Cloud Nine at Mt. Ulap: Figuratively and Literally

This write-up is not a travel guide. So if you’re trying to look for how-to-get-theres, forecasted budget, and a sample itinerary, you are in a wrong page. Well, the reason is, there are a lot of blogs that write the earlier mentioned details and I know they can share better knowledge on the know-hows of Ulap. Truth be told, I have no idea what to write and initially I only wanted this article to be more like a gallery of photos I took during the climb. There are really days when I feel like my English is way worse than usual (lol, even my usual English is not that good to start with).

This dayhike is just a quick break from my everyday Manila routine and somehow a band-aid for separation anxiety. I have been in Manila for four months, as of writing this article, and Mt. Ulap is the first hike I had within those months and is my third climb for 2018.

Mt. Ulap’s trail is categorized to be 3/9 as per pinoymountaineer.com with grassland and pine ridges as its features. The trail is perfect for beginners, like me, who seek for a dayhike far from the busy cities. The traverse spans around 9.1 km from jump-off point at Brgy. Ampucao to Brgy. Sta.Fe.

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The Sun was mad.
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Of course, who would forget to strike a daring pose of the famous Gungal Rock? Tbh, the angle of the shot is the trick here. From where I stood, it was not as daredevil as you think. Though, you really have to be cautious because of the gust. (I recently read an article of an adventurous couple who fell and died in Yosemite Park when they took a selfie, so extra careful next time. Thousands of likes on Instagram can’t revive you when you’re dead.)

The Experience

We reached Brgy. Ampucao in Itogon, Benguet around 3:30 a.m. Light breakfast goods were available near the registration area. Had a cup of milk, boiled eggs, and a banana before the hike. We were all set and started the trek around 4 in the morning. Our coordinator, Macky, wanted our group to be one of the first groups to reach the highlight points of the Mountain to witness the sunrise and enjoy less crowded trails considering it was on a weekend. The trail during the ascent was not as steep as other trails I experienced before. There was this second to the last slope before the summit that reminded me of the one assault on Binabaje Hills in Bohol. It was only the point during ascent that got my knees trembling. I liked it. It’s the only kind of pain that I enjoy, naks! We reached Mt. Ulap’s peak around 9 in the morning and we got good clearing. The sun was angry and at its fiercest. Limited shade was available on top so thanks to my wide-brimmed hat, at least. The summit or the 3rd peak was at 6.3 km reckoned from the jump-off point. Shortly after passing the 7-kilometer mark, the trail during descent was seemingly at a constant slope, enough to refocus your effort on the lower half of your body. Most parts of the descent were trails fortified with logs as tread nosing.  I tell you, it’s the descent that got my knees in pain, not mentioning the very limited leg space inside the van, and add the traffic along Kennon Road too.

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Another spot along the trail that most hikers stop for photo ops. Well, magpapahuli pa ba ako?
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Wild berry, as what our coordinator said. This is everywhere along the trail. Angelica, my company, tried eating some. I did not dare.

The weather was in our favor during that day. As what I observed, the soil type along the trail is of clayey-type after the summit and sure that the trail gets really slippery when it’s raining or even at a very moist atmosphere.

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Hanging bridges are signs that you’re almost at the end of the trail. We passed maybe three hanging bridges along the last kilometer of the trail, if I’m not mistaken. (But why this pose? Hype.)

Here are some of the random photos:

If there’s one thing that I realized from this experience it could be the fact that no matter how beautiful your destination will be, if you are in an uncomfortable company, you’ll never get to enjoy the whole journey. That is why I choose my company wisely. Personally, I think it is better to be by yourself than forcing an interaction with people you are uncomfortable with. So, shoutout to Angelica who have been my mountain-partner for the last two treks outside Cebu. To more summits! (And you’re getting better at taking photos of me, lol)

 

One down! Mt. Ulap is on my list of Philippine mountains to experience. I always keep telling people that I am no mountaineer or a hardcore trekker and that I don’t have a trek group or even a pair of hiking shoes (I just have my water-wading shoes, tbh). I just seek for the excitement before the hike, the challenges in the trail, the laughs with the people you’re with or with the people you just met on the trail and believe it or not, the different kind of pain that’s inflicted every after activity.

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