Travel Guide: Mt. Pulag via Ambangeg Trail

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Watching the sunrise at Mt. Pulag summit

Mt. Pulag, the third highest peak in the Philippines and the highest in Luzon is one of the best mountain you can ever hike in the Philippines. Dubbed as the “Playground of the Gods” because of its majestic view at the summit surrounded by sea of clouds. Trekkers often go here to witness the stunning beauty of the sunrise as it shines to the slopes of the mountain giving light and warmth to its surrounding.

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Mt. Pulag, pronounced as “Pul-ag” means bald because there are no trees from grassland to summit. This mountain has three types of landscapes, the pines, the mossy forest, and the grassland. This mountain is in between three provinces, Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya.

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The Ambangeg Trail is the easiest trail going to the summit of Mt. Pulag. Most hikers calls it the “Artista Trail” due to its relatively easy trail compared to Akiki Trail and other trails. Trek usually starts at the ranger station after you’ve secured a guide and registered your team. From the ranger station, it is a 4-5 hour hike to summit and trek starts at 1 am in the morning if you are camping at the ranger station. If you are going to set your camp at camp 2, you have to start your trek by 1-2 pm on your day 1, then start your trek to summit at 4 or 5 am on your day 2. Camp 2 is just 1-2 hours away from the summit of Mt. Pulag.

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How to schedule a hike to Mt. Pulag

Before you can enjoy the majestic view of Mt. Pulag, you first have to secure a reservation at the Mt. Pulag National Park Management. Ask them if there are still available slots on the day you chose to hike Mt. Pulag. Note that they only allow a maximum of 500 hikers a day to climb Mt. Pulag so better have your reservations as early as one to two months, because there are some organizers who hoard slots on weekends giving less slots to those DIY hikers like us.

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Required documents before climbing Mt. Pulag

Due to recent cases of hikers having difficulties surviving the climb to Mt. Pulag, the management is now requiring all trekkers to submit medical certificates proving that they are fit to climb the said mountain. Failing to submit this requirement on the day of your hike will have them prevent you from hiking Mt. Pulag, so better have this requirements on-hand before leaving for this hike.

Just in case you are too busy too have yourself checked in your area, there’s a hospital in Ambangeg, just a few minutes away from DENR Office wherein you can have yourself checked by a doctor if you are physically fit to climb Mt. Pulag.

Transportation from Baguio to Jump Off Point

Ok! So, you have secured your slots and you’ve had yourself checked for your medical certificate, now you need to find ways on how to get to the jump off point. There are no public vehicles that can bring you from Baguio to Ambangeg. Mostly, hikers hire monster jeeps as their means of transportation from Baguio to Ambangeg and vise versa. If you have rented a van, you can go directly to the Ambangeg but I strongly advise that you leave your van to Baguio and just hire a monster jeep if your driver is not experienced with the road going to the jump off point. There are cases where vans loose their brakes which caused accidents, so again, just hire monster jeeps from Baguio to Ambangeg.

Things you should bring when hiking Mt. Pulag

The weather gets really cold in Mt. Pulag, dropping down to 5 degree celsius and below which makes most hikers chill and suffers hypothermia. So here are some essential things that you should bring with you when hiking Mt. Pulag.

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  • Fleece Jacket
    • Can be used as your base layer
  • Thermal Jacket
    • This will be your mid layer
  • Windbreaker Jacket/Outer Shell
    • This will outter layer that will protect you from dew or rain
  • Rain Coat
    • Just in case you will be hiking on a rainy weather
  • Gloves
    • You need to keep your hands warm, trust me
  • Bonnet
  • Grabber Body Warmer
  • Grabber Hand Warmer
  • Grabber Toe Warmer
  • Thick Socks
    • Keep your feet warm, bring an extra pair just in case it gets wet
  • Aluminum Foil Mat
    • You’ll use this as flooring for your tent to keep your body from the cold ground of the camping site
  • Sleeping Bags
    • Extra protection from cold
  • Tents
    • Your shelter. If you don’t have tents or don’t one to bring one, you can rent at the Ranger Station from Php 300- Php450 per tent
  • Cook Set
  • Stove
  • Butane Gas
  • Mess Kit
  • Hygiene Kit
  • Extra Food
  • Water Bottles/Containers
  • Power Banks
  • Phones
  • Cameras

How to get to Mt. Pulag

  • Ride a bus going to Baguio from Manila
  • Hire a Monster Jeep that will take you from Baguio to DENR Office and to Ranger Station. Monster Jeeps cost ranges from Php 7,000 to Php 8,000

Breakdown of expenses

DIY Expenses for Mt. Pulag via Ambangeg Trail. Budget is for a group of 18 people maximizing the capacity of the Monster Jeep.

  • Bus MNL-Baguio-MNL: Php 960.00
  • Monster Jeep Rental (Good for 18 pax) : Php 7,500.00 [Php 417.00/pax]
  • DENR fee: Php 175.00
  • Ranger station LGU fee: Php 150.00
  • Guide fee: Php 120.00/pax
  • Camping fee: Php 50.00

    TOTAL: Php 1,822.00/pax

    PS: If you are going to set camp on Camp 2, you need to pay the camping fee at the DENR Office.

Miscellaneous

  • If you don’t have medical certificates, and you are already in Baguio, you can ask your monster jeep driver to bring you to the nearest hospital in Ambangeg and have you checked if you are fit to climb Mt. Pulag. It will cost you Php 100.00 for the medical check up.
  • If you don’t have tents, you can rent at the ranger station
    • Tent — Php 300.00 – Php 450.00
    • Aluminum Foil Mats — Php 50.00 (Small) Php 100.00 (big)

Contact Numbers

  • Please call the Mt. Pulag National Park Management to reserve your slots between 8AM to 5PM only
    • 09291668864
    • 09199951316
    • 09103010423
  • For your Monster Jeep transportation, please call Kuya Romeo
    • 09092102123

Side Trips

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Viewed from Lolo Cancio’s Inn and Restaurant
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Jang-jang Hangin Bridge
  • Ambuklao View Deck
  • Jang-jang Hangging Bridge
  • Lolo Cancio’s Inn and Restaurant
    • Stunning view of Mt. Indian and the Ambuklao Lake and Agno River

So yeah, Mt. Pulag is definitely one of the most beautiful mountain in the Philippines and it has one of the most stunning view that you can ever experience. But with all of its beauty, we must still protect it from being destroyed and help it maintain its natural beauty. Us hikers have the biggest role in preserving the beauty of Mt. Pulag. Always remember the principles of LNT (Leave No Trace) and educate one another on how to love nature.

REMINDER!

  • Locals said that it tends to rain unpredictably if visitors of the mountains are noisy. So you better keep your voices down so you do not disturb the nature and other hikers near you.
  • Clean as you go!
  • Do not litter!
  • Have fun!
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