Exploring Heights and Nature: Mt. Pulag, Benguet

Day 0-1's Captured Moments
Mt. Pulag’s Sea of Clouds Phenomenon

Ever since I was a child, I am amazed by how breathtaking and wonderful nature is. Flora, fauna, landscape, scenery, bodies of water, and land formations never fail to make my heart merry. I feel free when I immerse myself in nature.

Mt. Pulag is situated among the borders of provinces Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya. It is the highest peak in Luzon with the height of 2,926 meters (9,600 ft) above sea level and the third highest mountain in the Philippines. It is also famous of its “sea of clouds” and milky way galaxy phenomena. It is considered a national park which means it is a protected area.

DAY 0 – 1

Weather: Clear skies, no trace of rainfall

Last December 26, together with a friend, we left Cavite to explore Mt. Pulag, Benguet (This is one of the places I want to visit, so I am so giddy!). This trip was planned for almost a month, if my memory serves me properly. This was hosted by Lakwatsierra. Kuya Jay, our trip organizer, picked us up in McDonald’s Green Field District at around 12 midnight. It took us 4-5 hours to reach Baguio and another 5-6 hours to reach Mt. Pulag Ranger Station on December 27. (The reason why I cannot rightly estimate the total time of our travel time is that I am asleep most of the time. I cannot help it. 😝). Our team also visited the Jang-Jang Bridge, had our medical check-up for our medical certificate, and also attended the orientation held by the DENR – Cordillera Administrative Region. Afterwards, we were welcomed by our host in the ranger station and gave us our rooms. I must say I had a very comfortable sleep and rest during my stay in the shelter.

Since lunch was not inclusive in the trip package, we decided to eat in one of the eateries nearby. The food was a bit priced high but still reasonable. We still enjoyed the food. After feeding ourselves, we wandered the beauty of the place. We visited a flower farm, climbed slopes to check some of the campsites and scenery, took photos, and had chat with some of the locals. I was really mesmerized by how beautiful the place is. I really do hope it will be preserved so that the next generation will still see and experience the beauty and wonder of Mt. Pulag. After the quick tour, we decided to sleep and regain some strength from the tiresome travel. Around 8 pm, we had our scrumptious dinner prepared by our organizer: steamed rice, pork barbecue, buttered corn, and the Lakwatsierra’s signature salad. We also had time to take group photos and play. Also, we had the chance to do one of my favorite things to do at night, stargazing. The sky in Bokod, Benguet did not fail me. The night sky was beautiful. The stars seem to be close to each other. It was clear. Everything was so beautiful and romantic!

Here are some snapshots in our Day 0 and 1:

At the bus, heading to our meet-up point
At the Jang-Jang Bridge
At the clinic, queued for our medical check-up
Succulents thriving along side the road
Lunch time!
Exploring flower beds and vegetable gardens
with my friend and colleague, teacher Raiza
Inside our room
With the girls
Dinner time!
Warming ourselves at the bonfire

Day 2

Weather: Rainy and cloudy

I woke up at 1:00 am to prepare and eat breakfast. (I already prepared my gears before sleeping because it does not hurt to be prepared.) Around 2:30 am we set foot to take the Ambangeg trail. I wore raincoat because it started drizzling. In our hearts, we’re really praying that the rain will stop so we can catch a glimpse of the “sea of clouds” phenomenon. The trail starts to become muddy and slippery. I slipped three times but I was able to regain my balance. Good thing my reflexes were working fine, hehehe. We reached Camp 1 after 1 and a half hour trek and Camp 2 after 1 hour of trek. During that time, the rain did not stop and I can hear the wind. My flashlight also ran out of battery, a really good timing. Good thing, my teammates in front and at my back have fully functioning flashlights. We reached the Spring Water area at around 6 am. Still, the rain has not stopped. Trekkers were waiting for the rain to stop. We waited for 30 minutes until we decided to go to the Camp 2 shed. Campers and trekkers flocked inside to somehow ease the coldness. I had my trail food and hot water to feast on with some of my teammates. My comfort that time was that I am not alone. We’re trying to amuse ourselves by looking at our breaths as we talk to each other and still praying that the rain will stop. It did not. After a while, we decided not to push through to the tower and summit since the rain starts to get heavy. Also, our organizer, kuya Jay, had a hypothermia due to cold temperature and probably, exhaustion as well.

We trekked down the mountain, and half of my heart was downtrodden because I won’t be able to witness the sea of clouds but then, I was reminded that everything that happens is God’s providence, even this one! I opted to enjoy the scenery, the variety of ferns, trees, wild flowers, and moss. They really amused me during my walk back to the station. I do not usually see those in Cavite, so better enjoy them. I was wet all over, but I do not mind anymore. My raincoat failed me this time but I am enjoying the travail. There were times I am walking alone but I am not afraid. I was enjoying the walk in spite of my tired body. My heart was full. Upon arriving at the shelter, we washed our selves and ate lunch. Still, it is raining. After that, we left and headed back home. This time, it took us 12 hours! Nonetheless, this trip is very precious to me. I will never forget this one. Maybe, this year is not my time to witness the sea of clouds. Maybe the best timing for it will be soon. Maybe next year?

Here are some photos taken in our Day 2:

At the mossy forest
Danica, me, Raiza, and Julio
Jumping in the rain
Beside a beautiful tree
Bothered by the rain no more

Take-away-s from this trip:

  1. I learned that trips are more beautiful with a heart that always looks at the brighter side.
  2. I gained friends and acquaintances in this trip. Hopefully, I will be able to travel with them again.
  3. Everything has a purpose, even the rain, mud, and slips!
  4. Always come prepared. Planning your things-to-bring, including clothes and food, in your travel is a yes-yes!
  5. One of the highlights of a travel is immersing yourself in the daily lives of the locals.

With much love,

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