MT. ULAP HIKE
Mt. Ulap is one of the highest mountains in Benguet. Situated at Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon, it has a height of 1,846 meters above sea level making it attractive to hikers who want to level up their hiking experience. Not to mention the cold weather that adds up to its attractiveness to adventure seekers.
Being up for a challenge as myself and my friends, we joined Putik Adventures for another climb last May 28, 2016, Saturday.
Our initial itinerary (credits to Putik Adventures):
Day 0 (May 27)
10:00 p.m.– Meet Up Jollibee Alabang
10:30 p.m. – ETD to Baguio
Day 1 (May 28)
03:00 a.m.– ETA Baguio
03:15 a.m. – ETA Good Taste (Bfast, buy packed lunch)
04:30 a.m.– ETD to Ampucao
05:00 a.m.– ETA Ampucao Brgy Hall (Register, Secure guide)
05:30 a.m.– Start Trek
08:45 a.m.– ETA Gungal Rock
09:00 a.m.– Start HIKE to Mt. Ulap via Philex Ridge
11:30 a.m.– ETA Mt. Ulap; eat Lunch
12:30 p.m.– Descend to Sta Fe.
13:30 p.m.- Burial Caves
14:30 p.m.– ETA Sta Fe; Wash Up
15:00 p.m.- ETD Sta Fe to Baguio
15:45 p.m.– ETA Baguio
**you may now free-ball your own itinerary**
18:00 p.m.– ETD Baguio to Manila
20:00 p.m.- Leeesa’s (for Diner)
23:30 p.m.- Jollibee Alabang
However, because of unforeseen instances (minor accident along EDSA and another accident along NLEX causing traaaffiiic. Grrr), we arrived a bit late at Benguet.
Along the way going to Brgy. Ampucao, you’ll already have an idea how it feels like going through sea of clouds, because yes, we drove through them. Yay! At around 7:00 a.m. we got off the van and proceeded to the Brgy. Hall to register and secure guide.
They gave us some briefing of the dos and don’ts. They also mentioned that a few weeks before the day we had our climb, a girl fell off a cliff because of taking a selfie. Thank God, she just got injuries. That’s why they reminded us to be cautious and extra careful whenever we are walking beside a cliff and taking photos.
We were also informed that they’re no longer allowing hikers to pass by the Burial Caves, maybe because they want to preserve it and to keep the solemnity of the area.
It was 7:30 a.m. I guess when we started our trek, taking the Philex Ridge.
Climbing up Mt. Ulap is easy yet challenging because it’s such a loooooong hike going to summit. The good thing is that, there were only minimal steep trails and most are flat.
There were also parts of the terrain that you’ll walk under the Pines. This was what excites me before when we were just planning to hike this mountain. To personally meet Pine Trees. Though it’s not the kind of Pine trees that I usually see in the movies, full of leaves making it perfectly shaped, but still, Mt. Ulap’s Pine trees will not disappoint you because it’s still pleasant to the eyes and nose (it smells really nice).
Of course, your climb will never be complete without experiencing the ever famous Gungal Rock. (P.S. The sign on the rock was still there. I just edited it out on my photo because I think it’s not nice.) It took us 2 hrs 30mins or 3 hrs I guess to get here.
You’ll just have to wait for the group who arrived there ahead of you to finish their turn with the photo ops but for us, it didn’t take long. Well, it depends on the number of people so you better climb early to avoid a large crowd.
After 20 – 30 mins, we then proceeded in aiming for the summit. We were just so lucky because the sun kept hiding from us. If not, the heat of the sun would’ve made our climb difficult because you’ll also pass through grass lands like these.
From here, you can already see the summit peeking.
There were a lot of picture perfect spots along the trail so we didn’t let those pass. haha
While walking to the summit, these clouds will keep enticing you.
They wouldn’t call it Mt. “Ulap” for no reason, yes? hihi
There were also parts of the trail that are dangerous if you’re not careful and cautious because of the really deep cliff along the side. One wrong step, you’ll be at the foot of the cliff in no time! So again, be careful with your steps.
And after 4 hrs, and one minor assault (I don’t know if that was really an assault or I was just so tired from walking. LOL), we finally reached the summit!!!!
That feeling of fulfillment of reaching the top!
It was around 11:00 a.m. when we got there so before descending, we had our lunch at a sari-sari store that’s just 5 mins walk from the campsite.
You can buy some necessities there like water or trail foods for the descent.
Going down the mountain through Sta. Fe Ridge is a lot different because it will take you only one hour to go down because of a very steep assault. But don’t you worry, fella, because they made wood stairs for it to be easier especially when it’s raining.
Again, well if you’ve been climbing for quite some time now, you already know that an assault going down will really be harsh on your knees so be extra careful guys to avoid injuries.
There were souvenir shops along the trail that sell tshirts, key chains, ref magnets, etc. ranging from 35 – 250php (if my memory serves me right).
You’ll also walk on mini hanging bridges like this.
And after an hour of going down the stairs, we’re done! It was around 1 or 2:00 p.m. when we finally reached the end point of the climb. There was a store where we took a quick rest before taking a shower.
You’ll have no problem with washing up since they have several bathrooms here. You’ll just have to pay 10php. Ow! I almost forgot! The only problem in taking a shower here is the freezing cold water freshly coming from a spring (bukal). Your strong desire to wash up will be enough to ignore this tho. Sure thing! hihi
This was one exciting, challenging yet fun enough hike deserving to be my closing climb for the summer (unless my system keeps finding it that I can’t refuse haha).
1. Bring lots of water. I kept saving my 1 liter of water so it can last at least up to the summit. 2 liters will be enough to keep you hydrated till you reach the top.
2. There’s no river crossing so better if you wear shoes instead of trekking sandals.
3. Bring a jacket or even a thick long sleeves just in case the cold weather gets harsh.
4. Better bring enough food/trail food to keep you energized because there’s no stores along the trail aside from that near the campsite.
5. Bring sun protections like sunblock, hat/cap, arm cover and the likes.
6. PRACTICE “LEAVE NO TRACE” PRINCIPLE.
1,400php – Since we joined an organized hike, we paid an all-in fee with Mt. Ulap tshirt
100 – 200 php – Food and drink
100 php – 3 Bag tags
10 php – Ligo/Shower
BAGUIO SIDE TRIP
After everyone was done washing up, we then drove to Baguio to have our merienda at Ketchup Food Community. It’s like a compound of restaurants where tourists stop over and eat. We ate at Canto Restaurant since it’s the most popular among the restos there. We ordered Canto Burger, Beef Kelby and of course, Hot Choco to match the cold weather.
I was really satisfied with the food and its reasonable price. Will surely go back here and try their other offerings.
After having a sumptuous merienda, we then went to Mines View Park to do a quick walk and to buy some pasalubong. It was around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. when we got here.
Of course, we took the chance to have a picture taken with the super adorable and popular St. Bernard dog. I wanted to bring him home, he’s so friendly. He’s so used it meeting strangers/tourists. 🙂 Though I found him a bit tired. 😦
And since we were already a bit rushing home before the rain starts pouring, we scouted stores where we can buy affordable pasalubong. Well, there were a lot of stores around the area so we didn’t have a problem looking for them. I only spent less than 500php for pasalubongs that were enough for my family and some colleagues.
400 php – Food and drink
500 php – Pasalubong
50 php – Two shots with St. Bernard dog
100 php – Everlasting flowers for the altar (3 small lei)
We drove back to Manila at 6:00 p.m. and arrived at Alabang at around 11:00 p.m. I guess.
This was a tiring full-day adventure that’s so worth it! I hope my blog gave you a glimpse of what’s waiting for you to experience in Benguet that thrills you to try everything we did for yourself. Happy climbing! Ciao!