Hiking Mount Pulag is one of the things bolded and capitalized on my bucket list. As an avid hiker, the strong urge to conquer Mount Pulag had been mounting as long as I could remember until it finally happened few days ago. I was initially worried about not being able to finish the hike, as I haven’t been physically active as much as I wanted. The long hours working in the hospital makes me want to hibernate forever on the days I’m off. It wasn’t helping either that one of my best friends had been feeding me with this irrational fear of possibly having a heart attack in the middle of the trek due to lack of exercise and training. Nevertheless, I survived the hike with flying colours despite my aching knee and the drizzly, freezing weather.
Mount Pulag is considered as the highest peak in Luzon while third in the Philippines. It stands 2922 meters above sea level thus explains the bird’s- eye view of
some parts of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya if you are at the peak of the mountain. It has three trails you can choose from; Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawangan and Ambaguio trails. The Ambangeg trail which we did is the easiest hike recommended for beginners and for people who do not have the time to train. It’s mostly flat terrains and several not “so want to kill myself” elevations. It can take about 4 hours going up to the summit and another 4 hours going down to the ranger station which is the starting point depending on how fast you are. Like any other trails, having a guide when hiking Mount Pulag is mandatory. Registration can be paid in the DENR station while camping fee can be given to your guide or at the ranger station.
Mount Pulag shelters various plant and mammal species, rats being one of them. I came across a huge rat while trekking, and I almost had a seizure thinking it was a snake. Additionally, the temperature is not something to joke about since it can drop to a freezing point, so covering yourselves with jackets, scarves, bonnets and gloves is necessary if you don’t want your butt freezing at night or while at the summit. As what Miss “Chastity” said during the 45-minute orientation, the freezing temperature is not enough reason to compromise your safety and chastity. Having a good waterproof of everything (tents, shoes, bags and ect.) is also vital since it usually rains in the area. It was windy and pouring rain while we were in the ranger station that some of the people I was with had to move their tents inside the man-made shelter in our campsite. Whereas the others had to tolerate being caved in their soaked tents while being wrapped with garbage bags, me and my friend only had to worry about being swept away by the strong wind outside.
The mesmerizing mountains shrouded with grass, the mossy forests covered with trees, and the different types of spectacular flora and fauna found in the mountains which I came across with made the experience surreal. Not only this, as I continued to watch the fiery sun rising on the horizon while I stood at the summit, I was paralyzed with its glorious, overpowering beauty. That the lack of sleep, aching feet, freezing weather, and exhaustion were forgotten in an instant. And that despite only seeing a small fraction of the sea of clouds which Mount Pulag is known for, the magnificent sun beaming proudly with its orange colour while peeking through the clouds filled me with raw awe and overwhelming emotions. As I continued to bask in its endless beauty, it made me realize how lucky I was to be standing there witnessing such spectacle once in my lifetime (or maybe more in the future). It indeed lives up to its famous name the “playground of the gods.”
A response to The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge:Earth