My Pulag Story
After several travels and adventures, I discovered that I am more of a mountain rat rather than a beach bum.
The mountains give me a sense of peace and rush at the same time.
This Mount Pulag trek was a temptation that is hard to resist.
I bravely signed-up as a solo backpacker and the next thing I knew, I am on the bus bound to Baguio.
Few hours after, we arrived at the summer capital of the Philippines. It was way cooler than I expected for a summer season but I prefer this than the ridiculously hot and humid weather in Manila. It was a little past 4:00 AM when the chartered jeep took off with the rest of the group. Everybody was catching some sleep as it was still dark outside and you could smell early risers cooking up some breakfast and several locals outside warming up with some coffee.
Before heading to the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) for orientation, the trekkers had a quick brekky at the Pinkan Jo eatery. I only had a cup of instant noodles, hard-boiled egg and steamed saba.
Soon after, we were at the DENR office which was full packed for that April weekend hike. We then jumped in to our respective vehicles going to the ranger station. After additional briefing, we prepared our things for the climb. A local guide joined us and her name is Melicia or Ate Melicia as we call her. She was extremely strong for a petite woman to carry a huge backpack and two medium-containers of rice for 20 persons. She is just amazing!
Following the meeting with Ate Melicia, we began our hike. It was not a walk in the park going to camp 2. It was a pain in the ass! Good thing, I was with two brothers from Pampanga (Migs and RJ) whom I met at the ranger station. Talking with people is a good distraction with an extremely difficult activity like this.
I had several stops along the way and I think I was catching my breath the entire time! Haha. Adding to the level of the difficulty for non-mountaineer like me was the rain (I was wearing glasses) and the muddy ground which was kind of hard if you are sporting a non-trekking shoes. It was double the effort and strategy to stay on trail and prevent slips.
After a couple of hours, I reached camp 2. Our tents were already set up by one of our team leaders. The moment I reached my group’s tent, I fell asleep. Four hours have passed, I was awaken by a call for dinner. It was getting cold as the night sky approaches. As soon as I got out of the tent, I was served with a hot pork sinigang for dinner. We all waited as the sun sets with a glimpse of the sea of clouds forming at the edges of the mountain. I just noticed that the purple night sky begins to settle and the thousands of stars were seen and seem like within reach. It was a perfect moment to cap the night.
Before dawn broke, everybody was getting ready for the summit hike. I had a nice warm coffee to start the day. It was another one hour trek to the top. I thought, it’ll be much easier this time, because we were allowed to leave our things and just bring water, trail food and camera. But I would like to think, this has tested my endurance to the maximum extent. It was no joke to trek in darkness and the freezing cold air squeezing my airways. I felt suffocated every time there is a need to climb a much higher angle from the ground. I could not count the number of time my knees just collapsed. Good thing, Migs (the younger brother) was there to look after me and wait for me whenever I need to rest after a fall. More than the physical battle, this is mind power at its finest. I keep on telling myself that I can do it and that I have to reach the summit before the sunrise. That was my ultimate purpose after all why I joined. With the help of Migs, RJ and Ate Melicia, I was able to pull it through! At around 4:45 AM I was at the summit!
And the succeeding events were just awesome! The color transitions before sunrise, the sea of clouds lining up just like an orchestra about to perform on the center stage, the blue sky and the view from above; it was just indescribable! How great is our God that He created the beautiful and mighty Pulag.
This Mount Pulag trek let me discover more things about myself and gained me new friends.
Come and see this beautiful creation. It is here in the Philippines, your home.