June 10-12, 2016
3 months ago, my life went spiraling downwards. Okay, sounds dramatic for a travel blog (no intended whatsoever, just narrating how I got here lol), but seriously I was depressed. And it’s true that God sends the right people when you let go of the wrong ones. A friend invited me to go trekking to unwind and forget about things, and saying yes without any hesitation (without knowing much details) was the best decision I have made.
I was not the one who managed the trip, so I am not 100% really sure of the process. What I only did was pay a total of Php4,088.00 ALL IN, fill up the registration form and secure a medical certificate indicating that I’m physically fit to climb a mountain. What I spent for aside from that was my dinner for Day 1, breakfast and lunch for Day 2, lunch and dinner for Day 3, and my public transportation (tricycle, jeepney, and bus) fare to and from my house — Pampanga to SM North; Baguio to Pampanga. All of which cost me Php1000.00 tops.
And so the adventure starts here.
June 10, 2016 11:55PM
Our meeting time with our tour guide, Kuya Aboy (You may find him at his FB page, Si Aboy na Palaboy) was supposed to be at 10:00PM, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to purchase bus tickets for that time (which really got us disappointed, but nah we had no choice) so we departed by around 12MN and reached Baguio at 6AM.
Before we went anywhere else, we had some breakfast and bought packed lunch at Pinkanjo Eatery which was an hour away or so from the bus terminal.
Day 2 was some kind of a free day and was only allotted for staying at the Ranger Site. Hence, we did some fun side trips at the Ambuklao Dam, Daclan Sulfur Spring, and Ambuklao hanging bridge.
These side trips were all such a pleasant surprise. Learning and meeting new people.
Speaking of pleasant surprise, the smell of this sulfur spring wasn’t pleasant at all. So prepare your olfactory senses for this.
There are two sulfur springs in the area. I have researched thru the internet that it is safe to soak in a sulfur spring, but our tour guide told us to be extra careful because these one are hazardous. Too hot a carabao accidentally jumped in one of the springs and died.
Next stop. Crossing this bridge could be some sort of a warm up for the trekking because as per the tourist guide, it covers 1km back and forth. Whaddaya say?
After those side trips, we went ahead to DENR station for the lecture and registration.
We have just learned that Pulag means bald.
After the short lecture, we ate lunch there and afterwards proceeded to the Ranger Site.
Time check: June 11, 2016 2:00PM
We straight away assembled our tents when we arrived.
Two of my friends and other hikers were able to climb the nearest hill and took an aerial shot of the campsite. Lovely, isn’t it?
The reason why day 2 was a free day and why we were supposed to get to the ranger early was because of the heavy fog during afternoons, which makes it difficult for the jeepneys to climb.
The fog got opaque real quick and the weather got absurd in the morning. A moment of rain, then suddenly becomes really hot, then freezing cold and foggy again.
We all had dinner at the cafeteria. Then, had some rest.
My friend and I were able to witness some lightnings, too. Felt like watching a natural fireworks display. It was such a wonderful view. It was quiet as well and could be better than stargazing.
June 12, 2016 1:30AM
2:00AM was the call time for the hiking and so we woke up at 1:30AM to have some breakfast.
We started all wearing jackets, gloves, beanies, and layers of clothes and pants, but 30 minutes has just passed, we felt warm and removed all the sweaters. lol. Good thing I left my huge bag at the campsite and only brought my valuables such as wallet, camera, cellphone, water (thanks and sorry Matthew for bringing the water for me), headlamp (thanks kuya Aboy for lending me one) and flashlight. I am so prepared like that. 😛
One hour have passed and we reached camp 1. Water and toilet or should I say pit break for a bit, and then we continued.
Time check: 6:00AM
We were in a hurry because we wanted to catch the sunrise and of course the famous sea of clouds at the Tower. And hurrah we made it on time… gasping… in awe!
I cannot even express my happiness in words seeing such a magnificent view! I was so giddy I was able to call a loved one via video chat to show the scenery. How amazing that there was a signal up there, huh? And such an amazing dog for keeping up with us, trekked too for 4hrs. Just wow!
The trekking didn’t stop there. We had to continue to reach the summit point. It was another 2hrs of hiking.
I was so excited to reach the top I went ahead and left my friends behind (Sorry, guys!). I loved the silence so much that I took the chance to be alone for a while and savor the moment. At some point in that time, and for some reason, I felt like I was in another world that I can never leave. A world where everyone was nice and kind, where good morning’s and take care’s from strangers were given generously, just peaceful. I can never forget the feeling, and needless to say, the pain in my thighs as well.
As I have reached the peak, another crazy thing has happened. I came across a bunch of men and a young lass. Well, when people are tired, they don’t give a damn anymore. So we started taking pictures even though we didn’t know each other. So what. We’re tired. (Thanks guys for making my day! See you when I see you.)
And finally, after that segue, I have reached the peak of the third tallest mountain in the Philippines. My companions came in as well.
Proud to say, we survived!
It was 8:00AM when we reached the summit and returned at the ranger site at 11:00AM.
Here are some photos of the trail in daylight.
After arrival and a quick rest, we ate brunch then took shower and dismantled the tents. We left the campsite at around 2:00PM and reached the bus terminal in Baguio City by 5:00PM. Good bye, Benguet!
There is something about mountains and nature as a whole that makes me feel at home. And I am more than happy to experience and see a beautiful creation that is beyond what I have imagined, luckily with my new found friends and foster family. Till our next escapade! 🙂