The Playground Of The Gods Experience

Witnessing the sunset and the sea of clouds while on the top of the third highest peak in the Philippines and the highest point in Luzon is one of my most fulfilling and happiest experiences so far.

Mt Pulag by Justin Jovellanos via Flickr Creative Commons
Mt Pulag by Justin Jovellanos via Flickr Creative Commons

Last month we were able to survive the 9500ft. high mountain and 4°c temperature of the ever beautiful, Mt. Pulag in Bokod, Benguet.


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Note: We’ve decided to join a joiners trip for a hassle-free and budgeted vacation for only PHP 2, 800 for 2 days and 1 night inclusive of roundtrip van transfers from Manila, food, tent accommodation, guide fee, camping, entrance and environmental fees and a bag tag :

This blog is worth-reading especially for first-time hikers, so continue and enjoy reading! 🙂

Karina Alcantara in Mt. Pulag
Karina Alcantara in Mt. Pulag
Hows the weather in Pulag?
Hows the weather in Pulag?

Mount Pulag via the Ambangeg Trail or the “Artista Trail” is said to be the easiest trail (but no, it’s still very tiring, better be prepared!).

Please also be informed that due to the occurrence of a forest fire the trail via Akiki (difficult one) and Tawangan are still closed for trekking and hiking. This is for the regeneration process and for the safety of the hikers. Let this be a lesson for all of us. We should always be responsible for our actions.

Mt Pulag Hike
Mt Pulag Hike

How to get to Mt. Pulag (DIY):

  • From Manila, ride a bus going to Baguio (approximately 5-6 hours travel time)
  • From Baguio, ride a taxi going to Old Slaughter House and tell the driver to drop you off at the van terminal of Kabayan (first trip leaves at 7AM)
  • Ask the driver to drop you off near the DENR station (travel is approximately 2 hours)
  • Register at the DENR station. Safety first. You have to proceed at the DENR office, register your names, complete the payments and requirements (they require a medical certificate to see if you’re qualified to hike) and then attend a 30-minute pre-climb orientation.
  • Outside the DENR station, you can ride a motorcycle or a “habal-habal” to bring you to the ranger station where you can hire and request for your guide

You only need 3 to 4 hours to reach the summit (with stopovers) and another 3 hours going back to the ranger station where tents are pitched. But what really made it really challenging is the weather, it is constantly changing and the temperature is really cold.

Mount Pulag Experience
Mount Pulag Experience

I had too many first time on this trip! It was my first time to hike at 1AM, to sleep on a tent and to experience a 4°c temperature! What a trip, I love it so much.

I’ve also realized that hiking in Mt. Pulag takes a lot of preparation and strength. And honestly, I’m not quite prepared at that time. But thanks to my friends, they saved me. They lend me their extra thermal jacket, gloves, pillow, sleeping bag, and even an inhaler!

Our tent in Pulag
Our tent in Pulag

So here’s a travel guide and tips for you specifically for first-time hikers.

OOTD/OOTN and Hiking Essentials:

  1. Hiking shoes
    2. A thick pair of socks
    3. Thick hiking pants (everything should be thick)
    4. A pair of gloves
    5. Several layers of clothes (2-3 layer of clothes is seriously a need)
    6. Thermal Jacket (I tell you the temperature is really cold)
    7. Bonnet
    8. Rain Coat (in case of rain)
    9. Personal First aid kit
    10. Flashlight/headlamp with extra batteries
    11. Toiletries
    12. Towels (If you’ll be taking a bath, but beware the water is cold as ice)
    13. Trail water
    14. Trail Food
    15. Blanket and Pillow
    16. Powerbank (remember there’s no electricity and signal for almost 24 hours)
    17. Sleeping bag

Make sure to prepare and bring all of these travel essentials. And it is very important to condition yourself before doing this activity.

Our 2D/1N Mt. Pulag Hike detailed Itinerary:

Day 1

0100 ETD Manila
0600 ETA Benguet. Breakfast
0900 ETA DENR station, registration/ orientation
1100 Head out for the Ranger Station
1300 ETA Rangers Station Ambangeg
1400 Set camp @ ranger station/Lunch
1600 Prepare dinner
1700 Early Dinner/Socials
1900 Lights Out

Day 2

1230 Wake-up Time
0100 Start trek
0200 Camp 1
0330 Camp 2
0500 Summit
0800 Start descent
1000 Ranger Station breakfast
1100 Break camp
1400 ETA Baguio/Lunch
1600 ETD Baguio
2200 ETA Manila
Note: Itinerary might change depending on the travelers.

It was really tough. I almost lost my breath but it was totally worth it. A must try experience!

Summary of our Mt. Pulag experience:

  • No wifi, internet, signal, and electricity for 24 hours
  • 9°c while you’re asleep
  • Take a bath using water as cold as ice
  • Sleep on a tent, camping, make a bonfire
  • Wake up at 12midnight and prepare for the hike
  • Start trek at 1AM (3 – 4 hours hike going to summit)
  • Reach the summit of the highest mountain in Luzon and Philippines’ third highest point
  • Meet locals, feel the happiness and realize the simplicity of life
  • Rejuvenate, relax, enjoy and see the beauty of God’s masterpiece

Can you survive? If yes, go explore and be a wanderer! Let’s go on an adventure! Leave No Trace.

Certificate of Conquest for Katrina Alcantara
Certificate of Conquest for Katrina Alcantara
Certificate of Conquest for Katrina Alcantara
Certificate of Conquest for Katrina Alcantara

PS I’ve got my first ever Certificate of Conquest!!!

If you’re planning to hike in Mt. Pulag, The best time to visit is from November to February, more chances to see the Sea of Clouds, perfect cold weather, and lesser rain.

For a DIY trip, before going to Mt. Pulag please make sure to contact and have a reservation first.

For inquiries and reservations you may contact the following:

  • 09182960274 – Mr. TeberDionisio

Park attendants:

  • 09103010423 – Ma’am Daisy Moresto
  • 09291668864 – Mr. Roy Tello
Hiking Mt. Pular in Bokod Benguet
Hiking Mt. Pular in Bokod Benguet

Travel Expenses and Fees:

  • Entrance Fee – Php 175/pax
  • Camping Fee – Php50/pax
  • Tent rental Fee- Php 300 for 3 pax
  • Aluminum Foil Mats – Php 50 (Small) Php 100 (big)
  • Environmental Fee – Php 150/pax
  • Guide Fee – Php 600 / group of 5 pax
  • Bus from Manila to Baguio – Php 900 roundtrip
  • Taxi to Baguio Old Slaughterhouse – Php 70 per way
  • Commuter Van from slaughterhouse to Ambangeg,
  • Benguet-Php 150 per way
  • Habal-habal (motorcycle) from DENR office to Ranger Station- Php250 per way
  • Food – ApproxPhp 500 – Php 1000/ pax

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