Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag – The Philippines

I wanted some challenge on my second trip through a part of The Philippines so I booked this hike to the summit of mount Pulag!! It is Luzon’s highest peak at 2926 metres (9600 ft) above sea level. It would be a two day trip because we would hike to the summit of mt Pulag at night time to get the sunrise while at the top, doesn’t that sound great?

I wanted a challenge and booked the trip in Mt Pulag National Park on the internet. I don’t have any regrets and would take the challenge again any day!! Hiking to the summit of Mt Pulag was one of the highlights of my trip!

I met the group when they came to Baguio early morning. They took the nightbus from Manila and I was already in Baguio for some days!! Check my blog (NL) about the summer capital here.

We started driving towards mount Pulag and had some stops along the way. At first for breakfast ofcourse…

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

So the trip started with this wonderful view!

But also to visit a dam at Bokod, the Jangjang hanging brigde… Loved walking there and seeing the wide view!! And we saw the Daclan sulfur spring, where it smells like hell!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag
Early morning Yoga @ Jangjang Hanging Bridge

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag
Ambuklao Dam at Bokod

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag
Daclan Sulfur Spring

  • Getting our medical certificate for climbing mount Pulag

Before we drove on we all got a medical examin because before entering the mountain you need to have this certificate of being healthy enough to climb the mountain. It is a remote area and chances are that if you  have a medical condition and need help they can not be there in time…

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Early in the afternoon we were at the mountain area and had to buy a permit and we got a lesson about safety and the habitat and cultural background of the mountain. And then we drove on, going to our homestay!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mount Pulag

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

I love to stay at a homestay, it meant that we were in a small village where the locals live. I started walking around and saw the wonderful views on all sides. I loved the atmosphere!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag
Main source of income here is the agriculture.

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Mt Pulag Sea of Clouds was for me already starting. Mount Pulag is famous because at the summit at sunrise you will be above the clouds and so the view will be the best!! I already loved this sea of clouds underneath mount Pulag!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag
The guide told me that it was the school with the highest altitude in The Philippines

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

We had an early dinner, prepared by the lovely family of the homestay, and went to bed early too. We started walking around 1 o’clock at night so we should have enough rest by then to have the energy to walk for a couple of hours.

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag
The group was fun, we started to get to know eachother and it felt comfortable!

 Mt Pulag National Park

  • Day 2 hiking in totall darkness to the summit of Mt Pulag

So we were brought up to the beginning of the path at the foot of mount Pulag. Ready to hike into the darkness. I had brought a lamp but there were so many people shining their lamps that at most times I didn’t needed it. The path was good at first and we were walking in a row of hundreds..

So don’t think it is a private walk with your group and a guide…

We had our own guide and a local guide. It is a rule to take a local guide too, good for local economy. Our own guide walked with the one of our group that was the slowest and the local one followed us. Soon we went into the forest area… There was a short break after walking the first third of the route. We sat down in the dark and just rested for a while.

The weather wasn’t that good, it was raining a little bit and we were wearing our ponchos. It didn’t dry up and so we got on. We started to walk into a forest that was full of mos. It was moist the whole day and year around and so the whole forest was mossy. After walking here for about an hour or more we entered the last area.. It was only bamboo, small bamboo, like grass.

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

It was still kind of dark but we started to see the wideness of the area. We were getting on top of mountain Pulag!! It was still raining…it wasn’t a clear morning and we were not happy about that. On a good day, with the sunset on top of this mountain you will get the feeling of standing on a blanket of clouds where the top of the mountain comes through and the sun is shining..

We got on the top and it was cold, windy.. and cloudy!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

We got some coffee and set down, with our backs against the grass for protection from the wind. We loved the coffee and got some cookies. At some point we decided to make some pictures at the sign of Mt. Pulag and then we would be leaving for the long walk down!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Just at that moment the sun was starting to break through!! The weather was getting better and the temperature was going up.

That felt so good!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Life can be so good!

It could’ve been better ofcourse if we would have gotten that great perfect picture on top of the mountain as you see on all the advertisment of this trip but it made me happy anyway!! When the sun comes out at those kind of moments it is really instant happiness, I really love moments like that!

Mount Pulag Summit at 2.922 metres!

And then we were ready to go back. To see the path for the first time which we walked up also…in the dark. Now we started with the low grass and working up to the higher bamboo grass. The view were amazing and I loved the walk back!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

I couldn’t get enough of this view!! I kept snapping pictures and was in awe of this landscape!! I once hiked Osmena Peak on Cebu and I recognized that a bit in this landscape. The rough and rugged mountains, don’t you love that too?

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Did you know 

There are mulitple day treks to get to Mount Pulag

  • You have the Mt Pulag Ambangeg Trail and that is the trail I hiked and is prescibed here! But if I had heard of the Akiki Trail and had time at that point I would have taken that challenge!

  • As mentioned above you can take the Mt Pulag Akiki Trail that will take you up mount Pulag from the other side of Kabayan. This hike is also called Killer Trail and maybe that is why I am really tempted to come again here to do this trail! You can do the Mt Pulag Akiki Trail in 5 days with 3 days hiking in the National Park!

  • There is also the Eddet Trail goes along side the Akiki Trail, mostly also 3 day trip with one day hiking.

  • Then there is the Mt Pulag Tawangan Trail, this one will also take you 3 days with only 1 day hiking.

The above mentioned trails all come out of the Benquet region. 

  • And you have the Ambaguio Trail from Nuevo Vizcaya region. Also offered as a 4 day trip with 3 days hiking. The days are long but you get a lot for it! Get the chance to see the sunset on mount Pulag and the next day the sunrise!!

Ofcourse different companies offer different mt Pulag itinerary packages and because my time was limited at this point I only did a short one 🙂 Next time I go for a level higher and do more days trekking!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

But we were going down on our Mount Pulag Ambangeg trail. And at some point we entered the forest part. At first the moss appeared on branches and on small bushes but when we were fully into the forest is looked creapy!! I think it would make a good set for a movie of some horror kind 🙂

It is just amazing how things grow like that. And what other kinds of flowers, vegetation and probably insects too.

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Soon we were at the first stop going down. It was the last stop when we went up and just on the border of the forest – grass area.

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

It was still slippery but now I could see where the slippery parts were and I could go around them. I didn’t slip as much as I did on my way up. My shoes were totally ruined!! It was not a good idea to take some new shoes with me on this trip 🙂 But hey… They walk really good and got me this far!!

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

I saw this cat on our way up, at stop 1. It was purring and giving attention to everybody. It was a sweet kitty! Now he was lying about 2 metres high in a tree just along the path 🙂

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

Not long after I found myself back into the world of the living 🙂 Some of our group were behind me… some had taken a taxi motorcycle just after the forest and went back like that the last one or two K. I bought myself some sweets at the bars along the road, I had deserved them 🙂

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Pulag

After some nice hot shower and some relaxing we were ready to take the picture!!
We made it to the top of Mt. Pulag!!

We were happy and proud!!

Would you  like to see the clip I made? It is in Dutch but you’ll get the picture 🙂

Where to Book and Stay this mount Pulag tour

I booked this trip at the Philippines company Trail Adventures. The contact upfront was really good and I loved the way they treat you like your the best costumer ever 🙂

We stayed at Baban’s Homestay in the village of Babalak just on the foot of Mt. Pulag. The food was great! We had a good bed and all the linnen was included. You can take a hot shower but it will cost you a small fee. The small nephew of .. washed my shoes for a small fee too.

Duration Mt Pulag hike

This trip is offered as a two days trip from Manila. The first day is a long night in the bus and the morning towards mount Pulag. The second day is the nighttrek up mount Pulag in hope to see the sea of clouds at the sunrise on mt Pulag.

The hiking part of this trip takes you at least 3.5 hours up and about the same down again. So make sure you are able to walk for at least 7 hours. With the first part up in darkness which is a bit harder ofcourse. And the second part descending and just having all the time you need.

Coming back to your homestay you can use a hotshower, you should pay a little fee for that but I don’t think you really mind. A hot shower was all I needed after that rain at night and all the mud we stepped in and slipped out on.

Also my shoes were cleaned by someone of the family and I paid a little fee for that too 🙂

Mt Pulag Temperature

When I was at Kabayan in the afternoon the temperature was great, the sun was shining and everything was great. When the sun was setting the locals started to tell us that it probably would rain at night. And they were right. If you are lucky it will be dry but it will defenitely be cold in the night time and at that altitude.

  • So make sure to dress in multiple layers. Make sure to have enough with you to dress up when it gets colder. And to change into less when the sun gets out.

Energy on the Mount Pulag Ambangeg trail.

Make sure to eat enough so your body is able to walk the hours at night when you actually need to sleep. Your body is not used to that so:

  • Take a small day backpack with you so you can take something to eat with you. Energy bars are good to have, a banana is good for your muscles and some sweet drinks is also good for sugar level.

Did you like this trip? Share it!!

Would you  like to read some other Philipines adventures?

Island Hopping in El Nido – Palawan

Daytrip on Bohol – Philippines

Walking the Ancient Old Riceterraces at Banaue – Philippines

Or can I inspire you to:

Having dinner with the locals – The Gambia

Exploring Bogota by foot, by bicycle or from high above – Colombia

Do you know how a Pilgrim spends a Day?

How a Pilgrim spends a Day – Camino Frances

I hope you enjoy this world as much as I do!!