Mt. Pulag - Ambangeg Trail, Kabayan, Benguet
Mt. Pulag's Ambangeg trail is located in Kabayan, Benguet and the trailhead starts at the DENR ranger station.
- Third highest mountain in the Philippines
- Located in Kabayan, Benguet and bordered by the provinces of Ifugao and Nueva Viscaya.
- Features: Sea of clouds, grasslands and mossy forest
- Ambangeg Trail - Summit distance: ~8km (7.4km accdg. to Google Maps)
- Elevation: 2,926 meters above sea level
- Difficulty: 3/9, minor climb (by www.pinoymountaineer.com)
I joined the OHMC group lead by Mark Jesson to Mt. Pulag via Ambangeg trail. Our hike was almost doomed by the incoming typhoon but it did not affect our entire hiked for the entire Monday so we were lucky to climbed the summit with only a handful of groups.
We started our journey in Cubao riding the bus to Baguio at around 1:00am of Sunday and we arrived at Baguio city by 6:00am in the morning. The morning breeze was cold in Baguio as soon as we get out of the bus and rode the jeepney that will take us to our destination, Mt. Pulag's Babadak Ranger station and the start of the Ambangeg trailhead.
We arrived in our the first destination where we ate our breakfast and took photos on the hanging steel bridge at the back. This place is still in Bokod, Benguet and its name has escaped my mind but I'll update this story once I remember.
It was 9am and the sun was up in the unexpected blue sky. We went ahead to a hospital to acquire the required medical certificates to climb Mt. Pulag. It took 15 minutes to arrive at the hospital from the restaurant.
We proceeded to fill up our medical certificates, waited in a queue to measure our blood pressure and check our body condition one by one. It took quite a while to get 11 medical certificates for the group while some of us are enjoying the wait.
After the medical certificate, we now went to the DENR's Mt. Pulag National Park Protected Area office to register our names and submit our medical certificates.
The DENR office is well designed for visitors and we are also required to sit and listen to one of their videos about Mt. Pulag. The short seminar was unexpectedly entertaining and there were a lot of lessons about mountaineering that I think it is a great introduction for new and aspiring mountaineers.
After our short seminar with the DENR officials, we rode the jeepney going to our final destination, the Babadak ranger station where we will stay overnight in one of the house in the vegetable village. The road was steep and very narrow that only one jeep can drive in the road at a time.
Eventually after 30 minutes, we arrived at our destination.
It was almost noon but there were still a lot of hikers in the road preparing for their departure. As a I remember before there were a lot of carinderias in the village with a variety of choices for our lunch.
After lunch, we waited for the departing group to check-out from their rooms while we are on standby below their store house enjoying some snacks like their sticky turon. On our homestay, we requested food for our dinner, breakfast and lunch.
Meanwhile some of us have courageously took a bath in the cold water to refresh their body. I did not partake in such ordeal.
At around 6:00pm, we ate the delicious tinola for our dinner and after a while we started our rest for later's hike.
I charged my phone for tomorrow's hike since I will be using it as my flashlight in the trail. I also bought a scarf for Php 75 outside the DENR because I forget to bring one which I am grateful for later on in the summit.
Alright so the plan was to wake up by 11:30pm, and eat the prepared breakfast by 12:00am midnight. Our breakfast was canned tuna and meat loaf which is suprisingly good on your sleep deprived state after waking up abruptly in the middle of the night.
The air was cold and the moon shines below that you can look on the open trails without lights. I think the temperature was between 12 and 16 degrees celsius.
We started our hike at 1:05am after meeting up with our guide just outside the homestay. The Ambangeg trail has three parts: Camp 1, Camp 2 and the summit to Mt. Pulag.
🏡 Ranger station 👉 Camp 1
First section of the trail were wide and easy to walk on while the second section is a bit narrow and steep to climb.
Fatigue was not a problem because the start of your climb warms you up later on so we just walked continuously until we reach the steep parts.
This section lasts for an hour until we reach the first camp which has a kiosk where we can rest. We reached Camp 1 by 1:50am where waited for all our members to arrive.
🏕 Camp 1 👉 Camp 2
Mossy forest. The trailhead is more narrow compared to the first part but the steepness is rolling without tiring yourself from continuous walking.
This one feels like forever when we were descending but when it is dark, you just keep walking and think nothing. That way you just do not get tired.
I was one of the first to reach Camp 2 by 3:10am.
Once we have reached the open grounds of Camp 2, we felt the chilling winds and we rested in the small cottage inside the trees until all our members have reached Camp 2.
We rested for quite a while in Camp 2 and had a few hot drinks below the hut before our departure to the summit. We restarted our hike quite late at around 4:20am up to the summit of Mt. Pulag.
⛰ Camp 2 👉 Mt. Pulag Summit
The road is an open grassland and the primary attraction of Mt. Pulag. The last trail to the summit is a bit steep.
The journey to the summit is the coldest walk I have in my life. I did not have my gloves with me and the wind hammers us down like crazy that all I just need to is move through the trail.
Meanwhile the trail is smooth, the first part has been paved with big rocks then eventually you'll walk into the brown and softer soil that dominates the grassland.
We eventually reached the summit at around 5:20am just enough for the sunrise.
After spending 50 minutes in the summit, the wind blew so hard that the remaining clouds formed a sea of clouds on the north. We enjoyed the sight for a few minutes and I captured a good amount of video. Later on it just became a fog that appeared out of nowhere blocking our vision.
By 6:30am, we decided to take the group photo on the Mt. Pulag's signboard as the formal symbol of our successful climb.
So the descent to Camp 2 was fairly easy but it was a long way. I was the first one to descent along with 3 others.
Meanwhile Chan and Bella did the peak 3 unintentionally while following us and they lost us in the fog. So congratulations them.
When I was descending from Camp 1, I left my smartphone after repacking my bag. The phone was sitting in one of the wooden benches outside and nobody noticed it because it was camouflaged. I rushed ascending to Camp 1 that I was exhausted just reaching it faster than anybody else (not like there were too many people in the trail). Good thing, it was there.
Anyway, we descended and completed Ambangeg trail by 10:30am on which took a lot of time taking photos.
We ate our early lunch at around 11:00am and then departed by 1:00am going to Baguio.
You can check out the short clip on Wanderast IG account for the famous sea of clouds of Mt. Pulag although it was quite short.
The overnight home stay costs Php 300 per person and the food for 3 meals costs around Php 160 and one time full charge for phones costs Php 20 which are extremely cheap. Meanwhile the round trip via Victory Liner bus lines is around Php 1,000 (Php 500 one-way trip).
The required medical certificates depends on where you requested it. On the way, it costs Php 160 per person.
You must also pay the national park fees per person:
- DENR: Php 175.00
- Ranger station: Php 150.00
- Guide fee: Php 120.00 (min. Php 600 for 5 members or less)
- 01:00 - Departure to Baguio City by bus
- 06:00 - Arrival at Baguio city, ride the rented jeepney for Mt. Pulag
- 08:00 - Breakfast
- 09:30 - Get medical certificate from the hospital
- 10:00 - Register at the DENR office, take seminar
- 11:00 - Arrival at Babadak Ranger Station, lunch and check-in in the homestay
- 19:00 - Lights out
- 23:30 - Wake up call
- 00:00 - Early breakfast
- 01:00 - Start the ascent
- 01:50 - ETA at Camp 1
- 03:20 - ETA at Camp 2
- 05:20 - ETA at Mt. Pulag Summit
- 06:40 - Start the descent
- 07:30 - ETA at Camp 2
- 09:00 - ETA at Camp 1
- 10:30 - ETA at Babadak Ranger station
- 01:00 - Departure to Baguio city
- 04:20 - Arrival at Baguio city
- 05:30 - Departure to Manila
- 10:30 - Arrival at Manila
Reserving your Hiking Group
Please check with the Mt. Pulag National Park Management Facebook page to reserve the slot for your group. They also post updates and weather conditions in the mountain.
There are several numbers you can call at the Ranger Station ~ Mt. Pulag National Park Management Bo. Balabag, Bashoy, Kabayan Benguet, 8AM-5PM regular working days
Contact Numbers: 0929 166 8864, 0919 995 1316, 0910 301 0423
This is my third hike in Mt. Pulag: Ambaguio-Ambangeg, Ambaguio-Akiki and this one, Ambangeg backtrail. You can also check my previous hike in Mt. Pulag via Ambaguio trail.
Upvote this story if you think it is interesting and helps you in your wandering life
I built wanderast.com, liham.ph