One of the foremost adventure destinations in Northern Luzon, Philippines - Mount Pulag is in many Filipino and international mountain climbers' must-do list or bucket list, if you will. Standing at 2922 meters above sea level (MASL), Mount Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon, the third highest in the Philippines. In any case, Mount Pulag is first-rate in giving the novice, the uninitiated, the newbie in mountaineering, hiking or trekking as much adventure and as much awe and wonder as the seasoned mountaineer. A "Mount Pulag: Adventure Above the Clouds" experience is for all.

Mount Pulag: Adventures Above the Clouds
**2014 Trips**
Jan. 11-12 / Jan. 25-26 / Feb. 15-16 / Mar. 1-2 / Mar. 15-16 / Mar. 29-30
Apr. 5-6 / Apr. 12-13 / Apr. 26-27 May 3-4 / May 24-25 / June 14-15 / June 28-29
July 12-13 / July 26-27 / Aug 16-17 / Sept 6-7

Visit www.mountpuladaventures.com


The Destination:
MOUNT PULAG

One of the most well-maintained “premier” national parks in the country, it is home of the nation’s rare and endangered species of flora (like the dwarf bamboo) and fauna (e.g., the cloud rat, kock’s pita, serpent eagle, Philippine deer, Philippine pig, etc.). It is also home to some of North Luzon’s ethnic tribes; four of them actually reside within the park - Ibaloi, Kalanguya, Kankana-ey, and Ibanag, and most of them consider Mt. Pulag a sacred place not only because they consider it a resting place and playground of their gods but also a place where they bury their dead.

Mt. Pulag is located within the municipalities of Buguias, Kabayan and Bokod in Benguet, Tinoc in Ifugao and Kayapa in Nueva Vizcaya. Deep ravines, gorges and steep terrain characterize Mt. Pulag.

View Larger Map

The Trail:
Ambangeg/Babadac Trail

This is the well established and considered the main trail going to Mt. Pulag. Vehicles can negotiate the trail all the way to the Ranger Station which is the entire Ambangeg Trail. Still others can choose to hike the entire trail.

The DENR office and the Ranger station are located along the trail, a few meters from the park entrance. From there, the Mt. Pulag base camp is a 4-km hike along the well-paved trails with a convenient rest stop waiting shed. From the base camp, the summit is just a 45-90 minute hike away.

The Challenge:
Mount Pulag: Adventures Above the Clouds,
with ClubTravelNOW.org

ClubTravelNOW.org brings you the chance to summit the highest peak in Luzon, to satisfy your thirst for adventure, and give you the thrill of witnessing a beautiful sunrise above the clouds and on the peak of Mount Pulag. All in the company of your travel buddies and friends-yet-to-meet at ClubTravelNOW.org


Photo courtesy of Rommel Funtelar

The Itinerary:  What's our schedule? Find out here.
The Tour Rate: P4088.00 only (Click here for details and inclusions)

This tour is open to ALL - ClubTravelNOW.org members and non-members alike.

Why join this tour with ClubTravelNOW.org?
ClubTravelNOW.org is a community, a club, a family and a philosophy. ClubTravelNOW.org is about a belief in making things happen right now, about seizing the day! Carpe Diem! There is no better time to live your dreams than NOW. And yes, that applies to your travel dreams, as well as other aspirations in life. :)

The best part about joining this tour is getting to see this wonderful place with the magnificent company of your awesome friends-yet-to-meet at ClubTravelNOW.org And that, our friends, is priceless. ☺

When you join this tour, you are automatically eligible to be members of the club. Yes, that’s it! And then you get discounts, freebies and privileges on your next trips with ClubTravelNOW.org.

Visit:

The Checklist: Find out what to bring, what to wear, and what to remember here
The Next Steps: Sign up here!


We look forward to seeing you at this Mount Pulag: Adventures Above the Clouds, 
with ClubTravelNOW.org! 

See you!

---
To join this tour, contact your ClubTravelNOW.org Buddy:
Tristan Mirasol @ 0927.760.7777 /
Email @ travelbuddies[at]clubtravelnow[dot]org.

***INVITE your FRIENDS!***
Bring them the JOY of TRAVEL and the GIFT of new FRIENDSHIPS! 
***FORWARD this page to them by clicking here.***

Sneak Peek: Photos from our Nov. 26-27, 2010 Trip:


The ubiquitous ClubTravelNOW.org banner. (bear with us! hehe!)


Happy shadows.


ClubTravelNOW.org is more than about the travel - it's about the company.
(naks! but really)


Adventures along the way: A long and scary bridge! (but it was nothing to most of us!)


Toploading is a must for ClubTravelNOW.org
(ok, just optional)


The Ranger Station


Tired, but happy.


This is our brand of ClubTravelNOW.org fun. :)
See you soon!
The Very First Climb: Where it all began


Oct. 28, 2005; 9AM: From Baguio, we took the Norton buses going to Kabayan, Benguet from the station at Magsaysay Avenue.



With me are my friends Edward and Russell. It is to be a 4-hour trip on rough roads.





Flat tire? It's no longer a surprise. Such things always happen. In fact I somehow expected it already, as I have learned it is part of the experience.



Where we got our flat tire


This is the Ambuklao Dam, releasing the force where that mighty river we saw earlier seemed to have come from.



The whole trip may be rough, but the fantastic views of the mountains, and seen here, the river, offered a great respite



Kainan sa Inidian: This is where we are eating right now. We’re all quite hungry, esp. me, as we didn’t get to have a meal in Baguio. (and yet I have the energy to take this pic)



Before we hit the road again, a few pics in the area. Marker: Sad to say, they have dynamite blasting here. (finally, that's me on the right :) )



One thing we didn't get to do this time: Toploading. In true-blue backpackers-speak, it's the first class way to travel.



DENR Protected Area Office, Ambangeg, Benguet: Jump off point of any climb to Mt Pulag via the Ambangeg ‘Fun’ Trail. Here you register, pay fees, and hear the orientation. They sell the ‘I survived Mt Pulag’ shirts here. But do buy only after you’ve survived. :)



From the DENR office, it is a 4-hour hike to the Ranger station. Luckily, we chanced by a group of hikers from Sabit Mountaineers who still had space in their jeepneys. They allowed us to hitch.



Russell and Edward already looking tense about the road ahead.



These are the friendly Sabit Mountaineers.



Guess what happened? Like I said, transport problems are always a part of any mountain trip. One of the jeepneys ahead of us could not go on further, and since the road just had one lane, we all had to do the rest of the way by foot.



Russell: It’s alright, we had intended to hike this one to begin with. The 20 minutes or so headstart was just a bonus.



Edward: Ayoko maglakad! (I don’t wanna walk!)



Believe me, the hike was to be a better experience. You get a better chance to appreciate what’s around you.



You would have surely missed this if you were in the jeep as you’d be too busy holding on to anything in that rodeo-ride.



Break! They shouted.



We became an unofficial part of the Sabit Mountaineers, and we followed their protocols. It was a great experience as we learned more about good practices when on a climb. Stay together, have a leader, no overtaking, identify yourselves through a distinct color per team, and go on only at your own pace.



When taking a break (usually 3 minutes at a time), put down your bags, sit down, fix your shoe laces if need be, answer the call of nature, eat, drink...



...or have your pictures taken.



Our Sabit group.



Look up, there, far away up there, that’s where we’re going. I think. If not that, then the one behind it.



Another break.



One thing you should never do is bring a tent you haven’t even tried assembling. Russell is carrying the 4-person Coleman tent I bought from Chicago.



Once in a while, stop and marvel at the views.


Then call a break.


Then hit the road again.


Lots of muddy, slippery trails, so be careful.


All 3 still alive. Good sign.


About 2 to 3 hours into our hike, we finally see ‘civilization’. I can’t believe people decide to live this high up.



With views like this, then again, why not?


Are we closer to heaven yet?


A cow poses gamely for the camera.


One more pose.


A final pose.


Rus brings out his Lomo to capture the scene.


A hiker stops to catch his breath.


Off we go again...


Are we there yet?


Break! Edward still in high spirits. :)


A steep hike.


Out of the bushes.


A mightier view from up here, certainly.


Fantastic silhoutte pic by Rus.


Mood check: Edward still in high spirits. Rus is tired, or is he?



Could it be the Sassy Girl tree?



Flowers. Mountain. Clouds. Sky. What a great canvass!



Finally, after 4 hours of trying hike, the Ranger Station. With everybody tired and hungry, we all decided to rest for the night here.



Russell. In the dark.



Edward. In the spotlight.



Oh yeah, I forgot to say that they have no electricity here.


Mang Samuel, the Mount Pulag head guide who also mans the Ranger Station, gives Rus, Edward, and me a briefing on Mount Pulag, the rules, and an explanation of where the fees we pay go. He also helped us arrange for a quide for tomorrow’s hike.



Blinded by the flash. After this, we went to sleep on the floor of the Ranger Station, cramped in a corner near the kitchen door.


Oct. 31, 2005; 1AM: We got up by 1AM to start ourselves off again on the way to Mount Pulag summit. This way, we can reach the summit just right before sunrise. Meanwhile, some Blairwitch type pics of me...



Rus...



and Edward.



With everything around you in pitch black, it was a tough first hour hike on unseen tough, rocky, wet, slippery, muddy, grassy steep ground. But before long, we reached the first camping site where we took a 5-minute break.



In another hour we reached the grassland where some groups from last night proceeded to, to camp.



This is the second camp, reached an hour and a half from the first camp.



We only lingered shortly.


It was still dark everywhere, though in the distance you see far off mountains with many lights. Possibly it was Baguio.



The path we were taking now were mostly grassland now.


By this time, it is easier to get tired. We are energized by drinking water and a bite of Snickers bar.



Edward rests on the grass, clearly sweaty and burnt out. It’s been really challenging.



Oh no, sunrise is coming! Better hurry to the peak!



More colors now...



Much brighter now...



A walk in the clouds...



All I can say is WOW...



The morning sun’s first hello...


A hint of a smile...


A burst of sunshine...


Russell and Edward still on their way up. Too excited to see the sunrise, I went too much ahead of them, closely keeping pace with our guide.



Casting shadows...


The early birds...


A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction
and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....
this is the place to go now.


But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds,
and you will know, too,
when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons..

- from "Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah"


No higher land in sight... Just you and the clouds...


Where angels play...



This photo would have been much better without that dark cloud right there, but... I’m not complaining. :) It’s already pretty as it is. Just look at the effect on the clouds and mountains below it.


No trees in sight, just rolling hills made green by dwarf bamboos.


Edward and Russell are getting closer...


On top I am greeted by my friend Chrisgel (right) from UP Buklod-Isip. He happens to be with the Sabit Mountaineers. A future environmental lawyer.


Finally, I am joined by my 2 best buddies in the world at the summit of the island’s highest peak, the country’s 2nd. What a privilege.


Edward... contemplating how he’s gonna go back down.



Russell... weaving words in his head on the poetic beauty of the heavens. (aside from planning his next camera shot)



Me... grateful to the Mountain, inspired by its grandeur, and thankful for another dream knocked down. Seeing the clouds blanketing the mountains and the sun coloring it with yellow and orange, all I could whisper to myself is: So this is what Mama and Papa sees everyday! And here, I feel very much closer to them.


The sun is up alright!



The west side of Mount Pulag.



Russell’s back side


Lovely rolling hills


Time to eat breakfast – of loaf bread, cheese cake, Snickers, corned beef, and liver spread.



Above the clouds


Overjoyed


The 3-Man ALON Team: Tristan (that’s me), Russell and Edward.



Edward: Nah, it was peanuts!


Russell: I think I’ll come back!


Tristan: So will I!


Sun is already too high up, time to go down.


Those tiny white flowers add charm to the hills.


That was the peak!


A little farther now, but that’s still the peak on the upper right corner. (see the tiny people on top?)



Mount Pulag: Conquered. (still see the tiny people?)


One of the best views the rolling hills; picturesque ain’t it?



Would this make a good postcard?


Of course we all had to have a pic with this view. :)


Reminds me of ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. Amazing shadow work by the sun!


Can you hear the soundtrack?


A jolly time getting down...


Nothing to it, the terrain is still quite flat.


Even easier if the path winds down, a little help from gravity.


Twice OK.


Ulk, hope we don’t have to go up that one to get through.



LOST: Could that be the way?


Break muna!


Alright, if you say so.


Could this finally be the Sassy Girl tree? :)


Entering the dark and mighty forest...


Oops, a little clearing...


Back in the dark forest, fetching forest water to drink. (it’s safe)


Sun-drenched


SM Bonus Kornik


Dead yet still reaching for the sky: This can’t be the Sassy Girl tree, could it?



Another break...


... to inspect our poor shoes.


I love my Nike.


Which shoe is the dirtiest?


A good hearty laugh -- as a pat on the back, for a job well done, and as a sign of acceptance, for our many personal foibles discovered along the way.



We will always be brothers, and always of the same frame.



Finally, the ranger station, and getting ready to go.


One last time.


The former Summit marker at Mt. Pulag. It was later removed because it violated what it purpotedly promotes: “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”


If you wanna come up to Mount Pulag, register with the Protected Areas office of DENR by calling the Superintendent at 09203013932. Best to arrange a ride from Baguio, to the DENR office, up to the Ranger Station and back down. Contact Mang Roger at 09208068656. For more questions and other stuff, just post a comment.


Thanks for dropping by! :)