To Summit or Not to Summit – A Mt. Pulag Story
My last major hike for 2016 was in Mt. Pulag in Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya. I was hiking this time with my sister-from-another-mother, Vanessa. I was very excited but a bit anxious for her as it’s her first major hike and we’ve heard there’s a storm looming. We’ve prepared everything from the itinerary, rain gear and medical certificates.
We travelled with TrailAdventours so we know we’re in good hands. Sans the heavy traffic going to the Victory Liner terminal in Pasay everything was going well by far. Our itinerary was packed. Here’s how it went down:
From Manila by van, we arrived in Baguio then transferred to a chartered jeepney going to Bokod.
We had a quick breakfast at Pinkan Jo Eatery then headed to the Ambuklao Dam. The view there’s still beautiful as ever!
We then went to Jang Jang Hanging Bridge, and Daclan (Badekbek) Sulfur Springs.
After our side trips, we stayed at Mt. Pulag Summit View Baban’s Homestay. Ms. Odel Baban (09483577154) has been a gracious host for accommodating our group from the meals, to the rooms and the hot water baths. There’s a fireplace there which was our favorite area to hangout.
Come nightfall, the rain was still pouring. I was just thankful we weren’t roughing it out in a tent near the Ranger station. With 10 degrees C at the home stay, our best option was to get a good night’s sleep while we worry tomorrow if the terrain will allow us to hike Mt. Pulag.
We’ve gone through with the hike, divided the team into 3: the lead pack, the mid and the sweeper. This would help in keeping a certain pace for the entire group and we’d be able to help each other out as we brave the trails.
After a few hours of trekking, we were able to get to the Grasslands. Alas, our mid and sweeper teams bit the bullet and accepted that they won’t make it to the summit anymore. Our teammate Rovi eloquently puts it:
‘To trudge our way up to Mt. Pulag summit or head back to Camp 2? This is probably one of the toughest decisions any seasoned mountaineer or leisure hiker could ever make. After all the body aches, shivering and detached soles, some of my teammates and I were faced with the painstaking decision of heading back to camp as cold winds and rain battered our hopes of conquering Luzon’s highest peak’ – Rovi Velasquez (SmartBroTrips winner)
Amidst the billowing winds, downpour that slaps your face, icy chills and incessant slips from the muddy path — the rest of us endured and made it to the summit.
I’m happy to say that I’m always with the best company when I hike. Cheers to the team and hope to see you on the trails come rain or shine – summit or not!
Have you been to the peak of Mt. Pulag? What’s your Mt. Pulag Story? Care to share?
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