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DIY Mt. Pulag Climb: Your Budget-Friendly Climb to Mt. Pulag (via Ambangeg-Ambangeg)

This is your complete guide in planning a Do-It-Yourself Climb to Mt. Pulag (update as of January 28, 2014).
Fast Facts:
Mt. Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon.
Officially declared as the 2nd highest mountain in the Philippines.
2922+ MASL, Major climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail Class 1-2

Things to Consider in Planning:
* Number of Joiners/Participants
* Cost and Capacity of Jeepneys for Rent
* Expertise/Climb Experience of Joiners
* Weather

Number of Joiners/Participants
Aside from the famous mantra, “The more, the merrier.”, climbing in group may be more practical too. Imagine how costly fees will be if one will pay it individually (eg. Guide Fee, Porter Fee, Jeep Rental).

Expenses on Food will be cut down too.

Cost and Capacity of Jeepneys for Rent
Most Jeepneys for rent have the maximum capacity of 20 (19pax+driver). But jeepney rental fee should be cleared to avoid extra charges. For instance, the 1st time I climbed Mt. Pulag, we paid Php12,000.00 for a group of 19 which cost us roughly around Php635.00.

For my 2nd Climb, we rented a jeep from Monster Jeepneys for Php8500 (with a maximum pax of 16). In excess of 16 pax will be Php500.00 each.

In short, make sure to maximize the capacity of the jeepney. If it is good for 16pax, make sure to have 16 joiners in your group.

The Monster Jeepney

Expertise/Climb Experience of Joiners
Many people are dreaming to have those “cool” selfie photos with that Sea of Clouds in the background. But climbing Mt. Pulag is no joke. Being prepared is the key.

If your group are first-timers or at least most of them are, consider tagging along some guys that have gone to Mt. Pulag already and/or have gone climbing for some time; their tips and experience would be of great help.

Climb experience may also identify the trail that you’re going to take. For beginners, the Ambangeg-Ambangeg Trail is highly recommended. Akiki Trail for more experienced; doing a traverse may sound exciting too for those adventurous.

Weather is really unpredictable but you may visit this website for some accurate weather forecast: This site includes details such as sunset, sunrise, wind (km/h), temperature, and probability of precipitation.

What to Bring/Must-Haves:
Each participant should have the following:
* bubble-type jacket
* poncho
* trekking shoes
* sleeping pad
* sleeping bag
* thermal gloves
* thermal pants
* thermal socks
* bonnet
* at least 1.5 to 2 L of water
* headlamp
* toiletries
* thermal blanket

The group should bring the following depending on the number of joiners:
* tent
* stoves
* butane gas
* rice
* canned goods
* trail food
* medicine kit
* cookset
* trash bag

via Ambangeg-Ambangeg Trail
Days Needed: 3 days 2 nights

Day 0
08:30PM     Assembly at Victory Liner
09:00PM     ETD Bus Manila to Baguio City

Day 1
03:30AM     ETA Baguio City
03:45AM     Assembly at Caltex (Rented Jeepney Meet-up Point)
04:00AM     ETD Jeepney Baguio
05:00AM     StopOver at Carinderia (Heavy Breakfast)
05:40AM     ETD Carinderia to Visitor’s Center (Topload starts here!)
07:30AM     ETA Visitor’s Center
08:00AM     Registration and Briefing at Visitor’s Center
08:30AM     ETD Visitor’s Center to Ranger Station
10:30AM     ETA Ranger Station
                    (Pay Guide and Green Fee, Secure Guides and Porters, Lunch)
11:45AM     Start trek!
01:30PM     ETA Camp 1
04:30PM     ETA Camp 2 (Set up camp)
06:30PM     Dinner/Socials

Day 2
03:00AM     Wake-Up Call
03:30AM     Start trek to Summit
05:30AM     Watch Sunrise. Sea of Clouds Baby!
06:30AM     Start Descent to Campsite
07:30AM     ETA Campsite (Heavy Breakfast)
08:30AM     Start Descent
12:00NN     ETA Ranger Station
                    (Pay Porters, Wash up)
01:00PM     ETA Visitor’s Center (Log-out)
01:15PM     ETD Visitor’s Center to Baguio CIty
04:30PM     ETA Baguio City
05:00PM     Dinner at Good Taste, Baguio
06:00PM     ETD Baguio City to Manila
12:00MN     ETA Manila

at the Visitor Center – Photos, ATM cards, Calling Cards, IDs of those who have been to Mt. Pulag are posted here

Bus Fare Manila-Baguio                    Php455.00
Bus Fare Baguio-Manila                    Php455.00
Jeepney Rental (Php8500/16pax)       Php531.25
Registration & Green Fees                 Php225.00
Guide Fee (Php500/5pax)                  Php100.00
Cultural Fee                                        Php30.00

Total Budget: Php1796.00

Optional Expenses:
Porter – Php500.00 for 15 kilos
Donation at Wash Up Area

This is where you can buy the famous shirt, “I survived Mt. Pulag” for only Php170.00. 

Special Concerns: Reservation/Scheduling
Mt. Pulag National Park is being maintained by DENR headed by Ms. Emerita Albas: 09196315402. Informing DENR of the date of your climb and the size of your group is a requirement. It is advisable to contact them at least a month before because DENR would not allow you to climb if Mt. Pulag is already fully-booked. This is to ensure the safety of everyone and most of all, to achieve Sustainable Tourism.

Reserve as early as possible to secure a good campsite too. Early birds will have the privilege to go to the summit first.

* If Mt. Pulag is already fully-booked, don’t be sad and give up. Try to contact Ms. Gina Epe of Monster Jeepney if she has available slots.
* Book Monster Jeepney for your jeepney ride. They’re quite cheaper compared to others and you don’t need to allocate budget for the driver’s meals since their operator have carinderia. But of course, have the courtesy to offer food or snacks to the driver.
* Take Bonamine at least an hour before the jeepney ride. The road to Ambangeg Jump-off Point is really a long and winding one.
* You may wash up at Ms. Gina Epe’s Carinderia after the climb, it’s for free! Also, the water is not that cold compared to the water in Ranger Station.
* Make sure to bring a thermal blanket with you. You may put it inside your socks or gloves for added comfort and heat.

For what to wear in Mt. Pulag, please read my artcicle: Surviving Mt. Pulag, a First Timer’s Guide to Survival.

Important Contacts:
Ms. Gina Epe (Monster Jeepney) – 09198169234
Ms. Emerita Albas (aka Maam Mering of DENR) – 09196315402

If you have any comments or helpful tips that you want to share, feel free to comment below.

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