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Travel Guide: Summiting Mount Pulag

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Trekking to the highest peak in Luzon can be a bit challenging especially for first-timers. But it’s much more memorable if you climb the mountain with your friends, and with new ones along the way! Climbing at an altitude of 2,922 meters above sea level is not that easy. Even a seasoned climber will get amazed by the fact that Mount Pulag is full of surprises – there’s always something new with every climb.

Mount Pulag Summit

Mount Pulag Summit

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Summit Mount Pulag

Mount Pulag can only be reached by land, since the nearest airport, the Loakan Airport in Baguio City is defunct (but some say they would revive this airport in the near future). I will be pointing out two reference points, (1) Manila and (2) Baguio.

(1) When you are coming from Manila (Pasay, Cubao) or from anywhere going to Baguio, a Public Utility Bus or Van is the most convenient and easiest means of transport going to the agreed rendezvous. Bus lines such as Victory Liner, Genesis Bus, JoyBus, Dagupan Bus, Saulog Transit, Partas Bus have direct routes to and from Manila and Baguio. Regular fare costs are around PhP 450-460 (20% discount to students, PWDs, and Senior Citizens with valid ID). Travel time to and from Manila and Baguio is at 5-6 hours, depending on the traffic volume and number of stopovers.

Baguio's Central Bus Terminal at Governor Pack Road - Gateway to Mount Pulag

Baguio’s Central Bus Terminal at Governor Pack Road

Upon reaching Baguio, if you have availed of a “climb package,” ask your organizer beforehand where your meeting place will be because it is much better if you go to DENR for the pre-climb seminar as a team so that your climb will be organized, too, because there are a lot of climbers going with you so it really pays to be punctual.

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TuristaBoy Tip

Before going to the DENR Protected Area Office, be sure to check your things first, secure medicines if needed, do a head count, and buy the necessary things for your climb while you’re still in town. Commodities sold near Mount Pulag are more expensive than in Baguio.

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(2) When you are now in or coming from Baguio, the ideal meeting time for the climb is 2:00 – 3:00 a.m. because from Baguio to Mount Pulag DENR Office, the travel time will be at around 3-4 hours, with one stopover for breakfast included. It is also the opportune time to meet with other climbers because as said in my previous post, the DENR office opens at around 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. – so be sure to be always ahead to avoid the large volume of people attending the pre-climb seminar as well.

Team Pinikpikan outside the DENR Protected Area Office - Mount Pulag

Team Pinikpikan outside the DENR Protected Area Office

If you are doing a “do-it-yourself” itinerary, be sure to rent a van or jeepney before your scheduled climb to avoid any delays. Van rentals usually costs around PhP 2000-4000 and jeepney rentals at around PhP 1000-2000 (roundtrip and according to negotiations.) And if you availed of “climb packages,” it’s up to the organizer what vehicle you will rent, according to the number of persons in his/her team.

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So here you go, here’s my version of our Mount Pulag Itinerary and Expenses!

Itinerary:

Day 1

0200 – 0300 Meeting time at Caltex Gas Station; Briefing of Itinerary
0300 – 0700 Travel Time from Pickup point to the DENR Protected Area Office (breakfast stopover included)
0700 – 0730 Waiting / Rest time before orientation
0730 – 0900 Registration and Pre-climb Seminar at the DENR PAO (Payment of environmental fee included)
0900 – 0930 Travel time from DENR PAO to Mount Pulag Ranger Station
0930 – 1000 Registration for those who will be availing of the porter service
1000 – 1130 Ranger Station to Station 1; with rests in between
1145 – 1330 Station 1 to Station 2; with rests in between

(You can pitch tents and spend the rest of the day at Station 2, and ascend to the Summit by early morning)

1345 – 1530 Trek from Station 2 to Station 3

(Because there was a marathon during our climb, we were asked to go to Station 3 (the farthest station), to pitch our tents. It is also much nearer to the summit)

1530 Super late lunch
1600 – 1730 Power nap
1730 – 1800 Sunset + pictorial
1800 – 1900 Rest and preparation for Dinner
1900 – 2000 Dinner, socialization with co-climbers
2030 – 0200 (next day) Lights Off

(Lights off at all camps is between 9 pm to 10 pm. Nobody should be noisy and must be sleeping/resting by this time.)

Day 2

0200 – 0230 Freshen up, eat light snacks; prepare for ascending
0230 – 0300 Ascend to the Summit
0300 – 0310 Rest at the Summit

(TuristaBoy Tip: Bring Blankets or thick jackets with you because it’s freezing cold up there!)

0310 – 0530 Picture taking with the Milky Way while waiting for sunrise
0530 – 0600 Sunrise with the ‘sea of clouds’ (seasonal, depends on weather conditions)
0600 – 0700 Pictorial at the summit (daylight)
0700 – 0730 Descend to Station 3
0730 – 0830 Breakfast, socialization with co-climbers
0830 – 0845 Briefing for the day’s activities
0845 – 1330 Descend from Station 3 to Ranger Station
1330 – 1430 Lunch at the Establishments near the Ranger Station
1430 – 1500 Rest, freshen up; buy souvenirs; socialize with the locals
1500 – 1615 Side Trip Number 1: Daclan Sulfur Spring
1615 – 1645 Side Trip Number 2: Hanging Bridge
1645 – 1715 Side Trip Number 3: Ambuklao River and Ambuklao Dam (+ giving of certificates)
1715 – 1830 Return trip to Baguio
1830 Part ways, going home

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Individual expenses during our climb:

Day 1

Taxi from house to meeting place 75.00
Registration Fee for Climb (we availed of a packaged climb) 1,700.00
Snacks and Food for Dinner (Day 1) and Breakfast (Day 2)

*Our lunch is included in the climb package

150.00
Breakfast 85.00
T-shirt Souvenir (DENR PAO) 180.00
Porter Service (855 (vice versa)/4) 214.00
 

2,404.00

Day 2

*Our Breakfast is shared

*Our lunch is included in the climb package

Dinner (Pizza Volante, Wright Park) 110.00
 

110.00

GRAND TOTAL

2,514.00

*Package rates / Registration fees are highly subject to change without prior notice*

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Team Pinikpikan with the Milky Way!

Team Pinikpikan with the Milky Way! (Photo by Sir Paul Serrano)

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Feel free to drop a comment or suggest a province, city, or island you want me to visit and review! Until our next adventure! 🙂

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