To climb a mountain; that has always been on my bucket list. My sister climbed the highest peak of the Philippines a few years back and I’ve always wanted to do the same. But a different opportunity arose for me. Instead of the highest mountain in the Philippines, my friends and I chose to climb the third.
Here’s how our Mt. Pulag experience went.
The whole endeavour only took us two days. On the first, we were picked up at Baguio City by our organizing team via jeepney! We had the jeep all to ourselves for the whole trip!
The road to Pulag was gruesome for me because the road twisted and coiled along the mountain side, like an overly long snake, and it wasn’t doing my carsickness any favors. Thankfully there were a few stops along the way, such as a dam and a hanging bridge!
Before heading to our campsite, we had to stop by the DENR office to get briefed for the climb. Our speaker, whose name escapes me, was a very fun woman! We kept laughing the whole time but she managed to drive the message of the briefing well. One line of hers that really stuck was ‘God knows Hudas!’ (God knows Judas) which is a play on the words ‘who does’. Because she’s been telling us about the things you’re not supposed to do when on the mountain, and that even if we will do them, God will know who’s doing them. She’s also very religious.
Anyways, it was a short trip from there to our campsite! And right off the bat, we did something our speaker told us not to do… which was ride on the roof of our jeepney!
We got off after ten minutes though. We just really wanted photos! >__<
After a short ride we arrived at our camping spot! It was surrounded by mountains, farms, flora, and clouds! I didn’t realize we were already so high up!
We arrived early (around 11 am) so we had the whooooole day ahead of us to do whatever we wanted! We weren’t allowed to climb up the mountain yet so we reserved that for 12 midnight! So we just slept inside our tents for a few hours.
And then we decided to explore! The organizers told us of a little hike that we could do just beyond the houses near our camp site. We did a little adventure (accompanied by our spirit animal, a female dog, that kept guiding us up the mountain). We reached a clearing and found out it was also a camp site!
We were surrounded by clouds up there and it was a refreshing feeling.
We had dinner soon after under the night sky. We had to wear our head lamps to see. It was a unique experience! And the food that our organizers prepared and cooked for us all afternoon warmed us up that night!
We slept as early as possible to get ready for the climb at midnight. The trek was uneventful since we really couldn’t see anything other than what we were going to step on. We passed two camps along the way to the top. Camp 1, where we undressed until we all only had one layer of clothing left aside from our undies. When we woke up it was really cold! We wore everything we could wear, from bonnets to gloves, to three layers of clothing! But when the climb started, we started sweating a lot and it wasn’t as cold anymore. So we all stripped. Camp 2 was a lot higher than Camp 1, and so it was a lot colder. But it was the kind of cold that I personally liked. There were campers still sleeping in that area so we couldn’t really make a lot of noise (we were still plenty noisy though). Camp 2 was memorable for me ‘coz we were really near the summit, so we were pretty high up, and it was still a few hours away until first light, so it was really dark. I looked up and saw the most beautiful night sky I have every laid eyes on. The sky was cloudless and, in the dark, my eyes could see countless stars, twinkling all around me. I was hypnotized for a while. I realized nature always has this display for us to feast our eyes on but we are blinded by our every day hustle and bustle (and by the light pollution found in cities). I guess it took me a three hour climb to see that sometimes we really do need to step back and spend time with nature. Her beauty has no comparison.
Anyways, an hour before 6AM, we started our hike up to the summit. Again, it was uneventful because of the dark so we trudged on up without too many stops. The last bit of the climb was a bit steep but doable. And then, just like that, we reached the summit!
It was still pretty dark when we got up there so we all just lay down on the ground. It also wasn’t as cold as people said it would be. We were all worried we wouldn’t get our view of the famed sea of clouds because all we saw around us was white. But we’ve been praying for the best summit experience ever so we waited.
The sky slowly changed colors; from gray, to purple, to pink. And then the clouds slowly parted and we could see several peaks all around us. And the sun peeked out over the horizon.
I stood there, transfixed, thinking how blessed must I be to behold such a view.
And then the sun rose high, casting its light on us and painting us in a warm orange glow… and it was breathtaking.
We did it! We’ve reached the top despite not having prepared for this climb!
And there we were, 2,922 meters above sea level! This would have been one heck of a dive into the ocean!
We took our time taking TONS of photos at the top! Jump shots, back shots, silhouette shots, even topless shots for some (though they were scolded LOL). And then it was time to descend.
Going down the mountain, in broad day light, is a completely different experience from our climb up. We could now see where we were going and what we were going through… and, I can’t say this enough on this post, it was breathtakingly beautiful up there!
So, without any need for words, here are some of the photos I took during our descent.
Beautiful, no? We felt like the cast of Lord of the Rings! The views were magnificent and every turn just kept surprising us! I am so thankful to have gone on this experience! It’s definitely something I would love to do all over again!
And with that, I’ve conquered Mt. Pulag!
We were accompanied up to the mountain by Mother Earth Adventures! If you ever plan on climbing Pulag (and you should) just contact the team via this BLOG.
I’m not an expert on climbing mountains as this is my first official climb, but for those who have questions here are some of the things you might want to know about my experience in Pulag. (Again, this is MY experience… it might be different for you during your climb so… follow my advice at your own risk. LOL)
The climb is fairly easy. Before the climb I was very worried about my choice of footwear (running shoes, no spikes on the soles what-so-ever) because they kept saying it’ll be too slippery or that you won’t get much of a hold on the ground. But, in my experience, the running shoes were okay! I didn’t encounter any problems!
Also, I didn’t do any exercises or any hardcore physical training before the climb. I still managed to reach the top without much difficulty. If you’re fit (or just so-so like me) and don’t have any physical problems, then I think you can do it! But, it would be better to be prepared! Positive thinking can only get you so far!
I don’t have any professional climbing gear so I had to buy a few things before the climb. My gear during the climb endeavor were: a long sleeve thermal shirt, a cotton jacket, a windbreaker jacket, thermal pants, trek pants, gloves, a scarf, a bonnet, socks, and my running shoes. Like I said, we had to remove some of our jackets a third of our way up because it was starting to get too hot. During our time there, it really wasn’t too cold, except for when we woke up at midnight. But once you start moving, your body will help give you body heat.
Lastly, bring lots of water and some snacks that you can munch on along the way! It helps give you energy and keep your mind off how tired you really are. Haha!
Hope you all get to climb Pulag soon! It’s an experience worth trying! Cheers!