4 Important and Practical Hiking Tips to Survive Mt. Pulag
Where do broken hearts go aside from Sagada and Benguet? A favorite destination for newbie hikers and lone travelers who take to heart the lines ‘finding space’ is Mt. Pulag.
The road to this 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines is sadly a beaten one. Visitors, be it first time hikers, veteran mountaineers and photo obsessed junkies’ travel in hordes to marvel in its sea of clouds and rolling grasslands. So there’s lots of opportunity to meet lots of new people. You’d see why.
Communing with nature demands its respect. It may be a park but one does not simply walk into Mount Pulag unprepared. Here are tips to make your visit more memorable that your last relationship. #hugot
1. Do your homework
Ambangeg – Ambangeg trail is a crowd favorite which will need 4-5 hours trek. Major jump-off point is at the Ambangeg Ranger station in Bokod, Benguet. Elevation is at 2922 MASL (meters above sea level). Akiki-Ambangeg trail is for the experienced thus will set you back another day and 8 more hours of trekking. Other helpful details can be found in pinoymountaineer.com and in Trail Adventours Mt. Pulag trails and expeditions
2. How to get there and scheduling
You can take a Victory Liner bus to Baguio, then a cab – jeepney – habal habal combo all the way to Bokod. Visit this great guide by Pinoymountaineer for the breakdown of fees if you’re commuting. To skip the hassle, let a tours company curate the trip for you like Travel Factor. Here’s a glimpse of their itinerary – Conquer Pulag. You may also contact them via Facebook, call +63 2 746 5119 and +63 917 847 5341 to 42 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll get set in a jiffy. You get cool souvenirs included in their packages like these:
3. Non Negotiables
The DENR office now requires a medical certificate or you will not be allowed to climb. I found this MEDICAL CERTIFICATE FOR HIKING form which you may download and ask your licensed physician to fill out. Kudos to Pito Magno, MD and Gideon Lasco, MD, MSc for this template. You can also drop by the nearest health center in Ambangeg which will cost just P50 according to 2 of our fellow travelers who forgot theirs that time.Emerita Albas, the DENR Superintendent at +63 919-631-5402 is still the main contact person and yes, you are still required to sit and listen to the briefing when you visit the DENR office. They did change the sign too, check it out.
Convenient Changes: Camping in Mt. Pulag is prohibited until May of 2016. Thus, you may find yourselves camping near the Ranger’s Station or inside one of the residences there offering homestays. As with Travel Factor, they already have the tent laid out for you by the time you arrive at the camp site. Ours were situated at the top, the ones in red and white tents.
All the food for the next 48 hours of our stay in the park was dished out like clockwork. Here’s a modest show of it taking queue from a politician you may know too well. Wherever you go, always bring your SMART Pocket WIFI, It’s always cool to share your Instagram worthy photos and “#HugotLines” anywhere you go! During our trek, I was able to post the photo below on Instagram that time.
4. Proper Gear and Mindset
Sleeping bags and other gear rentals are available for a fee near the Ranger’s station. Take advantage of renting out insulators as your earth pad inside the tent and have the emergency blankets handy. Food stalls and convenience stores are all over the area too so you can pack really light and get food there.
The temperature drops to a cool 10 degrees even at the Ranger’s station. It went further down at the Tower Station at 4 degrees when we were waiting for the sunrise.
Don’t be a douche by wearing combat boots, jogger pants and a wife beater. Invest in sweaters, thermal shirt & pants, gloves, bonnet, socks and a good pair of trail or hiking shoes. Your body will thank you for it and enable you to see these views and reach the summit in one piece.
With those tips, I hope you’d have a grand time reminiscing your romance or lack thereof and even emptying out your phone, camera and powerbank with all the photos you’d capture and put hashtags on.
As for me, I felt the convenience, prompt and ease in my travel with Travel Factor and Smartbro Trips that I’d wish to do it again soon.