Mt. Purgatory traverse with OHMC group in Bokod, Benguet

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Mt. Purgatory, Mt. Pack and Mt. Komkompol are located in Bokod, Benguet as part of the hiking traverse through its mossy forest with a difficulty of 6/9.

Mt. Purgatory stands at the elevation of 2100 MASL is known formerly as Line 7 by Benguet Corporation as a jump pole for the tramline. It was named as purgatory for its isolation due to coldness and darkness.

The traverse to Mt. Purgatory starts in Japas jump-off point, around 8 minutes from the Gurel Junction where you register for the hike.

We started to ascend the mountain going to Mt. Mangagew by 8:30am earlier by 30 minutes. We hiked along the ridge of Mt. Mangakew which shows the scenic view of Benguet and its pine forests. Some of the roads are cemented and motorcycles can pass thru it.

There are houses before you reach the signboard for Mangagew.

Hiking along the ridge going to Mt. Mangagew

We reached Mt. Mangagew (1700 MASL) by 9:40am where we rested for a bit before the going to the village of Bangtinen. There are water sources in the Mangagew provided by the locals but you may not need it yet.

We continued our trek just after 5 minutes going to Bangtingen. 

Conquered Mt. Mangagew. Photo by Stan

The road to Bangtingen is used by locals for transportion for commerce so it is wide for everyone to walk on. There are houses and farm fields everywhere and this will be the last stage before the assault to Mt. Pack. We ate our lunch before the assault but in the midst of our rest, the sky finally began to shift the dark clouds, a thunderstorm ensues.

We reached the lunch site of Bantingen by 11:00pm.

The road to Bangtingen

After the rain softens its hurl of droplets, we restarted our hike by 12:10pm by assaulting the mountains along its ridge until we reach the entrance to the mossy forest.

The road to the mossy forest of Mt. Pack and Mt. Purgatory

The assault took us an hour and 10 minutes to reach the entrance to the mossy forest. It is now 1:20pm and the main body of the thunderstorm is now approaching fast.

The junction sign for Mt. Purgatory in what they call Prospect

Behold the mossy forest where limatik and the insects live in harmony to ambush approaching hikers. The mossy forest is a long trail of around 6 kilometers. The first destination is Mt. Pack.

The Mossy Forest has an established trail compared to the mossy trail of Ambaguio

The team reached the summit of Mt. Pack at around 1:55pm. Mt. Pack is also known as Mt. Banshila and stands at 2290 MASL.

At last the first summit to conquer has been, well, conquered.

We departed after 20 minutes of rest and taking pictures at 2:18pm.

Mt. Pack has been conquered. Photo by Stan

After leaving Mt. Pack for 10 minutes, it began to rain and the summit to Mt. Purgatory is still an hour away in the wet and muddy mossy forest. I enjoyed the rain inside the forest because this is how mossy feels, wet and dirty. Kidding aside, the thick fog will not dissipate for 3 hours.

We reached the summit of Mt. Purgatory at 3:20pm with the fog and rain all over us.

The team, even drenched raindrops and mud on our shoes, we still managed to take a group photo. I say good job. We left the summit of Mt. Purgatory at around 3:45pm.

Mt. Purgatory has been conquered. Photo by Stan

The mossy forest continued to haunt us with puddles of mud along the trail. It didn't stop us however. There are times that the rain stops and then restarts after a few minutes. Eventually by 5:10pm, we reached Mt. Bakian where lodgings (or I prefer cabin) for tourists are prepared.

This is one of my favorites during our hike where you can just chill inside the cabin until the thunderstorm passes through the mountains. There is also a fireplace inside the cabin where we dried our socks, shoes, backpacks and clothes.

The locals provided us with some blankets and cooked pork adobo for our dinner. We rested throughout the night and then we will wake up in the middle of our sleep seeping to the cold wooden floors of the cabin.

We gathered near the fireplace where it is warm and safe outside of the torrential rain

We started cooking at around 3am for breakfast and then celebrated Stan's birthday with his cake that survived the mossy forest.

After filling up our body with energy, we resumed our hike to Mt. Tangbao by 5:30am.

Our group photo outside of the cabin in Mt. Bakian. Photo by Stan

The weather is clearly good in the morning so we resumed quite early. There are still mud puddles along the way and the trail is soft from the yesterday's rain.

The road to Tangbao

After reaching the village in Mt. Tangbao, we left our heavy equipment in one of the homes of the Bokod locals and went our merry way to Mt. Komkompol by 6:15am.

Hiking up to the view deck of Mt. Tangbao

We went our way to enjoy the exhilarating scenic view of Benguet's mountains in the view deck.

From left to right: Lorraine, Carmina and Mai
Our birthday celebrant and organizer, Stan!

We continued our trek to Mt. Komkompol after a few minutes of euphoria of taking good pictures, clear weather and great view. Then after a few minutes, we entered the mossy forest going to Mt. Komkompol by around 6:25am where it will take an hour to reach the summit.

Resting in a nice weather inside the mossy forest.

We met the other two groups along the trail, it seems that they started early in the trek. By 7:10am, we reached the summit of Mt. Komkompol that stands at the elevation of 2325 MASL.

From a distance you can see the peak of Mt. Pulag. Even though the sea of clouds have been far off from the distance, the clear skies makes it better.

Mt. Pulag is seen visibly from the summit of Mt. Komkompol.
Mt. Komkompol has been conquered. Photo by Stan

We descended from Mt. Komkompol after 30 minutes of taking pictures enjoying the breathtaking view of Benguet.

We reached the Tangbao village after 45 minutes of descent from the mossy forest and then prepared for departure.

At around 9:30am, we started our descent from the mountains. You will walk through the ridge of pine forest with a few cemented road where motorcyles can pass through. As you descend you will pass by some of the houses, so you may need to follow your guide where the right road for the hikers is. There are also slippery trails where the clay is still wet from yesterday's rain. The last part of the trail is the long cemented road going to Pethal where we will reach it by 12:10pm. Pethal is a village where we can now, at last, take a good bath and rest.

Enjoying the view from our descent
Bonus shot using an improvised wooden tripod where you hang your clothes to dry

Actual Two day itinerary for Mt. Purgatory Traverse

Day 0

  • 22:00 - Ride the van from Cubao

Day 1

  • 06:30 - Reach the municipality of Bokod, buy food supplies
  • 08:00 - Register and orientation at the DENR office in Gurel junction
  • 08:30 - Start trek to Mt. Mangangew
  • 09:30 - ETA in Mt. Mangangew signboard
  • 11:00 - ETA at Bangtinen, lunch
  • 12:10 - Resume trek
  • 13:55 - Arrival at Mt. Pack
  • 15:20 - Arrival at Mt. Purgatory
  • 17:10 - Arrival at Mt. Bakian School Cabins

Day 2

  • 0400 - Wake up call
  • 0540 - Resume trek to Mt. Tangbaw
  • 0610 - Start trek to Mt. Komkompol
  • 07:10 - Arrival at Mt. Komkompol
  • 08:00 - Descend from Mt. Komkompol
  • 09:30 - Start descent from Mt. Tangbaw
  • 12:10 - Arrival at Pethal
  • 15:30 - Arrival at Baguio City, late lunch/early dinner
  • 17:30 - Depart from Baguio
  • 21:50 - Arrival at Metro Manila

Important Notes from Bokod Tourism Office

  • No advanced coordination, no climb - Bokod-MTO and ABADEG regulates the hikes in Mt. Purgatory.
  • Mountain guides are mandatory - Members of ABADEG are the only official guides and porters for Mt. Purgatory.

Mt. Purgatory Rates

  1. Environmental Fee - Php 75.00
  2. Entrance Fee - Php 75.00
  3. Camping Fee - Php 50.00 per head/night
  4. Guide Fee - Php 500.00 (one guide per five hikers)
  5. Porter Fee - Php 500.00 per day (maximum of 15 kg. per porter)
  6. Chatered jeepney - Php 6,500 for 15pax
  7. Chartered vans - Php 5,000 - 5,500 for 8 - 10pax

For more information, contact the following numbers:

  • ABADEG - 0912 370 1436
  • Municipal Tourism Office - 0912 930 4547

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Kenneth Bastian@onezeronine

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