Things you should know about Mt. Pulag: Bokod, Benguet

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It was last April 2-4, 2015 when I joined a mountaineering team based in Cavite aka Team Viajero Mountaineers (who welcomed me with open arms) to climb Mt. Pulag via Ambangeg (Amba-Amba) Trail in Benguet. As of the moment, it was the Third’s (3rd) Highest Peak in the Philippines with 2,922 masl.

Here is a photo I captured when I reached the summit.

To be honest, it was my first major climb in the past two (2) years since the day I started climbing in college and just the thought of it made me shiver but also SUPER EXCITED!

In trekking/climbing/camping, there are a lot of things to consider because we don’t know of what or who might we be stumbling upon while in the journey.

 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW-

 WEATHER AND COMMUNITY-

As for our climb, according to some of my friends and other climbers who had been into Mt. Pulag: “YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE THE WEATHER” (considering that there was a super typhoon monitored at that time #Chedeng, we still pursued our climb but thankfully!, as you can see in the weather, it was all good when we trekked all the way up there but, IT IS REALLY FREEZINGLY COLD *I guess it was six (6) degrees at that time), and as for the place, there is a local community just near the jump-off that can be helpful in case trekkers/mountaineers need something.

PROPER GEARS (THERMALS)

Our team captain decided (Plan B) to climb the mountain that night we arrived at the jump off. This is  for us to avoid mishaps when the typhoon arrives (according to the weather forecast it will be signal no. 4 at that time in Benguet) and also before the typhoon went on ground, we already made it to the summit or might have been already in the camp.

It was my first night trek all throughout my climbing years and i thought i can’t survived because my flashlight that i depended  for all of my life (lol) suddenly starts fading while trekking the assault part of the trail.

 I learned that I should invest in a durable and water resistant Headlamp or Flashlight.

That night, I’ve realized how vulnerable I am when it comes to cold climate, I can’t feel my feet because I was freezing. I was like nearing hypothermia and I feared that if ever the weather drops on its lowest celsius, my physique might be endangered.

One of my friend suggested that I should sit on my feet in order for me to distribute the remaining warm I have and keep myself alert if anything happen and yes, it works and a shot glass of whiskey helps. HAHA

I would recommend the following proper attire/gear when climbing Pulag:

HEADWARE:

Bonnet and Polyester Headban

Fleece Shawl ( to protect my face and lips from windburn)

Earpads (if you’re ears get cold easily)

BODY:

Long sleeves/ or another T-Shirt

Fleece Jacket and Wind or/ rain breaker Jacket

(how i wish i brought a polyester or other knitted jacket to ease the cold in the jump-off)

HANDS:

Thermal Gloves would be a great help!

LOWER EXTRIMITIES:

Leggings

Thermal Pants

Three (3) socks in 1 night

As I have experienced, how I wish I was totally prepared and informed how cold up there and I’ll be bringing more thermals than ever again.

BASIC ESSENTIALS:                                                  OTHER ESSENTIALS:

Hiking bag                                                                     Toiletries (Organic soap recommended)

Trekking bag                                                                 Cooking Essentials

Trail food (biscuits, cookies or sweets)                     Utensils

Water – 3 Liters is enough                                          Plastic bags (for trash and for making your bag

Clothes for Cold weather (Thermals)                                              dry from moist)

Ziplocks (organizing things)                                         Powerbank

Trekking Poles                                                               Sunblock/Insect Repellant

Trekking shoes

Headlamp/Flashlight

Food

Sleeping bag

Sleeping Pad

Tent, Rainfly

Whistle/Compass

Camera/Multi-function device/CP

ID Card/Cash

BE MINDFUL OF EVERYTHING-

A simple courteous greetings to other climbers will do this, you’ll never know, one of these people might be your future friend. 🙂 Let’s keep our environment free from any garbage, please bring your own trash bag when climbing any mountain or generally travelling. Leave nothing but footprints, Take nothing but pictures, Kill nothing but time.

PRESENCE OF MIND AND ALERTNESS-

Even though we are all just climbing to enjoy nature, we shouldn’t keep our guards down. One incident happened on one of my co-climber, his trekking pole got stolen when he forgot that he put it in the grassland. At that time, many climbers are gathered in the area that’s why he can’t track anymore which is which. Just be mindful of your things, and if ever you’ve got something that wasn’t yours, I believed a simple question to the people around will do.

My outfit for the midnight trekked at grassland.

We almost trekked for almost eight (8) hours all the way up to the summit because there are some members in the group that was not feeling well and we decided to stay for awhile , that’s why we ended up at that long hours in the trail.

Before i forgot, there are different types of environment when you go up for the said trail: Jump-Off, Pine Forrest to Camp 1 and Mossy Forrest to Camp 2, Grassland from Peak 4 upto the summit.

It was so cold that you can’t figure out if you’re in pain or just tired climbing the mountain but one thing is for sure, ONCE YOU GONE UP THERE, you’ll see and realize that no matter how hard or easy the trail is. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT. The camera lenses can’t capture how beautiful the sky, the clouds, the mountain, the feeling and surroundings but the memory can. IT ALL GOES in the MEMORY.

The experienced was simultaneously exasperating, tiring but Awesome. It was a great journey!

Before you can climb Mt. Pulag, pay a visit to the DENR Station for the signing/ registration and for the orientation and for the signing out.

I learned that YOU DONT ONLY LIVE ONCE, but THE MEMORIES WITH THESE PEOPLE WILL ONLY BE MADE ONCE.

So Enjoy! Happy Climbing!

 

xoxo

Vikay

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