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

Mt Binacayan and Mt Pamitinan: TWINNING CLIMB

“The SWEEPER on mountain trail is responsible that no one is LEFT BEHIND. The STRONGEST and the TACTICIAN”

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Left to assist the weak and making sure that everyone on the hiking group are in line with the itinerary. The sweeper is a leader which aids those who have lesser physical power because in the trail, no once should fall behind regardless of time constraint.

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

I have nowhere to go. I want to climb and hike this weekend but most of my friends are not into the mountains. My trail friends have different schedules, rest days or just busy. I’ve got nowhere to go. Surfing the internet makes me dumb, too much running makes me ill and staying in my apartment kills the hell out me. I want to go out but nowhere to go. Bumping to a friend in facebook about their schedule climb, I immediately jump into my usual impulsiveness and join their group for this twin hike.

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

It was very unusual for me to start the climb on a Sunday morning. I usually go out of the city every Friday or a Saturday. I feel dumb and shit for days now, losing the will to continue my workouts, my runs and my family. Affected by some sort of personal decision and wasted energy, I want to climb to feel the never-ending happiness. That FEELS though. I cramming with my life, as an idiot, I need to settle my education, finances and my freaking life. But for today, I will climb and make new friends out of it.

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

After contacting my friend from previous work, decided to join their climb. I was too eager that I woke up midnight of Sunday even though the call time is around 0400. I was too early. HEHE. I packed my things, chugged all the water at home, left early and eat all the energy. From Pasig to Cubao, I ducked in and ate my big breakfast. I went to Jolibee Farmers, then wrong branch, went to the correct one in the Mall.

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

I met the Gang, introduce my babbler shit out of me and tried to mingle. I do no longer want to be the HATE person I was. I want to be nice to this trail people. I remember my trail gang, Balanghai G and Yapak. It makes me sad not to be with them. It was my first time to hike with other group. I miss the team spirit and the excitement that caters a hiking day.

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

We were able to hopped into our FX to Wawa Montalban, renting the entire PUV up to the DENR building. I met Kuya Albert again (The Hugot Guide), I want him to guide us through. I’ve known him from my previous venture in the Rodriguez Range, Mt Hapunang Banoi day hike. We wait for a couple of minutes for our last pair of guest climbers, registered in DENR and barangay hall. Morning in Rodroguez is nostalgic, the dew from the forest makes the trail wet and muddy. At last jump off, killer pavement jump off.

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

I wasted energy by talking so much. Sorry guys, I just missed talking to a person. I had my walls, pc and keyboard for a long time. The HAKBANGGAPANGHAGPANG troupe made their way, hitting Mt Binacayan. The pavement road which is part of the trail kick me into my gut. Sweat is pouring all over my body after 10 minutes of climb until we reach the muddy uphill trail. So this is it. This is the world I currently committed with.

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

The slimy mud makes the trail difficult to trek. We don’t have the usual pep talk, LNT advise, the prayer or the group warm up. Maybe, I miss the old day but they are now long gone. Moving forward, after catching up with the mud track, we reach the boulder part. I am not particular with boulder and rockies. I am the sandy, dusty and dry hiker. I want dry ground from the surface rather that sedimentary rocks and stones. I feel like touching the rocks will break them into dust and it makes me sentimental when I feel like destroying something from nature.

Anyway, the rockies trail is still magnificent. This trail was open a year ago, one of the mainstream peaks because its near Metro Manila, 3/9 difficulty and the summit is glorious. The scenic view from the boulders is really enticing, no wonder hikers from all over the place are running through the trails of Rodriguez. We were able to complete the journey to the summit after 2-3 hours of trekking, endless selfies and human traffic. The rocks are sharps, it will be best to wear gloves, shoes, long pants and long sleeves to avoid getting scratches or serious wounds. The summit view is worthy and thus we descend are way back to start a brand new trail.

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

We started to trek around 0630. We managed to go down around 1200, rest, lunch time, videoke??! and rest room time. It was Sunday but the place is full with other groups, trails were jam-packed. People from different part of the region were here to explore the 4 open trails in Barangay Wawa: Mt Ayaas, Mt Hapunang Banoi, Mt Pamitinan and Mt Binacayan. Other newly open trails for Rodriguez notably from pinoymountaineer.com itinerary, Mt Lubog and Mt Sipit Ulang. I managed to trek Mt Ayaas and Mt Hapunang Banoi on previous occasions which I haven’t yet reviewed. I will review them once I got the inspiration and some sort of will power to arrange! Sorry!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

So after relaxing for a bit, we decide to continue the trek to our second mountain for the day. Mt. Pamitinan, even though our guide gave us warning that many hikers were still up there and trail traffic was linger. Feeling STRONG and EMOTIONAL, only 5 out of 11 from the group decide to continue. Still feeling beat, I mentally struggle because the heat of the sun suffocates me.

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

My ultimate weakness when it comes to hiking is the heat and humidity. It builds up from my lungs down to my legs. Heavy breathing, I feel like melting slowly to the ground. I became weary that I am being left behind, this time pacing is really slow. I can feel my sticky cold sweat from my head down to my back. I need cold wind to pacify the vertigo otherwise I might collapse any time.

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

The trail for Mt Pamitinan is familiar because this is also the jump off for Mt Hapunang Banoi. Since, I aware of the trail. I also know the difficulty for the first 30 minutes. It was tiring, 30 minutes of muddy assault. On this journey, I learn that discontinuing my physical fitness training actually loosen my legs and lungs capability. I promised that once I’m back to the city, I will regain my power and strength. I don’t want to feel weak again. In which I did. While writing this review, I manage to increase my mileage when it comes to running, cross training with biking, indulging to swimming and strengthening my core.

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Our guide is right, there were several hikers on the junction box. We were able to encounter 5-7 groups going down to their next mountain, resting or really wanted to go home! Reaching the junction trail to Pamitinan and Hapunang Banoi, there were other groups resting because trekking up or down. We also rested for a bit. We were out of itinerary so it we need to hurry before the sun sets down. Around 1500 we trail up to the summit. The rockies started again which slows us down, its a WAY TICKET TO THE SUMMIT. Another group of hikers were going down, we need to stop and give way and vice versa. So it took us a little bit of time before reaching the 1st peak.

"Sit down and enjoy the view"

“Sit down and enjoy the view”

The is also spectacular. Dreamy. It smells SUCCESS. Its LOVE. Its HOPE. Yeah, I was the relentless broken soul and heart. Cutting my crap out, we were able to reach our 2nd Peak in no time, after waiting 10-20 minutes before the group ahead of us went down. The Summit can only accommodate 5-10 persons otherwise, in excess of the number will fall off the cliff. LOL! Never mind the hundred selfies, I was worn out and haggard!!

 Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS


Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS

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Time checks 1600: time to trail down. The wind came from the west, breezy and bringing dark clouds. Then, it started to rain. We slowed down due to the group which is ahead of us. As a courtesy when it comes to hiking, climbers should give way to those who have faster pacing. We need to acknowledge the fact that hiking is not a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis.

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

If a person have a greater strength, you need to allow them first and make them ADVANCE either trailing up or down. DONT BE A NUISANCE to other hikers. Anyway, we were able to advance further. Rain water washed out all the thirst I had. It’s almost zero visibility on the trail head. We reach the foot bridge from the jump off around 1730. It’s still raining hard due to thunderstorm but we don’t mind because we were able to finish damn hike.

The Marikina River

The Marikina River

The FEELS of twinning climb is really unbearable happiness. I realize that hiking still make wonders on my soul-searching heart. I just love the mountains. The view from the above. The refreshing terrain. The adventure. The life.

Day hike using a long back pack.

Day hike using a long back pack.

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.

The Mother Falls of Aurora

Ditumabo Falls

The high and mighty. Showering me from the mountains

The high and mighty. Showering me from the mountains

After breakfast, we check in to our Villa in Barangay Zabali. It is a house converted to inn which can accommodate up to 40 persons. We left our baggage bring our cameras and swimming gears heading to trek to the falls. Aurora Province, our first tour will be the Mother’s Fall or Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, Aurora Philippines.

One Way

One Way

The Wooden Bridge, Imagine 300-500 passers everyday during the vacation season

The Wooden Bridge, Imagine 300-500 passers everyday during the vacation season

From Baler to San Luis, it takes around 30 to 45 minutes drive. Our tour guides give us briefing before we start the trek going to the falls, it will take one hour walking into the river, land and wood bridges before reaching the falls.

The Sun, The Forest and The Greens

The Sun, The Forest and The Greens

Freshly picked coconuts. Oh LIFE!

Freshly picked coconuts. Oh LIFE!

The river is very clean and locals maintain the spot. Bottled water and food are not allowed in the falls and trekking area but there are food stalls available at the jump off offering fresh coconut juice, grilled corn, barbeques and sodas.

Sweet Life

Sweet Life

Jump Off to the Mother Falls

Jump Off to the Mother Falls

The futile land of Aurora is very diverse and have beautiful scenery. It was a breathtaking sight for all of us. The water is crystal clear, cold and refreshing. The entire trek is perspiring and tiring but our eyes were fed by luscious surroundings. Reaching the falls gave us chills because the water.

The trail life

The trail life

A Man-made Dam to prevent flashflood during the rainy season

A Man-made Dam to prevent flashflood during the rainy season

The Ditumabo Falls is around 140 feet high. The flowing water gives cold air, refreshing everyone from their sweaty clothes. I did not resist from the cold water, I immediately dive giving icy bites on my skin. We swim for 30 minutes before deciding to go back because it was crowded. People coming from different towns filled the place.

High School Friends Photo Ops in the Water Duct

High School Friends Photo Ops in the Water Duct

The Groupie on the Duct, my college friends.

The Groupie on the Duct, my college friends.

We need to move to give space to other tourist so we went back. It was not easy going back because people are piling up on a line, trails and bridges are built for just one person. We need to take turns which makes trekking back longer. Trekking into the stone river area is not easy, people in different ages need to wait for their turns.

Water Duct from the falls to cascade the water downtown

Water Duct from the falls to cascade the water downtown

Little trinkets of water from the mountain

Little trinkets of water from the mountain

Some people where thrown away by the current of the water and it was not easy task controlling the rapids. When we reach the jump off, all of us are tired and starving.

Mini Dam with my Sister Jec and Future Bro-in-Law Chris

Mini Dam with my Sister Jec and Future Bro-in-Law Chris

The refreshing water from the Falls with Xy and Bandam (Bonding with great friends)

The refreshing water from the Falls with Xy and Bandam (Bonding with great friends)

It’s time for food tripping. I choose to get grilled corn for Php 20.00 / $0.45, coconut for Php 25.00 / $0.57, bottled soda for Php 10.00 / $0.23, barbeque for Php 30.00 / $0.68 and chip for Php 15.00 / $0.33. The good thing visiting here is that price is not that expensive unlike other known tourist destination, so KUDOS to Aurora Tourism.

The Mother Falls of Aurora

The Mother Falls of Aurora

Image Sources: Nilo Canlas and Xyrik Manongsong (Approved 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.

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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.

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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.

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How to get there:

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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.

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