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.

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.

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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

Bolinao Pangasinan Backpacking Itinerary 2 Days / 1 Night

JeiManlalayag Edition

 

Day 1

0300 Call Time

0400 ETD Home

0430 ETA Five Star Teminal

0445 ETD Bus bound to DAU Pampanga

0600 ETA DAU Terminal

0605 Meet up with PNJ

0630 ETD Dau Terminal: Catch the bus bound to Alaminos

1100 ETA Alaminos City

1130 Early Lunch at Alaminos Food Court

1230 ETD Alaminos City

1330 Bolinao

1400 Hire Tricycle for Bolinao Day Tour

1430 Complete Supplies in Flee Market or Bolinao Market

1500 Start Bolinao Day Tour

1515 Enchanted Cave

1545 Wonderful Cave

1630 Bolinao Rock Formation

1700 Bolinao Lighthouse

1730 ETA Patar Beach

1800 Rent Cottage and Set up Tents

1830 Prepare Dinner

1900 Dinner / Socials

2200 Lights Out

 

 

Day 2

0500 Call Time

0530 Prepare Breakfast (Boodle Fight)

0600 Breakfast

0700 Explore Patar Beach / Swimming

0900 Wash up / Purchase Souvenir / Prepare for Bolinao Falls Tour

0930 ETD Patar Beach

1100 ETA Bolinao Falls

1115 Register and Pay Entrance Fee

1130 Explore Bolinao Falls

1300 ETD Bolinao Falls

1330 ETA Bolinao Poblacion

1345 Purchase Dry Goods

1400 Late Lunch at Adora’s

1500 ETD Bolinao (We missed the Bolinao – Manila Bus)

1600 ETA Alaminos City

1700 ETD Alaminos via Five Star Bus

2100 ETA Marquee Mall Bus Terminal

2200 SM Pampanga

2300 Home in Pampanga: Return trip to Manila the next day

PS: You can take the Bus bound to Cubao if your residing in Manila

ETA from Alaminos to Cubao is 5-6 hours. Add 1 hour from Bolinao. 24 hour in 1-2 hours bus interval are available in Alaminos City.

1700 ETA Alaminos

1200 ETA Five Star Terminal

 

See you later 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.

Patar Beach and Bolinao Falls: Friendship Goals

 

“Treasure the friends you have since you were young. As they are the most precious people that can insult and love you at the same time”

  • Fakir

Features: Patar Beach, Bolinao Falls, Bolinao Market, Adora’s and Bolinao Town

 

The cold December breeze put me to sleep inside my sleeping bag and the tent I borrowed. I can hear the waves of the sea that seems to sing lullaby. I woke up early in the morning, early riser as ever. I sleep well and the cold air welcomes my morning. I start to deal with our breakfast meal, cooking rice, preparing the left overs from last night dinner and staring to the vast shoreline across our cottage. My friend Nilo joined me afterwards and we start to cook our food. We decide to put up a boodle fight breakfast for our OFW friend Pher and his girlfriend Lee.

 

 We cooked scrambled eggs, tuyo (dried fish), corned beef and pre-heat our left over sinigang. Served with hot chocolate and coffee. We are in happy land us we are all woke up and dig in our morning. The sun rise after the cloudy yesterday to our satisfaction. After we ate, we decide to explore the white pebbled sand of Patar Beach. The shoreline stretch in the Northern part of the Philippines. The water is crystal clear and waves are bit rush since there still storm rummaging the South. The sand of Patar is very pretty, its not as fine as Panglao nor Boracay but it does have its own glory.

 

We goofed around the beach, swim and take endless pictures until battery life had gone. Our service tricycle is already waiting for our next stop. BOLINAO FALLS. After dipping to the cold blue water and experience the sun. We decide to wash up to go to our next adventure. Showering in Patar public bath house cost Php 15 – 20.00 with unlimited water source. HEHE. As we dress up for our next adventure, we settle our bill and purchase our souvenirs at the entrance. Shirts cost from Php 120.00 – 350.00 in which you can haggle, I purchase my batik (dyed) shirt and refrigerator magnets.

 

We rented our tricycle service for Bolinao Falls for Php 800.00. We started to hit the road around 0930, the sun beaming happily and the journey just started. From Patar Beach going to Bolinao Falls road experience is bumpy and long. It will take at least 1 hour ride. Since it rained yesterday, the road to the falls is mud dirt. Concrete roads are not yet fixed and we need to take off the tricycle several times and push the tricycle out of the mud. We missed the Bolinao sign-age so we got lost that actually prolong the ride. We back track the mud-fill road. Until we finally we can go down and stretched our legs and backs.

 

We trail down for 1-2 minutes, paid for entrance fee which is Php 50.00. Cottages are for free, I failed to asked if they are free if its peak season. Most of the fee we had are deducted because its off peak. Few tourist are roaming around. According to the locals during the summer which is from April to June. The entire place is jammed with tourists like a market sale. I appreciate less people, quiet places and abundant with good food.

 

Upon reaching the falls, I am in 100% awe but it was a stunning place to view. The water is cold and refreshing while the endless 4 – 5 layer falls is heavily pouring down on its creek. You can jump the cliff off if your daredevil enough but I learn my lesson. I attempted a cliff jump before and I was pulled down by water which leave a traumatic experience. I can do it again for as long guide will be there to pull me out of the water or if it just a simple cliff diving.

 

We take pictures and videos all over the falls. I tried to jump off from a tree going to the deep creek part which is exhilarating. The adventures seems to be endless. If your going here its best to bring PICNIC LUNCH or SNACKS that can be enjoyed with your family, love ones and friends. After getting all the pictures we needed. We head back to Bolinao Town that took us at least 30 minutes to reach. We purchased our dried fish and fish sauces.

 

We supposed to go back to Alaminos to have the HUNDRED ISLAND tour because gale warning is already lifted. But due to emergency back home, we need to go back early. So we scratch the deal and just take our lunch at ADORA’S. Famous restaurant in Bolinao which serves cooked local cuisine, snacks, halo-halo and all types of pancit (noodles). After our heavy lunch, we head out to the bus station and we missed the afternoon Bolinao – Cubao bus. HEHE. There is only one available ATM in Bolinao which will cut your money from Php 30-50.00. Better be prepared and ready your cash before going to Bolinao depending on your budget and number.

 

We hopped in to a van going to Alaminos to catch another bus bound to Manila that took us another 1 hour of travel time. Reaching Alaminos we catched the bus bound to Cubao, settle for another 3-4 hours bus ride to home. We paid Php for the fare to Marquee Mall in Dau Pampanga to head back home I am still on leave at work and will take weekend with my family so I decide to join them back home. Traffic is heavy in Tarlac because of ongoing road repairs. We reached Pampanga around 2100, left Alaminos at 1700.

 

We took another jeep to SM Pampanga via NLEX then take another jeep to Sta Ana Pampanga to head back home. Due to the recent rain, our area is severely flooded, my friend and his girlfriend cannot make it home. So its another pajama night for the 3 of us. We end up our Stormy Trip to North happily regardless if we when home wet. We still think we are wild and over the decade of friendship, this is how we celebrate! Travel with friends if you have time and thank them for staying beside you even if you are crazy and doom.

 

LET FRIENDSHIP LAST PIRATES! SEE YOU AGAIN!

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.

Banaue: Short Trip to Sagada

Traveling with friends.
It was Christmas time when we tour Sagada to experience the cold weather apart from going to Baguio which is very much crowded any time of the year. I always dream of going to this town because it is famous for it’s beauty and culture. Nestled at the top of the Mountain Province, we left Pampanga around 2300 on Christmas Day. This time, we join a group from a travel agency since backpacking wasn’t ideal for this season. Our trip will start to the famous Rice Terrace in Banaue, Ifugao before proceeding to Sagada. I was able to sleep on the way to Ifugao even though it was not comfortable. The agency provide a van that compressed 15 people with out belongings. So imagine sardines squeezed in to a can.
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All my legs are getting numb, when we reach the highway going to Banaue it was foggy and almost zero visibility. I tried to sleep again even though I was feeling uneasy. The road is slippery and we are actually running beside a 20-30-meter cliff. We arrived in Banaue for breakfast around 0600H. It was cold, wet and slippery. For is coming all over the place. On the restaurant where we decide to dine in, there are huge windows to view the entire town. After eating breakfast we head out to the Viewpoint to see the Banaue Rice Terraces.
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The view is spectacular if only there are few houses built in the surrounding area. But the Terraces are still amazing. Man made rice paddies, the Igorots are very intelligent and smart to have the mountains transform into something very useful for their livelihood. After taking too many picture, we decide on continuing the journey on the way to Sagada. From Banaue it will take another 4-6 hours of travel time via private transportation. I cannot figure out how many hours when you commute from Manila to Sagada because the bus will take ages before it arrives and the jeepney needs over flow passengers before the driver start the engine.
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Anyhow, we arrive Sagada around 1200H because of traffic and road construction. It was peak time and I did not know that there are too many people are traveling to Sagada which actually ruin our itinerary later. We arrive on each of our hotels, we learned that most of the inns and hotels are fully booked because of public holidays. The inn we got is good enough, no AC nor electric fan, hot shower and 2 queen size beds. It was basic and simple which is good enough for the 4 of us.
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Sagada is progressing by the looks of the town. Hotels and restaurants are surrounded. This place is not as mainstream as Baguio City or Tagaytay City but it is building is progress in high rate. Many travelers are from the cities, hoping to see a town and experience its adventure.
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Off to Next Trip!
Jei 25/12/2014
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Calle Crisologo

ilo4Calle Crisologo is part of Vigan, Ilocos Sur which is a World Heritage Site being one of the oldest city in the Philippines. Now, Vigan City is one of the 7 New Wonder Cities.  Still with its Hispanic features old houses and streets. Among streets, Calle Crisologo is the most famous street because it survive hundreds of years with minor remodeling. Nostaligia will hit you because it seems like going back in time. The old Philippines with its massive wood houses or mansions casted on a street wide enough for chaise.

ilo1This is one of the 100 places I want to visit before I die. I want to experience the old days, feel the grandeur of living in the 1800’s. Visitng this street makes me proud as a Filipino. They were saying that the architecture of the houses came from the Spaniards. But, other historian said that the grand house of the Illustrados (wealthy Filipinos in the Spanish colonization) are upgraded version of our very own Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut).

ilo2This street is very famous nowadays because there are lot of souvenir shops on both sides of the road. There are Kalesas (Chaise) which you can rent for $4.00 or $5.00 per hour to roam around Vigan City. There are lots of restaurants, cafe and sidewalk vendors that offer authentic Ilocano dishes. From bagnet (crispy pork belly), longganisa (Filipino sausage), pinakbet (mixed veggies with fermented fish) and empanada (stuffed bread).

ilo3Accommodation wise, there are lots of hotels available in Vigan. From luxurious to pension houses that you book for from $15.00 to $120.00 per night depending on budget. I am the backpacking gal but this time I went with a touring group booked by a tourist agency for only $90.00, it consist of 3 days and 2 nights tour. Vigan City is one of the places included in the itinerary. I give more details about the itinerary as soon as I finish reviewing the places that I love the most in this tour.

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If you want a throwback experience to the old times or you want to study Philippine architecture or history. Go to Vigan City especially in Calle Crisologo to embark on a journey in the past.

Vigan City, Ilocos Norte April 2014

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