Feb 02 2018
One will never know their limits until they try the extremes.

Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet
Jump-off points: Kayapa, N. Vizcaya; Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet
LLA: 16.31916°N, 120.80166°E, 2220 MASL
Days required / hours to summit: 2-3 days, 9-10 hrs
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail Class 1-3
Features: Pine forests, highland villages, views of Cordillera peaks


Mt. Ugo Traverse -- one out of the 3 great Cordillera traverses. The climb starts in Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya ending in Itogon, Benguet.

This is one of those mountains that i wanted to climb so badly but scared to try at the same time. Some of my friends said it's one of their hardest climb. But then again, as scary as it sounds, i still want to experience it myself.

Magallanes Station






I met up with a friend at around 7pm at the Magallanes MRT station going to Quezon Ave where the meet up is. It took us a whole 45 mins lining up and waiting for a train, just realized it was a Friday and it was rush hour.

It was already 9:45PM when we reached the meet up place and 10PM we were on our way. 1AM we picked up 3 of our friends and by 5:30AM we arrived at Kayapa, Benguet.


Feb 03 2018

After we registered, we ate breakfast at the public market in front of the baranggay hall while waiting for our guides and porter. Around 7AM we divided the stuff that will be carried by the porters -- tents and food. Amazing how they can carry 15kgs all by themselves looking at how old they are.

By 7:30AM we started our trek.

Trail starts with stairs, and it sucks. In all honesty, i prefer walking in muds rather than walking on cemented roads specially if it's going up. I dont know if it's just me but i feel like i'm exerting more effort. It goes on for 20mins. 😑

Once we reached the end of the stairs we took a quick rest.

After the dreaded stairs, we entered the forest. The trail is a bit muddy due to the mist, and we were surrounded by bushes, flowers, wild berries and tall trees.

After an hour of walking, we reached an open area where we regrouped, took a rest, had snacks & few pictorials.

After our short rest, we continued our hike up. It was hard to get your momentum back after resting, but it's harder not to rest after walking for an hour.

And after 30 mins we took another rest. LOL. Yes, i know, we did nothing but rest. With the assault trail plus the cold weather, we can't help it. 😂 This time, we took this chance to introduce ourselves to the entire group. Why just now? I dunno. LOL. Guess we just never thought of it beforehand.

After an hour plus of walking with 1-2 mins rest in between, we reached these houses were we had lunch. Bikers were also there resting, they took a different path though going up.

After lunch, we resumed our unending walk going to the campsite. Just within few minutes of walking, this emergency vehicle came and almost everyone hopped in -- except for 3, mainly because there's no more space. Yes i'm one of them.So we ended up walking the loooooonnnggg trail for 2 hrs and 30 mins (approx) and the sun was already up. Our consolation -- the beautiful views for an IG perfect picture. 😂

So how did we endure the long walk? FB live, pictures, food, and endless conversations. We talked about almost anything we could think of, from life/love problems to future plans to careers and how painful it is to walk non stop. 😂

While resting a bit and enjoying my awesome silvanas, the van that they hopped into passed by on its way down so we thought we must be near where they are..BUT we were wrong.LOL.After countless turns and more converstions, there's still no sign of them. Another rest and we got a message from them saying a habal habal will come and fetch us, and it did. We asked him to just carry our bags and he asked us to go to the short cut instead of the road he will be taking. So we did. And it we didnt regret taking it, more picture perfect views. 😊

The habal habal guy met us at the end of the shortcut trail to make sure we didnt get lost. He said to just go straight and we're almost there.NOT!

It's gonna be an assault trail after that long walk.

We continued walking up limiting the stops since I, personally, just wanted to reach the campsite. My feet felt like it's burning and i can feel the pain. I stopped taking pictures since i am now focused on just reaching wherever they are. But still i took time to be mesmerized by my surroundings.

I think it was 3:30 when we joined the group again, then with no rest we continued all the way to the camp site. This time the assault is almost at 70°. With my legs and feet hurting, i literally took a rest every 5 steps.

4PM we reached the campsite and proceed on pitching the tent.

I already skipped the 3rd round of drinks and joined the others whose doing galaxy shots. The sky is full of stars that night and it was just amazing staring at them.

I went inside my tent by 9PM hoping to sleep but they called me and wanted to finish the remaining drinks, lucky me i said yes, because if i didnt i might not have seen the rising of the moon.

I cannot explain how beautiful it is. how the moon light outlined the shape of the clouds surrounding it as it rises. I am literally having goosebumps while typing this since i can still clearly see it in my mind. Words aren't enough. 🙌

After being awed by the moon, we called it a night.

It was hard getting straight sleep as it was super cold. Honestly i wasnt that much prepared because i thought i can tolerate it since i was able to tolerate Pulag just a month before. Lesson learned, never underestimate the cold. I rubbed oil on my feet, doubled my socks, used garbage bag and poncho to cover it, but didnt work. My fleece shirt did its job on my upper body though but that's about it. I think im waking up every 2 hours.


Feb 04 2018

5:30 AM i woke up and the cold weather didnt subside yet, twas still freezing. But i tried to endure it just to make sure i witness the sunrise.

After a few more pictures, some started to break camp while others prepped breakfast. Bags are much lighter now since most of the food and water are already consumed.

By 9AM we're done fixing our stuff, cleaning the place where we slept, packed all the foods, and segregated the stuff we'll have the porters carry. We're now on our way to the summit.

It took us 20 to 30 mins going up the summit. Full assault so twas kinda hard to get the momentum from the night's rest.

After the quick picture taking we were on our way down. Instead of going where we trekked up, we went down the other way. Apparently KOTM race was ongoing so trail runners were also with us along the trail. I am amazed how they can run going up and down the mountains and it's timed. I'll try that soon..like far far soon. 😂

So few more picture worthy sights along the way. The rolling trail going down reminds me a bit of Mt. Ulap.

We were told that the trail going down is 8 hours given that we were only going to walk until km3. We tried to limit our rest hoping we can make it at a shorter time.

It was another non stop walk on a rolling trail going down, can you just imagine how painful it is on the knees. And i can again feel the burning sensation on my feet. But the walking contines.

So after 3 1/2 hours we reached KM7. We ate lunch and recharged ourselves.

2PM we resumed trek. By this time, most of us are almost drained inspite of the hour rest. 4kms is still a long way.

At this point i decided not to take a rest anymore, i just followed the trail and just kept on moving. I dont even know where they are as long as i'm seeing hikers and porters in front of me i'm fine.

Almost km3 and the trail started to become cemented and it's downward and it's getting hotter and hotter. Oh the pain! But i just walked and walked. Until Km3 at last?!!!

We waited for others to arrive and waited for our monster jeep that will take us to the barangay hall to get our climb certs and to our van.

Once there, we freshened up and by 7 or 8PM we went to Baguio for dinner.

By 10PM we are on our way back to Manila. Everyone's asleep, we were all exhausted.

My knees didnt give in this time (thank God) but my legs and feet felt numb. All of us wasnt able to walk properly the next 3 days after the climb. 🐧🐧🐧

And yet, inspite of the pain, i can say that this was the best hike ever. Im with great friends (old and new); experienced the beauty of the moon rising; having a clear sky for me to see the stars; and seeing the sunrise. All this in 2 days. 😍😍😍



Good Taste Cafe & Restaurant




Pacita Main Gate


🤗 **Climb organized by CampSome**

📸 **Some photo were grabbed from my travelmates**

Although i deeply loved oceans, deserts, and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty.

- Victoria Erickson
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