Mt. Pulag via Ambaguio Trail
One of the most adventure destinations in Northern Luzon, Philippines – Mt. Pulag is in many Filipino mountain climbers list to conquer. Standing at 2922 meters above sea level (MASL), Mt. Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon, the third highest in the Philippines. The borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain’s peak.
As the highest mountain in Luzon, Mt Pulag attracts a lot of mountain climbers. Highlights of the climb include the montane forests and the grassland summit with its “sea of clouds” phenomenon. There are four major trails up the summit: the Ambangeg, Akiki, and Tawangan trails from Benguet and the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Vizcaya. These trails are managed by the Mt Pulag National Park, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Credits goes to pinoymountaineer.com for the illustration of different trails of Mt. Pulag.
The mountain hosts 528 documented plant species. It is the natural habitat of the endemic Dwarf Bamboo. Mt Pulag is the only place that hosts the 4 Cloud Rat species. It has one of the most diverse biodiversity of the Philippines.Large part of the mountain was designated as a National Park. This act aims to preserve the environment around the mountain due to threats from increased development such as conversion to agricultural lands, timber production, hunting, and increased tourism.
THE AMBAGUIO TRAIL
This town’s name was derived from bagiw meaning, “moss.” The inhabitants were called e-am-bagiw meaning “conqueror of moss.” The name underwent a series of changes due to its difficult pronunciation resulting to the present Ambaguio.
I fell inlove with the beauty of the province, it was really breathtaking. When I was a child, I was sketching mountains full of grass in the ground and the nipa hut, exactly my picture of a beautiful province. Our 8 hours of travel from Manila is all worth it!
We rented a board van to arrived here in Ambaguio Town Hall, the place is so clean and has a refreshing air! I was so excited to start to trek the mountain. While waiting for others repacking there things, I have talked to our guides and told us that his estimated time to trek up to the camp site is about 10-12 hours, depending on us if we will not take too much time to rest along the trail. whoaa!! That’s the longest hike I have done so far! He even mentioned that we are the third group to choose this trail up to Mt. Pulag this year, because many mountaineers would choose the easiest way to climb and the Ambaguio trail is the hardest trail among the others.
I did not know that I have fear in walking on the bridge, until that day. We have crossed almost 10 bridges, and this is my first time to see a hanging bridge, looong hanging bridges! It was fun though!
We arrived 10:00pm in Napo camp site, at first I didn’t appreciate the place until the morning comes, it really amazed me. It was my first time to see Elementary School at the top of the mountain! The playground is wide, classrooms are simple yet it’s so inviting to come and study. I wish I had the same ground and scenery when I was a student, really inspires me!
After we repacked our things to start our long trek again, I noticed this group of children playing in the schoolyard, smiling at me. I talked to them and ask for there names, I was a little bit sad because they can’t understand me, and I don’t know how to speak there Ifugao dialect either. But this child of mine emerges again as I saw them smiling in simple ways. Really heart melting. I wish I could go back here and give them little things that they are not experiencing at the moment.
We continued hiking early in the morning, the temperature is starting to get low and there are parts that are mossy. I personally like mossy forest to trek, because my pace is faster and I don’t need to worry about the sunlight. There are a lot of Nipa Hut as we go on, some locals chose to live up on this mountain.
Flowers and fruits are just around, and my favorite are the tiny sweet cherry tomatoes! and mushrooms as well.
Finally the long hours of trekking paid off! We arrived late night again, and yes as we expect extreme coldness strikes! I can’t even go out of my tent until the sun rises. I was very happy that my second time in Mt. Pulag would turned out a totally different experienced. 🙂
We started descend via Ambangeg Trail where I was familiar because that’s I have been when I first experienced Mt. Pulag, the easiest trail. Big thanks to the organizers of this climb, the AJAX mountaineers. It was successful and the happiest so far!
1900 Assembly @ Victory Kamias
2000 Manila To Bayombong
0400 ETA Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Board Van/Jeepney
0500 ETD for Poblacion, Ambaguio
0630 ETA Poblacion, Ambaguio/Breakfast
0700 Start of Trek to Napo. Whole Day Trek. Lunch along trail
1700 ETA Napo Camp Site (First Camp Site)
1800 ETA Napo Camp Site (Second Camp Site)
Day 2 – 26 May 2012
0500 Wakeup Call/Breakfast
0700 ETD from Napo Camp Site To Grassland
1200 Lunch Along Trail
1600 ETA Pulag Grassland
1700 ETA Pulag Summit
1730 ETA Saddle Camp Site, Pitch Tent, Prepare Dinner
0430 Wake-up call
0500 Trek To Summit
0530 ETA Summit, Sunrise Viewing
0645 Back To Saddle Campsite
0715 ETA Saddle Campsite, Breakfast, Breakcamp
0800 Start Descend via Ambangeg Trail
0900 ETA Camp 2
1100 ETA Babadak Ranger Station – Lunch – Tidy up
1300 ETD for DENR
14:00 ETA DENR – Log Out – Souvenir Stuff
14:30 ETD DENR to Baguio
18:00 ETA VICTORY Baguio
19:00 Dinner / Post Socials
2100 Headback to Manila
2200 – 16Pax Computation
2400 – 10Pax Computation
Manila to Bayombong,Nueva Vizcaya – Bus Ride
Bayombong to Jump Off – Service Jeep
Guide Fees (Ambaguio & Pulag Guides)
Babadak Ranger Station to Baguio – Service Jeep
Baguio to Manila – Bus Ride
Dinner at Good Taste – Last Day
Sharing this amazing video of bongbajo, great work!
How about you? Will you challenge yourself trekking Mt. Pulag via Ambaguio Trail? or you will just choose the easiest one? Please share you comments!
Thank you so much for reading!