Bluewater Resorts

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mt. Pulag | The Beauty of Ambangeg Trail

8 months ago, as I was standing at the coldest place in the Philippines, with thick clouds forbidding me to see its peak, I made a solemn vow that someday I would once again touch this highest point in Luzon. And by that certain time, Mount Pulag hopefully would not disappoint.

Going to Baguio, we chanced to meet members of the UP Lakay Kalikasan mountaineers. Most of them inductees doing a recon for their upcoming induction climb. An amiable group whom we were fortunately destined to hitch a ride on that momentous weekend.

After our Akiki-Ambangeg traverse 8 months ago, Agnes and I decidedly chose the easier one of the trails. We just had 2 days for our trip and no one was actually going to Akiki that said weekend. Our packs were ready, trek poles were stretched and at about 10:40 AM in the morning, we confidently started the trek.

The weather was nice at the start, but after our experience last time, we were not to be fooled by the raucous weather this mountain could suddenly give. The clouds covered the sun’s heat from time to time. As I yet feared for the worst, all of a sudden it was all grey skies up above.

It was indeed menacing at times and I think this caused the only obstacle we had on the climb. As we were experiencing the very cold weather, the searing heat of the sun would suddenly sneak upon us.

But with every step I made, my admiration for the place grew. The Ambangeg trail may be considered the easiest of them all but it has a unique quality that separates it from the rest. It is a walk in the park, not in the sense that it is an easy hike but because it is so exquisite yet so pure that it can be compared to a woman with self-nurtured beauty. 

A little more stomps and the 2-hour hike to the campsite was over. At about 1:00 PM, the place was still empty of tourists. Devoid of the noise that this site always had, I relished the peaceful scenario that enveloped me as I walked on its paved ground. This was the best campsite I've ever been on.

We pitched our tents while having a view of the summit. We prepared lunch while having the sight of the whole Benguet. It was indeed the most serene camping place one can ever be. I savored the moment as it was happening. Ambangeg's camp 2 can be one of the busiest places during the climbing season and having this site deserted was such a blessing. 

After the sumptuous lunch, we all took a brief rest. Since we were much ahead of schedule, we were allowed of a long and nurturing nap. We all had a 3-hour breather such that after the slumber we were all prepared for the ever-anticipated summit assault. 

We hiked through its rolling hills magnificently gliding through the clouds. It was a glorious sight to behold. Like walking on a place in heaven where the clouds were beneath the ground, we were stunned by its beauty.

Little by little, we began to get close to the summit. The weather was friendly and the wind was pleasant. We were all giddy from what we were about to see. I was feeling like Aladdin flying on a magic carpet or like a drug-infused man walking atop the heavens while the clouds were gliding below our feet.

After less than an hour of assault from the campsite, I again stepped atop the highest point in Luzon, grateful to the Lord for giving me another opportunity to gaze upon the mystical views at its highest peak. 

We were rewarded with its famous formation of clouds. I was already satisfied and thankful but unknowingly, the mountain still had plenty more in store for us. It was an exhilarating experience we had at the top but the very sudden temperature drop gave us a good reason to go back early. We decided to run down to camp as the day started to near its end.

As the night started, the Batch 23 of LKM offered us their dinner. We resoundingly obliged and helped with the preparation. Who wouldn't? We were about to be contented with the luncheon meat Agnes brought but being suddenly offered with a hot and steamy Sinigang na Baboy was definitely a no brainer.

Actually, I was really happy with the fact that we were destined to be with a school organization of mountaineers. We were supposed to be hitching a ride with a travel and tours’ agent but it was suddenly switched and we ended up camping with a good bunch of fellows. At least we were all responsible mountaineers, acting mature but talking like kids. It was fun and I really hope to be with those guys again in the future.

After the eating session, the cold forcefully tucked us inside our tents and sleeping bags. It was a wonderful night and I was fulfilled having touched the summit with no precipitation. 

Awoken by the very low temperature, I was up by 4:00 in the morning. I went out of the tent to warm up a little but I was stunned by the sight of the stars. It was captivating but my shivering body took my mind out of the quick lucid dream and started to complain. I did a little push ups and jumps, finally I was warm and ready for the sunrise.

It took us 15 minutes to get to the peak. It was still dark and the gust of wind was so intense that Agnes and I had to hide inside a dug-up hole. But as the sun was shining, the majestic view of the place started to engulf the area. Seeing the heavenly sight, my body started to be rejuvenated.  

It was the first time I saw a group of clouds hovering on top of another. The kid in me started to take control of my body as I giddily went down the slopes where the views can be seen well. I hurriedly ran down as the sun was starting to peek atop the clouds. We finally saw a spot and there, we waited for the heat to finally embrace our bodies. Literally and figuratively, it was heaven.
We stayed for an hour, ecstatic that finally, we were given a chance to see the famous view from atop. We went down back to camp with huge smiles on our faces.

Back at camp, we again had an amazing breakfast. Pancakes and an omelette were served accompanied by a boiling hot cup of coffee. It was a welcome respite after the freezing temperatures up above. We decamped and hiked down for more than hour. At last, the successful climb had come to an end.

At the start of our hike, I never really thought that I would have a very unique and unforgettable experience. I thought having climbed this mountain months ago, I already saw the beauty of the place. But as I was walking the paved trail of Ambangeg, I finally figured out why many climbers still use this path.

Yes, it may be the easiest of the bunch but it offers a different perspective of the mountain. Here, you can just hike and appreciate its grandness not caring for your pace or your strength. It is in this area where you can really focus and see the true beauty of Mt. Pulag

It may not be a challenge of strength or a confrontation of mental ability but in this trail, you can really see what nature really has to offer. Hiking Ambangeg trail is really a chance you shouldn't miss in your lifetime. 

Group Itinerary

day 0

23:00 - departure from Manila

day 1

04:30 - arrival at Baguio Victory Liner
05:30 - departure from Baguio to Pinkan Eatery
06:15 - arrival at Pinkan, breakfast
06:40 - departure from Pinkan to DENR
08:40 - arrival at DENR station, 15-minute seminar
09:00 - departure for Ambangeg Ranger Station
10:30 - arrival at Ambangeg Ranger Station, arrange guide
10:45 - start trek
11:50 - arrival camp 1, rest
12:00 - departure for camp 2
13:00 - arrival at camp 2, lunch rest
15:40 - summit assault
16:30 - arrival at summit
17:30 - get back down to campsite
18:10 - arrival back at campsite, prepare dinner
19:30 - dinner, socials
20:30 - lights out

day 2

04:00 - wake up call
04:30 - start trek to Peak
04:45 - arrival at Peak, wait for sunrise
06:00 - sunrise viewing
06:30 - trek back down to camp
07:00 - prepare breakfast
08:00 - breakfast
08:30 - break camp
09:30 - start hike back to Ranger Station
10:10 - arrival at Camp 1
10:40 - arrival at Ranger Station, tidy up
11:30 - go back to Maam Gina's place
13:30 - arrival at Maam Gina's, lunch
14:00 - go back to DENR
14:15 - arrival at DENR
16:00 - arrival at Pinkan
16:30 - departure for Baguio
17:10 - arrival at Baguio Victory liner, dinner
19:00 - departure for Manila

*will get to Manila by 01:00 AM next day

How to get to Mt. Pulag

Take a Baguio Bound Bus at Cubao, Pasay or Sampaloc Bus Stations.

Make prior arrangements with Ms. Geenia for the jeep going to the jump off. You can contact her at 09198169234. Check out my article about her here:

Maam Gina's Jeepney
For Victory Liner Baguio Bound Buses, you can check their schedules and fares here: 

*we would like to thank Agnes Navales for some of the photos in this post

*we would like to thank members of the UP Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers for the ride, food and magnificent company. 
Sir Amats, Sir Iggy,  Sir Inoy, Maam Allie and Maam Bernie. Until we climb again!


  1. I always look forward to your cool videos.

  2. inggit na naman ako sa video mo! haha yup masaya nga ang trail na to...favorite ko sya kasi di nman ako ganun kagaling umakyat ng bundok kaladkarin lang ako kaya ako nakakaakyat

  3. I love Ambangeg trail, It's the best trail for newbies like me. You get to focus more on the scenery coz it's a fairly easy climb rather than on negotiating the difficult route offered by other trails. Amazing sea of clouds!

  4. Sobrang salamat din, Dane! Life saver din ang mala-Bear Grylls skills mo, bro ^^
    Hangga't sa muling mga paglalakbay...
    Godspeed sa inyo, kapatid! ;D

  5. @Sir Amats - No Problem sir, basta me maitutulong. haha. Till next time!

  6. @jerome - hehe, punta na tayo minsan! Ganda talaga Ambangeg

    @claire - indeed! You can focus in its beauty because the steepness is not taking your mind away from it. Its the best trail not only for beginners but for us mountaineers alike.

    newbie? nakapag guiting guiting ka na nga e!!! hehe

  7. nakakainggit naman itong pulag nyo.. sama ako minsan sa mga hike nyo hehe.. wala pa akong bundok na nacoconquer :(

    super ganda tlga ng pulag.. lalo na yung clouds.

  8. @ivan - ganda nga talaga jan. set na kayo. hehe. sige minsan sama ka samin

  9. Hi Dane and Agnes!

    Pahiram nitong IT nyo ah :) Thanks.
    Gamitin ko for PTB Climb sa April. :) Sama kayo! hehe.

  10. this mountain was my first (and only) climb. we had no idea it was that high (and cold)! Lol. very tiring trek but it was all worth it once you've reached the summit. :) we survived :P

  11. Hi, po! anong title ng music? thanks.


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