Mt Ulap Overnight Camp Guide




“Just live even though it’s not extraordinary’

– Fakir

Features: Mt Ulap Experience, Budget, Itinerary and Overnight Review

pine-tree-forest

Where is Mt Ulap?

The Benguet Province mountains and trail never fail to amaze our hiking group. The weather and picturesque scene make us go back from time to time. We plan our group climb a month ago and it was a huge success. Checking out blogs for overnight camping trip is hard. I want to share our experience climbing Mt Ulap. The mountain is located in between Ampucao and Sta Fe, Itogon Benguet which is 45 minutes – 1 hour away from Baguio City. Surrounded by pines trees that gives the wintry effect. Peak season is during the summer months. Hiking groups and travel agencies are all over the place throughout the year. Our climb was on September 16 – 18 2016 which is rainy season. Trail is wet and clearing is up to the weather.

back-packer

How to go here:

Buses to Baguio City are very common in Cubao and Pasay Area. We catch our bus at Victory Liner Terminal in Cubao regular bus fare for Php 450.00 and Deluxe bus for Php 750.00. Traveling from Cubao to Baguio City takes around 5 – 6 hours with stop over in Tarlac and Pangasinan.

You can take your private vehicle from Manila to Ampucao or join travel agencies at your own convenience. I checked agencies and they offer Php 1400.00 – 1800.00 per pax. It’s an all in tour with Baguio City side trip and van transfer which good for 10 – 16 pax.

My group prefer a do-it-yourself itinerary so that we can maximize our hiking time and our own budget. We have complete hiking gear like tents, camping stoves, cook wares and other climb essentials.

the-cabin

Hike duration and Camping

Our climb is a bit treacherous due to the weather, light rain and fog compensate our pacing. It took us 6-7 hours before reaching the campsite. Traversing from Ampucao jump-off to Sta. Fe via Philex ridge. The trail is wet but in good condition. It’s not slippery and the view is majestic. The Pine forest is really spectacular. Going up and down within the ridge is difficult especially if you have full pack behind your back. My pack weigh around 15 – 20 kilos a little bit uncomfortable for a woman but physical training pays off. We have our rain gears like ponchos, good hiking shoes and dri-fit clothes. For rainy weather condition, technical clothes help a lot. Even though they are expensive, my shoes and clothes keeps me warm all throughout the climb.

The trail is consist of 5 segments. The ridge is commonly known as Philex Ridge but the locals want to correct it. They call it Ampucao – Sta Fe Ridge. The first segment is called Ambanao Paoay which means GREEN FIELD which is 1788 masl. Second is the infamous Gungal Rock at 1814 masl. Unfortunately due to the rain, we don’t have clearing for the spectacular view. Third will be the SUMMIT of Mt Ulap at 1846 masl, we skip the summit part and trek back the following day. From the camp site to the summit it takes around 15 – 30 minutes up. We had a clearing this time and the scene is just WOW. Upon descending, the fourth segment will be Pong-Ol Burial Caves. Last will be the Sta Fe Jump off. Traversing from Sta Fe is bit rigorous, if you have advance physical fitness then you can traverse from Sta. Fe to Ampucao. Registration is still in Ampucao Barangay Hall.

ampucao-jump-off

Our guide said that the trail is different during the summer months (April – June). The entire ridge is dry with hues of green and brown. Our terrain is foggy, wet, cold and hasty. Stranger Things effect scene. Eerie and dark. Regardless, the entire hike is fun, difficult and tiring which is part of your climb experience. The Benguet trails never fail to amaze me. Climbing in a cold temperature lessen the difficulty unlike hiking during warm days. Water consumption is lesser. Well, this is me. Some people might have high tolerance over dry and hot trails.

We reach the wet and muddy camp site. The saddle camp site is in chaos of puddle and rain water so we decide to move near the sari-sari store. There are no available flat surface for us because it was weekend and full of crazy campers like us. Our guide clean up our camping ground and we manage to set our shelters. There tables and chairs available in the camp so you can comfortably eat or cook your meals. This site will be much appreciated during dry hike. We had fun even though its wet and wild.

descending-of-the-sons-of-mt-cloud

Difficulty LEVEL for me: 5/9

Budget as of Sept 2016

Cubao – Baguio City Bus Fare: Php 450.00
Victor Liner Baguio City Terminal to Central Mall Taxi: Php 51.00
Baguio City – Ampucao Jeepney Fare: Php 31.00
Guide Fee Overnight: Php 800.00 good for 8 – 10 pax (Php 400.00 Dayhike)
Camping Fee: Php 500.00 per group
Registration: Php 100.00 per pax
Porter: Php 500 for 20 kilos (add Php 50.00 per kilo)
Shower: Php 20.00 per pax
Sta Fe – Baguio City Jeepney Regular Fare: Php 50.00

Jeepney Rental from Sta Fe Jump-Off to Baguio City: Php 1000.00 good for 15-18pax (We rented PUJ going back to Baguio City because some of my hiking mates are in a hurry)
Baguio City – Cubao Bus Fare: Php 445.00

the-view-at-the-summit

Souvenirs

T-shirts: Php 200.00

Ref Magnets: Php 25.00 – 50.00

Key Chains: Php 10.00 – 200.00

Wood Trekking Pole: Php 30.00 – 200.00

OUR GROUP BUDGET FOR 8 PAX

Registration Expense: Php 2700 with porter
Camp Meals and Drinks: Php 1200
Transpo All in: 8700

3-in-1-plus-mt-ulap

Budget per pax: 1600 – 1800

Our budget includes breakfast at Good Taste in Central Mall which is open 24/7. We complete our supplies in Baguio City Public Market. We bought ingredients for our Tinolang Manok and buttered Broccoli/Mushroom for dinner. Bought eggs, bread, coffee, spread, rice, condiments, butane gas and etc. We also bought group supplies like garbage bags, tissue, drinks and group water. The entire budget cut for Php 1200.00 which is splurge, you can cut it to Php 800.00 – 1000.00 depending on your needs.

We hire a porter because some of us are newbies in terms of camping. Porter one way cost Php 500.00, it will be your choice if you want someone to bring your packs. There are souvenir shops along the way selling shirts, ref magnets and key chains. A store/sari-sari is available in the campsite. They sell coffee, instant noodles and cold drinks. Transferring around Baguio City, we hired cab to transfer us from the Bus Terminal to Central mall for Php 51.00 which is good for 4-5 pax. We all know that taxi drivers in Baguio City are known for being nice and they give exact change. This is also included on our group budget.

sta-fe-bridge

Sample Overnight Itinerary

Day 0

2200 Call Time Victory Liner Cubao
2300 ETD Manila

Day 1

0500 ETA Baguio City (Victory Liner Terminal
0515 Center Mall
0530 Breakfast at Good Taste
0630 Secure supplies in Baguio City Market
0800 ETD Central Mall
0900 ETA Ampucao Barangay Hall
0915 Register (Secure Guide and Porter)
0930 Hiking Preparation
1030 Start Trek
1330 ETA Ambanao Paoay
1530 ETA Gungal Rock
1730 ETA Camp Site
1800 Prepare Dinner
1900 Socials
2200 Lights Out

(Take 5 – 10 for 10-15 times. Hehe!)

Day 2

0600 Wake up time
0700 Prepare breakfast
0800 Trek to summit
0830 Summit
0930 Trek back to Summit
1000 Breakfast
1030 Break camp
1130 Start descend
1330 ETA Pong-Ol Burial Caves
1400 ETA Sari – sari Stores, Rest
1500 ETA Sta Fe jump – off
1530 Wash up
1630 ETD Sta Fe
1730 ETA Victory Liner Terminal
1800 ETD Baguio City
1200 ETA Manila

titas-of-ulap

You can tour around the city parks or have drinks in bars along Session Road. You can adjust your itinerary accordingly. Our itinerary is for chill and fun climb.

Credits to Katherine Joyce Villados iPhone LOL! And Mama Sarah Monterey shots.

Thank you Mapagmahal Mountaineers (Sir Al, Nolan and Bene), Yapak Mountaineers (Sarah Monterey) and Balanghai G (Gel-gel!)! Till next G! SOYA!

High five Pirates!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go

Philippine Bridges Collection

“To cross each of this structure is one step ahead to the finish line.”

I am not really sure with the name of the bridge. I label them as much as I can. Lovely path to wonderland though. They fascinate me. I am in awe most of the time.

Bomok-Od Falls Bridge in Sagada Mountain Province
Bomok-Od Falls Bridge in Sagada Mountain Province
Hanging Bridge to Mt Pulag in Kabayan Benguet
Hanging Bridge to Mt Pulag in Kabayan Benguet
Monkey Bringe in Mt Manalmon Trail in San Miguel Bulacan
Monkey Bridge in Mt Manalmon Trail in San Miguel Bulacan
Mt Ayaas Foot Bridge in Rodiguez Rizal
Mt Ayaas Foot Bridge in Rodiguez Rizal
Old Bamboo Brige in Mt Manalmon Trail in Maragondon Cavite
Old Bamboo Bridge in Mt Manalmon Trail in Maragondon Cavite
Patapat Via Duct in Pagudpud Ilocos Norte
Patapat Via Duct in Pagudpud Ilocos Norte
The Steel Bridge to Daranak Falls in Tanay Rizal
The Steel Bridge to Daranak Falls in Tanay Rizal
Wawa Dam View Deck Bridge in Rodriguez Rizal
Wawa Dam View Deck Bridge in Rodriguez Rizal
Wood Bridge in Picnic Grove Tagaytay City
Wood Bridge in Picnic Grove Tagaytay City

Source: Personal Photos

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Daranak Falls

Diving the clear blue water using the edge of humongous rock formation is an amusement for me. I dream of going to place where I can jump the highest cliff I will ever find. On a lovely day, touring a group of office mates in a magical place near our city. We went to Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal Philippines. This place is not a secret but few people in the Metro doesn’t know it exist.

d14One time, I got all the stress at work and want to scream my lungs out because of the toxic my job brings. I search the nearest place where I can swim to pour down this massive stress. I read a blog about a nature park which is only 1 hour drive from my place. Right there and there, I went in Tanay to search for the place. Before I went to the town, I read articles and blogs about the park. From the pictures the enthusiast uploaded, the place seems so magical.

Together with a friend, we explore the town and find our way to Daranak Falls. At first, I was astounded on what I am seeing because the place is very beautiful. The pictures I saw beats the real thing. I was fascinated about the park, it is very clean, cheap entrance and a lake where you can swim.

PLUS! It has a small cliff where you can dive anytime you want. The water from the falls magnificently pouring down endlessly. The water is blue and cold. A very refreshing afternoon for us to take deep swim and enjoy the nature.

d13

I jump several times off the cliff, in different ways and style. The thrill of the water splashing on your face and the cold water hitting your body will definitely cool your stress system down. I always go back to this place, I am in love with its simplicity.

d4 d3

It was an amazing experience for and for the rest of my friends who I invited here. They were shock to know that there is a place where we can take a nature trip and give ourselves time to breath from the polluted Metro.

d8

How to get there:

d7

You can go to Tanay Rizal via Jeepney van.

PUJ
From Crossing, Shaw Boulevard Mandaluyong
Terminal next to Worldwide Corporate Center across Starmall. There is Shaw to Tanay Jeepney
Fare: Php 53.00 as of 21/12/2014

PUV
Starmall Terminal for PUV. Starmall – Tanay
Fare:  Php 60.00 as of 21/12/2014

Estimated Travel Time: 90 minutes

From Tanay to Daranak Falls

Take a tricycle from Tanay Terminal to Daranak Falls
Solo: Php 150.00 to Php 200.00
Fare: Php 30.00 to Php 50.00 minimum of 4 pax

Daranak Falls entrance fee is Php 50.00.

Cottage Rental: Php200.00 -300.00 for the entire day

You can rent floaters inside for Php30.00-50.00 for entire stay if its off-peak and per hour for peak season. Peak season is from March to June where people around the Metro seek the comfort of cold mountain water spring. The park is jam-packed by families. If you are solo traveler, you can ask the life guards to attend your things if they have fewer people. Just make sure to try the cliff dive. It was so worth it.

d2 d1

Mt. Pulag Chronicle

Dream big and aim high. I want to go to heaven without dying. I want to reach the sky without flying.
I want to feel the cold winter air without leaving the tropical warmth of my country. So I decide to join a group of mountain climbers and set my foot on my way to Benguet where the majestic Mt. Pulag is located. I was about to go to Sagada, a town where the famous rice terraces is located.
Then a friend of mine invited me to join his group traveling north of the Philippines to hike which I thought will be the same route to Sagada. But, the distance between Kabayan, Benguet and Sagada is about three hours away with the 2nd highest mountain in between. I decided joining them instead and prepare myself to the journey to the stairway to heaven.

pulag1

I prepare for the hike to Mt. Pulag by physical training. Leg workouts like running and going to the gym. The group have checklist, I make sure to get all the things I need so that I will not be a liability. As the day is near for us to leave, I feel the hesitation on going because it will be my first time to go on hiking and camping in the mountains.
I’ve been to many places but never been in the mountain because all of my trips usually includes accommodation and perks. But this time, I am alone so I need to feed myself, get my things ready, push my body to its limits and taking care of myself all the time.
The day has finally come, I set my backpack and start my way to the sky. The group met in a fast-food in Cubao, Quezon City. Gathering to brief for our venture and providing our aids on our way up. We ride the bus going to Baguio City, that trip is about 6 hours. At 4:00 o’clock in the morning, we reached Baguio City and prepare our way to Kabayan, Benguet.

cropped-jei101.jpg

We ride the PUJ (Public Utility Jeep) going to the DENR office for the hike briefing provided by the government. On the way, we have one stop over where we ate. The weather is nice but I am chattering due to the cold weather. It is not an easy ride way up because the zigzag road will make you nauseated. We drive for 4 hours to the briefing site and the rangers camp from Baguio City.
From Manila to Baguio to Kabayan took us 10 – 12 hours which includes stop-over. It is a very tiring trip but my eyes were fed by the beautiful scene in 360 degrees. Everywhere looks so fresh and magnificent to the eyes. I took many pictures to remember this once in a lifetime journey. This is the first step we need to take before we reach the sea of clouds where the Gods belong and play (as local belief).
From rangers camp in Kabayan, Benguet. We start by preparing our things and gear up to the mountains. It is 11:00 o’clock in the morning, as we start our journey at the top. There are lots of other hikers going down, greeting us good luck and smiles. They look so tired and want to run down in order to rest but they seemingly happy on what they saw up there. My backpack is heavy, around 20kg to 30kg all weight on my shoulders and hips. At first I am excited to walk because the first 2 km trail is easy and smooth with limited upward slope. But after 1 hour trekking, this comes the challenge started.

pulag3

It is not easy to climb on a 30 – 60 degrees slope. My sweat beats the wintry weather. My breathing became harsh and hard as we ascend. We took a couple of rest period because it is tiring and we need to give way to people who are coming down since there is only one trail to walk with. This the first time I hike, I don’t know if I want to go back and stay home. My legs are weakening as we step up further, reaching camp 1. All of us are tired from the 12 hours trip. Some of us came from work and slept on the way to Kabayan.
I am uncomfortable because my bag is killing my shoulders. My lungs are out of air. My hands are trembling because of the cold. But my head is sweating profusely. I am thinking that I might pass out anytime because I feel differently. After an hour or so, we reached camp 1 where we rest and took our lunch. Under the tree, feeling the grass on my feet, the sun is shining above . The cold air pass through my jacket and under shirts, I took a nap and rest my body for few minutes.

j

After the quick nap, I am energize and ready to continue the journey way up. We still have 2 hours trek for the camp site where we will sleep and rest before hitting the summit during dawn. This time the trail is more difficult and assault is now often. Every now and then, we take rest. I am amaze by the biodiversity surrounding me. I can feel the damp, wet and cold when we pass by the mossy trail. The place is green and brown, walking one foot away from a cliff. Once you trip, you’ll chase your life away. Even though, we thank heavens for not raining. It was a dry terrain, cold yet manageable, fresh air and spirit that cannot be unfolded.

j2

We reached camp 2 in less than 2 hours, settling our things and putting up tent for us to rest until dawn before we go to the summit and watch the sunrise. It was around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, I was exhausted because of the long travel and the trek. But my eyes were not starving because of the beauty I see. This is the grassland camp where short bamboo grows, the mist is very visible and the cold is creeping through my sweaty skin. After the tents were set up, I immediately took a nap to refresh my mind and body before taking dinner. I am so tired, once I had my back landed on my sleeping mat I went on a dreamless slumber.
I woke up with people chattering around me. The temperature drop and I can’t feel my freezing hands. I can now feel starvation and happy to see my friends cooking something for dinner. Dinner was served and we ate in lightning speed. After the ransacked dinner, we socialized, talked about the trip and what will happened next. It is my first time hiking and going with this guys so this is the chance for me and for them to know something about ourselves. The drinking session last and its time to hit the sack. I slept early because I want full energy for tomorrow’s event. Reaching the summit.

j4

In the middle of the night, I finding myself tossing and turning due to the cold that is hitting my core. It was one of the dreadful experience in my life, the temperature drop to 3 degrees according to my colleague. Not even the 7 shirts, 2 jackets and a blanket protected me on the deadly cold. This is very cold for us since our normal weather temperature is 32 – 36 degrees. I thought I will freeze to death during the battle against lower temperature. I decide to get up around 1:30 in the morning because I can no longer tolerate the cold. Some of my friends are already up because we are experiencing the same turmoil of the weather.

j6

All of us are up before 4:00 am and we decide on starting the assault towards the summit. We geared ourselves with flashlights, cameras, jackets and trail foods to survive the last trail to the top of the mountain. We trek for about an hour or so before reaching the summit. All the energy I consume and the effort to go all the way here was paid off by the scene my eyes and camera captured. It was a daydream picture of the world, it is one of the wonderful sight I ever seen in my entire life. The orange-yellow horizon with the sea of clouds casting the entire skyline is dream-like. I am intoxicated by the scene, it is like I am in a different universe. This beauty is worth climbing and put in your life with. I cannot compare its beauty to anything else in this world. I feel like a new-born who manage to see the light for the first time.

j7

When the sun rises from the east, it is a fascinating view and everything is a gallantry came from the gods. The view at the top is one of the most gorgeous landscape my eyes laid upon. The sun beams towards are cold body and frigid soul. The warmth of the sun, the breathtaking view fills our eyesight and completed our escapade perfectly. The best moment is we share the same high with all other hikers. All you can see is smiles on our faces, nobody grim about how hard it is to go up here. Everything is paid by the sea of clouds and the heaven-like picture. It is like me and the gods are only a few meters away. Walking on the same path and touching each others existence. The best of the best.

j5

After 2 hours of staying on the summit, we hurried down to prevent human traffic upon descending from the top. We went back to the camp site to eat and ready our packs for us to go down. Around 11:00 in the morning, we set our heighten spirit down, it is time to go home and upload those picture, share the experience and give information to other about this magnificent place to go. I will never forget this escapade, one of the greatest place to visit. Mt. Pulag Summit is truly one of the Philippines’ amazing spots to go. I feel proud that I was able to conquer and survived the Mt Pulag SAGA.

j8

How to get there:
From Metro Manila there are several alternatives to get to Kabayan, Benguet.
How I get in there. I was invited by a friend to be part of their club hike in Mt. Pulag.
Manila to Baguio via Bus
Victory Liner fare: Php445
Baguio to Kabayan, Benguet: Private Jeepney Roundtrip
Cost: Php6000 for 10-15 pax
2 h 8 min (81.8 km) via Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road and Gurel-Bokod-Kabayan-Buguias-Abatan Rd (source: google maps)
Manila to Baguio to Kabayan Benguet. Travel time: 6-8 hours.
Commuting to Ranger Station in Kabayan, Benguet from Baguio City
As I checked, there are public jeepneys and bus going to Atok and Kabayan Benguet. I am still researching the routes, fare and additional information on how to get there alone. I will update once I had details. I will be in Sagada on December 25, 2014 and I will checked when we stop over to Baguio.
Travel Agencies, touring group and Clubs
There are numerous agency and outdoor clubs holding trip to Mt. Pulag. Catering the transportation, food, mountaineering gears and stuff needed on the hike. Expense will depend on number of hikers. You can join on touring group if your going solo. You can check various package in facebook, websites and mountain climbing clubs.
Tour Package Cost: Php 2000-2800 for 4-15 pax
Manila to Kabayan Benguet via Baguio (Private Van)

j10j9