Holy Thursday | Photo set
I’m still having a weekend hangover! So since the power is out here at the office, might as well put my mobile data into good use.
Last year, me and my friends were supposed to hike Mt. Pulag on my birthday but unluckily, it stormed. So when my best friend called me up last month if I’m up to climb this March, I did not have second thoughts and booked my flight even if it would just be the two of us with a group of people we wouldn’t know. I told her we could always make friends.
Flew in Manila March 17, flight was super delayed. Met up with Jobelle, grabbed dinner, some Jack Ds and packed.
Day 1 | March 18, 2016
Off we go! Met up with the rest of the Jeron group at Victory Pasay at 9pm. Left for Baguio at 10pm.
This was a really fun group! So glad to have met these crazies! Some wine action and lots of peeing going on.
Day 2 | March 19, 2016
Arrived Baguio past 5am I think. It kinda took long with the bus ride. From Baguio, we were headed to Baban Homestay in Benguet. And while on the road, we were graced to witness an amazing sunrise. The scene along the way was awesome too.
We had a couple of side trips on our way. First stop was the Ambuklao Dam.
Next stop was the Daclan sulfur springs.
Then headed to DENR for registration and orientation.
We were served some Pinikpikan for lunch, a local Cordillera delicacy. It’s beaten chicken, burnt and cooked. Yum! After lunch, while waiting for the previous group to check out at the homestay, we started drinking (haha).
We stayed at Baban’s Homestay because it’s no longer allowed to camp up the mountains. I’m blaming it on the many irresponsible climbers who leave their trash behind destroying the natural ecosystem. But anyway, it was convenient for us, we were able to sleep on a bed and have a hot bath. Though it would have been a totally different experience if we were camping under a billion stars.
Claiming this spot. This was the bench under the magical tree, the only place that has signal. Now resume drinking.
Scene at the homestay. Explored for a bit the plantation of really fat cabbages.
The place already has an awesome view in itself and so many pretty flowers all around.
Lights out at 7pm. Wake up call at 12mn.
Day 3 | March 20, 2016
Trek started at 1:30am from the Ranger Station. It would take approximately 4 hours from there to the summit. We took the Ambangeg trail, the easiest trail so they say, easy with challenging parts like the really steep uphill climb to camp 1 and peak 2. But overall, doable. We had an 8 year old with us so no reason at all that you can’t do it. Unless of course you have health problems.
Grabbed these photos from our guides Jeric and Jackie of TrailAd. Only had my camera phone with me and it just wouldn’t do justice to what the naked eye sees. Hello Milky Way.
And moving on..
This amazing sunrise, a play of color and a spectacular view with 8C temperature on a summit 2,922 meters above sea level. Yep, amazing.
And what was more amazing was I got to share this experience with an awesome bunch!
Power nap before heading down.
And down we go.
Just some scenes on the way down.
That’s Don Don, one of our TrailAd guides, and us catching a break through the mossy forest.
That’s Ate Imelda on the right. She’s one of the local guides who accompanied us during the hike and she’s 60 years old. Hats off to DENR for providing livelihood to the locals. One of their sources besides farming is acting as tour guides for organized hikes to Mt. Pulag summit.
And fresh buko juice at the bottom.
Hooooooot bath at the homestay then after lunch, took off for Baguio. Surprisingly, we still all had energy to mess around with each other. The games in the van would not put us to sleep.
Passed by the Jangjang hanging bridge along the way, the longest one in the PI running round 43km if I remember correctly.
Arrived in Baguio and sold our tickets for Manila at the bus station so we could rent a van going back instead and chill for a bit. Bought some pasalubongs at the Baguio Market, had some hot choco and dinner at Batirol and ended the night with “Ray Charles” at Baguio Craft Brewery.
Super fun night with the circle of trust! Left for Manila at exactly 10:27pm, passed out after 10 minutes in the van and arrived at BGC round 3am. Thank you Kuya Oliver!
Day1&2: Depart Manila for Pulag (B/L/D)
8pm Registration and meet at Victory Liner Station (Pasay).
9pm ETD Baguio.
3am ETA Baguio.
4am Depart for DENR station via chartered Jeepney.
• Ambuklao Dam
• Hanging bridge
• Sulfur springs
10am Register and attend a short orientation.
12pm Lunch served after orientation.
3pm Arrive at Homestay. Rest and free time for leisure.
Day3: Hiking Expedition (B/L)
1am Start trek to Mt. Pulag summit
2am ETA Camp 1, Rest
330am ETA Camp 2, Rest
530am Mt. Pulag summit for sunrise
730am Start descent from summit
12nn Lunch and wash up
2pm Jeepney ride back to Baguio
5pm ETA Baguio. Free time.
9pm Bus back to Manila
Things to bring:
Fleece Jacket + Down jacket + Outer Shell (must be suited for 0-7 degree temperatures, Mt. Pulag is where you can experience the coldest weather in the country)
• Raingear, Rain jacket/Poncho (VERY IMPORTANT!)
• Trekking Pants/Jogging Pants (Preferably waterproof and warm)
• Thermal top and bottom as a base layer
• Trekking Shoes/Hiking Shoes (Make sure you’ve test-worn them. If using rubber shoes, make sure to bring backup.)
• Gloves and socks
• Beanie/Head gear
• Plastic or Ziplock bags (for water proofing of your clothes, cameras and other items)
• Flashlight/Headlamp (plus, extra batteries)
• Personal whistle
• Personal meds, First Aid Kit, and Sun Protection
• Tissue Paper and baby wipes
• Water bottle (at least 3 liters if you’re sensitive to unfamiliar water; or just a 1-2 liter container, easily refillable with cool, fresh, clean and potable mountain water)
• Personal Trail food (candies, chocolates, cookies, nuts) and extra snacks
G/F VM Tower, 727 Roxas Boulevard
Cor. Airport Road Parañaque, Philippines
Phone +63 2 854-1813
Fax Number: +63 2 854-0066
Thank you, thank you, thank you Nikki, Jeric, Jackie and Don Don for organizing this trip and thank you, thank you, thank you Jobelle, Tina, Anita, April, Trish, Misty, Sean and Miguel for sharing this super fun experience!
And also, thank you, thank you, thank you awesome God for really good weather, for a safe trek, for a spectacular view, for an amazing sunrise and for awesome new friends.
Til the next adventure!
Photo credits: Jeric Tugaff, Jackie Banzon, Trish Ayson, Jobelle Nepomuceno, Misty Zara, April Peñaranda
It has always been a challenge (not a struggle) to raise a child with Asperger’s. They see a world so much different from ours, understand differently from what we can normally comprehend, grasp unrealistic ideas and view it as normal. They see color in black and whites and grays in color. They give a solid meaning to the word unique. So somewhere in between, you know you’d both clash and disagree.
But also in between you learn about patience (lots and lots and lots of patience), about perseverance, about compromise, about appreciation and amazement and unconditional love.
This kid, when he was younger, he could name all the flags of the world. When he got older, he could name all the car brands and their model types. Recently he’s into constellations and he’s been telling me about what he sees when he looks up the sky at night. It’s amazing how they could pour all concentration and focus and passion into that one thing that interests them and be scattered with all the rest.
There are days that I feel exhausted and helpless especially during the times when he is being unreasonable and throws a tantrum and no matter what I do he just completely shuts down and I can’t get through. There are days that I panic and overthink things, like how will he be able to live normally when I’ve gone. There are days when I feel like a failure and think that I am not doing enough despite all the medication and doctors and therapy.
Then there are days when he is overly sweet, does his chores, surprises me with I love you balloons and letters, talks to me about his day like what he did with his friends at school, jokes about random things, looks after his youngest brother and somehow, it assures me that somewhere, I am doing things right.
This kid, he’s taught me a lot about living. How to appreciate the little things, how to pay attention to detail, how to strive harder and never give up, how to dream. When he is shattered, I need to focus. When he is unnerved, I need to encourage. When he is irrational, I have to be patient. When he is being stubborn, I have to pour more love.
And yes he is extraordinary and atypical and awesome and I’m very very grateful.