Mt. Pulag Adventure with Anywhere Philippines, The Journey Before Reaching the Start of the Trek!

Ahhh, Mt. Pulag. If it were not for my goal to push my body to the limits thru travel this year, I would never have considered meeting you so soon. Your charm and the "above-the-clouds" stories were the first things that popped in my head when my friends said that it's time for an adventure this 2013. I was glad I went with my friends and Anywhere Philippines for this epic journey. It was definitely one of the craziest ideas that I ever blurted out in front of my buddies when I know for a fact that we don't even do regular exercise (what more climbing the 3rd highest peak in the Philippines [Mount Pulag, and the highest in Luzon] all of a sudden without training?!). Hahaha. For this post, I would like to tell you all about the long journey, think transpo and happenings even before you get to the base/ranger station of Mt. Pulag National Park, so that you can be super prepared and well-informed. After all, you will spend more time on the road going to Pulag and back than the actual trek itself. Let us begin =)

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10 p.m. Meetup
My travel buddies and I met our Anywhere Philippines (AP) guides at the Victory Liner Bus Cubao Terminal at 10 p.m. Friday night. Since this is a weekend trip, as with almost all the other Anywhere Philippines trips, it was designed even for regular working people. The Anywhere Philippines Mount Pulag package includes transpo, tents, some food, guides at P4500. We had a pre-trip briefing about the things we needed to bring because as the AP rep said, and I agree, the key to surviving Pulag is preparedness, not only for the hike up, but mostly for the cold (and not getting enough sleep). At 2922 meters above sea level at the summit, the temperature can go below zero (negative 2 on our weekend climb) and we are so used to the 30+ and 40+ degrees here in Manila. That drastic change in temperature in a day plus the altitude, lack of sleep and sudden wet spells might take a toll on you.

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11 p.m. - 5 a.m. Bus Ride to Baguio
We were reserved for the 11 p.m. regular, air-conditioned Victory Liner bus. Again, you don't have to worry about anything but sleep if you're on an AP trip (read all about my Nagsasa beach bum trip with Anywhere Philippines if you need more proof, I go with them for everything-arranged and ready-to-plunge weekend trips haha). As for me, I don't sleep well when excited for the unknown and if I'm in transit. We arrived in Baguio a few minutes after 5 a.m. then boarded a jeepney that will take us to "Pulag" from the terminal.

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See my North Face jacket? It was good enough for the bus ride and chilly Baguio morning haha. I also changed into my turtleneck already and took a bathroom break before leaving. Note: Make sure you have coins for bathrooms at bus stops. If you're getting on the big jeep, the best seat for me is in front or on the next row facing the road ahead like the driver. This way, your line of sight for ~5 hours is straight and not sidewards like riding at the back of the jeep.

6 a.m. Jeepney Ride
After getting some shut-eye, I woke up to this wonderful orange view. These moments are what I look forward to most in nature trips =)

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We stopped at the Ambuklao View Deck for a few minutes to stretch our legs

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and continued to ride the jeep via "top-load". Our AP rep told us that this was a not-to-be-missed experience.

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I just wanted to try it out for a short period and not under intense sunlight so this was the perfect time! Why? Because from the view deck, we were to stop at a carinderia to eat just 30 minutes away and the sun was not yet that hot at 7 a.m. =)

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Note: Make sure you get a secure position on top of the jeep, best if you're facing the left side with your back resting on the bags for an awesome view.

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7 a.m. Top Loading (Must-Do!)
I quickly realized that my top load position was not ideal because I had to hang on to the rails tight (as opposed to my friends, or I was just praning haha) and I had to shift my feet a few times from numbing due to an awkward position during the ride.

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They also got the best views along with the comfy breezy ride while I had to secure my camera from falling aside from hanging on. 

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We passed by lots of zigzag roads at a speed that seemed super duper fast to me and the wind was really blowing in my face haha (if not sunburned, then windburned if I did it any longer!). My Firmoo RX sunglasses really helped my tired eyes adjust to the bright morning light too without wearing contacts, as well as protect them from the dust and wind ;)

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Frankly, this "top load" thing was one of the highlights of this trip and something that I would recommend provided that you get on top first and find your ideal well-cushioned position. I also have to give it up for these "sabit" guys (who hung like this for the entire ride) as they were my inspiration (if they can hang on for that long and at any sharp turn, so can I)! They remind me of the chase crew dirt boys at the Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta hehe.

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Note: Bring sunglasses and something to cover your face for the dust!

7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m. Heavy Breakfast (KKB = not included in package)
To tell you the truth, we were already one of the last ones to arrive for a meal. Other jeep-ful of Pulag-goers finished all the food available at the first carinderia so we ended up in the much-farther JangJang Eatery. I suddenly realized that food shortage during a Pulag trip was really possible.


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We must not, however, miss eating at this stop because it's the last meal before our next (which we will get only after we've reached the Mt. Pulag Camp 2 at mid-afternoon, like a reward, yah? haha). Even if I'm not a breakfast person, I got myself to eat some and not getting sleep on the bus actually helped (my tummy was growling all the way to compensate...). Unless you brought some food, you will most likely have this (prices per order less than 100). Others would take away another order (packed lunch) for trail food or camp food (sorry for the picture of the half-eaten chicken, that's how hungry I was haha).

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8:50 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Registration and Briefing at the DENR Office
I thought that was it for the short stops but apparently, we still had a few more things to do before starting the trek. No wonder why other groups were on a rush, we had to wait in line at the Mt. Pulag Protected Area DENR Office a.k.a. the Mount Pulag Visitors Center until 9:30 a.m. for our turn because it was on a first come, first served basis to register and listen to a required briefing about the Mt. Pulag National Park.

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You would also have to go back here after your climb. This is where climbers leave their mementos and take a manual "igib" then "de-tabo" bath =) You can also buy bonnet and gloves here for the climb.

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I wasn't bored at all with the briefing with Ms. Emerita Albas (Ma'am Mering), PASU (Park Supt., Mt. Pulag National Park).

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She's a dedicated public servant and she gave us a good wake-me-up for the rest of the day's activities

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plus a fair warning about the terrain and weather conditions, as well as the do's and dont's for this National Park.

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Even for those seasoned mountaineers and tour group leaders, they would first need to declare any intention to climb Mt. Pulag through her and attend this briefing.

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Depending on your chosen trail and how observant you are, you might pass through some or all of the following: Pine Forest, Mossy Forest and Grassland.

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 I also learned about this Cloud Rat here that is native to Mt. Pulag =)

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10:30 a.m. - 12:15 a.m. Road to the Ranger Station
For the next jeep ride to the Ranger Station, I decided to stay inside and out of the sun.

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The roads also turned ragged and you will see what I mean once you feel the bumps and humps made by narrow makeshift paths and dirt roads. 2 hours later, we finally arrived at our destination.

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You can eat your packed lunch here, have your bathroom break and change into your trekking clothes.

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You can also hire a porter here for ~P400-P600 (just tell your Anywhere Philippines guide if you want to avail, 2-way, 2 bags but depends on the size and weight). I seriously couldn't have survived this trip without their help haha. You can also take a picture with that "sea of clouds" here just in case you don't get to see it on the day of your summit climb =)

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And with that, at 1:30 p.m., we set out to trek and explore what Mount Pulag has to offer =)

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Trip Details:
Packaged Mount Pulag Tour by Anywhere Philippines
Anywhere Philippines Website
To reserve:

HOTLINE: 0917.518.TRIP (8747)
EMAIL: anywhere.phils@yahoo.com
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/anywherephilippines


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Here are some of the upcoming Anywhere Philippines weekend trips this Summer 2013!!!

MARCH 2013
March 23-24 Baler Surfing
March 23-24 Pulag Climb
March 29-31 Sagada Climb
March 29-31 Caramoan Beach Bum
March 29-31 Ilocos Roadtrip

APRIL 2013
April 6-7 Pulag Climb
April 6-8 Ilocos Roadtrip
April 13-14 La Union Surf
April 20-21 Baler
April 27-28 La Union Surf

MAY 2013
May 4-5 Pulag Climb
May 11-12 TBA
May 18-19 Pulag Climb
May 25-26 La Union Surf

JUNE 2013
June 1-2 Pulag Climb
June 8-9 La Union Surf

Read next:
Camping at Mount Pulag, the Ambangeg Trail and Slow Trekking with Anywhere Philippines

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