Disclaimer: I am not a mountaineer nor a certified hiker/backpacker, but I know there’s a lot of people who wants to go to Mt. Pulag. So, here’s the share of a first timer for the first-timers. Take note, it’s a DIY Trip. (Im not really into packages nor tours; Li Belizario of Sablay Mountaineering Group organized this).
Since this was my first climb, it was not easy for me to gather all of these stuff. I borrowed most of my things such as tent, sleeping bag, and warmer. I bought my bubble-type jacket at ukay-ukay for Php50.00 only. I invested my money for a good pair of trekking shoes (alam ko kasi medyo lampa ako at madaling madapa so better save myself) and a 35-L bag from Conquer. I got my headlamp for Php150.00 from a tiangge in Park Square, Ayala.
WHEN TO CLIMB:
Though Mt. Pulag is accessible all year round, it is recommended to climb during the early part of the year, when the weather is good so you can really enjoy the magnificent “Sea of Clouds”.
HOW TO GET THERE:
There are 4 major trails to the summit of Mt. Pulag – Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawangan, and Ambaguio. For beginners, you can take the Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail, it is the easiest.
To take Ambangeg Trail, take a bus from Manila to Baguio. I prefer taking Victory Liner since they have Baguio Trips every hour. Fee is Php455. But for my 1st Pulag Adventure, I did something different to cut down transportation cost, click here to find out how I went to Baguio for Php143.00.
It is best to leave Manila at night around 9pm onwards. Since Manila-Baguio is like a 6-hour-drive, you’ll arrive in Baguio City before dawn.
From Baguio, rent a jeepney to the jump-off point which is at Badabak Ranger Station. There will be 2 stop-overs – 1) Jang-Jang’s Eatery also known as “Kainan” and 2)DENR.
At the Ranger Station, make sure to have a heavy meal before climbing. This is also the last stop where a decent CR is found. Take advantage.
Before climbing, your group will be asked how many guides and porters you’ll take with you. Each group are required to get 1 guide. You know the reason if you listened carefully with the briefing at DENR. Guide fee is Php250.00. Each porter is Php250.00.
You’ll notice how it gets colder as you go up. Especially at night, seems like everything gets moist and wet.
Respect. Say “Tabi-tabi po.”
The local tribes consider the mountain as a sacred place. Learn how to respect.
Greet the locals.
I got a chance to talk with our guide, Ate Nivera. I could say that we have talked anything under the Pulag sun. From mountaineering, to childhood stories, from accidents to getting married and even from cooking to Facebook(ing). She told me that a month ago from our visit, a mountaineer got sick after not greeting an old local during the climb. All the locals in Mt. Pulag are nice and warm, so I think, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a smile and a simple nod.