This is the second part of the author’s two-day climb with the T20 Mountaineering family to Mt. Pulag in Kabayan, Benguet on March 7-8, 2014 (her first climb to said mountain). The first part of the climb is found in Climbing Mt. Pulag, the Playground of the gods.
Over the hills and above the sea of clouds,
the sun has risen, within the heart new hope abounds,
The path to the sunrise may be arduous and long,
Pursue the dreamed summit, for an unsung melody will burst into a happy song.
Day 2: Up, Up Mt. Pulag Summit!
Trekking the Cold and Dark Grasslands. We woke up at 3am and prepared ourselves for the sunrise viewing. With our guide and headlamps on, we began trekking the cold grasslands towards the summit. Three of us (me, Pau and Pau’s Dad) nearly got lost as we followed a wrong trail. Good thing there were campers coming on a single pile (with their headlamps), so we followed the “moving lights.”
Sunrise at Mt. Pulag Summit. After about an hour and a half, we trekked to higher and steeper terrains and finally reached the summit. Who says climbing the 2,922MASL summit is not a BIG achievement? 🙂
In the midst of these thick dwarf bamboos, we sat and waited for the sunrise and appreciated the view of the majestic sea of clouds like movie goers watching a very interesting film. The great clearing at this point of time was our prize for behaving at the campsite; the gods must have been happy with our conduct, as the tradition tells.
However, parts of the summit’s grasslands have flattened as a result of the growing population of visitors that laid foot on this place. According to my uncle, they have been hiking Mt. Pulag since 1980s and there were less visitors at that time. However, when this national park grew in popularity, it has accommodated plenty of visitors, especially on weekends. There was a single day in February 2014 when hikers grew to 500. On the day of our climb, we were about 150.
We went down to a part of the mountain overseeing the Saddle Camp (Campsite 3), which is occupied by campers taking the Akiki trail. Here, we took pictures of some high peaks of the Cordilleras.
The “Golden” Rolling Hills. The remarkable sunrise was very entertaining that we almost lost a sense of time. We started our descent at past 7am. The golden grasslands were jaw-dropping and truly amazing!
During the orientation, we were informed to walk on a single pile to avoid destroying the trails and making double, triple and even quadruple trails. Unfortunately, violations on the trails have become evident as the years went by.
Walking along the rolling hills (grasslands) is really enjoyable. The area was so vast that you will get enough of it within 1 ½ to 2 hour-trek.
Breakfast and Break-Camp
After the great and long walk, we arrived at the campsite and had our breakfast. Ma’am Bing cooked dried fish (tuyo), serving us an unusual kind of breakfast on the mountains :). At around 9am, the sun was high and burning hot, we disassembled our tents, packed up and started the descent.
Nice to see you again, Ranger Station!
It is always a rule among mountaineers to greet fellow mountaineers when you meet them along the way. When we were descending the trail, we met a lot of them and so we had countless exchanges of “good mornings” and “good afternoons” until we reached the foot of the mountain.
On our descent, we had more time discovering the richness of flora on the mountain. Here are some plant species we found along the trail.
At the Ranger Station, our guide assisted us to his aunt’s store for lunch. We waited for the chartered jeepney and left the place at 2:30PM. The team went to DENR to sign out.
We had our sidetrip at Ambuklao Dam and spent our dinner at Baguio’s famous 50’s Diner before leaving for Manila. 50’s Diner is an American-inspired restaurant that offers pasta and fried chicken at an affordable price and with great servings.