There were things that impeccable. More than beautiful words can tell.
It was right after we conquered the summit of Mt. Maculot that I started to set a new hiking activity. We selected the perfect date that convenient for all of us. We were all full-time employee so it’s virtuous to do it during the weekends. It will go to be June 26.
I have to decide now what mountain are we going to explore. I started reading some blogs and articles and my attention was caught by this “famous but not so long ago” mountain.
Mt. Ulap Itogon, Benguet
Entry point: Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon
Exit point: Brgy. Sta. Fe, Itogon
LLA: 16.2904 N, 120.6312 E, 1846 MASL (Mt. Ulap)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours
Specs: Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3,
Features: Grassland and pine ridges, scenic views of the Cordilleras, burial caves
(Source: Pinoy Mountaineer)
Spanning around 8 kilometers through numerous peaks along the Ampucao-Sta. Fe Ridge (not to be confused with the Philex Ridge), from the grassland slopes of Ambunao Paoay to Gungal Rock, and then to the highest point, Mt. Ulap.The trail measures about 8.5 kilometers.
It was 25th of June, 22:00pm. Our meet up place will be, McDonald Mindanao Ave.
Pre-occupied with so many thoughts and what ifs, I found my feet walking across the street. Why am I doing this? I got less an hour of sleep. No rest after work and I have to travel for next eight 60 minutes. After which I have marched, assault and make myself tired.
Why am I doing this?
Exactly 22:30pm, our van leaves. I wasn’t really sure if I can put myself into a short sleep but I have to. It was an easy and comfy ride, Thanks to Good Weather Travel and Tour.
Around 04:00am when our group arrived at the registration area. Suiting with a very cold climate and just up from an on and off nap, we geared up and started to condition ourselves for the hike.
Because we were huge in the count, there were three tour guides being assigned to us. After some reminders and short introductions, we started the activity.
04:30am at the jump off and it’s freezing cold.
The weather is fine but the temperature is challenging. For quite a while we walk in the dark with several head lights and flashlights to shine our way. The rest of the thing is blind steps. I must admit that I am not habituated to walk in the dark that day. That was not in the itinerary and out my expectation. As they say, being in the mountain or hiking is an event with less among your expectations happened.
The best part of the dark pace was what’s waiting for the light. Breaking dawn by now an with an amusing sunrise later. We keep on walking. I spent most of my hours exchanging talk and story with very young beautiful guide “Josephine”. She is just 21. She is a pretty girl.
Ambungao going to Paoay is quiet 60 to 70 degree ascend. Deceiving look that it was easy grassy trail but it wasn’t. The tune of the Pine needles leaves somehow help us. For a second it seems like the rain is coming until it turns into chime like ear-flattering sound.
The smell was so relaxing also. It helps me forget the difficulty of what we are doing.
And here comes the king sun. One of the many reasons why I love to be at the mountain’s top was this very thing.
The rays of light started to paint the clear blue sky. We stopped for a while. I take a deep breath and sigh. At the corner of my heart, I recited a short prayer. “Lord, this paradise is yours. Please protect this from destructions and deterioration. Give us (hikers) wisdom and feeling of appreciation that we will always choose to preserve and take care Your Land”. Amen
The next phase was even mesmerizing. Going up to Gungal (meaning Big Rock) was seems like a swinging on the beat of the cold breeze. It is a form of a long slope of grassland. There were baby assault and going down. The gravity is pulling my whole weight down the ground.
Since we were early, we were the third group to be the lineup of having photos on the big rock.
There were guidelines and implementers on the area. To barangay official were in-charge to ensure that everyone was in order and safely abiding the protocols.
I did my signature post and I created a new one. I called it “A Nap on the Rock”. Prior doing so, I seek the approval of the personnel first.
And I dared to an art and significance.
Few minutes after, we started our assault to summit via several peaks.
An hour or more and we were there.
Surreal and superb views were waiting for us up there. The majestic touch of the very cold wind blew out all the exhaustion. We lay down the grassland and feel every moment that we have.
30 minutes later and were about to descend.
We took a very light lunch to what they call seven eleven of Mt. Ulap.
The walked going down to Sta. Fe Ridge made more knee testing.
Well, that’s why they say reverse traverse to Mt. Ulap is more challenging.
The nonstop stairs and roots trail made my thought “If I could just run going down, surely I will”.
As we touch the ground, my question pop up again in my mind, why am I doing this?
And as always, I got my answers. I conquer the challenge because it’s there. Since it’s good for me I’ll do it. If you’ve never climbed before, there are a few things you must know. Climbing is about folks. It’s about friendships, companies, and involvement. It’s about the post-climb stories and planning forthcoming escapades. The best part is the unexplainable emotions standing on the summits of mountains you’ve only perceived in pictures and read about in books. It’s that unbelievable and unsurpassed feeling of accomplishment you get from climbing
You feel vested and as nonetheless you could do anything that desired by your heart.
Credit to Good Weather Travel and Tour the following Information:
22:00H Assembly at (Trinoma) Mcdonalds Mindanao ave
22:30H ETD to Baguio
04:00H ETA in Baguio City, breakfast (own pax account)
04:30H ETD for Ampucao
05:00H ETA at Ampucao registration
05:30H Start of trek
06:30H Ambanao Paoya, photos ops
08:30H Gungal, photos ops
10:30H Summit of Mt. Ulap ( Lunch)
11:30H Pongol Human cave
13:30H Wash up Bound to Baguio City.
14:30H Baguio City
18:00H ETD Baguio to Manila
00:00H ETA Manila
**End of tour**
Things to Bring:
Rash guard, cap ,gloves, towel and personal medication
Wear comfortable clothes and Trekking footwear.
You’ll surely sweat and get wet as well so bring extra footwear and extra clothes.
Bring WATER you will experience sweating and lot of hydrating.
Making your own trail food to ensure that you have something to munch on while you trek.