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Adventure in Mt. Ulap

After seeing pictures of the beautiful Mt. Ulap, I was sure I was going to climb it this 2017. My friend and I were supposed to join a group I found on Facebook, but after asking the organizer about details for the trip, the tour was already closed. So we decided to organize the trip on our own, and thankfully we managed to push through with our trip to Mt. Ulap.

Reaching for the Clouds

We arrived at the jump-off point earlier than expected, by more than an hour actually. Our driver drove so fast and bypassed Baguio since he thought we were in a hurry. However, it was a good thing that we were there early. We all had breakfast first, before starting the hike at around 530AM.

It was much colder than I expected, then I remembered that it was only January, hence the lower temperatures of the highlands. However, the first part of the hike was just like what I expected, simply breathtaking.

The sky was slowly changing from black to navy blue to a slight tinge of orange. The sun was already rising as we made our initial ascent.

This time of day proved to be one of the highlights of the hike. We saw sea of clouds from a distance and great views of the rolling, verdant highlands as the light of day began to spread.

The coolness of the weather made Mt. Ulap one of my favorite hikes, the cool breeze made the hike a bit easier because our group didn't feel as tired. My past hikes were all under the heat of summer or one of those days during the rainy season when the sun came out.

After a few hours of walking up and down trails, we finally made it to the 1st peak.

The route is very scenic and the trail well laid out and easy to follow, and there were pine trees! Woohoo!

The beautiful rolling hills of the mountains was an unforgettable view from start to finish. Even with little to no sleep, we all managed.

The highlight and the iconic shot of Mt. Ulap is Gungal Rock. This slab juts out of the mountain, making for a perfect viewpoint and picture. However, getting to the ledge is quite dangerous. The local guides don't want people to crowd near its walkway. They're the only ones allowed to line up for gets no matter how big or small the group is. To add to its danger, its tilted at a certain angle, making the rock difficult to walk on even with the right shoes. One part of it is a slide right into a ravine with nothing to stop your fall.

Me thinking deeply about my next adventure. 

As if the views just couldn't get any better, it just did. The last leg of the hike had the same ascending and descending trail.

We all finally made it to the last peak of Mt. Ulap. We took a short breather and ate snacks before making the final descent.

Just after the summit was for me the biggest test of the descent as the incline going down was steep, there's nothing to hold onto and the loose rock making the trail slippery. But after that, the trail is pretty straightforward.

Photo c/o of JJ Gepanaga
Our Ulap squad during the hike, it was fun reuniting with friends, classmates, and meeting new people.

How to Get to Mt. Ulap

Our guides during the hike were these two teenagers, they were helpful and were good company. Mt. Ulap has a little bit of everything that this part of the Philippines offers, pine trees, rolling, verdant hills, the sea of clouds (we only saw it from a distance), and a captivating sunset. We organized our own trip with dinner at Cafe by the Ruins in Baguio. Our budget was P1000 each including van transfers with driver, entrance and registration fees, and guides.

For those who plan to commute, here's how you can do it:
*Take a Baguio bound bus from either Cubao or Pasay
*From Baguio, board a jeep bound for Barangay Ampucao via Philes route
*Guides are required and costs P300 per day, registration is at P100.
*Brgy. Ampucao Tourism – 0998-9589549

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