. Yes, I made sure I had my Weewee galore before climbing.

3. PLEASE DON’T TELL MY MOM I’D BEEN HIKING FOR ABOUT 5 HOURS with A BIG HEAVY BACKPACK
Early this year, I was diagnosed with a severe case of TMJ; it has something to do with the joint that connects my jaw, my skull and my spinal. The doctor said there’s no way for TMJ to be cured. As of now, the only available relief for those who suffer from TMJ is to manage or to learn how to cope up with the pain. Yes, I am having a TMJ Pain Management Therapy for about 9 months now. Since the diagnosis, I was told by the doctor not to do any strenuous activities, not to carry heavy stuff, not to talk a lot, not to do anything that would require a lot of effort. But hey! That’s synonymous to stopping myself from traveling, from living (I did for a while but I need to test how far my body could go, to know up to what degree of pain my back can endure. This was the only worry I got – going back with a worse case of the said disorder.)

But hey, look! I’m all smiling…

Lalalala! Sisiw! 😛

I know it’s the easiest trail of Mt. Pulag but whew, it’s very exhausting! Promise! Drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration

Nawawala talaga ang pagod kapag may picture-picture! 🙂

Are we there yet??????

Yeah! Rock on! Fresh-freshan pa kami!

Tiring but the hardship/challenge is part of the beauty

Whew! If there’s a will, there’s a way! Go, go, go!
Been talking to myself while trekking – Self-motivation is a must to survive. 🙂

4. PLEASE DON’T TELL MY MOM WE’D BEEN JUMPING and PLAYING at the PEAK OF MOUNT PULAG
Sure my parents would go loco if they will know that I enjoyed playing and jumping at Luzon’s highest peak (2,922 meters above sea level).

Eugene, the Jump Shot Master

Michael Jordan daw. Sus! 😛

This is Superman (kapag mabigat ang tiyan)

It feels so great to be at the summit of the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines!
Weeeheehooo! Happiness!

5. PLEASE DON’T TELL MY MOM I’M with A BUNCH OF TOTAL STRANGERS
“Don’t ever talk to strangers.”, that’s the first thing my Mom instilled in me since childhood. It comes along with not looking them in their eyes, or not accepting candies or anything from them. Yes I know, our world has become too dangerous. It’s too hard to trust.

But maybe, just maybe, STRANGERS are FRIENDS we haven’t met yet. We just have to reach out, and be open.

“To Sablay Bakod Mountaineering Group, my BIG THANKS to you guys. Thank you for letting me go with you. I am just a stranger, but you talked to me, feed me, and lend me some of your stuff to survive. You just don’t know how happy I am (well, the photos are worth a thousand words of my happiness).”

Sablay Bakod Mountaineering Group w/ the saling ketket Me 🙂

I will never forget the day I fulfilled one of my dreams.

Ate Nevera, 25 years old, an Igorot. We’re just of the same age but I call her Ate as a sign of respect. Mababaw ang kaligayahan ko kaya nung sinabi niyang 25 yrs old din siya, eh napasigaw na ako sa tuwa. Just imagine I’ve been yelling “Ay, ate 25 din ako! 25 din ako! Parehas tayo!” while trekking down the mountain. Her birthday is on November 2. So just if ever, you’ll have a climb on this date next year; please do me a favor, bring a cake for my friend or just a little something as a gift.

I don’t know why but I want to meet and live with the Igorots (You can even find it in About the Blogger section of Chasing Philippines).

Just sharing my first real talk with an Igorot…
Me: “Ate, gaano na kayo katagal naga-guide?”
Nevera: “May 1 year na din. Pero matagal na akong umaakyat ng bundok.”
Me: “Ay, talaga ate! Ang galing naman! Kelan yung unang akyat niyo sa bundok?”
Nevera: ”Bata pa ako. Kasi ganun kaming mga bata dito, pag naisip naming umakyat ng bundok, yun aakyat na kami.”
Me: “Ang saya naman ng ganun… Panganay ba kayo Ate?”
Nevera: “Hindi pangalawa ako.”
Me: ”Ay, ate! Parehas tayo! Pangalawa din ako! 3 kaming magkakapatid.”
Nevera: “ Sampu kami.”
Me: ”Buti hindi pa kayo nag-aasawa ate?”
Nevera: “Ay, hindi. Ang dami ko pang kapatid na nag-aaral. Tumigil nga ako ng college eh.”
Me: “Hmm.. ang galing. Okay yan ate. Ako din eh, ako na nagpapa-aral sa kapatid ko mula nung Elementary siya. Ngayon, High School na siya. Masarap maging ate noh? Ano bang course niyo, ate?”
Nevera: “Vocational yung kinuha ko. Cooking.”
Me: “Ay, wow, ate! Alam niyo mahilig din ako magluto. Pangarap ko nga magka-carinderia eh.”
Nevera: (she got too excited and yelled) “Ako din, gusto ko rin magka-carinderia. Gusto ko talaga kasi tutal malapit lang yung bahay namin dun sa Ranger eh walang kainan dun.”
Me: Bakit di kayo magtayo, ate?
Nevera: “Pera ang kailangan eh.”
Me: “Aaah, oo nga ate, kailangan mag-ipon kahit papaano. Puhunan tsaka yung mga lalagyan.”
Nevera: “Oo nga. Pero baka mga next year.”
Me: ”Ano ba mga niluluto mo ate?”
Nevera: “Yung mga luto lang dito yung alam ko, tulad ng Pinikpikan tsaka mga gulay. Ikaw? Ano ba specialty mo?”
Me: “Wow! Sarap naman nun, nakatikim na ako ng Pinikpikan. Specialty ko, sinigang tsaka adobo. Pero syempre pag Mama’t Papa ko yung tumitikim, hindi siya masarap, tama lang, kasi naman, grabe naman kasarap magluto parents ko. Pero pag yung mga kasama at kaibigan ko naman yung tumitikim, masarap naman. Hehe”
Nevera: “Talaga? Turuan mo naman ako nung mga niluluto mo. Bigyan mo ako ng recipe. Add mo ako sa FB.”
Me: “Eheh, sige ate!”
Nevera: “Kaya lang yung sa account ng kapatid ko yung gamitin ko kasi wala akong FB.”

Me: “Ate, ano bang pagkakaiba ng Igorot at Ibaloi?”
Nevera: “Hmm.. parehas lang yun.”
Me: “Alam mo ba ate, pangarap kong makakilala ng Igorot. Dapat nga pupunta ako ng Sagada, gusto ko lang tumira dun ng 1 linggo. Kaya lang bumagyo.”
Nevera: “Ako na lang, ako. Igorot ako. Ayan may kakilala ka ng Igorot. Kaibigan mo, kung okay lang.
Me: *speechless, I just smiled. I never thought that, that was the exact moment one of my ultimate dreams in life was fulfilled*

Chase-misan Portion:
*there’s no internet connection in Benguet. Nearest place where internet connection is present – Baguio City
*they don’t pay any single cent for their water supply. Lucky people, they enjoy clean water from natural resource
*they’ve been enjoying electricity in Benguet for about a month now. Finally! (sings ‘May Liwanag ang Buhay’…)

Of Becoming a Good Girl Again…
Mama and Papa, I’ll always be your baby girl. Just like what I’m always telling you, I’m just simply checking the places so I could see if I could bring you there.

So that if ever I’m gonna bring you in a certain place, we’re not gonna get lost


Haaaist, if only, you don’t have rheumatism and arthritis, I want you to also experience how heavenly it is to take a rest at the Grassland of Mt. Pulag…

I never thought that DREAMLAND do exists

Mama and Papa, I want you guys to witness how wonderful the clouds are… Parang ang sarap nilang kainin!

If only I could share every beauty that I see to my loved ones, I will

But Wait, There’s More!!!There’s More!!!

A Special Part of my 1st Mt. Pulag Adventure.
Yeah, I just cant believe that these people shared me these unbelievably beautiful scenes I would never ever forget for the rest of my life.

They say, “Love can move mountains.”, well, Mt. Pulag is still in Benguet, but this one was really so extraordinarily sweet! Haaist!

Love is in the air!

Dale is the head of Sablay Bakod Mountaineering Group. At 28, Im so happy for her that finally she met her knight-in shining-NorthFace-jacket. Congratulations to you Guys! Whew! Love! Love! Love!

SWEET SUMMIT
Want some to-the-highest-level-kilig? Then do it at the highest point of Luzon!
Susyal! Ang haba ng hair niya! 🙂


So, see, I did escape ONCE. But I made sure it’s worth it. :))

I Love You Mama.

This is my entry for Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival
for the month of December with the theme

‘The Journey is the Destination’

hosted by Kara Santos
of Travel Up.

Check out the past topics of PTB’s Blog Carnival, click the logo on the left.

You might also enjoy:

76 Comments

  1. grat photos..we went to pulag, nov 20-22, we saw, we came, we almost conquered.. it rained th whole day and night. we weren't able to assult the summit.. whew.. inggit ako.. inggit na inggit.. haha..

  2. wahaha.. I enjoyed reading your blog. haha. sana maakyat ko din ang Pulag soon.gusto ko din matry yung hitch ride sa delivery truck.. mukhang masaya tlga yun…enjoy tlga mag topload no? lalo na sa kabundukan ng cordillera.. at buti ka pa na-meet mo na si Gideon.. haha fan din nya ako :)at panalo yung igorot encounter mo. andaldal mo lang haha… susyal sila nageeFB.

  3. Sumasakit na ang binti ko, nawawalan na ako ng hininga just by looking at the photos. Pulag – feeling ko, I HAVE to do it before maggrad ng HS anak ko. though I dont have a nagging feeling to do it. I feel EVENTUALLY, someday somehow — mangyayari din siya. Awesome post!

  4. Hi Mitch,I wish i'd known then that you're a certified blogger, superb as well, enjoyed reading your entries, especially this Pulag adventure. More power to your blog.Maj

  5. congratulations on your first climb! such an adventure… but i sure hope you can tell your mom about it soon, para mas marami pang adventures in the future 🙂

  6. Hay! I really love what I read. Ang kulet naman ninyo. I love the truck ride. Hmmm. sounds fun. But above all, I love the story behind this journey 🙂

  7. glad you enjoyed the climb.sablay bakod mountaineering group? schoolmate ko nung high school ay member dyan.btw, 3rd highest mountain sa pinas ang pulag. 🙂

  8. Panalo itong post mo. Gusto ko rin subukan sumakay sa loob ng vegetable truck!What I really liked is how you wanted your parents to see what you see. The same goes for me. I want to take them to Batad and Pulag. I hope in time, I will be able to take them there. :)Thank you for sharing your wonderful and unique experience in Pulag. 🙂

  9. Long but very good read! I want to try that veggie-cargo ride, too! hahah! And yes, that was so sweet, proposing on top of Pulag 🙂 It's been 10 years since I've been there. I miss that mountain!

  10. congrats , dream ko din makapag pulag kasi. anyaway gusto ko yung idea nung truck ride. i remember naman nung papunta kami sa ilocos norte sa pagudpud nakisakay lang kami sa truck ng mga gulay , pagdating namin sa pagudpud , kulay green na kami… sana makapagpulag din ako soon

  11. Awesome journey pwede tong png Blog Carnival this month ung kay Kara, galeng ng papunta pa lng eto pala ung ni kwento mo na sa truck ng gulay kayo ng hitch. Astig. Great post Mich 🙂

  12. i like that sweet summit scene pero astig ang dreamland exist photo mo. nice meeting you last night. congratulations for being a finalist!

  13. hey Mitch. you said it is your first time to join the carnival? it isn't obvious. love the post!!galing. and wow, wish i have half your guts haha..i'm trying, so i have this journey to gutsiness section in my blog. congrats on your grand blog carnival debut!!

  14. @ suroysuroy.ta.nijosayang naman yun sir. eh di lalong ang lamig nun? cant imagine if I'll survive pag sobrang lamig na. baka kayo yung nakasalubong namin paakyat nov 18-20 kasi kami nag pulag@ LBakodista thanks for reading. and thanks sa pagsama sakin sa climb niyo :)@ Batang Lakwatserosuper enjoy talaga yung sa truck. kakaibang experience tsaka tipid pa :)panalo ang topload experience, ang ganda ng view.nagulat din ako na alam nila ang FB

  15. @ Claire @lakwatsera de primeraadventure-filled talaga, tinodo ko na, minsan lang ako umalis eh.hehepati pag-uwi ko, nakatayo ako sa bus pabalik Manila, habang dala yung malaking backpack koI think, parehas tayo. This first climb I had sa Mt Pulag will start my hunger for climbing. Iba yung feeling!@ eileenthanks eileen!akala ko din hindi ako makaka survive eh. pero whoo! I SURVIVED MT. PULAG!@ Mackythank you dude! marunong na akong umakyat ng bundok! 😀

  16. @ mtgguerraThanks Maj! Waaaaah! Nagba-blog ka din pala! Ganun ba talaga. Ang madaldal magsulat tahimik sa personal? hehehe I checked your posts, ayus, sana makapunta din ako sa Coron@ Gladys | WanderingTandem.comHehehehe… Yup, nasabi ko na sa parents ko yung mga ginawa ko, pati yung sa pagsakay sa trak ng gulay. Ayun, ayun, bawal muna akong lumabas. Haha joke@ Edmaration etcThank you po sir, nagustuhan niyo tong Pulag Adventure ko!

  17. @ erick sir, thanks po for the info. I've already corrected it.Ay, ano pong pangalan nung schoolmate niyo? baka nakasama ko siya. :)@ Josiah @ Lakas ng TripThank you din for sharing this post sa Facebook. Sir, nice meeting you the other night. Salamat sa mga kwento. Yah, kung pwede ko lang talagang dalin yung family ko sa lahat ng magagandang lugar na napupuntahan ko, gagawin ko talaga eh.@ Byron Thank Byron for reading this post! I really appreciate it 🙂

  18. @ IndieEscapeThanks for spending time reading my post (I know it's quite long, just really wanna share every wonderful thing that I experienced)Super sweet! Nice to fall in love at Mt. Pulag@ inoy africaPinkan Jo pala yun. Maraming salamat po sa info@ juanderfulpinoyHaha kulay green talaga! Kami parang ginisa lang, kumpleto rekado eh – may bawang, sibuyas, at kamatis :DSama niyo sa list niyo tong Pulag, sobrang saya!… saba makapunta din ako sa Ilocos. hehe@ Markyramonethanks sa suggestion na gawin ko tong for PTB's Blog Carnival.. hehe first timeThanks for reading Marky!@ Dong HoNice meeting you sir! Nakakatuwa, nakainuman ko pa ang mga big time bloggers! :DCongrats din sayo sir!

  19. @ Jovial Wanderertry niyo sir maki-hitch sa truck. masaya siya promise!@ “El Nabigante”thank you po talaga sinama niyo ko! bawi ako sa inyo next time, di ako makasama this sat eh. may Christmas Party kasi kami tsaka run.@ Pinoy Adventuristaexcited for you!!!! cant wait to see the pics :))

  20. @ Mhe-anne Ojeda hehehe wow! thanks for that feedback… thank you po talagahope PTB and the readers will like my entry for our Blog Carnival 🙂

  21. very well said… ganito dapat ang mga blogs… very informative, humorous, yet may personal touch 🙂 i am so proud of you my famangks… i guess i should credit myself that i gave you the travel bug when i took you first time to Bangkok…. but you get all the credit for having all the guts to take yourself far since then…. i wish you more travels..along with the discoveries of how far you can dream and make those dreams come true :)- your aunt 😉

  22. Thank you tsahin! :PMaraming salamat sa 10 day Thailand trip na yun.. dame ko nakita and natutunan.. dun ko din nalaman na kelangan ko ng camera heheh 🙂

  23. Hi Rain!thank you so much for reading this post.. me too, im not a fan of mountains, im afraid to climb before but there's something with it that you cant explain especially when you reach the peak. superb!ang galing galing ng feeling!

  24. hehehehe nakakatuwa naman yan, a ride inside a delivery van… I miss the topload ride… 🙂 I still haven't blog my Pulag experience… 🙂 hehehehe

  25. awwww…natouch naman ko sa message sa parent mo…i wish my sons would think that way too…btw, so sweet and out of the box ang marriage proposal na yan ha! coolness!

  26. Hi Mitch. I really enjoyed reading your post. It was one of the most unique things I came across – hitching a ride on a 14-wheeler truck. Astig! Plus the view from the summit of Mt. Pulag is really breathtaking. I have not tried climbing a mountain yet, but this post is really inspiring and I'm going to put climbing Mt. Pulag on my bucket list 🙂 Great read!

  27. @ The Pinoy Explorer, yup, sobrang sweet talaga at ang COOL (literally and figuratively) hehehe…

  28. ganda ng secret adventure mo! at nagka friend ka pa na igorot! teka bat ba gusto mong makakilala ng igorot?pangarap ko rin na maka akyat sa pulag, di ko yata kayang tuparin hehe 😛

  29. your post makes me want to do mt. pulag asap !thank you for the nice read :-)safe travels !

  30. enjoyed reading your post! :)great photos! super like! ♥ …Mt. Pulag is one of my ultimate dream. and were going to climb na this last week of March. Very excited and a bit nervous kase it's my 1st time 😉

  31. hi mich, late ko na to nabasa but still i enjoyed this post. i was refreshed, nakakamiss umakyat ng bundok. andaming realizations ang lessons on the way.congrats and lets be good girls next time. hehe

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