Aerial view of hikers watching sunrise at mount pulag
Aerial view of hikers watching sunrise at mount pulag

Mount Pulag: Conquer the Divine Summit

About Mount Pulag

Explore the majestic Mount Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon and the third highest peak in the Philippines, towering at 2922 meters above sea level. Renowned for its breathtaking vistas of the sea of clouds and the Milky Way at dawn, Mount Pulag is a divine destination for nature enthusiasts.

Managed by the Mount Pulag National Park, four trails lead to its summit: the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Viscaya, and the Ambangeg, Akiki, and Tawanagan trails from Benguet.

The mountain is divided into three distinct areas: the pine forest at its base, the enchanting mossy forest, and the expansive grassland adorned with dwarf bamboo, offering a varied and awe-inspiring journey for hikers and adventurers alike.

Hiking Mount Pulag (Ambangeg trail)

A hiker watching the sunrise and the sea of clouds at Mount Pulag.
Nathaniel with the sea of clouds at Mount Pulag

Mount Pulag was the first mountain I hiked in the Philippines. I was curious to see the sea of clouds and the Milky Way based on the photos and videos I saw online. I decided to join groups of hikers who would go to Mount Pulag on a two-day and one-night trek through the Ambangeg trail (the easy trail).

Before setting out, ensure you have the necessary items for the hike:

  1. Essential Documents:
    • Medical Certificate: It’s mandatory to present a medical certificate before embarking on the hike. You can either bring your own or obtain one from a hospital or clinic near the DENR office.
  2. Clothing and Footwear:
    • Hiking shoes/sandals
    • Thick hiking socks (bring extra pairs)
    • Hiking pants or convertible pants
    • Raincoat (in case of rain)
    • Several layers of clothing (temperatures at the summit can vary)
    • Thermal jacket
    • Bonnet or scarf
    • Gloves
  3. Gear and Equipment:
    • Headlamps or flashlights
    • Trekking poles
    • Tent (if camping; rental options available)
    • Sleeping bag (for camping)
    • Power banks
    • Camera for photos and videos
  4. Food and Hygiene:
    • Trail foods
    • Toiletries
  5. Hydration:
    • Enough water

DENR registration (Mt. Pulag National Park)

A board full of photos by hikers at the DENR office
Photos of hikers at DENR office

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

Securing guides at Ranger Station

Aerial view of houses at the Babadak Ranger Station Area
Babadak Ranger Station Area

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

Homestay at Ranger Station

A group of hikers eating at the long table in Dencio's Homestay
Dencio’s Homestay (Photo credit to Paul Melvin)

We were staying at Decio’s Homestay. The pillows and beds were comfortable. However, the mobile signal inside was quite weak. Charging gadgets and hot water were available for an additional fee. The water temperature was extremely cold, especially for taking a shower.

The Trek

a man standing on a mountain top with clouds in the background
Nathaniel at Mount Pulag summit (waiting for sunrise)

The call time was midnight. Before starting our journey, Hannah (our organizer) led a prayer for our safety and protection. We reached Camp 1 at 2 AM and rested for 15 minutes. Afterward, we reached Camp 2 around 3-4 AM. We rested for a while and prepared to continue our quest. We had 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 on the ground at the summit of mount pulag
Control point marker at the summit of mount pulag
a man standing behind a sign at the summit of mount pulag
Nathaniel at the summit

Finally, we reached the peak at 5:30 AM. We were the first group to reach the summit. Everyone enjoyed taking photos and waited for the sunrise. Thank God the weather was nice. After everyone had taken lots of photos, it was time to go back to the starting point.

a group of people posing for a photo at the summit of mount pulag
Group pictorial (photo credit to Paul Melvin)

The Descent

a group of people hiking on a mountain
Grassland Area

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

a woman and a man walking on a trail
Nathaniel with the lonely tree at grassland

We rested for a while after reaching camp 2, then continued 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 photoshoot at the mossy forest, we rested for a while at camp 1. We passed through the pine forest area and finally made our way back to our homestay.

Pine tree area
Pine tree area

Log Out

a group of people sitting on the rooftop of a vehicle
Top load experience (photo credit to Paul Melvin)

The group went back to DENR for check-out. We received our reward certificate for surviving Mount Pulag.

A person holding a certificate standing beside the signboard at the DENR office.
Nathaniel at DENR
Short video of hiking Mount Pulag


As we wrap up our journey to Mount Pulag, I’m filled with gratitude for the breathtaking experiences we’ve shared and the memories we’ve made together. Conquering its divine summit was not just about reaching the highest point in the Philippines, but also about discovering the boundless beauty and serenity of nature. Whether you’ve climbed Pulag before or dream of doing so someday, I hope this post has ignited a spark of adventure in your heart. Share your thoughts, dreams, or plans for conquering Mount Pulag in the comments below, and let’s keep the spirit of exploration alive!

Mount Pulag Conquer the Divine Summit generated pin 34
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Nathaniel Amoyen is co-founder of Joanathx. Full-time ex-pat worker at day and writer at night.

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7 Responses

  1. Monidipa says:

    Wow, Mt Pulag is simply amazing I really like your pictures and description. I’ll add it to my bucket!

  2. rachel says:

    What an adventure!! 🙂 Looks like such a fun place.

  3. Melissa says:

    I always love reading about the Philippines and seeing the beautiful photos. I hope to visit one day.

  4. Sri Krsna says:

    Wow, very nice place. We are really blessed by nature ?.

  5. Grabe, sana makapunta rin ako dyan! This pandemic made me realize how much I wanted to travel <3

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