Mount Pulag: A walk in the clouds (and some first-time tips and blunders!)

Prince Henry:  "You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants, 
is there anything you don't do?"
Danielle:  "FLY."

Yes, I'm channeling Drew Barrymore's character in one of my all-time favorite chick flicks, Ever After.  I don't know when it started but, ever since, I've always had this thirst for adventure and inkling to always try out new things.  Currently, I scuba dive and I've revived my interest in surfing.  Years back, I've done spelunking, wall climbing, and wakeboarding.  Generally, activities that I like involve the beach (Isn't it obvious? :p) So this time around, I decided to try something new:  MOUNTAIN CLIMBING.

Considering that this is a far cry from my usual lounging-in-the-beach-and-getting-a-tan hobby, I knew I was in for a new challenge.  While I had a dozen bikinis stored in my closet, I had zero climbing gear and clothes!

But, I thought, what the heck?!  I should try this now while I still have the stamina.

So, in a very un-Koryn fashion, I, along with my sister, brother-in-law, and our friend Fritz, signed up for travelfactor.org's Mount Pulag expedition.  Mount Pulag is the second highest peak in the country.  Ambitious for a beginner, right?  I was actually nervous days before the climb.  More because I have extremely low tolerance for cold and I've been told by friends who've been there that Mount Pulag is freezing especially in the early morning.  I went on panic buying mode and visited  my doctor the last minute to make sure I'm in tip-top shape.

Then after days of nervous anticipation, we were finally off to a new adventure.

And adventure it was!

We left Manila around 11:30 p.m. and arrived in Baguio City around 6:00a.m.  There were 30 of us in the group.  After a quick breakfast, it was a one hour ride to Ambuklao dam where we stopped for a short photo op.



And after that, it was another two-hour ride to the DENR office where we were to undergo a brief orientation.  It was a bumpy ride but sleep-deprived me was snoring the whole time (even during the orientation haha).

After the orientation (which I told was hilarious because the DENR lady was really quirky!), it was another one hour ride to the Ranger Station--our final stop before we make our ascent.







We had a quick lunch at the Ranger Station and were given time to prepare our stuff (READ:  Make our backpacks AND ourselves waterproof!).  I wasn't going to pretend that I'm this hardcore climber (haha) so I paid a porter to carry some of my stuff.

And thus began the three-hour hike to the Camp Site.

 


The hike was no joke.  While it was an easy trail, it was all uphill.  After 30 minutes I was already huffing and puffing! (NOTE TO SELF:  Return your regular jogging routine!)



Rest time.  A 15-minute pit stop.

The destination. So near yet so far!


At one point, I realized I had stopped talking, unconsciously devoting all my energy to every step.  And, finally, after three hours (or was it more?), we reached the Camp Site!  And yes, it was freeeeeeezing!



Our home for the night.

I was majorly exhausted and after settling in our tent, I was ready to doze off to dreamland when I saw the setting sun creating beautiful hues across the skyline.




Photo op.  The other campers didn't want to miss out on the good photo opportunity either.
The Shire.  A scene from "Lord of the Rings"?  Nu-uh.  This is actually the camp latrine.  Think:  "Slumdog Millionaire".  Kinda ruins the image for you, huh?  Haha.  But these two little huts saved a lot of us more than once :p

My turn in front of the lens.  Of course, how can I resist having my picture taken against this gorgeous backdrop? ;)

When I was finally satisfied with the shots I took, I went back to our tent, snuggled in, and went off to a deep slumber.

The next day, this would be the image that would greet me:




But of course, not without another long hike to the summit first!


Endless hiking.  Those little dots you see on the upper right corner is actually the Camp Site.  Yes.  The summit was that far.


My sister (or was it our guide?) said that the summit was just 1.5km away from the Camp Site.  It felt more like 5km!

I was just about to give up when the sun began to peek and created this amazing image:




I was in awe.  More especially with the sea of clouds blanketing the mountains.







Before going to Mount Pulag, I pictured myself doing a "jump shot" with the sunrise and sea of clouds as my background.  But when we finally reached the summit, I was soooooo tired that the next thing I did was sit down and simply take in the view.



Travelfactor.org, FTW!  Joven, one of our guides.


After around 45 minutes, it was time to go back to camp.




And then before we knew it, it was time to break camp. 


The motley crew.  Tired, sweaty, dirty, but happy :)

We set off for another three-hour trek back to the Ranger Station.  But not without taking a last look at the most essential part of our adventure:  THE LATRINE.  Hahaha.






I was dead tired when we got back to Manila.  I wanted to sort the pictures right away but exhaustion got the best of me.

The next morning, I reviewed all my photos and thought back to my two-day adventure:  I probably wouldn't do it again, but it's definitely something worth experiencing even once in your life.


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If anyone of you are interested in going on a Mount Pulag adventure, I highly recommend travelfactor.org--very organized and they really take care of you.

Tavelfactor.org
http://thetravelfactor.wordpress.com
tours@travelfactor.org

Comments

  1. Goosebumps!! Thanks for sharing mother! So sorry (as in regretting) I didnt go. But ok lang.. The Filipinos are worth not going to Pulag for. Pampalubag loob. Hehe ;) but I hope I get to join Travel Factor in another Pulag trip someday!!

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  2. Wow, Koryn, yay for doing this!! I lve it how you went against yourself in a way by doign somethign that is not very you, it's great to challenge oursleves like that from tiem to time. What an adventure!! And what gorgeous photos!!

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  3. JOEI: Mother! Go go go! It would've been more fun if you were with us, but we'll look for another adventure ;) In the meantime, you really should try this with T. I think it's more fun if you're in a bigger group, more booboos and laughter haha.

    JULIA: Thank you! I know. At first I thought, "What the heck am I getting myself into?!" At least now I can say I conquered Mounta Pulag!

    And it wasn't that hard to take good photos, the Mount Pulag is a very beautiful subject :)

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  4. WOW. Breathtaking views! I have never embarked on a climb before so I think I have to try a lower level climb before I try this one! I'm more motivated now, after seeing your photos.

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  5. It IS breathtaking! For first-timers, they recommend Mount Gulugud Baboy in Batangas. Although of course the view isn't as breathtaking as Mount Pulag. But you know what? A lot of people in our group were first-time climbers. We took the easy trail to the summit :)

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  6. Hey, i saw someone actually came in wearing a mount pulag shirt, and now i understand how cool it was, and why she was excited about it. :-)Great pics! I loved the "cloud cover".

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