Mount Pulag: the playground of gods

Mount Pulag: the playground of gods

About Mount Pulag

Mount Pulag is the highest mountain in Luzon and the third highest mountain in the Philippines with a height of 2922 meters above sea level. It is famous for the sea of clouds and milky way view at dawn.

Four trails going to the summit: the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Viscaya and the Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawanagan trail from Benguet. All the trails are managed by the Mount Pulag National Park.

It is divided into three areas: pine forest which is the base of the mountain, second is the mossy forest and the last part is the grassland area which you can find the dwarf bamboo.

Hiking Mount Pulag (Ambangeg trail)

Nathaniel with the sea of clouds at Mount Pulag
Nathaniel with the sea of clouds at Mount Pulag

Mount Pulag was the first mountain I hike in the Philippines. I am curious to see the sea of clouds and the milky way based on the photos and videos I see online. I decided to join groups of hikers who will go in Mount Pulag on two days and one-night trek through Ambangeg trail (the easy trail).

Things needed for hike:
  • medical certificate – it is mandatory to provide the certificate before you can hike. You can bring your certificate or you can get the certificate in the hospital or clinic near the DENR office.
  • hiking shoes/sandals
  • thick hiking socks (bring extra)
  • hiking pants or convertible pants
  • raincoat (in case if there is rain)
  • several layers of clothing (we can’t predict the temperature at the summit)
  • thermal jacket
  • bonnet or scarf
  • gloves
  • trail foods
  • headlamps or flashlights
  • toiletries
  • tent – if your camping (you can also rent)
  • sleeping bag (for camping)
  • trekking poles
  • enough water
  • power banks
  • camera – for shooting photos and videos

DENR registration (Mt. Pulag National Park)

Photo remembrance by other hikers at DENR
Photo remembrance by other hikers at DENR

Reservation of slots for your date of the hike is a must due to the high volume of hikers, especially at weekends. We registered at DENR and submitted our medical certificate. You are also required to attend the orientation seminar which tackles guidelines about hiking in Mount Pulag. (I prefer to go during weekdays to avoid crowds)

Securing guides at Ranger Station

Babadak Ranger Station Area
Babadak Ranger Station Area

After the DENR registration, time to secure the guides for our group. One guide was allowed for a maximum of six persons.

Homestay at Ranger Station

Dencio's Homestay (Photo credit to Paul Melvin)
Dencio’s Homestay (Photo credit to Paul Melvin)

We were staying at Decio’s Homestay. You have a comfortable pillow and beds. The mobile signal is quite not good inside. Charging of gadgets and hot water is available at a price. The water temperature was extremely cold especially if you want to take a shower.

The Trek

Nathaniel at Mount Pulag summit (waiting for sunrise)
Nathaniel at Mount Pulag summit (waiting for sunrise)

The call time was midnight. Before starting our journey, Hannah (our Organizer) lead a prayer for our safety and protection. From the starting point to Camp 1 we reached 2 AM and rest for 15 minutes. Afterward, we reached Camp 2 at around 3-4 AM. We rest for a while and prepare to continue our quest. We have a chance to see the milky way and some meteorites in the clear sky before the ascent to the summit.

The Summit

Control point marker at the summit of mount pulag
Control point marker at the summit of mount pulag
Nathaniel at the summit
Nathaniel at the summit

Finally, we reached the peak at 5:30 AM. We are the first group to reach the summit. Everyone enjoys shooting photos and wait for the sunrise. Thank God the weather was nice. After everyone has taken lots of photos it was time to go back to the starting point.

Group pictorial (photo credit to Paul Melvin)
Group pictorial (photo credit to Paul Melvin)

The Descent

Grassland Area
Grassland Area

The beauty of the surrounding area of Mount Pulag was revealed after the broad daylight. Passing grassland field to camp 2, I take the opportunity to shoot a photo together of the lonely tree I see in this area.

Nathaniel with the lonely tree at grassland
Nathaniel with the lonely tree at grassland

We rest for a while after reaching camp 2 then continue towards camp 1. Between camp 2 and camp 1 you will pass through the enchanted mossy forest.

Nathaniel at enchanted mossy forest
Nathaniel at enchanted mossy forest

After the photo shoot at the mossy forest, we rest for a while at camp 1. We pass through the pine forest area then finally going back to our homestay.

Pine tree area
Pine tree area

Log Out

Top load experience (photo credit to Paul Melvin)
Top load experience (photo credit to Paul Melvin)

The group went back to DENR for check out. We got our rewards certificate that we survived Mount Pulag.

Nathaniel at DENR
Nathaniel at DENR

Check out our video

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O Lord, how great is the number of your works! in wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of the things you have made.

Psalms 104:24
Mount Pulag: the playground of godsMount Pulag: the playground of godsMount Pulag: the playground of gods

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