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Travel PH | Traversing Mount Ulap Via Ampucao - My Experience

Now this writer is not your hard core hiker or trekker so when you invite me for Mount Ulap I would have second thoughts.  The summit being 1,846 meters above sea level, its a number that's very daunting.  I don't want to ask anymore the guides if its easy or not, as you know their answers are.  It's easy they always say.

This time however I personally wanted to go up.  I did my research.  The climb is easy as most write ups would say.  No matter what I read, I decided to finally grab the opportunity and climb it.  I had to bite the bullet.

Thanks to my friend, I was able to muster some strength and bravery to say yes to the group organizing the Mt. Ulap climb.  The joining fee is Php999 and it includes already the van transfers, registration and guide fee.  For the price sadly, it doesn't cover meals.  

Our pick up point was in Greenfield District Saturday 8pm.  Our itinerary was as follows;

MT. ULAP sidetrip Baguio
Event fee: 999 pesos
Entry point: Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 4-6 hours
Exit Point: Santa Fe
Features: Ambanao Paoay, Gungal Rock, Mt Ulap, Burial caves, Pine ridges, scenic view of cordilleras and Baguio tour
ITINERARY DAY 0 09:00pm Assembly Greenfield 09:30pm Assembly @McDonalds Muñoz DAY 1 03:00 ETA to Sta Fe/ Register 04:00 Start trek
4:00 ETD to Manila
08:00 ETA Gungal rocks (Photo ops, Rest) 10:00 Proceed to summit 11:00 ETA summit 12:00 Lunch 12:30 Start Decent 3:00 Jump-off 9:00 ETA to Manila INCLUSIONS: RT Van Transfer
Guide Fee
Registration fee Bagtag Exclusion: Meals Things to bring: Packed lunch 2-3 liters of water Trail food Rain jacket/poncho (if in case umulan)
The Itinerary is just a basis and not absolute or will not be 100% perfect due to many factors such as the weather condition,participants pacing,traffic,etc but we will do as much as possible to impose to everyone to follow the Itinerary.
LNT POLICY - Leave No Trace Policy po.Respect Mother Nature. ^^,


Now in reality.  We met at Greenfield District 8pm and we went to our van when we were complete.  Our trip to Itogon took 5 or 6 hours.  We "tried" to sleep through the trip but was awakened by our driver getting lost and griping about adding to his TF along the way.  Bad way to start the trip in my books.  

We arrived at Sta. Fe Registation around 330am and one can have a quick breakfast.  (Tip - Don't eat much before a climb).  This writer simply had noodles off a small make shift store in the basketball court.  I see my climb mates having crackers and coffee but I knew it wouldn't do, had to take in something more but not to make me full.

Im glad that our tour organizer is so accommodating that she was the one who registered for us.  All we had to do was to line up for the necessary stamp and get briefed by our guide regarding our climb.  Nice to note that there were some rules already going up the mountain.

Another good plus for us was the decision by our tour organizer to do a reverse climb.  Instead of starting from Sta. Fe, we did it first via Ampucao.  In the regular climb, the first part is a long chill trek then going down after reaching Mt. Pulag will be a bit of a challenge.  Our reverse trek, we started with that short hard climb then we used our little strength left to do the long chill downhill trek.  

When we did the first part of our trek, I had a lot of complaints.  I was panting like a dog, and was with the slowest of the group.  We had more rests than the actual climb.  Wish my body was more attuned to climbing as I was really sweating a lot.  After a while, the mountain grew on me and after doing the short uphill climb, going to the third peak (in the regular climb) of Mt. Ulap, every trek was a chill walk.  I like the decision by our tour organizer to do so.  If we did the regular climb, I can't imagine if I still have strength left to do a downhill trek after the third peak.

Something near the summit caught my humor.  There's a store called Ministop Seven Eleven.  This is a hikers' heaven.  All hikers stop here to relax and breathe some fresh air.  We also noted some hikers staying over in tents.  They did overnight here and it was a great idea that this is allowed near the summit.

After our short relaxation, we attacked the summit of third peak thats called Mt. Ulap.  It was windy and cold that going up was not easy.  My legs were starting to get cramped due to weather.  The hikers with me was very encouraging.  Slowly but surely, step by step, I finally reached the summit.  What a great feeling it was.  Cold, Wet and Sweaty, I finally reached the top.  All the rest are downhill they said.  Partially that's true.  Only then I learned that we were traversing 2 other peaks.

What? two other peaks?  Yes, there were 2 more peaks to climb but compared to Mt. Ulap, these were much lower.  But still there are uphill climbs to reach them.  Just to cut it short, for a beginner, this might be a test for them physically, but this will not be a problem.  I am a survivor and finished three peaks in a day.  It is still considered as a minor climb but for me, its an accomplishment.

We started our hike 430am, we were down the mountain 12noon.

After these three peaks, one can take a quick shower at the end.  For a cold shower, you get to pay Php20 and if you have still a bit of patience left, get a hot shower for Php50.

Feeling refreshed, we went for lunch at Good Taste in Baguio City.  It was a Sunday so we know there will be a lot of people there, we hoped we can get a seat.  We are 30 in our group, so that would be a problem.  When we arrived, it was as if God rewarded us for the hike we made.  We were not lucky to have our pictures taken in Gungal Rock due to foggy weather, but were given seats immediately here in Good Taste.  As the name suggests, it truly good taste the food they serve here.  It's always a great experience to eat here.  Do dropby here when you are in Baguio City.

Overall, on the way up, after muttering some complaints, asking myself why are people doing this, why am I doing this?  After two hours of hiking, I was treated to a great sight.  Along the way, pine trees, ridges, cold weather, fresh air, silence (with occasional bird noises), foggy or clouds envelope the mountain, these are the reasons why hiking is great.  Plus the fact you are with good people in the team, that makes the trip wonderful and fun.

Now off to another hiking adventure.


If you like to DIY this thing.

How to reach Mount Ulap
From Cubao, take any bus to Baguio.  Then take a jeep to Itogon.  Fare costs either Php20 or Php50 depending which terminal you ride.  Tell the driver you want to be dropped off to the Registration point where you pay for an entrance fee.  From there you can get a guide for Php550 for a maximum of 7 pax.  

After all the registration and guide selection, you can request to start off at Sta. Fe.  On weekends, there's a jeep to take you there.  As we said request, because this article will discuss more of a reverse trail.  You start your trek from the usual exit for most hikers.

some pictures here ctto