D-1

Jan 04 2018
For every plan there is a 10% probability that it will fail or have some unforseen hindrances. You can either have a plan b all the time or be spontaneous.

A 3d2n trip to the north to climb the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines via Akiki Trail is what we planned to do last weekend. But it turned out to be a more interesting weekend than what we expected it to be.

McDonald's

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Benguet

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DAY 1

Jan 05 2018

Team left Manila at around 8:45 PM and picked up 3 more people along the way with few stop overs at gasoline stations. Got confused a bit with the road but eventually arrived in Benguet at around 6 or 7 AM.

After breakfast, we went to Jang Jang Restaurant and had photoshoot at the hangingbridge behind the restaurant.

Hanging Bridge

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DENR Visitor Center Pulag

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After pictorial, we went straight to DENR for the seminar and registration. I think it was 30mins to an hour drive.

The seminar lasted for 15 to 30 minutes. It was divided in to two: the video and the talk.

The video showed us what we can see during the hike in Mt. Pulag. It shows the different types of vegetations that we will encounter. The video also discussed the dos and donts during the climb -- the LNT principle.

During the talk part, the speaker reiterated mostly what was on the video. She also told us few trivias and stories about the said mountain.

We were told that Pulag means 'kalbo'. The national flower of Austria, Edelweiss, can be found along the trail.

There are 3 trails discussed to us during the seminar. First is the Ambangeg trail or known to many as the 'Artista Trail'. This is the easiest and most used trail among the 3. From this trail, from the rangers station it will take 4 hrs to reach the summit (depends on the pace). The trail from Camp 1 to Camp 2 is flat and will gradually ascend going to summit. It's a total of 8kms hike.

Second trail is the Akiki Trail or known as the Killer Trail. The jumpoff for this trail is in Kabayan and it's 28km from DENR. It's starting with an ascend along the roadside going to Edet River and from the river it's another 12 hrs climb going to summit. Most of the time this is a 3d2n climb, some do it overnight. Although this trail is harder than the Amba trail due to mostly assault, this trail clearly shows the change in vegetation, from pine trees to mossy forest to grassland. 

Last trail discussed was the Ambaguio trail. The trail was not fully discussed however we were told this is the longest trail.

Lakes can also be found in the Pulag. National Park however it is in the northern side of the park.

DENR Visitor Center Pulag

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Babadak Ranger Station

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The unexpected happened

After the seminar we were able to confirm that the only trail they will be opening to the public will be the Amba trail. 😵😵😵

Goodbye Akiki-Amba. 😰😰😰

The reason behind -- they have to settke the issue of the hiker/s who experienced hypothermia last December and until that is taken cared of they will not be opening the trail yet.

Safety First.

As a plan B -- we'll be camping Day 1, climb the summit Day 2, and travel to La Union until Day 3!!! 😁😁😁

We rode a monster jeep going to ranger station -- toploading!!!

I lost track of how long the ride was since i was enjoying the view and busy taking pictures. I guess it was after 45 mins when we arrived at the rangers station.

There are 2 choices for accomodation -- camping and homestay. Of course what is hiking without camping, right? 😊⛺

There are several options where to set camp: Ranger station (right side near the jump off or left within the grass and trees) & camp 2. Unfortunately though, they're not alkowing anyone stay at camp 2 given the temp at night. We opted to camp with the trees and grasses.

After lunch, some went down the rangers station to freshen up, some stayed inside their tents. Renz and I opted to stay behind.

I woke up at around 5pm, I got a good 3 hours of sleep. It drizzled a bit so the temperature dropped. Went i went outside the tent it was already foggy and they started drinking. Soon enough dinner is already served -- sisig!!!!😋😋😋

By 9PM we decided to call it a night. 😪😪😪

The temperature was tolerable at first but as safety, i doubled my socks, put on my pullovers, wore my gloves, and hid myself inside my sleeping bag. At around 11PM i can feel my feet getting numb cause of the cold air. Good thing cause by 11:30PM everyone's up already preppin for the hike.By 12MN, we're all set.

DAY 2

Jan 06 2018

We started the trek with a prayer, for guidance and safety. Group was divided in to 2 and i was part of the 1st. Our pace was kinda fast and for whatever reason we werent stopping. The temperature was cold but it's unnoticeable since we're moving. We stopped by camp 1 for a water break and to wait for the 2nd group. After 15mins minutes we continued our trek going to Camp 2.

I lost track of the time but maybe it was around 3AM when we reached Camp 2. It's an open area and it was freezing cold. We watched the stars and checked the constellations while waiting for the 2nd group. We stayed at the kubo to rest. We decided to stay a bit so we wont be to early to arrive at the summit otherwise we'll just freeze.

By 4:30 AM (estimated) we started our trek going to the summit. Since it's grassland, we felt the coldness of the air and it's kinda hard to walk to the fog plus it's drizzling. We took our time going up, had a few stops to rest and dance -- haha, yes dance, this is where the Team Gspot originated.

The trail is getting muddy as we go further up, but of course that didn't stop us. By 5:45AM or 6Am, we reached the summit and it started to rain. Good thing we have our rain coats with us. We looked for a place to sit, some took a nap, others including me patiently waited and hoped for a sunrise.

Unfortunately, there's none. 😐

We were almost ready to give up and go back down when a bit of clearing appeared.

After getting enough pics, we started going down. As we go down, the sun then decided to show himself and saw a much better view of sea of clouds along the trail.

It was easier going down however there are few muddy trails due to the rain earlier. We had few stop overs to take pictures. Reached Camp 2 to meet 2 of our group mate then went on our way down to the jump off.

During our entire stay at the mountain, Renz and I are constantly blaberring about not getting shades at the DENR office while we had the chance. So upon arriving at DENR.. ⤵⤵⤵

After negotiating with the van, we are off to Baguio to buy some pasalubongs then La Union!!

I can't exactly remmeber how long was the trip going to Baguio, but what i can remember is us feeling dizzy. Maybe it was the zigzag road or maybe it was kuya who constantly hit the breaks and seemingly unaware how we are all shaken when he do his turns. But we arrived at our destination safe, that is what's important.

By around 7PM, hello La Union!

Mount Pulag

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DENR Visitor Center Pulag

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Baguio

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Camp Avenue

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After pitching our tent, some started cooking dinner, some started to freshen up, some started drinking -- including me and Renz. 😁 We opted for the unli cocktail, we had until 11PM to refill. I think we 4 or 5 refills, and i think we made good use of the P199.

Let the drinking begin!
🍻🍻🍻

DAY 3

Jan 07 2018

And whoever said the fun stops at night? 😄😄😄

By 1PM we decided to head back to Manila.

Camp Avenue

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Sison

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Cabanatuan City

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Bulacan

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Ayala

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Pacita Main Gate

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It was a long drive home. But thinking about the past 3 days, the ride was all worth it. Honestly this has been one of the happiest group i've been with. Uulitin with them? Definitely!!

Planned or unplanned, we just have to enjoy every bit of moment. And we did!!

🤗 **Climb organized by CampSome.**

📸 **Photgrabbed from my travelmates**

📰 **Visit Camp Avenue's FB page for more details regarding the place.**

The best times in life are usually random, unplanned, and completely spontaneous.
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