Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mt Ulap Day Hike - Ampucao Brgy Hall, Benguet

Last May 14 2016, my high school loves and I went to Baguio for our bonding session. Its been a while since we had time to travel ever since I got busy with the wedding preps and all. I love my loves for making this trip happen. My friends took the victory liner bus that left around 11 PM at cubao which cost P445, they got to Baguio bus terminal around 4 AM. R and I drove from Pangasinan to Baguio, it took around 2 hours. We met around 7:00 AM, passed by a McDonalds to buy our breakfast P236 for me and R. Then we headed towards the Ampucao Baragay Hall, we were so confident of using Google Maps and Waze that we did not expect any problems. The path drawn by Maps take 45 mins from Baguio Bus Terminals was not the right Brgy Hall we need to go to... we weren't sure if its because the road was closed that is why we did not get to the right place. So frustratingly, we went back to Baguio (its around 9 AM)... our driver Danny was patient in asking every bystander or police we went past. Finally we got to the right Ampucao Baragay Hall, which was on the opposite side of were we came from, around 10 AM. This is why we realized maybe its better to ride a bus or any local transportation instead. We parked our car, went to registration and paid the necessary fees. P500 for the registration fee of 5 people (P100 per head), P400 for our guide - AMANDA, and P50 for parking. We put sunblock, did biobreaks, and prepared to climb around 10:30 AM. We did not really prepare food and water since we thought the hike was just 4 hours, we thought we would survive with the stuff that we have already (2 bottles of water, nuts, and dried mangoes). Little did we know that the hike will take up almost double the time we allotted. 

Joy Bus
Joy Bus prices
Payment for Hike
We are ready!
Our trail
We started by walking from the registration hall to the base of the trail which almost took 15-30 minutes I think. Cemented floors. We started fast but when it became uphill, breathing became harder and we walked slower. We were informed that all in all we will be climbing 3 peaks: Ambanao Paoay > Gungal > Mt Ulap. When we got to the forest uphill, we were already enjoying the pine trees and the views. Took photos left and right. We were surprised that it seemed like we were walking for so long and the first peak is not even view-able. We were drinking and munching snacks like there is no tomorrow since it was really hot. Before we realized it, we are almost out of food when we reached the 2nd peak. The terrain was all sorts, rocks, soft grass, beetle-land, cliffs, etc... It was hard plus the heat and fatigue (no sleep). But it was awesome! Another cool thing was we saw dogs and COWS on the mountain tops. They reached the top, so HUMANS should too. They were really cool, lying around and pooping everywhere.

what we thought was the 1st peak ---- NOT


yup! we need to go all the way on the other mountain/hill
love the air and view
we came from the top ... see that?
top going down rocks..
this is seriously one of the scariest things I've tried. I was shocked I got scared. pose at a rock which is at the end of a cliff. I chickened...not a YOLO pose for me.
posing by nature
So we reached Mt Ulap. Sadly since it was around 3 PM this time, we failed to see any clouds. No sea of clouds. :( We were told that the best time is either very early morning or very late night... both options are impossible for us. So we are happy to have conquered Mt Ulap without any preps. The journey has been intense and there is nothing like reaching what you sought out.

When we reached mt ulap, we are so thrilled and excited when Amanda said that there is a nearby canteen that sells food and water. We rushed down the uneven and steep incline, to reach a humble made up store that sells cup noodles, boiled eggs, and drinks. We bought P15 boiled eggs, P35 bulalo cup noodles, and P 45 gatorade drinks as our late lunch. Thank you Lord! We recovered the necessary energy to proceed our descent down the mountain. After that we saw another resting area down bellow that sells food and drinks. But we were too tired and excited that we just went past it.

mini canteen by the campsite
This is what the remaining hour or so looked like. We just kept going down side of the mountain that has dug soil as trail. I was leading the group as my knees were already hurting. I went before everyone and took this photo as a memory of the walk home.

one of the 3 metal bridges before we reach the bottom
almost there!

YEY BOTTOM!! before nightfall
Hike ended at 5:30 PM. Total hike time was 10:30-5:30, which was 7 hours!!!!! We took a rental FX to the ampucao brgy hall were our car was parked. Paid P250 for it. We gave thanks and bid farewell to Amanda, we gave her P500 tip and a hug. I really hope the P500 helps her out in caring for her special child. Amanda is a very great girl, I hope she never loses her spark and continues to have optimism + love in her life.

1 more mountain to go for us to complete the top 3 in baguio. PULAG...soon. haha.