2018 Week 20: Barangay Election | Mt. Ulap Climb

May 14-20, 2018

May 14 was barangay elections so I was still in Baguio on Monday. I was not happy about the results in our barangay but it is what it is so…..anyway.

Highlight for this week though: climb at Mt. Ulap. It was a dear friend’s birthday climb and she invited me, which I said yes to because I also wanted to visit Mt. Ulap.

NOTE: The succeeding narrative is based on how we did our climb and this post may not really be helpful if you’re specifically looking for a detailed itinerary and expenses.

We left Manila on the dawn of May 19 and we reached Ampucao, Itogon at around 5:30 AM. We rented a van so travel time was fast.

We registered and had our breakfast at the barangay hall. But we were informed that we can only start our hike by 9 AM because they are letting the day hikers go first. There is also a 24 hour limit from the time we hike up until the time we hike back. Meaning to say, if we start hiking to the summit at 9 AM, we should be hiking back down at 9 AM the following morning. I think this is their way of controlling too much crowd at the summit. They also have a limit of accommodating just 500 climbers per day. That’s good to know.

And so as planned, we started hiking around 8:50 AM on May 19. And we reached the campsite at 2:30 PM hehehehe. It was really a slow-paced hike, which was good especially for me because my fitness wasn’t 100% ready for this hehehehe. And also, we took lots and lots of pictures along the way.

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↑Of trees and mountain ranges

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↑That is Mt. Sto. Tomas as seen on the way to Mt. Ulap

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↑This is abundant on the trail. Beautiful flowers of a bush.

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↑My favorite part of the trail because of the tunnel formed by the branches of the trees.

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↑The famous Gungal rock.

We pitched our tents and started preparing dinner upon arrival in anticipation of the rain. True enough, it rained at around 4:30 PM but good thing that it stopped after around 30 minutes and it wasn’t that strong. We were also able to witness a little bit of sunset when the sun wasn’t covered by clouds.

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↑Trying to catch what was left of the sunset.

We had socials after dinner where we played some games. The punishment when you commit a mistake is to take a shot of Tanduay mixed with iced tea then 4×4 gin with sprite and calamansi. I had a lot of shots at first but I made sure to master the game because I don’t want to drink anymore hahahaha!

We called it a night by 10 PM because we wanted to wake up early the next morning for sunrise.

We woke up early the next morning for sunrise and to climb up the summit. Watching the sunrise or sunset will always be my favorite activity when I’m outdoors. We were lucky to witness it because it wasn’t as cloudy that morning.

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↑Beautiful sunrise. What a lovely day.

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↑Obligatory picture at the summit of Mt. Ulap

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↑Picture with Mt. Santo Tomas because somewhere at the base of that mountain is our home sweet home hehehe.

We had breakfast by 7:30 AM, fixing our stuff by 8:30 AM and went back up the top of the hill where the summit can be seen once more for a group picture. I almost didn’t want to join but it was for a group picture so ok, fine hahaha.

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↑Campsite

We started hiking down few minutes before 10 AM. We took the shorter route that exits at Santa Fe. We were back down at 12 PM. After a very quick change of clothes for most of us, we started our trip back.

Another friend and I dropped off near Baguio as we still had errands to do. The rest continued on with their trip back to Manila.

My friend and I had a quick shower in the city proper and went to Don Henrico’s after for a super late lunch. We parted ways after to attend to our own errands.

Some things notable on this mountain.

  • There is a store near the camp site where you can buy some stuff especially in case your food isn’t enough
  • There is a CR
  • There is water source! No need to bring extra water for cooking
  • The Ampucao trail is not all assault so there is time to catch your breath after every few meters of assault
  • Most of the trail is covered with trees. For the grassland part, hello umbrella.

Estimated expense is around Php 2,000 -2,500, including personal and group porters, van rental, group expenses for food and butane, and personal expenses for snacks along the way.

The end.

Mt. Yangbew Climb

Last May 12, 2018, I was able to finally visit Mt. Yangbew (also known as Mt. Jumbo) in Tawang, La Trinidad Benguet. I did this for 2 reasons: a) in preparation for the Mt. Ulap climb the following weekend; and b) to road test my running shoes if it can withstand the mountains too because my hiking shoes has gone brittle as it has not been used for so long so it’s uncomfortable to use for a longer climb and I don’t want to buy a new one hehe.

I brought along my sister and 2 nieces with me.

Our itinerary:

  1. We rode a La Trinidad bound jeep and dropped by Pines Park in KM. 4. This is just a short ride. La Trinidad terminals are In Magsaysay and Rizal Park below City Hall.
  2. From Pines Park, we crossed the bridge to go to the jeepney terminal bound for Tawang. The bridge is on the same side where we got down.
  3. We asked the driver to drop us off at the Tawang barangay hall. Fare is Php 10.00 so that’s around 6-7 kilometers.
  4. From the road where the driver dropped us, we had to walk up the street to reach the barangay hall. Not too far though. It’s just around 200-300 meters.
  5. My sister registered us and we were given tickets. Php 30.00/pax.
  6. We walked back to the jump-off to Mt. Yangbew. You will actually already pass by this on your way to the barangay hall but since registration is needed, go to the barangay hall first. You may opt to ride back but it’s also just 15-20 minutes walk from the barangay hall to the jump-off.
  7. At the jump-off, we just showed our tickets to the one inspecting and then we were on our way to the summit. No orientation or guide as there is only one trail and you won’t really get lost. We started our hike at 11 AM.
  8. We took our sweet time going up the summit. It took us about 1 hour but I know 30 minutes is doable for some. We met someone selling ice candy near the summit so we bought some. Yum especially with the summer heat!
  9. We stayed at the summit for an hour where had our lunch of boiled eggs and banana there. My niece also vlogged a little hehe.
  10. We left the summit at 1PM. Same way down. It took us around 40 minutes this time which is good because it started to drizzle when we reached the jump off.
  11. We just waited for a jeep that will bring us back to Pines Park.

Pictures!

MtYangbew1

↑Jump off

MtYangbew2

↑Picture with the kayabang (basket which Igorots use to carry their goods, mostly their vegetables)

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↑Ice candy at the top!

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↑Summit

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↑Lunch of boiled eggs and saba at the summit.

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↑Pictorials at random rocks on the way down.

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↑Sisters

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↑Group picture

Hike to Mt. Cabuyao

My first mountain for the year, yehey! 1 down, 5 to go hehehe.

Anyway…

We were finally able to hike to Mt. Cabuyao last Saturday, April 15, 2017. The last time I went there was I think in 2011 or 2012. It was also a hike with a friend and 2 of my nieces.

Cast: me, my 7 year old niece, my 13 year old niece

I think the radar station is 5-6 kilometers starting from the police outpost in KM. 8.So that’s doable in 1.5-2 hours depending on your pace.

Total hours of hour hike: 4 hours up until Cafe in the Sky only. It’s still about 5-15 minutes away from the radar station, depending on your pace. Why? Because the bulinggit keeps on saying “tita, innana” (tita, rest) every 3-5 minutes! Hehehe. Plus picture taking and lots of trying to identify Baguio landmarks while we were going up hehehe.

The path is a long and winding concrete road which is always ascending but not too steep.

We started our hike from home at 6:30 AM. So even if she requested for many stops, there was really ample time until we reach the top.

Funny things along the way.

****

While the wind was blowing stronger than usual:

Joyce: Wooooo itayab dak kuma idiay Cabuyao! (Woooo sana ilipad na ako sa Cabuyao!

Hehehe.

****

Someone farted. Joyce punched the ass of the one who farted. She farted again, louder this time. Hahaha! Buti na lang walang ibang tao hehehehe.

****

We saw a goat. The goat said mehehehehe. I teased my niece by saying rhhiiieeeemmhhaaarieeeee to the tune of the goat’s sound hehehee. I caught her trying to imitate it with my name. I told her mas bagay sa name nya. Malapit-lapit nang mapikon. Hahahaha!

*****

Finally, after 4 hours, we reached Cafe in the Sky. We tried their smoothies but unfortunately, our orders did not leave a lasting impression hehehe. But that is fine, because were were there for the experience.

On our way up, our cousin who co-owns PICMAR Heritage Lodge and Camping Grounds passed us by. She later on called to tell me to drop by PICMAR for a visit since my other cousin was there even if they went out. And that they will be returning after a few errands so they may still catch us there.

So from Cafe in the Sky, we proceeded to PICMAR which was a kilometer away. More lakad hehehe. We stayed there for about an hour.

We took the PUJ going down because that was already 1 PM and we were also going to attend a cousin’s despidida party at lunch time.

Joyce did not want to take the jeep. She wanted to walk daw. She is faster daw when going down. But it was already late, I was already tired, and I also want to go to my cousin’s place earlier so that there is more time to mingle with other cousins hehehe.

We got down at KM. 8 and then we walked the rest of the way home.

Pictures!

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Laser beam

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Down below is Marcos Highway

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She was really tired 😀

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Baguio as viewed from the top. Loakan Airport on the right.

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By the boulder – teenager

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By the boulder – kulit bulilit. Pagod sya pero nakukuha pa ring magpose basta picture taking hehehe

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Pechay Baguio not yet ready for harvest. So green!

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Cafe in the Sky

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A shot of the radar station from Cafe in the Sky

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Cafe in the Sky

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Our orders – smoothies and nachos with cheese

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Radar station, back view

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Somewhere down below was Sitio La Presa. We did not go there.

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PICMAR Heritage Lodge and Camping Grounds

NOTE: Most tourists in cars are not allowed to go up the mountain because it is a forest reserve.

Summiting Mt. Timbak

I’m back to the boondocks! For how long? I’m not sure LOL. I just need some training climbs to prepare for our Mt. Kinabalu climb on March 24-25, 2011.
Anyway, last Feb. 19-20, the Outdoor group in the office went to Mt. Timbak for some fun and outreach program. Thanks to the organizers, they were able to ask for permission for us to use some of the classrooms at Mongoto Elementary School as sleeping quarters for the night. Also, we asked the rented van to just drop us at the school grounds so we didn’t have to walk hehe.
One of the exciting things to do in the mountains is to watch the sunrise and sunset. We weren’t lucky to catch the sunset though because we arrived at the school at around 6PM already. We were blessed however with the full moon which looked amazingly perfect in its roundness that night. Moonlight + cold weather = romantic.
We woke up at around 4AM the next day for the summit assault. It’s said that Mt. Timbak’s summit is the same level with that of Mt. Pulag’s saddle. My lungs were very much challenged during the climb to the summit that I almost gave up. I had difficulty breathing the early morning breeze. My layers of long sleeves felt like it’s constricting my breathing so I had to remove it despite the coldness. I don’t know if I had a case of AMS or I was just not ready for any physical activities as I did not prepare prior the climb. Anyway, after much self-talking, I was able to reach the summit. It was all worth it. The weather was beautiful that day we were able to watch the sun rise and there was a sea of clouds below us. Another interesting thing was that while the sun was rising, you can see the reflection of one mountain in the other mountain. Simple and ordinary but I was still amazed.
After breakfast, we headed to where some of the mummies’ caves were. It was at least an hour’s trek along a road and a path down the mountain. It was my first time to see a mummy despite it being part of my culture. I’m glad to finally see one.
We were supposed to also go and visit Apo Anno in Natubleng but we were already delayed based on our itinerary so we aborted the plan.

On the way back to Baguio, we dropped by KM 52 where the highest point of the Philippine Highway System can be found.
We were back in Baguio at around 4PM where the others took a bath in the public CRs in Burnham. Glad to know that we already have those in Baguio :).
As for me, I went home straight to check on my project.
Estimated budget for this trip is around Php 2K for a Manila-Baguio-Mt. Timbak-Baguio-Manila route. This already includes our donation, transportation and food. We were a big group though so our share for the rented van maybe smaller.
A good reference for this can be found at the Pinoy Mountaineer site.

I appreciate the group for giving respect to the locals, the place itself and the culture.

Mt. Pulag is LOVE!

Imagine this. You are walking on a path that’s surrounded by hills and mountains with lots of trees. The sun is smiling upon you. It may become hot at times but the soft breeze of the wind blows to cool you down. Occasionally, you’ll see waterfalls in the mountains and you wish that you could go dip in the cool refreshing water. There’s a river down below which provides music as you continue to push yourself to the top. Atop, the scene is priceless and majestic. All you see are endless mountain ranges. The wind is continuously blowing, as if trying to take all your troubles so very, very far from you so that it won’t come back and haunt you. At sunrise, you see how the sun slowly breaks into the sky to once again give light to the sleeping world. With the chill the night before, it’s glorious to feel its warmth all over again. You see the different cloud formations BELOW. It’s almost like sitting on top of it. You’re on top of the world. You feel that you’re almost in heaven. It feels heavenly.

Is this for real? YES! That’s Mt. Pulag, the mountain I really, truly fell in love with. 🙂 Mt. Pulag is LOVE!

More pictures @ Multiply.
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