Day 8: Last Day in Mindanao

“Make friends, have fun, travel forever and have memories that can last a lifetime”

– Fakir

Features: Hagimit Falls, Maxima Aqua Fun, Buying Souvenirs, Bangkeruhan Market, Day Tour in Kaputian Island

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

I woke up early, beat and with heavy heart. This will be my last day in Davao City. Grab a quick breakfast, pandesal and coffee near Daylight Inn. Chat with the local vendor and bid my farewell to Grace. She will be back in Manila on an early flight, mine will be at 2300. I went to Bangkeruhan to buy Pomelo and Durian for my family/friends. I tried Marang while waiting. Back to the inn, I pack my bags and check out. I stay in Daylight Inn covering my 3 nights in Davao for Php 250/night fan room. I will not recommend this place if you have other choices like My Hotel or other hostels around Davao. I’ve got tick bites all over my legs, swelling and itchy for the next days.

I went back to my friend Rosa’s place to drop my bag then start my day tour in Kaputian Island. I ride a jeepney from Davao Doctors to Aldevinco, fare cost Php 8.00 to buy my souvenirs. I bought my ref magnet, t-shirt, scarf and tie-dye pajama. Buying all those stuff cost me Php 370.00, I forgot the prices of each item (SORNA!). After buying my pasalubong I ride a jeepney from Aldevinco to Sasa Wharf for Php 15.00. I ride the barge to Babak Wharf for Php 10.00. Kuya Jay, the habal-habal driver is waiting in Babak Wharf. He will drop me to Hagimit Falls and Maxima Aqua Fun for Php 150.00, travel time 30 – 45 minutes. I did not agree on taking the day tour since I went to Monfort Cave the other night. But you can rent his service for Kaputian Island Day Tour for Php 800.00 – 1200.00 good for 2-3 pax. Kuya Jay contact: 0916 115 0189, he is really nice. I like him because he’s not nosy unlike other guides.

He drop me in Hagimit Falls, entrance fee cost Php 40.00 and parking fee for Php 5.00. The spring resort is really refreshing. The water is cold and swimming will be nice but I ditch it. I just want to check out the place, take some photos. I stayed here for a good 30 minutes. Then, we went straight to Maxima Aqua Resort. What a nice person Kuya Jay, I recommend him to my friends that went to Kaputian Island.

Maxima Aqua Fun, its infamous SUPER SLIDE attach from the cliff. I ditched Pearl Farm (too expensive for me). Last day in Davao should be filled with adrenaline and FUN. Day tour is Maxima Aqua Fun cost Php 300.00 in which you can stay from 0900 – 1700. I arrived around 1230, roam around and change to my swim attire. The resort attractions are really fascinating and not for the weak heart. I slide several times until waters filled my mouth, ears and nose. I jump from the diving board. Best thing to try is their WATER BLOB. Really exhilarating! It’s a must!

I got exhausted from the activities. My skin is burned from the sun. I met people who add me up in facebook. Last day here in Mindanao is nothing but fun! It’s time to go back in Davao City. A group of soldiers in vacation and me chipped in habal-habal back to Babak Wharf. These young people are brave and pride our country. it was nice to meet them.

Back to Sasa Wharf, I ride a jeepney to People’s Park downtown. I ate in Penong’s, I love their Inasal Chicken and unlimited rice for Php 98.00. Chow time in Davao is cheap and real good. Penong’s is in every corner of the city. After eating, I went back to Rosa’s apartment to get my things and bid goodbye to my college friend. From Ilustre St, there are jeepney to the airport. You can take a cab as well. Downtown Davao to Francisco Bangoy International Airport PUJ fare is php 16.00 – 20.00, taxi fare is Php 230.00 – Php 250.00. Grab Car/Taxi is also available in the city for your comfort.

I arrived at the airport at 2230, flight is schedule at 2305. Check in my bag, feel the infinite pricks on my skin and itchy tick bites. I board and dozed my way back to the bustling city of Metro Manila. I got home in Pasig City around 0200. Mindanao is the best trip of my life. I am going to do this until I can.

Ultimately, the overall trip cost me around Php 15000.00 including my airfare. I will provide the itinerary and budget on my next segment.

On my way to our next trip 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.

Mt Ulap Overnight Camp Guide




“Just live even though it’s not extraordinary’

– Fakir

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

Manabu Peak and Mt Maculot Twin Hike

“The great outdoors can push the limitations of your physical prowess to its utmost power

– Fakir

Features: Manabu Peak, Tatay Tino’s Free Coffee, Hiking, Camping, Twin Climb, Mt Maculot, Day Hiking and 2 Mountains in 2 Days

The Beautiful Kitanglad Range

 

How to be a weekend warrior? Its the time of the year again where most of our annual vacation leaves are already used. We do no longer have sufficient time to go far away from home and work. Some people have one day rest but for others we have two. Good thing I work with two rest days which happen every Saturday and Sunday. I need to come up with a climbing activity that will over power my dull weekends at home. It was 2 months now since my last climb so I decide to go on a camping trip with a fellow hiker and office mate.

Manabu Trail

Manabu Trail

I decided to grant the wish of Chey to climb Mt Maculot and Camp in Manabu Peak as our orignal itinerary. We are supposed to be five in the group but before we take off we were down to two. So me and my friend Chey decide to continue our trip to Batangas. Off to Araneta Center Cubao around 0900, we completed our supplies and hopped into bus bound for Batangas City. We took off in Lipa-Tramo Exit. Fare price Php 132.00 from Cubao to Lipa-Tramo Exit.

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

From the toll exit we ride jeep to Lipa Poblacion for Php 8.00. Then take another jeepney to Fiesta mall for Php 8.00. We reached Fiesta Mall around 1230 so we took our lunch before we head to the jump off. We ride tricycle from Fiesta Mall to Manabu Jump-off for Php 100.00. Register in the Barangay hall for free and you can leave any amount as donation. We reached the jump off, it was warm and you can smell the mountain. We rest for a bit before we begin to ascend.

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The Dawn in the Camp Site

Starting around 1400, guides are not required in Manabu which is a good thing. Trail is visible but challenging if its your first time. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT, make sure you trek the clean trail and you were on the right track if your still ending up seeing the trail sign. Trail sign in Maculot is a map of all stations printed in tarpaulin. Providing where you are in the trail, this serves as the navigator if you did not hire a guide.

Manabu Sunrie

Manabu Sunrise

Two months of no hike, running or gym training. I lose weight for the past few months because of appetite lose and stress surrounding me. Going back to the mountains with someone which is very fit makes me feel weak. My pack is killing me, my lungs will burst any time and my body is about to split in half. Assaulting becomes harder and as we move station by station. I can feel my hips and legs are fading away from my body. It was painful and glorious at the same time.

Sunrise and Me

Sunrise and Me

We reached Tatay Tino’s kubo which is the STARBUCKS in this mountain. Giving free brewed coffee which is delightful. It will wake you body up to continue once last draw to station 6 where the camp is located. My legs are getting weak, no sleep and heavy backpack. I had 2 coffee cups, it was too delicious not to drink. Tatay is very accommodating to hikers in which he is respected as the land lord of this mountain. Leaving the coffee behind, continuing this climb. I need to make it in the summit otherwise I will roll over from its slope. I am tired, weary and sweaty. Sun sets in which we are able to marvel along the trail. Such a beautiful sight even though I am about to die.

Camping in the FOG site

Camping in the FOG site

We reached the camp site around 1730, vast camping ground that can accommodate 20-30 2P tents. We found our spot, set our camp and started cooking our dinner. We missed our hiking friends from Balanghai G and our friends from Yapak which have their own endeavours. I cannot keep up with the group I founded because I will keep of seeing the person I hated the most. We missed our friends who are reluctant now in terms of climbing and have set their priorities. This is mostly our conversation on our socials. We are unable to mingle with other hikers because we are tired. So we put our lights out around 2100.

Balanghai At SUMMIT

Balanghai At SUMMIT

The mist of dawn made it very cold. The wind is howling as I woke up around 0300. It still dark outside, sleep was good and the temperature is getting low. I waited for the sun rise because I cannot go back to sleep. Hundreds of memories keep on flooding my mind. I had the best year in terms of climbing. Manabu will be my 17th climb and Maculot will be my 18th. The sun is about to shine, the yellow orange light is coming and the sight is tremendously pretty. The sunlight that touches my old damp skin gives warm. I wake up Chey from her slumber for us to reached the summit which is 5 minutes away from the camp site.

Mt Maculot Summit

Mt Maculot Summit

Manabu summit have cross made by the locals. The space is a bit smaller that can only accommodate 20 – 30 people at large. Since it was weekend, several hikers were as mad as we are. Jam packed summit, it was. We all watched the beautiful sun rise which is very marvellous. It was once of the best sun rise I ever seen at the top of a mountain. After taking all the pictures we need, we descend to take our breakfast. We ate and break the camp.

Mt Maculot Rockies

Mt Maculot Rockies

I want to go down early to taste the delicious coffee at Tatay Toni’s. Heavy meal then barako coffee will make your day. We need to energize before climbing Mt Maculot. The smell of coffee created an ultimate euphoric feeling, its like waking up from a good dream. We continue the descent with a happy mood. The day will be long for the two of us. We reached the jump-off around 1000. Then freshen a bit before taking off to Fiesta mall via tricycle.

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot]

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot

We hopped into jeepney bound to SM Lipa to catch another jeepney to Cuenca route to Lemery. Fare Fiesta Mall to SM Lipa is Php 8.00, Manabu jumpoff to SM Lipa via tricycle just add Php 50.00. From SM Lipa to Cuenca Poblacion fare is Php 25.00, then take another tricycle to Barangay Hall to register and to get your guide. Guide fees varies depending on the type of climb.

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Shoe Selfie

We chose to climb from Summit and the Rockies for Php 500.00. The popular guide fee is Mt Maculot Rockies for Php 400.00 minimum of 5 pax, all in excess of 5 pax cost Php 50.00 per pax. Maculot Traverse cost Php 800.00. Overnight Rockies Php 1000.00, Traverse 1500.00 and Rockies-Summit cost Php 1200. Adding pax for overnight climb cost Php 100.00 per pax. We left our packs in the bath house at the base of the mountain, brought only the things we required on a day climb. Tricycle from Cuenca Poblacion to jump off cost Php 20.00 per pax.

Rockies Trail

Rockies Trail

The guide fee is really expensive if your hiking alone or for 2 pax. According to our guide, if its a returned climb you can waive off the guide since the trail is easy to track. The guide fee info looks like a menu from a restaurant. HeHe. We started our climb around 1300, it was tough and painful. My lungs are breaking into pieces and sweat is like rain in June. I am totally feeling weak because of the humidity. Its been 2 months from my last hike, then 2 mountains is really killing me. We reach the camp site is 2 hours, rest a bit and continue to climb to the summit.

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The summit have wild grass everywhere at the start of the assault. You need to wear long sleeves and pants to prevent scratches from talahib. From the camp site to the summit in good pacing, you can reach it in 30 minutes. We reached the summit, eat our lunch and take all the photos at the top. A good 15 minutes passed, we decided to go down to the Rockies. The usual climb starts from Rockies to the Summit but the Rockies is overcrowded so we decide to trek the Summit first before proceeding to the Rockies Part.

The view is scenic

The view is scenic

Rockies is a ridge from the camp site which is about 15 minutes away. The trail is a bit technical, it will be a difficult terrain for first timers. My stamina and endurance are depleting is fast paced, on this part I am panting regularly. For my energy to last, I am no longer muttering words. We reached the top of the Rockies around 1600, marvelled ourselves to the beauty. The sun shines adorably against Taal Lake. You can view the Malarayat Range, Taal Volcano and Mt Makiling. This mountain is very popular, now I do no long wonder why.

Panorama of Manabu Peak

Panorama of Manabu Peak and Kitanglad Range

We ascend around 1700, no break or rest. Trekking down from Rockies to the jump-off took 1 hour. We reach the bath house, water from their reserved is already drained. So we move to another bath house and the long line started. I am extreme exhausted, hungry and smelly. After taking our turn to the wash room, we immediately hopped back to Cuenca Poblacion to catch a jeepney back to SM Lipa for dinner and hopped into a bus bound to Manila. Fare cost Php 30.00 from Cuenca to SM Lipa.

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We ate in Mang Inasal SM Lipa for unlimited rice. HEHE. After the heavy dinner, we catch the bus to Manila around 2100. We reached the city around 2300, tired but happy from our 2 days itinerary. Reaching my bed after the tiresome 2 climb in 2 days with 2 person and 1 experience of a lifetime.

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SEE YOU ON OUR NEXT CLIMB PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio and Nilo Canlas 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.

Hiking Cliché: What it takes to be a Hiker?

“We see the world on top view, we survive each hardship, as a team and nature’s ultimate lover”

– FAKIR

I was a young and newbie mountaineer. All of the hiking activities I joined into are for entertainment but it doesn’t mean that I am careless to forget the rules of Leave No Trace. I was able to climb 16 peaks with difficulty and pride. I started to seriously devote to climbing this year. I still need to learn the basics of mountaineering before entering to more serious matters.

I take my time, slowly developing myself from being a carefree hiker to responsible climber. My sole purpose in hiking is to get physically fit for my travels but later I find it very important to be part of common goal to conserve and teach other newbies about the wonderful world of mountaineering.

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It was not an easy task to spearhead hiking activity. Even though there are waivers, you still have that conscious societal responsibility to the people joining your group. I envelope my sense of patriotism and dedicate to be part of change instead of adding up as a headache to environmental bureaus. As Mahatma Ghandi says “You must be the change you want to see in this world”.

You don’t want to be nuisance to the vast forestry, locals and living matter in a hiking ground. As a personal advocate to people who want to try hiking, I make sure that they decide base on their capability to take care of the trails and wildlife. To train themselves and become better hikers. Teach the future climbers with respect to the locals, to the wildlife and the things on the trails.

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Hiking is fun and an adventure of a lifetime. I remember creating my own bill way back in college to conserve and protect the life under the natural parks, mountains and other relative conservatoire. As a climber it is tantamount for us to learn the values of being a good hiker.

We do it not just for fun but we acknowledge the fact that this biodiversity will not live for as long as there are people who kills it, little by little. The mountains are giving us the air to breath, fresh water we drink, energy to our household and the LIFE that we should deserve. CLEAN and GREEN.

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To my fellow climber out there, we must be responsible enough to teach our underlings about the rules of the nature. We should have a glorious summit, happy socials and at the same time create a common goal as we introduce the life on the outdoor. What we learn on the trails should be transfer to thousands of new hikers so that we can inhibit to all the values of climbing.

We set the goal to reach the summits, to view the world from the peak and to be proud of ourselves. We need to be part of something beneficial rather than being part of the problem. In climbing there are no HARDCORE, SLOW PACER, BEGINNER, OR PROFESSIONAL. We are the HIKERS that respect each other and the outdoors.

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SO LONG PIRATES!!!

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio and Jereca Custodio Copy Right

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.

Towering Heights of Mt Arayat

The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.
The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.

Getting high like this make me feel powerful. Not anyone can go here. Not anyone have the stamina. The energy. The time. The journey.

Mt Daguldul

We're still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER!

We’re still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER!

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1

0600 ETD Lipa via Bus (You can take the Cubao or Buendia Bus whichever is near from your house. We took Araneta Center Terminal)

0830 At Lipa, rent a jeepney to Barangay Hugom (Lipa to Barangay Hugom is a 2 hour ride)

Option 2: For Small Group,Solo or Dual Hikers

From Bus Drop Off in Front of Jolibee, ride a jeepnet to SM Lipa then take Jeep to San Juan. From San Juan take a tricycle to Barangay Hugom (It will be a journey)

1130 ETA Brgy. Hugom Outpost. Register and arrange for guide.

1300 Start Trek – Pavement road from Barangay Outpost or ride a jeepney or tricycle

1530 ETA Mang Lizardo’s place

1730 ETA Niyugan Campsite, Set Camp (We set our camp around 1900 due to heavy rain, slow-mo effect)

1900 Dinner / Socials (Nope, we did not eat on time!)

Day 2

0600 Wake up call (Chilly morning)

0620 Start Trek going to summit

0640 ETA summit

0800 ETD from summit

0830 Breakfast (We did ot eat)

0930 Break Camp

1000 Start Descent

1100 Back at Mang Lizardo’s place (We ate)

1200 Resume descent

1400 ETA Laiya Beach. (Rented a cottage for Php 500.00 with a long table: No Entrace once you rented the cottage)

1700 ETA SM Lipa. Took the Bus to Manila

1900 ETA Manila

Things to Bring

•A good pair of trekking shoes or rubber shoes

•Sun and Rain Protection (Sun Block, RAIN COAT / PONCHO, shades, cap etc..)

•Water or re hydration fluids(prescribed is 3L)

•Extra clothes and clothes for swimming

•Slippers

•Toiletries

•Personal Medications

•Packed lunch

•Snacks (Trail Food)

•Headlamp/ Flashlight

•Extra plastic

•Camera

•Mess Kit

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.

Mt Batulao Fun Hike

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Chill hike and camping. As a newbie in hiking and camping we need to go to minor yet mainstream mountains. This time we trail up to the infamous Mt Batulao in Nasugbu, Batulao. Many novice mountaineer hike this mountain due to its pristine beauty and easy access from Metro Manila. It will take you 2-3 hours travel from the capital. It was dawn of February when we decide to team up and go to Mt. Batulao. Traveling with fellow mountaineers, limited fund and a personal guide with us. It was 900H when we arrive in Evercrest Golf Course, at the back lies the jump off to Evercrest. The morning sun is high but since it still in cold months, the breeze of the air is still cold.
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We ride tricycle going to the jump off where little kids are bombarding us to be their guide. Since we got our mate who actually climb Batulao for the nth time we did not need one to hike up. The heat is tolerable, at the start all of us fell in love with the beauty. It is a 360 degree of scenic view of Batangas shore and land. Everything seems to be so pretty. We reach the fork, rest a little bit and carry on to the Old trail to the New Trail. We met lots of day hikers when we are proceeding to the old trail camp site.

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We took our time going up since we are early on our itinerary and it was just too beautiful to leave soon. When we reach the Old Trail Camp site, we register and rest for a while. The real deal started when we trek up to the summit. Series of assaults and downhill trail is really eating our energy. Good things it’s not hot, I cannot imagine going here during the summer months because it will kill you. It was a grassland trail, limited trees and lots of Talahib (wild grass) every where. We reached the 60 degrees assault which you need to use rope, it looks difficult but actually it was just the angle of the picture. It was steep, it will be very hard during the rainy season to go to this path.
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We reach the summit, it was a dry, rocky and sandy summit. The view is beautiful, the wind is just smooth and full clearing of the afternoon. We can see the lush vegetation nearby with Kaingin site (burning of woods for coal) but it is still pretty. We are not tired and sloppy unlike with other mountains we tried. We are full of energy this time even though the trail is not that easy. My bag is full packed with things and group load this time but I manage to go way up without gasping for air or back-killing pain. It went smooth.
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Going down to the New Trail Camp site is actually challenging. Too many slopes to conquer, face the wall and ropes again to add up our adventure. I get tired and weary. No sleep for more than 24 hours, hungry and thirsty. We finally reached the camp site. We are the only people to camp. It was Friday though, many people hike Batulao during weekends. It is also timely because it was the New Trail 7th anniversary and there will be party during the weekends. The land lord and trail master of the New Trail, Tatay Xerxes, accommodate us very warm. Even though, he doesn’t seem to talk that much. Reminding us that we can wake him up if we want something in his sari-sari store (convenient store in the mountain, business e).
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After setting up our camp with 2 tents for the 6 of us. We don’t have things yet available at this time (we have now, thought!! Yay!!). Dinner was serve and the comedic socials begins. In the middle of the night, we decide to go to the other side where another campers are ducked in. Cold air “Amihan” is freezing us, the sky line is pretty with millions of stars in the sky. The city lights below are twinkling in the dark. It was a pretty sight, as we call it a day. We trek down to our camp to be horrified that our camp was ransacked by a dog. Eating the cooked chicken which is supposed to be for midnight snack. Oh what a waste. Anyway, we learn that we should never leave things when going out.
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Light out and I am doze again to dream land. I woke up very late, breakfast ready by my co-hikers and we break our camp. It was very hard to leave because we are now watching day hikers and campers trek their way up while we trek our way down. I want to stay here but I need to go to work later this evening. We reached the fork and stayed there for an hour or so. We have cold soft drinks and Halo-Halo to cool down the morning heat. After which we decide to go down, walk our way up to Evercrest entrance. We head back to Manila after wash up. Another successful climb for me. It was a fine day.

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Budget:

Php 700-900.00 for 6 pax

Shaw Blvd to Coastal Mall: Fare Php 40.00
Coastal Mall to Evercrest: Fare 120
Evercrest to Jump Off Tricycle: Fare Php 250.00
Registration (Old Trail): Php 20.00
Overnight fee (New Trail):  Php 30.00
Another Registration as of March 2015: Php 10.00
Tour Guide:  Php 300.00
Food Allowance:  Php 1500

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Sample IT:

Old Trail to New Trail:

0700 ETD Coastal Mall bus terminal to Nasugbu, Batangas
01015 Arrival at Evercrest
1030 Start trek
1145 Arrival at Fork. Take the left.
1200 Camp 1. Register
1400 Camp 8, commence final assault
1600 Summit
1700 ETA New Trail Campsite  / Set up Camp
1900 Dinner/Socials
1200 Lights Out
0700 Start descent via New Trail
0800 ETA Fork.
0930 Back at Evercrest.
1030 ETD Evercrest
1200 ETA Manila

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Things to Bring:

1.5 to 2 L of Water or rehydration fluids
Group Water 2 liters
Hiking or trekking shoes
Sun protection and Rain Protection (hats, sun block, headgear, sunglasses)
Hiking gloves (optional but recommended)
Food (Snack and Lunch)
Personal Medications
Camera
Mess Kit
Extra Plastic
Head lamp

Essentials:

Burner
Swiss Knife
Tents
Lamp/Flashlight
Butane
Cook Set
Spatula
Dish Washer
Trash Bag
Medical Kit

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Till our next G!!

Jei February 5 and 6, 2015

Photo Credits: Gel and Me

To the Parrot’s Beak: Mt Pico De Loro

The MONOLITH
Drain with my every day life. After putting so much fear in my life, I decide that I want to break free from being the simple, book-worm and couch potato gal to become an utmost adventure geek. I never imagine to find so much love and passion to mountain climbing. I was over weight before, I was lazy and a massive alcohol drinker. Now I will climb my 5th mountain which is Mt. Palay Palay or Pico de Loro. One of the mainstreams mountain in the Philippines. Located in Ternate, Cavite. It is about 2 hours away from the Manila so many hiker are attracted to visit the summit.
NEW TRAIL
OLD TRAIL
OLD TRAIL
It was a fine day in Manila when we left. The traffic is not heavy from Shaw Boulevard going to Coastal to ride the bus to Ternate. From Coastal Mall terminal to Ternate terminal, we took tricycle going to the DENR jump-off. Then the confusion started, arriving to the jump off. Rumors is the old trail will be closed soon and municipal people are starting to barricade the old trail due to registration dispute. Before there are two registration point. One from the DENR (Department of Environment and National Resources) from the government and from a private collector which is the land lord of the old trail.
Hiking Mates
Hiking Mates
From the jump off we were bothered by several locals, we want to trek down the old trail going to the summit but we were discourage due to the pending closure of the trail. But we insist on having the old trail instead of using the New Trail. Despite the whole rigmarole of decisions in which way we finally started the trek. This is an overnight camping trip which was decided within 24 hours. I was tired and exhausted from work. I need to create our itinerary and budget. The night before we leave, I am very tired and wanted to cancel the trip. But still decide on going.
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Trekking down the old trail.

From the old trail jump off going to the next registration site we saw a rattle snake in white and black color. The vegetation is still good although the trail looks very used. We saw several groups going down form a day hike. Spreading news that there is wall construction on their way down which make us very hopeful. The hesitation we got is released so take a rest in the camp for while. We started trekking, to our horrors the closure of the old trail is inevitable. We saw policemen and workers starting to put barb wires and we need to talk to them for us to passed by. They told us to share the news to other people who the old trail was closed. I think we are the last group who was able to trek the trail. It was farewell and good-bye for the old trail.

Little Bamboo Forest going to the camp site.

As we continue, I can ear the water from the falls but we don’t have time to go there since it is not part of the IT. We arrive the 2 hour-assault, my back hurt, I did not sleep, tired, weary and hungry. My beast mode was long gone. I was palpitating real hard. Too much coffee and carbonated drinks. My thoughts are dreadful but I need to survive this hike otherwise I will not climb again. After the series of uphill climb, we manage to reach the camp. The sun is about to set on the west, the wind is harsh. It is windy in Pico during the afternoon till night-time. We left our bags in the campsite and trek to the summit.
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The wind cause a trouble on the way up to the summit. Edges and sandy all over the 60 degree slope. It was hard to climb because of the sand whirling together with the wind but we are able to reach the top. The deafening sound of the wind is nothing compare to the sight I am seeing. It was beautiful upon reach.

Girls and mountains.

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Scene in the Tower. Just Glorious.

Then, the famous MONOLITH stand on her grandeur in the middle of the forest, sea and clouds. It was wonderful. After getting all the picture we need, we head to the monolith top to experience, rock climbing. With ropes and other paraphernalia.
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Shoe selfie!!

I got scratches on my elbows but still I cannot feel the pain because the sight is just wonderful. We a took time to explore the monolith and when we are satisfied we head back to the campsite to set our own camp.

Emote sa LITH.

The way up. Looks can be deceiving. LOL!

At the camp, due to my negligence. I forgot to bring the tent we need which is really frustrating. Imagine 6 persons sharing 1 tent with a capacity of 4 persons. HURRAY!! Good thing I bring my own sleeping bag otherwise I might get cold. The wind is blowing relentlessly, getting strong every hour. After setting up our camp, dinner time and socials started. We cook our own food, we are still novice but we manage to upgrade our things one at a time. I doze off due to exhaustion. I slept outside the tent since I am the one who did not bring the tent. (T.T) It was cold, it is pinching my skin. I had 2 jackets on a sleeping bag but still the cold is harsh. I survive the night, woke up happily with all the people surrounding us!! Shocked to see that it was Saturday morning and people from the cities and nearby towns are now exploring the entire camp site. (ashamed!!!)

Setting Up the CAMP

Camping and Shelter

To trail during the week-end is highly discourage because there are lots of people hiking during this time. Actually, too many people. It was a good thing that we decide to hike on a Friday. After eating our breakfast we decide to break our camp. We trail back using the New Trail since back tracking to the Old trail is now officially prohibited. Foot traffic is all over the trail. We need to patiently wait for group of lines to be finished before taking our turn.

The NEW TRAIL

The New trail is still diverse. The vegetation is still in good condition, mossy and green. It took us 2 hours to trek down back to the jump off. We ate and washed up. Then it is time to go back to the real world.
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Expenses:
Shared expense for a group of 6 = Php 700
Solo Break Down:
Shaw to Coastal Mall : Fare Php 20.00 – 30.00
Coastal to Ternate: Fare Php 80.00 – 90.00
Ternate to DENR (Tricycle):  Php 250.00
Registration: 30.00
Second Registration (Old Trail)= Php 25.00
Food and drinks: 250
Ternate to Coastal Mall: Php 80.00 – 90.00
Coastal to Pasig City: Php 20.00 – 30.00
DENR to Terminal: Php 80.00 / Person
SOLO Budget Cost: Php 900.00 – 1000.00

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Sample Itinerary
Day 1
0700 Board bus at Coastal Mall Terminal to Ternate (P82)
01000 ETA Ternate. Rent tricycle to jump-off
1045 ETA DENR / jump-off point.
1100 Start trek
1145 ETA rest station, Basecamp 1
1300 Camp
1400 ETD to Summit
1600 ETA to Camp Site
1900 Dinner and Socials
2300 LIGHTS OUT
Day 2
0430 Breakfast
0500 Break Camp
0600 start descent to Magnetic Hill
0900 ETA jump-off point.
0930 Back at DENR; take jeepney to Ternate then take bus back to Manila
1100 ETA Manila.

At the top of MONOLITH

Photo Credits:
Gel, Rona, Sarah and Herdy (Yapak Mountaineers)
 Hike Date: February 20 and 21, 2015
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Mt Talamitam Heat

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Earn money by keeping your day job. Save money to buy all things I want. Repeat 5 times a weeks. When everything fails go to the mountains. Pure happiness and not stop action will push you to your limit. kicking that adrenaline you been longing to scream out. Oh well, it was a fine February day. After weeks of going up, up, up and away to 3 mountains which I will review soon. Me and my mountain buddies decide to spend our time off in Mt. Talamitam. New peak for novice hikers like us. This will be my 6th mountain summit and it was a blast.

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 Mt Talamitam is nestle in Nasugbu, Batangas Philippines. I will no longer elaborate since you can google it. I tell you the experience I had going to the peak of Mt. T. This particular mountain is not as famous as Mt Batulao which is located on the same town.  I got interested to this mountain due to various blogs made by other mountaineers. They mentioned about the political rivalry and landlords registration war. It was a little bit off limit to go to mountains who have been long boycotted by several clubs and hiking society.

 

 Out meet up location was in 7/11 Starmall, manage to leave there around 800H which is actually 2 hours late from our original itinerary. Then run all the way to Coastal Malll to catch the Nasugbu bus. We reach Nasugbu around  1100H due to heavy traffic and the bus stop over to get passengers. I had no sleep but I was able to catch up along the way, it was a good long nap in the bus.

 Upon reaching the jump off, we learn that the disputes in the registration is long gone. Its been 3 years since the matter dissipates and locals are still suffering because of the occurrence. My team never made it to 83 km because the conductor doesnt know the jump off so we pass over the registration site. We made it to Sitio Bayabasan, Kuya Paul welcomes us very warmly and offer himself to be our guide. It was high noon, warm and sunny. I can see the peak of Talamitam soaring high in the sky with the heat and breeze of February afternoon.

It was hot, trekking all the way up there will make the hiking very difficult. There was no water source and we need to save up our water. Kuya Paul bring our group water which is very kind of him. He told us to swim first in the river before going up and wait for the sun to go down. After the mesmerizing bath in the river. We resume the trek around 1630H. The sun is still piercing through our skin like needles. I feel like my backpack weight became double. Sweat pouring in my face and my heart is beating relentlessly.

It was tiring to go way up when it is too hot. But as we walk our way up we gloriously dive in into a magical hill. From a not very far away land we can see the majestic Mt Batulao. The heat lost when we saw the terrain, it was just so pretty. So I take time, slow down and have multiple pictures. We reach the saddle camp site around 1800H, set our tents and ready for our group socials. We had our dinner and the usual social on how the trek. We decide on reaching the summit at dawn to watch sunrise.

Lights out. I woke up because the stray dog rummaging our stock, food and equipments. It was wrong to leave things out of tents and I learn my lesson. Ending the day very tired, I found myself sleeping safe and sound until the wind came along. Since the camp site doesn’t have trees, the wind almost destroyed our tents. We surpassed the wind but I did not surpass sleepiness. I did not wake up on time and did not join the group to reach the summit. After we break the camp, I decide that I want to  reach the summit. Alone, I find my way up in the summit. It was my first time to trek alone, I was afraid in the beginning but when I reached the top. It was nothing but awesome view and endless happiness. It was a great journey, great day and great love.

On our way back, we swim again in the river. Free fall in its little cliff. It was a lovely day to end. We went back to Kuya Paul’s store, ate and refresh before heading back to Manila with tons of star apple and junk fruits on our packs. This climb is rated 3.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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