HIKING Mt. Pulag, Luzon’s highest peak known for its alpine-like vegetation, stunning sunset and breath-taking sea of clouds could make one’s heart swoon with delight.
Over a decade since I first visited Mt. Pulag, I noticed a lot of changes. For one, the Ambuklao road from Baguio to Ambangeg which was once a and rough road had been paved, thus, travelling was made easy.
Second, a community has sprung around the Babadak ranger station and the once empty space has turned into a busy village.
Third, the DENR office which is where you register and attend a pre-hike briefing has enforced stricter rules to protect the park.
Hikers could start their walk from the Ranger Station as early as 2 am in order to get to the summit in time for sunrise.
Mt. Pulag remains to be a beauty that one soul must experience and enjoy.
Tara, lets’ hike!
Here are some tips to keep your hiking safe but fun:
Summer is still yet the best time to visit Mt. Pulag. Should you plan to hike during the rainy months, be prepared for a cold, foggy and wet hike as the weather here changes quickly, and temperature could drop to as low as 7 degrees Celsius or lower. Bring jackets and layer up to keep you warm.
Book your hike in advance
Never go there unannounced. You need to book your hike and orientation with the DENR office in Ambangeg. Once you are registered, pay the hiking fee at the Ranger Station in Babadak, and book your guide. Guides are required for all hikers.
Choose your trail and plan your itinerary
There are several trail options to choose from depending on your appetite for adventure.
The easiest trail is the Ambangeg trail also known as the “executive trail”, which starts at the ranger station.
If you want a more hard core hiking which lasts for several days, go for the Akiki or Ambaguio trail.
Plan your transportation
To get to Mt. Pulag, you can either commute or rent a van. If you are commuting, you can take a bus to Baguio and then rent a van to take you to Ambangeg and then go back using the same commute.
Book your accommodation
There are a lot of homestays in Mt. Pulag. Some charges P300 a person. The homestay is equipped with kitchen complete with pots, pans, plates, utensils and a cooking range. The rooms have double decked beds with clean, warm blankets and pillows. There is a shower area and a comfort room but no hot water. You have to boil water to enjoy a warm bath.
Prepare your budget
For two days and one night, I spent P2,875 which includes transportation (P1,600); homestay (P300); food (P500); environment and culture fee (P150); heritage fee (P120); entrance fee (P175) and gas for cooking (P30).
Get a medical clearance
One of the requirements to hike Mt. Pulag is to be physically fit. Hence you need to get a medical clearance. Bring a copy of your medical clearance.
Do some warm-up exercises prior to your hike
As your hike will take about six to eight hours, make sure you do some warm-up exercises prior to your hike. This will help you build your endurance.
Sample the food, buy fresh produce at the village stores
There are stores at the ranger station selling hot food and fresh produce. Try them, they are good and cheap — best for pasalubongs!
Pack warm clothes
You need to layer your clothes because it’s really cold specially when you start hiking and even colder once you reach the summit.
Wind can also add to the blistering cold so make sure you have thermal gloves, thermal socks, bonnets and wear a thermal base layer.
That’s why you need to try Mt. Pulag. sooner!
Leave all your worries behind, savor each step and let the wonder of nature do its magic on you.