Mount Pulag via Ambangeg Trail

Discovering My Mountain Bunny

I’m a nature lover, an avid trekker, hiker, backpacker and for all intents and purposes, a budding mountaineer.

To date, among the mountains I’ve climbed, Mount Pulag in Kabayan, Benguet, Philippines is probably my most favorite. It has a very rich and verdant biodiversity that one can enjoy while walking, an ample water supply,  cold weather even on summer climbs, and, if one is lucky enough, see the ever famous Sea of Clouds on early mornings at the summit. It’s extra special because it’s also my maiden climb.

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Courtesy of Erl Lardizabal

Fact: Mount Pulag is the third highest peak in the Philippine archipelago with 2922 meters above sea level (MASL). The other two highest ones are both in the south- Mount Apo in Davao province, 2954 MASL; and Mount Dulang-Dulang or D2 in Bukidnon province, 2938 MASL.

There are several trails leading to the summit . The Ambangeg Trail (easy trail), will only require one  night of camping; the  more challenging ones, Akiki and Tawangan Trails, usually require two nights and three days to traverse; and then there’s Ambaguio Trail (Jump off is Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines) which usually require three nights and four days to traverse on a leisurely pace, two nights three days when done by those hard-core Mountaineering Clubs. On this write up, I’ll share the costs, itinerary, the how tos and all about Ambangeg Trail.

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Different Trails to Mout Pulag
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Ambangeg/Babadak Trail

We usually organize our own climbs, (led by people who already trekked the trail, of course). And I’m very fortunate to have a friend who frequently arranges and organizes climbs to Pulag (like at least twice a month), but if you’re thinking of doing it yourself, here’re some of the things you need to do.

To process and arrange a climb,
  1. Contact DENR Park Superintendent Ms. Emerita Tamiray Albas  – 0919 631 5402, please call or text her with the following details:
  • Date of Climb
  • Entry Trail
  • Exit Trail
  • Team Leader and groups (if there are more than one)
  • Number of participants.

*Wait for her confirmation and approval of the request.

  1. If acknowledged and approved, you can arrange and rent a four-wheel drive jeepney through Ms. Gina Epe – 0999 991 6008. This may range from P9 000-P12 000 (USD 194.20 – 258.90). The more attendees, the less the transportation cost per head.
On the day of climb

Contact Ms. Gina Epe so that the rented jeep will be sent to and wait for you in Baguio (usually at the Caltex Gas Station near the Baguio City Victory Bus Terminal ).

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Department of Environmental and Natural Resources –  Park Administration Office
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Inside the Seminar Room
Required Fees
DENR Protected Area Office (PAO)

P 100.00 (USD 2.15) –  Registration Fee

P 50.00 (USD 1.10) – Camping Fee

P 30.00 (USD 0.65) – Cultural Fee

Babadak Ranger Station: 

Municipal Fee – P 50.00 (USD 1.10)

Professional Guide Fee –  P500 (USD 13.00)/guide for 1-5 persons, and P100 (USD 2.15) for each additional person.

Porter Fee (optional) – P250 (USD 6.50)/way

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Mind the Rules
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Babadak Ranger Station

As a mountaineer, our role is to be a steward of Mother Nature. So as a novice climber, I read a lot of Mountaineering Etiquette blogs before the climb. You can read more about the basics here. Mount Pulag also follow the LNT (Leave No Trace) policy. We have to endeavor to know more about them as a respect to the mountain and the locality.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 0
2200 Take bus to Baguio City

Day 1  

0500  Rendezvous at chartered jeep stop.

0600  Take chartered jeepney to Kabayan.

0900  Breakfast Stop

1000  ETA Visitors’ Center. Registration and orientation.

1130  Drive to Babadak Ranger Station

1230  Estimated arrival and lunch at Ranger Station

1300  Set out for Camp 1

1430  Estimated arrival Camp 1

1600  Estimated arrival Camp 2. Pitch tent.

1800  Dinner at campsite and socials

1900  Lights Out

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Camp 1: First stop.
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Water Source

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Ambangeg Trail – not so much elevation

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Camp 2: Overnight camp

Day 2  

0330   Wake up call

0400  Light meal and warm up

0430   Start trek to summit

0545  Estimated arrival at the summit. In time for sunrise.

0700  Start descent back to Camp 2

0800  Back at Camp 2,full breakfast

0900  Break camp, head back to Ranger Station

1130    Back at Ranger Station, settle guide fees, tidy up and head back to Visitor’s Center.

1230    Log out Visitors’ Center

1400    Drive back to Baguio City

1700    Estimated arrival to  Baguio City and dinner.

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My attempt at documenting the sunrise

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Gear Check
  • Tent (make sure all parts are complete before you climb).
  • Clothes (2-3 pairs)
  • Windbreaker, fleece or shell jacket (must be able to withstand 0–7 degrees Celsius/32-45 Fahrenheit)
  • Rain gear (Rain jacket/coat, Poncho or a makeshift insulator like a garbage bag)
  • Trekking or Jogging Pants (preferably waterproof, must be able to keep you warm)
  • Extra socks
  • Trekking or Hiking Shoes (Make sure you’ve test-worn and broken them in days before the trip. Make sure to bring a back-up footwear like sandals).
  • Warmers (Gloves, bonnets, scarves, mufflers, etc)
  • Plastic bags (for water-proofing of your bags and other items)
  • Sleeping bag (preferably the padded ones) and Earth pad (or the thick garbage bag to insulate your tent from the ground).
  • Large Garbage bags.
  • Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries)
  • Whistle
  • First Aid Kit and personal medicine
  • Mess kit (container bowls, plate and utensils)
  • Toiletries (particularly toilet paper and wet wipes).
  • Water bottle (to be refilled with fresh mountain water, or bring at least 3 L of your own if you’re sensitive to potable water).
  • Personal Trail food (chocolates, candies, chips and cookies)
  • Camera
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Sea of Clouds
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 Descent from the Summit. Photo courtesy of Erl Lardizabal.

DENR PAO Contact details:

Landline and Fax: (074) 444-2720

Email: ambangeg@gmail.com

Website: http://www.pawb.gov.ph

Facebook Page: Mt. Pulag National Park Bulletin

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