Mt. Ulap Dayhike 2017

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We did our hike last Sunday, April 23rd so this post is a bit overdue. Contrary to popular belief that most Filipino people have been to Baguio either once or twice during their childhood, this was, in fact, my first time to travel around the Cordillera region in my 22 years of existence. This area of our country should be the coldest and because of the unforgiving heat wave I’ve been experiencing in the Metro lately, I was expecting to be welcomed by freezing air! But behold! Climate change is real, and it was yes, chilly in the early morning, but the temperature was not that different, it was indeed very disappointing. But nevertheless the hike was overall fun and the views were breathtaking. Watch the slideshow above! (No enhancements, taken from Google Pixel)

Here are the basic information about Mt. Ulap (credits to: pinoymountaineer.com)

Location: Itogon, Benguet
Entry point: Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon
Exit point:Brgy. Sta. Fe, Itogon
LLA: 16.2904 N, 120.6312 E, 1846 MASL (Mt. Ulap)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours
Specs: Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Grassland and pine ridges, scenic views of the Cordilleras, burial caves

Itinerary
2200H Leave for Benguet (From SM North)
0400H Arrive Benguet (Breakfast + Registration)
0530H Start Hike (Group of 15, 2 guides)
0800H Arrive at Gungal Rock (2nd Summit)
0930H Arrive at Highest Point (Mount Ulap Summit)
1000H Start Descend to St. Fe
1200H Arrive at Exit Point (Shower + Rest)
1300H Leave for Baguio
1400H Free time at Baguio
2200H Leave for Manila (Our short trip was extended)
PicsArt_04-26-11.40.36

We wanted to reach the summit at the break of dawn but we arrived late due to stopovers. The ascend was not difficult but of course there are segments of the climb where you’d find yourself pushing too hard to breath and with knees slightly shaking because of the upward pressure but it was nothing extreme. All throughout the mountain is adorned with lovely pine trees and moss that really gives off a pleasing aesthetic (in short, great pictures). Don’t be surprised to be greeted by herds of cows grazing at random areas, they are humongous but I find them adorable, in fact, they are in healthier shape than most cows I see! Their ribs are not popping out!

PicsArt_04-26-11.23.10
Our guide took our pictures at an undesirable angle at Gungal rock, it wasn’t that bad but this is not how the Gungal Rock looks like in actuality. And the fact that it took as about an hour just to wait for other hikers to finish their photo session at this spot was quite disappointing. So, lesson learned: If you want to have impressive photos at Gungal Rock 1) hike earlier and 2) hike on weekdays where there are probably lesser hikers. But I’m not necessarily a huge fan of taking too much mainstream photo of popular spots so it wasn’t a big deal.The descend – I was not able to take pictures of the hellish “stairs” descending from the mountain. It was my least favorite part and my knee caps and calves were cursing me for putting them up for such suffering. For two hours nonstop (because we were very much hungry thus, we opt not to take any breaks anymore; except when we ate a delectable strawberry icecandy! It was the best!) we descended through steep stair-like downhill route. Upon reaching Brgy. Sta. Fe we were welcomed by docking locations where we can take showers or have small meals. It is very important to highlight, that the Benguet water is the best. It must have come from the mountains, it was light, crisp and most of all ice-cold! I had the best time showering in that tiny cube of a space with a bucketful of the best water I ever showered with.We got to Baguio around 2pm and had a late lunch at Good Taste, I think it’s quite interesting to tell that the name of the restaurant is hard to remember because of how generic it is. I called it, Taste Good, Great Taste, Nice Taste, Great Food and so on just because I cannot get to remember the correct name (I still thought about it for a good three seconds while writing this). About their food: The serving was very generous! For only around a little over 500 pesos we were overwhelmed with a whole chicken serving of butter garlic chicken, shrimp sinigang and fried rice! Ahh…so good! After pumping our stomachs we hailed a taxi cab to go to the Diplomat Hotel, which I thought would be overly creepy but turned out to be more historical to me. There were several tourists that day so that’s probably why I never felt even a tad bit scared. After that, I was very exhausted and sleepy, we went back to the van around 6pm and I literally went into a coma. The rest of them strolled around the Burnham park, public market and night market. Because of my unforgivable slumber, I was not able to buy strawberries!Overall I think per person excluding the pasalubongs, we spent around Php1500 pesos only per person. Not bad right?
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