Apparently I wasn’t the only one who needs to be thawed. At around 3AM I was hearing voices in our camp and I’m hearing water was being boiled for coffee—just the thought of hot coffee in your tummy during this freezing setting is already heaven. I was still reluctant to get outside for coffee, but I was more reluctant to go back to sleep!
Earlier on we had planned to wake up at around 4AM and climb at 4:30AM—we feared that because of fatigue we may not be able to wake up early. Ironically it was too cold that we weren’t able to sleep well or woke up too early. Only a few “warm bodies” weren’t glad of the turnout of events as their sleep was disturbed. After a while, our group leader gave in and started checking who’s awake, and so started our day.
Assault to the Summit
Even before 4:30AM struck we were off for the summit, our belongings left at the campsite. Despite enjoying much lighter weight mobility was still limited—our headlamps were the only light source, it was cold, the elevation was getting higher, and the ascent was getting steeper.
Back to Camp
Around 7AM hikers started their descent, and so did we. As much as we wanted to stay we still have our camp to pack-up. 😦
After some brief rest and eating it was finally time to say goodbye to this lovely place. After everything’s been packed (including the trash) it’s time to retrace our route back to Camping Ground 1, then eventually to the Park Ranger Station for lunch.
By lunchtime we arrived safely back to the Park Ranger Station at Babadak where we had sumptuous lunch! It may seem simple but out in the mountains it was a luxury as we even have cold sodas (softdrinks) with our delicious meal.
It was also here where our jeepneys service picked us up again to return us to Baguio City, but first we need to have a few stops along the way.
Protected Area Office
Before finally going back to “reality” the first thing any hiker must do is log out at the Protected Area Office. Here you can also get your last minute Mt. Pulag souvenirs such as shirts, key chains, bonnets, etc. You may also wash up or take your bath here. The cold water shouldn’t be much of a problem since it’s not as cool here as in higher places.
Note: You’d still be faced by many more kilometers of dusty unpaved roads on your way back to Baguio City so taking a bath is hardly effective
Sidetrip: Ambuklao Dam
After PAO it would be back to the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly winding road but before we all fall asleep we asked our driver to inform us when we’re in the vicinity of Ambuklao Dam since we’d be passing through it. And after alternating nap sessions and kilometers of road we finally reached the viewing area of the dam. It was almost 5PM then.
Eventually after some more time of the dizzying road we arrived in Baguio City, just shortly after sunset. Like with running, what would you expect from hikers but to eat!
We were so lucky that despite being a “holiday” we were able to get some seats in this very popular restaurant. My lucky stars must be shining on me as it was my first time in Baguio City (technically second because the first was when we got here the previous day).
Afterwards, it was a quickie to the market to buy some more “pasalubong” (souvenirs). For me I highly recommend Ube and Strawberry Jam, the latter a bit expensive but worth every penny (if I knew it was “that” good I would’ve bought more!).
Getting around this city was pretty easy with cabs (taxi) as unlike in Metro Manila fares are very, very cheap. This may primarily be because they don’t use air conditioning (for obvious reasons). For those who haven’t been here note that while there may be AUV-type (FX) taxis around the rear seats are removed limiting capacity of all taxis to six passengers (driver excluded).
Back to Reality
It was a whirlwind weekend adventure for us as we successfully survived Luzon’s highest peak Mt. Pulag. Truly this mountain can’t be “conquered” as you have to “survive” it. Coming here at this time of the year and experiencing all that we had made this truly an adventure we won’t soon forget. I’m so glad that the parks are taken cared of well by the government and the residents, and I hope it would stay that way for generations to come. This will definitely be not the last time Mt. Pulag will see me, but for the mean time it’s time for us to go back to our regular lives.
I was so tired of our adventure that I honestly didn’t know what road our bus took to the Metro. Unfortunately our bus was very much like Mt. Pulag—cold! I was wearing just my normal tee at the time so it was another dash of misadventure for me—but unlike in Mt. Pulag I still managed to get some sleep (and had developed the talent to stay warm :)). Note to self: always keep your jacket in handy!
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I Survived Mount Pulag: