Mt. Ulap in Itogon, Benguet

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Let me start off by saying that I'm not the blogger type, so please excuse my writing skills :D

When one thinks of a mountain in Benguet, the immediate thought that pops up to the head is Mt. Pulag, a popular choice for hikers who want to experience (extremely) cold temperatures, being the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines.

But another equally breath-taking mountain, Mt. Ulap, can also be found in this province. It boasts of what the Cordilleras has to offer: lush greenery, free roaming cattle, cool temperature, among others, which makes hiking this peak a truly unique experience.

I first heard of this mountain a little over a year ago, but it wasn't until November of last year when I had the chance to climb up. At the time, the place isn't as popular as it is now, so I was lucky to have visited a bit earlier. 

I won't be technical here. Instead, let me just share with you my experience through the photos I took from the trip. 

The first photo I took from the hike
Welcome sign for hikers
Tall, slender trees. Almost like a scene from Twilight
Among them is this tree, seemingly extending its branch for a handshake.
Walking through the woods

Kuya Jefferson

Pre-nup photoshoot? That's our guide sitting at the back.
1st peak with the little rocks

Kinda reminds me of Hobbiton from LOTR
Passing through the fog. You can imagine how cold it was.
more fog
When nature decides to show off, you take a photo.

We decided to take our lunch just across Gungal rock, which many hikers consider as the highlight of the climb, as it offers a spectacular panoramic view of the mountain range. For beginners, getting there is quite a challenge, though.

Lunch break near Gungal rock

When I saw the triangle-shaped rock, my heart pounded with excitement and fear, looking at other hikers who gave their best shot in posing for a photo. I thought to myself, one wrong move could cost you an injury, or worse your life. Best to proceed with caution.

Unfortunately, when it was our group's turn to take a photo, the clouds decided to give us a "not today" memo and just fogged up the entire area. So we didn't have a clearing.

Not the kind of sea of clouds that we wanna see. That's me in black with the knee-high socks btw 
Officemate / trip organizer having a lucky moment
Got left behind by the group on the last part of the hike
My favorite photo taken from the trip
Nearing peak 3 (summit). The views are so amazing, the photos really don't do it justice
Free roaming cattle. They all look so healthy
"Simba, everything that the light touches is our kingdom"

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take more photos after these 'cause my camera ran out of juice :(. Lesson learned, always have spare batteries with you for long trips like these.

All-in-all, our hike took 9 hours to complete, but on the average you can complete it at 6. It's because of the photo taking and in-between rests that made the trip longer than expected. Quite surprisingly, you wouldn't even notice the time because of the sheer beauty of the mountains. This experience was truly one for the books.

*Photos taken with Sony a6000, post-processed with VSCO.

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