Ampucao Seven Peaks, Itogon, Benguet
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Mt. Ulap is classed a 1/3 in difficulty. It's about 1,846m tall and can be trekked for 3 hours (if you don't engage in too much picture taking the way we did, that is). The climb begins at Brgy. Ampucao and the traverse ends at Brgy. Sta. Fe. It was my last climb in 2017 and to date, it is my most favorite because the view on this mountain is unparalleled.
I traveled with an organized group, all the way to Benguet to hike Mt. Ulap. I was late for our assembly in Ortigas, it was embarrassing to say the least as I didn't know anyone from the group. As soon as I arrived, we went out right away to the waiting van that would take us to Benguet. It was around 11 in the evening.
I was lucky to sit by the window, I had something to lean to catch some zzs. It was a 6-hour drive to Baguio, we were climbing a mountain, I had to get some sleep. Notwithstanding the fact that the leg space was too cramp, I had to bend my knees against the backrest, I managed to sleep a few hours.
At around 7 in the morning, we reached Baguio and stopped at Good Taste for breakfast. We were there for an hour or so before we pushed to Itogon, Benguet. It was another one hour on the road, we took the chance to catch more sleep.
There were lots of climbers on that day waiting inside a covered court that serves as the jump-off point. I started getting chummy with my seatmate, Krish, a tall girl who dyed her hair blonde. We went in line to use the restroom. There is a payment of ₱5 ($0.10). When she reached out to pick a roll of tissue from this little box on atop a table, the old man who was collecting the payment of the guests threw a fit. He said that he would have given her a tissue if only she asked, which, by the way, Krish did, but apparently, he didn't hear her.
I mention this because it would serve you better to know that the locals there are not friendly; do manage your expectations. Also, they take shit from no one. Doesn't matter if you are a tourist, you violate their rules, they are going to give you hell. For instance, we learned that it is forbidden to smoke at Mt. Ulap. One of us wanted to smoke (so bad), but the guide would have none of it. So much so that he would tail her just to make sure she wouldn't light a cig. That's how hardcore he is. Also, they take the leave-no-trace policy to heart. Tourists are not allowed to leave their trash behind, not even in any of the trash bins in the area. Someone in our group threw her garbage in a bin and do you know what happened? A local came over and instructed her to pick the trash off the bin. I wish I am kidding.
It may seem harsh, but when you think about it, it only makes sense. This way, the communities around the area don't have to deal with a lot of waste. Because of this effort, Mt. Ulap is noticeably cleaner than any of the mountains I have ever hiked. With that said, please be mindful of this policy so as not to offend the people in the area.
Let's go to the hike itself. The trail started with a paved road. The entire climb itself is generally easy, just because it had a lot of flat terrains, thus less assault. I can't give you a fair estimate on how long does it take to finish the climb because we stopped many times to do some picture taking. The entire group took the time to pause and snap photos to the chagrin of our female guide. She looked rather unhappy whenever we took a break and she would walk way ahead of us when we continued the trek.
I didn't really care, I mean can you blame us? The view in this mountain is spectacular. The green expanse, the pine trees that hugged the side of the mountain, and the established trail that is long but not too difficult to tread. Normally, I don't stop to smell roses when I climb a mountain. This time, I indulged, because Mt. Ulap's beauty is not something you can resist.
The most photographed spot on this mountain is not the summit, it's the Gungal rock formation. People literally line up just to pose atop this huge inclined rock on the side of the cliff. It looks scary if you view it from afar. I have a fear of heights, how much of my courage do I need to summon to go up there.
When our turn came, I followed the group with a fuck-it attitude. I was already there, I might as well do it. It helped to watch other people do it to build up courage. Most of them even walked rapidly on the inclined rock like they would on a flat surface. Each person is only given 15 seconds to pose on that rock. There is an old man who would blow the whistle to signal the end of their turn. I think that's a pretty clever way of managing the tourists and to ensure that everyone would have a chance.
Then my turn came. Our male guide, held my hand and walked me to the edge of the rock. Most people would stand up for a better picture, not me, I was too scared to dare. To me, it was enough that I swallowed my fear to do the mandatory picture taking at Gungal rock. Before I knew it, my turn was finished. The guide return to fetch me and I walked just as slowly as the first time.
The challenge was far from over. We did a traverse, and had to trek for 3 hours more to get back to the foot of the mountain.
Our climb was arranged by a travel group and we each paid ₱2,600 ($45.36). The Mt. Ulap climb, however, is not that hard to DIY. You just have to travel to Itogon, Benguet, pay a registration fee of ₱100 ($1.97), and ₱400 ($7.89) for the guide. The trail is long, it took us 6 hours to complete the climb.
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Biglaang lakad will always be the best-est!
I love to travel. As in! At pag may pagkakataon, I really volunteer to look for the cheapest package I could see on social media. Hindi din naman mahirap makahanap ng mura dahil sa dami ng naglipanang posts online. Ang importante,
Una. Alamin ang budget na kayang kaya mong ilabas.
2nd. Look for a place where your budget could take you.
3rd. Tag along a friend. The more. The merrier. And the cheapest.
4th. Pack light (lalo kung joiner) at wag kalilimutang magdala ng 1st aid kit.
5th. Bring the most friendly you. Dahil magiging joiner ka, wag kang aloof. You should mingle. And enjoy!
That is what I always consider pag gagala. Dahil pag lumalabas ako ng Manila, I want to be stress free
So I had my friends with me, at napagkasunduan naming sa Mt. Ulap kami pupunta. So heto na ako, sa sobramg excited ko, nakahanap ako ng pinaka mura kong nakitang joiner day tour. Imagine:
☑RT van transfers Manila-Benguet-Manila
☑Toll at gas
☑Bagtag (winner to)
lahat ng yan ay for 1,000php lang! Kaya go na agad! As in agad agad!
I paid 2k for partial payment of 4 pax for reservation. Ayun di inaasahan, 4 days before the tour may nag back out na dalawa!!! I was in panic because the reservation fee was not refundable then I tried to contact some other friends, buti nalang may isang pumayag. But then, sayang yung last slot. *bye 500pesos*
It was 12mn of January 20 when we started the tour. Yung iba kasi sa mga kasama namin ay late ng 2 hrs. Sa call time. Ito pa pala ang isa sa dapat nyong check-an. Ang magbaon ng pasensya. Haha!
6AM we arrived at Ampucao, Benguet. It was really cold! But bearable naman yung lamig so I decided to wear my sandals nalang. Para komportable lang sa pag akyat.
We had 2 guides for our team. By the way, the main organizer of that event was also a guide at Mt. Pamitinan in Montalban, Rizal. That's why I trusted him because he was a friend of my favorite guide in Mt. Pamitinan. Hehe! Tapos kasama nya pa yung dalawa nyang pinsan na ang kukulit! Haha
Since mas madami ang beginners kesa sa amin na umaakyat na ng bundok, the 1st 10 on our group was the 1st to ascend. At kaming mga naiwan ang sweeper. Personally, I don't prefer na maging sweeper. Kasi, mas madaming pahinga. Ibig sabihin mas mararamdaman mo yung pagod after those take fives. Pero dahil hindi kami maka advance palagi, ninamnam nalang namin yung paligid at yung weather.
Gahhhhhd! Ang ganda! Ang ganda! Ang ganda ganda ganda! Yung lamig, kayang kaya. Ang dami ding mga hikers sa trail.
The 1st peak was at Ambanao-Paoay standing 1,788 MASL. ang daming baka along the way! At and dami din nilang poops habang naghihintay kami sa mga kasama naming sweepers, nakatambay lang kami sa gitna. Tanaw tanaw sa paligid. Ang ganda! May nakita pa nga kaming nagpalipad ng drone, todo talon at kaway pa kami! Hahaha
2nd Peak was at the famous Gungal Rock standing 1,814 MASL.. this is 2.5KM away from the 1st peak. And going up from Ambanao to Gungal was tricky! Medyo madulas yung buhangin besh! Dahil sa konti lang din yung bato. Saka medyo nakakalula dahil ang taas! Bangin na yung susunod. Omaygad. Then we waited as our guide lined for our slot to take our photos on the famous rock. At ang nakakagulat, dahil sa dami ng guests.. we were allowed to stay on the rock for 10seconds!!! Kaya dapat may mga camera ka nang nakaabang. On our case, we had 3 cameras awaiting for our turn. Haha! We waited for an hour, just to have that golden 10 seconds! Wohoooo. Achievement! Nga pala. May nag propose din pala dun mismo sa Gungal. Medyo nagtagal sila dun. Like 1 minute. Ok lang. Nag yes naman si ate girl. Hehe
3rd Peak was the Mt. Ulap summit standing 1,846 MASL.. the trail from Gungal to here was so relaxing. At yung clouds. Ang dami! Ang kapal nung ulap!
We had our meryenda at the Ministop after the summit. Yun na yata yung pinaka grand ministop na nakita ko sa bundok. Para syang food court sa laki at dami ng tinda!
Nakababa kami around 5PM. Nakabili nga pala kami nung kapeng Alamid (tama ba?) na kakaroast lang. 70pesos ko lang syang nabili! Halos puno na yung plastic ng yelo sa dami! Ang bango bango!
Super healthy rin ng forest. Ang daming sunflowers everywhere! Ang daming pomelo at lemon trees! Ang sarap din nung buko ice candy!
Ps. Yung hike namin ay traverse. Meaning, nag start kami sa Ampucao at bumababa kami sa Sta. Fe.
Pps. I noticed na ang linis ng trail Mt. Ulap. Sana magtuloy tuloy yung ganon. Kasi bonus nalang yun. Dahil bugbog na yung trail. Let's continue the LNT principle. ⛰
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After a 6-month hiatus in hiking, I told myself that I should at least hike 4 more mountains before the year ends. Mt. Ulap has always been a choice but I couldn't find a good schedule for it.
But when I checked out my go-to tour group, Kaladkarin MNL, they had one scheduled for this past Sunday -- so I quickly reserved a slot and then paid all the fees needed to join!
We left QC at around 9:30PM and then arrived at Ampucao, Itogon at around 4AM. It was supposed to be a shorter drive but our driver decided to take the McArthur Highway route since that's what Waze recommended us to take.
I feel like we should've taken SCTEX -> TPLEX instead. We could've avoided those inconsiderate jeepneys and trikes hogging the "fast" lane of the highway.
Anyway, after preparing our bags at the jump-off and the orientation, we started our hike at around 4:45AM. The first steep parts of the entire hike involves a paved road that eventually leads to the trail.
I can't remember how long it took us but we reached the first peak in a jiffy. It was still foggy when we got to the first peak so I had a hard time taking decent photos.🌫
We continued the hike so that we can reach the 2nd peak, Gungal Rock, so that we can take "crowdless" photos. I must say, that Gungal Rock looked like a flat and safe surface to stand on. But when I saw it in person, it was angled at maybe around 45 degrees. One wrong move and you'll slip!
We were advised by the locals and the our guides to not do anything "buwis buhay" on the Gungal Rock. I wanted to do my jump shot but they said that the most adventurous pose that they'll allow is the one-leg standing yoga pose. I just went with the usual sit-down-and-try-not-to-slip pose.
After taking more photos, we then went to the 3rd peak, Mt. Ulap. We got there at around 8 or 9AM. There were lots of cows along the way. A lot of shit too so try to not step on one. They're huge..both the cows and their shit.
The Mt. Ulap summit is a plain hill of fine grass and a couple of trees. Not much shade so I highly recommend wearing sunblock or UV-protected sleeves!
We then went to the so-called "7-eleven" of Mt. Ulap to eat our packed meals. The store has a lot food and drinks to offer. No wonder they call it 7-eleven. 🤣
Here's the fun part: so right after eating, I asked our guide how long it will take us to reach Sta. Fe (traverse from Ampucao). She said if we do some trail running, we can reach it in just under 30 minutes. But if we choose to just do a chill hike, it would take 1 - 2 hours.
So we ran.. and we ran RIGHT AFTER eating. I loved my baon that day (SPAM + corned beef + brown rice) but the early parts of the trail running? Not so much. lol
But I'm still glad that we decided to run since we got to Sta. Fe early -- which means no lines for the shower room! After showering, I rewarded myself with one of the best cheese ice creams that I've tried + a bottle of Coke lol.
Will I go back? Not anytime soon. But if I do go back, I'll make sure to spend the night there. They have 2 campsites which looked really nice especially campsite #2!
1. Ginny B. was right about bringing 1L of water. I couldn't finish my 2L of water even after the climb!
2. Shower fee costs Php20 (unli timba / water).
3. The ice cream costs Php25. They also have a buko + melon ice cream at Sta. Fe which costs Php15.
4. If I remember correctly, the local guides were paid Php600 each. 1 guide = 6 hikers.
5. Place reminds me of the beautiful rolling hills of Mt. Batulao. Bring your camera! 📸
6. The terrain is very noob-friendly. No wonder A LOT of people hike this mountain.
As for the difficulty, it's not as hard as Mt. Daraitan. But it's definitely not as easy as Mt. Batulao. It's almost comparable to Mt. Pulag's Ambangeg trail. Overall, I'd give it a difficulty of 2/9 or 3/9! 🏔
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If you are looking for adventure and adrenaline but with a tight budget, Mt. Ulap is perfect for you! It is just 40 minutes away from Baguio City. Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail is not an easy hike. I tell you! Most of parts of the trail are ups and downs, twists and turns (like our lives or lovelife?? hahaha) There are tourists/hikers backing up in the middle of the hike but if you have reached the summit, you will be amazed and moved by the nature's gift! I'm not kidding. You might want to live here and never leave this place. Hahaha! You will definitely love it. And because it is cheap, it is perfect for #bfftravelgoals! This could be your #relationshipgoals with your loved one as well. So, what are you waiting for? #loolooweeklychallenge
Ps. Cold weather here. Perfect for a great cup if coffee.
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MT. ULAP ECO-TRAIL DAYHIKE ⛰
Located in Brgy. Ampucao Itogon, Benguet
It is 40mins away from Baguio City, spanning around 8km through several peaks along the Ampucao-Sta.Fe Ridge. It showcases of what cordilleras has to offer; pine trees and grasslands with stunning views of the mountains.
The trail begins in the Barangay Hall of Ampucao to register and to secured guide (required). Hikers have a 10 mins orientation regarding the rules & regulations. Registration fee is Php 100.00/each and Guide fee is Php 600.00/group of 10. Sulit na bes.
How to get there?
- Ride a bus from Cubao to Baguio City (450.00)
- Ride a jeepney to central mall (8.50)
- Ride a jeepney to Philex Mines and tell the driver to drop you off at Brgy. Ampucao (50.00)
- Walk until you see the barangay hall
So what are you waiting for? Lets go hike! Make sure you have a reserved a slot before going there specially on weekends. 🏻
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It was never a dream for me to climb and hike a mountain. I have never imagined myself doing it. Thinking about the exhaustion and muscle pain i would endure after the event makes me feel hesitant to try climbing. Since my friend was really persistent in convincing me to join her with her team. I decided to join. When we get there we were provided short reminders and things to bring while we do the trekking. I had a stick to help me hike and indeed it was really helpful! You can buy it upon registration. Bring some water because it would help you sustain the trail. The trail is clear so it was really easy to walk on. To reach the first stop you will be challenged by a 3-KM uphill walk. It was deadly literally breathtaking. I was gasping for breath when i was near the first stop/peak (Ambanaw-Paway) which is 1788 mASL. When we started our hike we thought of just having a one peak stop but when we have reached the first peak we decided to conquer the two other summits. It was an easy hike to the next peak (Gungal) 1814 mASL, since it consists of uphills and flat and downhills. And finally the last summit, Mt. Ulap! (1846 mASL). When you would like to climb the three peaks make sure you are well prepared.
Nunca fue un sueño para mí y caminar una montaña. Nunca he imaginado a mí mismo hacerlo. Pensando en el dolor muscular y agotamiento perdurara después de que el evento me hace desmotivado. Bueno mi amigo era muy persistente en convenciéndome para unirse a ella con su equipo. Cuando llegamos allí nos proporcionamos breves recordatorios. Compré un stick que me ayude a caminata y de hecho fue muy útil! Etiqueta a lo largo de agua que le ayudaría a mantener el camino. El sendero es claro por lo que era muy fácil caminar sobre. Para llegar a la primera parada ser desafiado por una caminata de 3 KM cuesta arriba. Fue mortal literalmente impresionante. Yo estaba jadeando para la respiración cuando estaba cerca de la primera parada/cima (Ambanaw-Paway) que es 1788 msnm. Cuando empezamos nuestra caminata pensamos en tener a sólo una parada de un pico pero cuando llegamos el primer pico decidimos conquistar las otras dos cumbres. Siguiente pico (Gungal) 1814 msnm. Fue una caminata fácil a la cima siguiente puesto que consiste en subidas y planos y bajadas. ¡Y finalmente la última cumbre, Monte Ulap! (1846 msnm). Cuando quieres subir los tres picos se debe informar a la guía y término como Mt. Ulap atravesar.
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An 8-hour day trip hike that's one for the books! Definitely a go to destination for adventurers out there!
We went there via jeepney during the holy week and luckily it was not raining. The fare costs 50php and they'll be dropping you at the registration for orientation, fees and tour guides. We were 5 girls and they charged us 1200php for registration and tour guide fee. Btw, there's a canteen at the registration but I suggest you to buy food before going there.
We started hiking at around 9am. There are 3 peaks that you have to go through if you'll finish the traverse. Namely: Ambanaw, Gungal and Mt. Ulap. The tour guide is also very friendly and she knows how to take pictures as well. That's a plus for us since we do love taking groufies.
The heat of the sun will kill your skin so you better put those sunscreens or longsleeves before you cry. Good thing the wind is really refreshing so you can keep up with the weather.
You can also have an over night camping but I guess the charges increases since your tour guide will have to carry your overnight essentials to the top.
We reached the peak of Mt. Ulap at around 2pm and we stayed there for an hour 'cause....girls just wanna take too much pictures! Our tour guide was able to actually sleep under her umbrella! Haha
Okay, so going down to finish the hike there were stores and canteens along the way. About two stores and an hour hike apart from each other. They also sell for an affordable price knowing they all bring up their stocks everyday.
And yey! We finished the hike at 5pm. we got very tired but still managed to have dinner out because we so hyper!
Thanks for the memories Mt. Ulap! :)
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This was my first ever hike to a mountain. I'm not really an outdoor leisure sport lover or a enthusiastic mountain climber. But after surviving and traversing this mountain, I must say it, it changes my view. Now I'm itching to climb another mountain again.
Mt. Ulap is a popular hiking spots much like Mt. Pulag so expect alot of people during weekends and few people during weekdays.
I didn't know any fees since I joined a group and just paid about 1,700php ( complete package including the guide and other misc. fees. )
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Been wanting to day hike somewhere cool so Mt. Ulap in baguio it is! Joined a hiking group and just paid Php1,200 for everything- transpo, tourguides, and a quick city tour.
At 1,846 MASL, it's quite an easy hike. A good mountain for beginners as the trail isn't too steep and the chilly weather really helps keep you going. Our hike started 4am before sunrise thus we weren't able to see much of the trail save for our descent. The trail reminded me of a lot of mountains! The pine trees and flowery plants were like that of Mt. Pulag, the grassy and 'hilly' slopes with cows at the summit was like that of Gulugod Baboy, and the semi steep way down reminded me of Mt. Maculot.
For clumsy people and those afraid of heights, be extra careful and courageous because you'll be walking (in the dark) alongside the bangin. Better hike early and fast as lines could get long for a photo op on the famous Gungal rock.
Side note: i think Mt. Pulag Ambangeg trail is easier than Mt. Ulap
10:30pm - 03:30am MNL to Baguio
04:00am - 06:00am jump-off to Gungal rock
07:00am - 07:30am Gungal rock to campsite
07:30am - 08:45am bfast
08:45am - 10:00am descent
10:00am - 11:30am freshen up (shower area is very basic and water will be ice cold)
11:30am -12:30pm travel back to city
12:30pm onwards city tour and travel back to MNL
Things to bring:
At least 1L of water
Change of clothes + toiletries
What to wear:
Long sleeves + jacket it'll be cold in the morning but 20mins into the hike you'll start warming up; it'll be breezy at the summit so jacket on again for those who are lamigin
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Are you an adventure seeker? Then try to trek Mt. Ulap in Itogon, benguet!
We went through a package under Adventure Passport for P1200 inclusive of van transfer, environmental fee,guid plus a side trip to Baguio.
We left Manila 9:30pm, Nov.6 and arrive at Benguet 1:30am,Nov.7
We started trekking around 3:30am after the orientation.
Finished the trek at around 11am at Sta.Fe, Nueva Vizcaya.
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It was fun a 9 hours up and down the mountain.
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Another adventure with the weekend explorers. It took us 4 hours to reach the summit. Never been to Mt. Pulag but my friends says that this is a harder trek than Pulag because it's slippery, too steep and a lot of obstacles but it was all worth it. The views are amazing, you will also pass by some goats and cows by the summit the some views are like the ones in Batanes.
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The view was amazing. It took us 5 hours to reach the last summit. Going down is harder than we expect because it rained so it was slippery and too steep. But overall, the place is so beautiful.. U will see a lot of cows and some dogs too.
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Several friends and I hiked this area when it wasn't being advertised as Mt. Ulap yet. Back then, it was known as Philex Ridge and not a lot of people knew about it yet. The trail back then wasn't clearly marked yet and we were just following grassy footpaths. Took us half a day as we leisurely walked about with me lagging behind taking lots of pictures. The view once we were midway thru was spectacular and breathtaking. We sat down for a few minutes just to soak it in and rest up a bit. The hike all the way thru was tiring but fun and very exciting! There were areas where we were traversing the side of the mountain and one wrong step would have had us rolling down the cliff side if we weren't careful. We slipped and slid our way down the mountain on the last stretch, being very careful on where we stepped on to avoid rolling straight down the mountain. Nervous laughter abounded whenever one of us slipped and landed on our butts! I had body pains and muscle soreness for a couple of days after the hike but definitely worth the experience and would be happy to do it all over again! So glad to have hiked this area when it was still relatively unknown.
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I loved it.
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By far this is my favorite mountain to hike. I fell in love with the view and the weather (best time to hike in January and February).
It took us 3 hours to summit, it can be done within 2 hours but took some time taking photos haha and same time going back to basecamp. 🏼
I would like to share my sentiments regarding the first photo - can I just say that I'm extremely annoyed with the person who vandalized this rock at Mt Ulap. Whenever you climb a mountain or go to any place make sure to leave NO trace. Which means don't leave any trash or vandalize the area. We should take care of our natural resources because we destroying our country's beauty.
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I dunno what's with this mountain that every time I climb it, it's always fogged up. 🤔 Aside from the fact that it is in Benguet so you can always expect it to be foggy but there's something about it that is quite mysterious. Anywaaay.
My first encounter with Mt. Ulap was a few month ago for a dayhike. It was a rainy and damp climb to say the least. No clearing at the famous Gungal Rock yet there weren't many people waiting for their photos to be taken unlike now.
This time around we decided to do an overnight hike. Started late in the afternoon, around 4pm, reached the campsite almost full of tents after 2.5hrs. It was a night trek with all the nasty elements being thrown at us - rain, fog, wind.
Temperature dropped to a single digit during dawn. Come morning, it was bright and sunshiny.
We didnt do the traverse and decided to do the backtrail since some of my friends wanted to have their pictures taken at the Gungal Rock. We just had a group photo there and decided to push forward towards the smaller rock formations facing Baguio City.
While hiking, you can see nearby mountains such as Ugo and Pulag. You can also see the dam and the Philex community.
Foot traffic tripled or probably even quadrupled. Campsite has a latrin. It can be congested, kinda reminded me of Pulag's camp 2.
I just hope this mountain wouldn't turn out to be like Pulag - overcrowded to the point of being abused.
Please practice LNT. Always.
Photo credit: Ben Simon, Jr. during sunset en route to Mt. Ulap campsite.
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1814mASL @ Gungal Rock 🤘🏻
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This year, I've decided to try climbing a mountain. Fortunately there's an available weekend to try one, and Mt. Ulap is the first summit I've climbed. #RoadToBeingBetter2016
Mt. Ulap is located in Ampucao, Benguet which is 45-1hr drive from Baguio City. It is one of the renowned mountain ridge and offers a lot of experiences, from the cold/hot weather, many uphill aggression, deathifying edges and slippery rocks. It was one hell of an experience for me.
It has 7 points and it would be really nice to take an overnight to experience stargazing while chilling (literally chilling because it was waaaaaaaay too cold during the night). There are several route options to choose from but one must register first (REGISTER FIRST) in the baranggay hall.
Absentmindedly, I confirmed to a group of climbers who will do the REVERSE TRAVERSE trail (I know nothing), in which, it's more difficult route due to the fact that the first 3-4 kilometers is a stretch of uphill. BUT it is fulfilling and you could see a better scenic view. Advisable for those who are physically fit, not advisable for beginners, although it is proven to be difficult, beginners can still survive this route (like us!!!). The first few trek where literally pure uphill although when resting, you will be amazed by the amazing view of the entire ridge.
We started tour climb by almost 2pm and got to our campsite by almost 7-8pm, while eating Snickers, Mars, chocolates and more chocolates for sugar rush. The tour guides set up a campfire to provide heat for everyone because it was cold, freezing cold. Our water bottles were so cold it's like it was placed in the refrigerator! Hahaha That's how cold it is!
Stargazing while eating adobo and talking to strangers. It was great meeting people from different walks of life. Although we went to sleep early because my best friend and I were dead-tired.
First thing in the morning, we climbed to the summit to experience the sunrise, and it didn't disappoint. It was probably one of the best sunrise I've ever saw in my entire life. It was magical.
It was refreshing especially that there's heat from the Sun and at the same time it's cold and breezy.
By 9am, we decided to head back and now we did the TRAVERSE. It's the usual hike for beginners but it's a long hike. While the reverse is purely uphill, this one is the calmer hike. Although I suggest you wear a sunblock because you'll be exposed to great sunlight and you'll see much amazing view. We got on the road by 2-3pm, and we haven't had lunch yet, we just ate canned goods while resting up on the hill.
Tips to consider:
Bring a lot amount of energy (in which case you'll need chocolates, energy drinks and jellyace)
Water, water, water. Don't forget to hydrate.
Be mindful of your trash. Remember the old saying, "Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures."
There's no restroom up there, so prepare to be like nomads. Or hold it for a day or two. haha
Don't forget to take photos, videos, and a lot of selfies! Document your trip!
PS Thanks to |oolooapp for the gopro, now look how amazing my photos are (nuks yabang, lol)
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Imagine yourself on this rock formation... It's like from Norway or Ireland, nah! It's Mt. Ulap of Itogon, Benguet.
The peak rises 1,846 meters above sea level and has 4/9 difficulty level. It was a cold 17 degrees Centigrade morning when we arrived at Sitio Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet. You may settle registration fees and guides here at the baranggay hall. The group hired a van from Manila to avoid public commute and to lessen travel time. We left Pasay around 2100H and arrived at Ampucao around 0500H in the morning. Did I say they offered free native coffees? Haha! The residents are so generous here. Free CR, free shower, free food.
After settling all permits and registrations, we started trekking around 0700H. You'll be treated with cool weather and hundreds or even thousands of pine trees along the trail, just like Baguio minus the overcrowded residentials. The views on the upper part are awesome too! I'm out of superlative words to explain. I can see the lowlands of Central Luzon, on adjacent side the Mt. St. Thomas and Baguio, the Sierra Madre mountain range and to the north the majestic Cordillera mountain range. From covered pine trees trail you'll pass the open trail grassland, just like in New Zealand. Wild cows roam the area but beware 'coz they chase anyone according to local guides. Then comes the steep rocky trail, now you really need those balancing and scrambling skills. Some parts of this trail is a steep cliff on both sides.
Arriving the summit is an achievement or somehow we were mitigated. There's this rock formation slightly attached to the solid summit where you can pose for an awesome picturesqe view at the background. (Dayum, somebody draw an illuminati sign at the rock) Who would have thought that there's a place like this. After some photo ops we descended back to jump-off, took a shower and headed back to Baguio for a bounty dinner, then finally back to Manila.
I thought we've save a lot from this day hike. We only paid P1200 all-in (food and transportation) to Mam Jho Esteban the organizer. Tranpo from Manila to Baguio normally costs P500 so that would be a thousand bucks already back and forth. I really suggest a private transportation here because the jeepneys to Baguio are also limited.
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