Mt. Pulag

Doing the hike was only half the drama of the Mt. Pulag (the 3rd highest mountain in The Philippines) experience, the nightmare of getting there was challenging enough.  Attempting to head across Manila at half six on a Friday evening is not the most fun thing to do.  It took nearly three and a half hours and took one van, two buses and a taxi. It was my first experience of the EDSA highway, the busiest in the Philippines.

That got us to the place where we would take a six-hour coach trip through the night to get to Baguio City, in which we were told to shut the curtains so we would be less conspicuous to bandits.  When we arrived we had another four-hour drive up to our base camp, up a long and winding road with some stops along the way – including a breakfast with spectacular view that it was too early to remember to photograph ans some sulphurous geysers – and an orientation which was less than entertaining.

Our group arrived utterly exhausted and after a bit of a walk and food, it was finally off to bed for a few hours.  There had been a lot of talk about extreme cold so we wrapped up and started walking at 1:30am in order to beat the sunrise which happens around 5:30.  For a hardy European fresh out of a British Spring, the 12 degrees was just a fresh morning for me and I promptly delayered much to the surprise of my fellow hikers.

The paths we took followed the contours of the mountains gradually rising making the altitude easy to handle. We spent our time walking through wooded areas – that looked like brocoli in the light of day for a good part of the hike before coming to grasslands and then struggling up some steep and slippery grass hills as we rushed to beat the sunrise.

We made it in time and expectantly and breathlessly waited.  There was an excited air of anticipation and quite a festive mood owing to the weather being perfectly clear for us, with the added bonus of a lightning storm on the horizon which looked majestic.

Breathing in the crisp morning air, we gazing across the Sea of Clouds, it was an awe-inspiring sight and then what he had come to see, happened.  The silent sun rose silently and majestically and a cheer rose as we watched the fiery ball’s rapid rise and shared a moment that will stay with all of us for as long as our memories remain.

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38 Replies to “Mt. Pulag”

  1. Never mind the American eclipse that is coming across our continent tomorrow, I’m worried about your eyes from filming into the sun! How did you do it without injuring your eyes?

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    1. My camera has one of those screens on the back so I could point, zoom, and take without having to look directly at anything. I am inadvertently clever (i.e lucky) like that.

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  2. Great post! Good to know you visited our country. By the way, I nominated you for a Mystery Blogger Award! This is in no way obligatory. But I hope you participate. “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion. Okoto Enigma

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    1. It really was crazy, I felt like a real tourist wandering around in the ‘wrong sort’ of clothes. Having said that I came back to 18 degree temperatures and needed to wear a long sleeved shirt to keep warm so it’s swings and roundabouts.

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    1. It really was, heading up the mountain there were so many photo opportunities and then being at the summit. The whole mountain was a treat and so fascinating with its myths and landscape. I felt that each turn of the road was revealing something new and wonderful. There was not enough memory in my camera to photograph them all.

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    1. It was spectacular and well worth the long travel time. Seeing those views over breakfast especially was wonderful, I really want to see more mountains now and see what else The Philippines has to offer.

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    1. The weather was just perfect as well which helped. Seeing nature and its beauty is wonderful. It is strange how it feels special but is there every day for us to appreciate. I look forward to going to more places in the future so I can share them with you, in fact my trip still isn’t finished yet, still plenty of beaut still to be posted.

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        1. Nature is such a beautiful thing. To have experienced it was wonderful and in such favourable circumstances was fantastic! Those memories will always stay with us and encourage us to have more of such times.

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    1. Haha, true! In my first week I saw a sunrise and sunset in different places and it was magnificient both times. Somehow England just doesn’t have the same feeling to it when I see either.

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  3. Cliche but true, people climb Mt. Pulag to see the sea of clouds and lovely sunrise. Most hikers, have different literal and figurative views to share. Some witnessed sea of fog, sea of rain, and sea of clouds, it’s always a different and unpredictable experience, but one thing’s for sure: nothing compares to the feeling of being on top conquering not just the mountain but yourself. I am glad that you went with me on your first climb and blessed to enjoy the unforgettable view!

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    1. I think the experience we had is a once in a life time, it was such fine weather, onto other peaks I say my dear! Thank you for picking out such a special and meaningful climb for us, it really was an amazing and awe inspiring climb and overall experience.

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    1. After all that, I would have sprinted up the mountain to get to that sunset haha. The sleep the night after was glorious, when we finally returned home at 2am, after a harrowing breakneck ride back through Manila.

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    1. I was wondering how dramatic a confrontation with bandits would be, especially for the tall, white man who stands out like a sore thumb. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about that.

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  4. Sounds like a fabulously stimulating trip! Reminds me of my trip to Machu Picchu so very long ago. And the stars featured on your next post are stunning. It truly gives perspective on our place in the universe, doesn’t it?

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    1. Machu Picchu! I bet that was absolutely amazing, the night sky, the Incan ruins, that is some timeless feelings right there! Our small space in the universe seems ridiculously tiny when you take the time to consider it.

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  5. That was awesome! Sadly I was not able to go Mt. Pulag. I only went and “conquered” Sumaging Cave in Sagada, the last time I was in the province. You may want to climb Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales as well. I’ve never been, but I heard it’s beautiful.

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  6. Crazzzzy beautifu! Im a Filipino but I havent been here. Haha! It’s a shame. I would love to visit Mt. Pulag too in the future. Really jealous of you right now hehe.

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    1. It was an epic journey just to get there but is really worth the visit. We got our trip from one of those firms that sorts it all out for you and you just have to turn up with a tent and clothes. You will love it up there, it really inspires words.

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  7. i love the way you story-tell. i felt like i am part of it. it has always been part of my bucket list to go up to Mt. Pulag, but it also scares me thinking about the travel on the way up from Baguio. I heard the the road is dangerously steep.

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    1. I am glad to have you journey with me through words. The road is steep and some places and winding, it takes about four hours of drive to get to the base camp but a jeepney can handle it fine. I really recommend it, the views are beautiful on the road up and of course the top of Pulag is well worth the trip!

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