This “mini-Mount Ugo” as what other mountaineers and locals described the mountain showcases stunning views of the neighboring mountains, grassland ridges, pine trees and burial caves upon descending. Mount Ulap Eco-Trail is located in Itogon, Benguet. A 30-40 minute ride away from Baguio City will do to reach the said place. It is a very feasible day-hike climb with a 5-6 hours trek and very established trails.
This climb was not part of our original itinerary on our trip last March 18-24, 2016 in Manila. Our original plan was to go to Mt. Pulag for a climb and Kalinga, Mountain Province to meet the legendary mambabatok, “Whang-Od”. This climb was actually my idea. While we are waiting for our schedule for Mount Pulag which was set on March 20-21, 2016, I am thinking of having a day-hike climb for us to be conditioned and to avoid
dull moments on our stay in Manila. Actually, this is not my first day-hike prospect. My mountain of choice at that moment was Mt. Pico de Loro, Mt. Batulao and Mt. Maculot but due to a lot of people eyeing for those mentioned mountains and also for the possibility of being crowded, me and my friend Clyde searched for other mountains in Luzon that are accessible and affordable (medjo gipit kasi sa budget, so we are searching for less expensive day-hike climb hehe) and here it is, we found a day-hike climb close to where we are staying at that moment. (Baguio City) hehe!
We arrived at the registration area at around 5 o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately, we haven’t met the desire itinerary which was supposed to be 4 o’clock in the morning but that’s okay coz we are not after for a sunrise but rather for the climb itself. As we arrived at the registration site, we didn’t expect that a lot of climbers were already there and that’s the first time that my friends whom I described as “hardcore” (5-10 years na silang active sa pagcli-climb eh) witnessed such number of climbers (I don’t have any idea pa at that time na marami na pala yung ganung climbers haha).
As we ascend, we witnessed the mountain range of Cordillera Province with the addition of sunrise which gave us more excitement and enthusiasm to climb and reach the summit. Yepeee!
As you can see, the sun gave us a warm welcome in which it motivated us to quickly move up to the famous “Gungal Rock” as well as the summit. In terms of weather condition, Mt. Ulap provides a calm condition (not so hot, not so cold) and as well as a relaxing trail and fascinating peaks of different mountain ranges nearby. Our guide said that we can see Mt. Pulag, and the famous Cordillera traverses (Mt. Ugo-Amuyao-Napulauan) upon traversing. In terms of trail difficulty, I would agree to pinoymountaineer.com in which they rate it as 3/9.
Such a wonderful view. We stopped for a while to take a photo and at the same time to rest. A lot of people are also there for picture taking and rest (same purpose as ours).
As we resume, a lot of pine trees and grassland were present on the trail which provides a cool weather condition. Upon trailing, we saw baby and mother carabao (I don’t know if it is a carabao or tamarraw haha) that were very participative upon picture taking haha! Photogenic it is! I thought that I will be chased by them because I wore red jacket haha!
Here it is! We are at the starting point of ridge part of Mt. Ulap as what have been featured in social media and one of the things that I want to go aside from Gungal Rock. The scenic view of neighboring mountain together with beautiful ridge is one of the specs of this mountain and somehow relieves me.
This climb would not be completed without my friends, who were very enthusiastic and alive. Despite of being tired, we managed to smile, enjoy and continue to trek.
Wohoo! It feels good to be on the mountain especially if you have a selfie shots. I don’t care if I will be labelled as “facebook mountaineer” for this for as long as I keep memories and enjoy what i’m doing. By the way, Facebook Mountaineer is a trending term used to describe climbers that are after for a “buhis-buhay” shots and scenic views without applying LNT (Leave No Trace) principle. I am not guilty of these because I know for myself that I am applying and living the true meaning of LNT principle.
At last, we arrived at Gungal Rock. I thought we can easily get a photo on that rock, but there’s a lot of climbers who are also waiting for their turn for a photo taking. Jeez! We waited for 45 minutes just to have a photo on that rock (of course hindi namin papalampasin na wala kaming pictures dito). Very beautiful view, with mountains filled with green forests awaits on that rock and that’s the reason why a lot of climbers were also there. And wait, regarding the vandal on the rock, I asked our guide and She said that, irresponsible climbers are the ones who did such vandalism. So frustrating to know that even simple instructions, there are ones who can’t abide on it. tsk! Anyways, moving on…..
Meet our guide who helped and assisted us on our needs. She’s very accommodating, funny and informative. She always tells us stories of their traditions, the do’s and don’ts upon trailing and provides us a spot where we can have our picture taking. We are thankful to her, for being patient in waiting while we are having our picture taking and especially for providing us a priority lanr on Gungal Rock. I am amazed by how she managed to guide climbers everyday. Just wow! I can’t imagine how she endures to be able to climb everyday. *slow clap*
Finally! We were able to reach the summit. phew! All the sweat, effort and thirst were paid off. Another achievement! Another conquered mountain! Yepeeeee! Thank you Lord God for providing us the strength and guiding us throughout the climb. I think this would be enough as a preparation for a major climb, which is Mount Pulag. *so exciting*
The descent of Mt. Ulap has a steep, pine-forested terrain with burial caves along the way Sadly, some of the bones inside the cave were stolen. tsk! The descent requires at least 1-2 hours, but we were able to make it in just 1 hour and 30 minutes. At the descent, you can see a hanging bridge (Sta. Fe hanging bridge) which is a trademark that you completed the experience. *Success*
Another achievement! Another conquered mountain! So fulfilling and thankful that I made once again. One of the lessons I learned upon climbing is; don’t underestimate every mountain you’ll climb, even though you already climbed a lot of mountains or how veteran you are. You’ll never know what lies ahead of you. Every climb is unpredictable; the weather condition, the possible danger that awaits, among others. By that, thorough preparation is the best way to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Also, don’t forget to get a local guide. It’s best to have a local guide for us to be guided and if possible danger occurs, immediate response can be given. And lastly, don’t forget to PRAY before the climb. For me, this is the core ingredient in every climb you may have. 🙂
By this, my climbing buddy/high-school classmate, Clyde once said that, if I conquered at least 2-3 minor climb, aim for a bigger one (major climb). I truly believe from what I have heard and was said to me that, once you have your first great experience up in the highest reaches of the mountain, you’ll be itching to make sure that the next trip is bigger and better. I think I am ready for my next climb, Mount Pulag! Again, Thank you Mount Ulap for giving us a warm up for our next destination. 🙂
HOW TO GET THERE:
If you’re coming from Manila:
1. Ride a bus at Cubao or Pasay bus terminal going to Baguio City. If you are at Victory Liner Bus Terminal, the trip starts from 1:00 AM with a five hours interval until 12:00 MN for a first class trip with a fare of 750.00 Php. For regular aircon, the trip is 24 hours with one hour interval with a fare of 460.00 Php.
TRAVEL TIME: 4-6 HOURS
2. Ride a jeepney from Baguio City to Brgy. Ampucao via Philex-Bound route. Fare is 50.00 Php.
TRAVEL TIME: 40-50 MINUTES
3. Registration at Barangay Hall and secure a guide.
GUIDE: 300.00/5-6 PERSONS
TREKKING TIME: 4-6 HOURS (MAY VARY DEPENDING ON THE PHASE OF TREK)
If you’re coming from Baguio City:
*Same step as given above but skip step 1.
FOR DIY (DO-IT-YOURSELF)
Bus ticket: 460.00-750.00 X 2 = 920.00-1,500.00
Jeepney: 50 x 2 = 100.00
Guide: 300.00/5-6 persons (50 pesos for 6 persons; 60 pesos for 5 persons)
*The total expenses are adjustable depending on where are you coming from. In this case, I presented the expenses if you are coming from manila.
*Total expenses are the sum of the most cheapest prices (referring to bus ticket and guide fee). Therefore, these expenses are for a 6 person budget.
*Much better if you bring pack lunch to lessen the food allowance.
FOR THOSE WHO WILL AVAIL OR PLANS TO JOIN AN EVENT:
There are outdoor groups or travel agencies who arranges an itinerary climb.
Total expenses ranges from 1,200-1,300.00 excluding food expenses if you are coming from Manila. Meet-up may depend on the itinerary being created by the event organizer.
In this case, We do DIY (Do-It-Yourself). We have a service which we rented from our friend, Sir Jondie Fuerte, owner of Camp Anahaw Travel and Tours. They also offer trips such as Ilocos, Sagada, Calaguas Island and also day hike and major climb such as Mt. Pinatubo, Mt. Ulap, Mt. Pulag and many more. For more information, you may contact Him at 0917-376-6445 or visit their facebook page, Anahaw Tour Services. Our March 18-24, 2016 trip would not be possible without their help. Very accomodating and generous indeed.