Bluewater Resorts

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mt. Ugo | 2-Day Kayapa-Itogon Traverse

It was cloudy and gloomy as I gazed out of our jeepney. I was hugging myself to douse off the shiver induced by cold winds sifting into our vehicle. Silhouettes of undulating mountain peaks and sea of clouds formation dominated the view. “Definitely Cordilleras”, I said to myself followed by a soft and subtle smile.

I checked the time; it was 07:00 AM in the morning. After more than 7 hours of travelling, we finally started our trek up. From the cemented path lined by houses on both sides, our feet gradually trod on raw soils: after 30 minutes, I was reacquainted with the mountains I was longing for.

The first part of the trail was a steady ascent atop the ridges. It was a bit steep at some parts but scrambling up was not needed. It could be compared to the first part of an Akiki climb, nevertheless no matter how boring the trail could get, the view awarded to us was one of a kind.

I looked everywhere as I walked along the well established path. Soon after, we were gifted with a garden-like place. As our group halted for a rest, I stopped and mused. It was so magical that I sat speechless in one corner.

Gazing on the pine forest down the ridgeline, I was in total awe. I prayed and thanked God for the perfect weather that he gave us. The wind gently caressed my head as the chirping birds serenaded our breathing place. “Definitely Cordilleras”, I said to myself followed by a soft and subtle smile.

We continued with the trek taking short breaks from time to time. The mountain definitely had a certain aura that made the climb easy. Although every ounce of strength and attention should be devoted to the hike, our eyes couldn’t help but stare at the beauty that undeniably was so astounding.

2 and half hours into the climb, we were pleasingly welcomed by the blooming flowers and warm grass at the mountain village of Indupit. “Later we will see Mt. Pulag”, Kuya Bernard uttered as I gazed upon the peaks. I stood at the edge of the ridge savoring the cool breeze that was gently touching my face. At last, I was again one with the mountains.

After resting for 30 minutes, we continued with the hike. Crossing the flat ridge known as Mt. Samiento, we took our time taking photos of the picturesque pine forest down below. The sceneries reminded me of the views at the Akiki trail but the path we took here was as easy as that of Ambangeg. Mt. Ugo finally bragged of its beauty.

With every step I took, I imbibed the elegant display of nature unfolding down below. Rolling slopes and heaving pines were all I could see. The clouds ran past us as the sun began to rise. “Definitely Cordilleras”, I said to myself followed by a soft and subtle smile.

After another 2 hours of hiking, we reached the waiting shed near Dumolpos. The summit of Mt. Ugo was now within eye’s reach. We decided to partake our lunch with the sight of the monstrous peak looking down on us. “Hello Mt. Ugo”, I said to myself “Finally, we meet”.

With stomachs full and bodies recharged, we started the assault to the summit after the 1 hour breather. Kuya Bernard allotted a time of 2 hours and a half to reach the highest peak. I braced myself for a hot and steamy trek.

The trail from Dumolpos started with a gradual descent through the village. Kuya Bernard ultimately decided to skip the school to save another 30 minutes of hiking. We continued downwards until we reached the last water source. It was the start of a steep 1 hour hike to the top.

Inch by inch, the summit of Mt. Ugo began to come near. My skin was burning as the heat of the sun started to engulf the place. With every breath I took, I mustered all my strength just to get close to our goal. It may be the only challenge a climber would face here but the sceneries would always take your mind off the exhaustion.

After almost 2 hours and 40 minutes, I reached the top. I patiently waited for the group to show up but I was struck by the sight of Mt. Pulag, Mt. Tabayoc and Mt. Timbak from afar. “Definitely Cordilleras”, I said to myself followed by a soft and subtle smile.

At the summit, we took things to a halt. Being there at an early time of 3:40 PM, time was definitely not a problem. We took photos of the surrounding mountains and posed for portraits that will someday serve as memorabilia of this very unforgettable climb. Ron, who was sick months ago, was finally healthy enough to witness his first sea of clouds formation.

At the sight of the sun almost setting at the other peaks, we pitched our tents and readied our dinner. “Sinigang na Baboy” was unanimously voted as most appropriate for the expected cold temperature. We ate, relaxed and at the sight of the stars, decided to close our flaps to end a very memorable climb to the top of Mt. Ugo not knowing that the mountain still had more in store for us.

At 9:00 AM the next morning, we started our traverse to Itogon. Unaware that the trail was this beautiful at sunrise, I was dumbfounded but pleasantly surprised.

Distant views of various mountains could be seen from the path: Mt. Pulag, Mt. Sto Tomas, Mt. Cabuyao, Mt. Kabunian and even the city of Baguio. We took our time going down the slopes as the backdrop was so alluring. We took photos of every conceivable angle we could find.

Mt. Pulag's brown grassland summit
Mt. Kibungan
Mt. Sto. Tomas and Mt. Cabuyao
Crowded peak of Baguio
Walking down the ridge trail to Lusod, I saw a revelation. It can be considered as one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to having the most dazzling view I’ve seen. I thought only one mountain range in the country could give me this splendid beauty. “Definitely Cordilleras”, I said to myself followed by a soft and subtle smile.

This trek down became one of the slowest I’ve done on a hike. Before this climb, we would consistently run on every downhill mountain path we took but now, having this gorgeous piece of land right in front of us, we could never help but stop and admire the place.

We walked on an incomparably much slower pace. Mt. Ugo definitely has something that would make a hiker stop and halt just to look around.

After the nature gazing, we finally reached the small village of Lusod. We prepared our lunch, ate the sumptuous meal and took a well-deserved rest.

After 1 hour, we continued with the trek. Kuya Bernard asked if we could run down to Kawayan Village so we could be at Itogon at a much earlier time. Without any hesitations, we agreed and ran down as fast as we could.

We tried really hard to follow his pace but to no avail. Although our's was fast, we could never equal his trail running skills. After 1 hour and a half from Lusod, we reached Kawayan Village.

The temperature became very high as our altitude suddenly dropped to a low 500 MASL causing our group to gulp a combined 4.5 liters of Coke, Sprite and Royal in just a matter of minutes.

The 10-minute walk to reach the hanging bridge and additional 5-minute hike to reach the bang house ended a very memorable and fun 2-day traverse of one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve climbed. As I tramped the last steps of this adventure, I looked back and saw the amazing peaks we've just passed. In a very bitter-sweet moment, I waved goodbye to one of the best places I've hiked.

I sat at the back of the van gazing at Mt. Ugo with a smirk on my face. We finished this traverse bringing with us much fun and unforgettable memories of the mountain etched in our hearts. On our way back to Baguio, I asked myself what I consider the most beautiful place I’ve been to. “Definitely Cordilleras”, I said to myself followed by a soft and subtle smile.

*Additional photos of Mt. Ugo. So many beautiful photos of the place couldn't fit in one article. We'll be posting the whole album on our FB page

Waiting for the group
Rice terraces
Acrophobic shot
Sea of Clouds
Pine forest
Photo Opportunities
Follow Kuya Bernard
Ivan's first Benguet climb
*Mayor's request prayer to mountaineers

Group Itinerary

day 0

10:00 - meet up at Sampaloc Victory Liner
10:30 - departure to Aritao Nueva Vizcaya

day 1

05:00 - arrival at CCQ stop-over Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya, board rented jeepney
05:30 - departure to Kayapa
06:45 - arrival at Kayapa, register at PNP
07:00 - start trek
07:45 - start of pine forest
09:30 - arrival at Indupit Village, rest/breakfast
10:00 - continue trek to Dumolpos
11:00 - arrival at Mt. Samiento
12:00 - arrival at Waiting shed near Dumolpos Lunch
13:00 - continue trek to summit
14:00 - arrival at last water source
15:40 - arrival at summit, rest, relax
17:00 - prepare dinner
18:30 - dinner socials
22:00 - lights out

day 2

06:00 - wake up, sunrise viewing
07:00 - prepare breakfast
08:00 - breakfast/breakcamp
09:00 - start trek to Lusod
12:00 - arrival at Lusod, lunch
13:00 - Continue trek to Kawayan
14:30 - arrival at Kawayan Village, rest
15:00 - arrival at Foot Bridge
15:10 - arrival at Bang house,
15:20 - arrival at Brgy hall of Tinongdan, logout tidy up
16:30 - departure to Baguio
17:00 - arrival at Baguio, dinner
21:20 - departure from Baguio to Manila

*will arrive at Manila 03:00 AM the next morning

How to get to Mt. Ugo

If planning a traverse to Kayapa. Board a Victory Liner bus bound for Tuguegarrao and alight at the stop-over at Aritao. From Aritao, board rented jeep that will take you straight to the jump-off. You can contact Kuya Edwin at 09204697713 for jeepney arrangements.

Visit bus schedule here:

From Tinongdan at the other side, you can arrange a jeep back to Baguio from Kuya Bernard or passenger vans that travel from Solano to Baguio.

You can contact 09292335956 for van rentals from Itogon to Baguio. You can also contact Ma'am Jerda at 09184876097 for jeepney rentals.

For guides, you can contact Kuya Alex at 09219840254 and he will gladly arrange guides and porters for your climb.

Additional contact: You can contact Ma'am Liza from Itogon City Hall for other inquiries at 09105482678 .

*We would like to thank Ivan Cultura, blogger of Batang Lakwatsero, for joining us in our climb. Congrats to climbing your first Benguet mountain

*Credits to Bryan and Ron for accompanying us during this Traverse. Sa wakas naka kita na ng sea of clouds si Ron!!!


  1. Nice climb..:) ganda sa mt ugo..sarap bumalik.

  2. this should be definitely on my list, the grass, the pine trees, the mountains all contribute to the grandeur of this place. Hindi siguro ako mapapagod sa kakaakyat at kakalakad kung ganito ang daraanan ko palagi. Thanks Dane for sharing!

  3. @helmet - would definitely come back here

    @jay - youre welcome

  4. coolest treks are in the cordilleras because of the sights of pine trees.

    1. Yes, it really gives a different feel to the hiker. feels like you walked in a different country

  5. “Definitely Cordilleras”, I said to myself followed by a soft and subtle smile.

    woohoo. magpapahinga ako sa mountaineering pagkatapos ng arayat natin, magtatrabaho na ako at magsisimulang mag-ipon upang makapag mountain hopping sa Cordillera..

    Lol @ Bang House :)

    1. Actually Ivan di ko alam kung bang house talaga yan e. hahaha. eh parang sure na sure naman si Agnes at natuwa ako sa name so nilagay ko na. hahaha.

      oo nga grabe ang Cordilleras talaga. me iniisip nga din kami ni magnet ng anun. mountain hopping sa cordilleras un nga lang mahal. haha. sunod sunorin silang lahat. haha

  6. sir gud pm po... Magkano po budget dito??? Like fee sa jeep at tour guide and other transpo. Tanxs:D

    1. Our Budget was 2400 for only 5 people. This would go done much more when you climb in large groups as the fees for jeepney and van rental would be divided to many persons.

      Jeepney was 2500 to Kayapa
      Jeepney was 2200 to Baguio

      Guide was 400 per day.

    2. thank you sir :D Love ur photos ...

  7. oy anung "bang house" yan. bakit iba ang naiisip ko. (green)

    1. Ewan. haha. nabasa namin sa isang blog. and sabi ni Agnes un ung tawag dun sa waiting shed sa Tinongdan. haha

    2. tama yun nga yun.. nabasa namin ni Agnes dun sa list na naka-post sa tabi nung tindahan ng coke

    3. Banghouse will stay!! haha. pero alam ko nga bang house din kasi tawa ng tawa si Agnes nung asa shed na tau. haha. wirdo. bang house amp

    4. Sa unang txt pa lang sakin nung kinontak ko sa itogon na banghouse tawa ako ng tawa, inimagine talaga e noh. hehe. tas dinouble check ko pa, tinanong ko talaga kung banghouse ung pangalan kasi un ung sasabihin sa susundo satin. nung tinxt ko yung susundo sabi ko sa banghouse kasi baka sa brgy hall lang sha mghintay. sabi pa 'ah oo sa banghouse alam ko yun, lagi naman dun ung mga mountaineers'. haha.

  8. Replies
    1. @Doodleboy - nice sit you got there. I think you really are a great architect!!! haha. Hope you make some works for me someday.hee

  9. grats to your climb...

    i also applaud ma'am liza diaze's hands on effort in assisting mountaineers who want to climb mt ugo. i climbed itogon-kayapa last 2007 and would like to come back again some day. i just hope my limited vl's would permit me to. hehehehe

    1. Thanks.

      They are really helpful and replies to your inquiry immediately. We would also like to come back here soon, hopefully this year again!

  10. @sir Dane, gud am sir, ask ko lng kung ung 2400 na budget nyo all in na un? bus transpo? food? jeep transpo at guide fee? tnx

  11. Yup. all in except for the dinner we had at Baguio and pasalubongs. other than that. all of the expenses are just 2400.

  12. @sir dane, tnx po. pd maki join sa climb nyo nxt tym sir. hehe

    1. Sure! hehe. if we have open climbs maybe this may again to Mt. Pulag we can start there. hehe. enjoy the climb!

    2. We'll just post it in our FB Page. Next open climb will probably be on May.

      Thanks a lot!

  13. @Sir Dane & Mam Agnes: add ko nlng keo sa FB. Tnx a lot.

  14. ang ganda tlga ng mt ugo...sna mrating q rn yn....

  15. sama naman po minsan sa mga panik nyo. kaming dalawa lang ng gf ko. we would really appreciate it. i've been climbing since college, gf ko nakaka-anim na bundok na. ugo o pulag before year-end sana. - miguel

  16. panalo to, sana maakyat ko to soon.

  17. Sir updated po ba ung contacts details po sa blog po ninyo


    1. Ma'am ung fare po ba sa jeep papunta tsaka pabalik is fix na po ba? tsaka ung guide po fix din po ung bayad or pwede kahit wala na po guide? Tapos pwede din po ba mahingi kung magkano po ung registration fee. Tapos last nalang po need pa po ba namin nang mayor permit or kung ano mangpermit bago umakyat nang MT. UGO


    2. Jeepney: That is the standard rate, if you can haggle with the driver it would be fine.

      Guide: The rate for the guide / porter is fixed. We just gave extra as a tip. I suggest it would be better to get a guide especially if you don't know the trail.

      Registration Fee: P100/150 (can't remember) Fee will be paid on the Baguio side (on Exit) but you will need to register at Kayapa Police Station.

      Permit: No other permits are needed but we contacted Ma'am Liza (from Baguio side) just to inform that we will be climbing that weekend.

      Hope this helps. Thanks!

    3. Is getting a GUIDE mandatory in Mt. Ugo like in Mt. Pulag?

    4. I'm not sure but I think so. And i think it's advisable also to get a guide for safety.

  18. Hi Ma'am meron po kau number ni Ma'am Liza? tapos ma'am mmeron po kami nabasa na pwede daw po kami tumuloy sa school.......

    1. Here's Ma'am Liza's number: 09328877358. If ayaw you can try this number: 09105482678.

      Yes, pwede kayo magstay sa domolpos elem school. Just tell the guide kung san kayo magstay. Then early morning trek na kayo to the summit.

      Thank you.

  19. Ma'am thanks po ulit sa info laking tulong po sa amin nung umakyat po kami sa Ugo.


  20. Ask ko lng po kung my madaanan na Market before umakyat? tnx!

    1. Yes me market sa kayapa , dun din yung police station na pagreregister-an before umakyat. But di ako nakaikot if anu anu ung mga nabibili.


  21. hi, ask ko lang po, possible bang mag mt.ugo ng 2 lang kse kami, meron bang way makapunta ng hindi ngrerent ng chrtered jeep? meron bang magcocommute lang? pls. email me thru or sa fb. plan namin pumunta kasi this comming weekend. also, magkano po ang bayad sa guide? :) regards. - anjj


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