I’ve been to Mt. Pulag a lot of times, 8 to be exact. I started climbing Luzon’s highest peak in 2003 and from then on, I found myself trekking it almost every year. I already tried scaling it via the 2 most popular routes; 5 times in Akiki notoriously known as the Killer Trail and 3 times in Ambangeg which they call the Executive trail. I like Akiki trail more, not that I am a hardcore climber, but a hardcore nature lover. though it is more difficult and have longer trekking days than Ambangeg, it offers a more majestic scenery. The mighty Eddet River with the suspended bridge is one of them. I find the climb boring using the same route ascending and descending. I must enjoy the best of both worlds.
I just did my 8th Mt. Pulag climb since I started this hobby 10 years ago. I led a team of 15 adventurous spirits composed of my friends and officemates. We choose the easiest trail to trek the mountain, Ambangeg, since 11 out of the 15 in the group are Pulag first timers. Honestly, I don’t like trekking via the Ambangeg Route since I find it tiring during the summit assault. I prefer Akiki Trail, though more difficult and longer day to ascend, the views here are more spectacular and the camp site is near the summit.
The itinerary I made for the climb was properly executed, we were actually way ahead of the estimated time for everything, especially our time of arrival in the camp site. I was actually shocked that we were that fast considering that majority in the group were Pulag first timers. After setting up our tents and ate heavy dinner, we settled early for the 3:30 am summit assault the next day. Photographers in the group have a different plan, waking up earlier than the wake up call so we can shoot star trails. At around 1:15am, I was awakened by the sound outside our tent. Few minutes later, I heard someone calling me, “Bai! Ang liwanag ng langit.” I peeked outside my tent and saw the Milky Way. I didn’t think twice, I immediately grabbed my photography gears and went outside to shoot. I didn’t mind the cold temperature, it is a good photography subject that matters all.
Where and When: Mt. Pulag – June 9, 2013
Gears: Nikon D7000 + Tokina 12-24mm
Settings: 12mm, 30 secs, f4, ISO 5000
“Hindi ka ba nagsasawa dyan?” (“Don’t you get tired of it?”) my youngest brother asked when he knew that I will be climbing again Mt. Pulag. I replied “hindi” (“no”) with a smile. I was sorting my mountaineering equipments then I realized that it will be my 7th time on Luzon’s highest peak. I started climbing Pulag in 2004 and have been there almost every year.
It was supposed to be a Mt. Pulag climb last weekend but due to a not so good weather forecast and advise from my reliable contact there not to push through, I am glad that we didn’t. The original plan was replaced by this trip because I was really hesitant to pursue the climb. I’ve been to Pulag 6 times (5 via Akiki Trail) and had my most terrifying experience when a sudden change of weather happened during our climb in December 2006. I don’t want to take the gamble again especially when I have first timers with me.
My first climb of Mt. Batulao was 9 years ago. It was a night trek with my college friends with the help of a Mapua Mountaineer friend, Lee (may he rest in peace). Second was in 2008, I organized a climb in TipidPC.com Mountaineering Thread. We took the newly opened trail that is very popular now because of its challenging but scenic terrain.