The last time I was in Mt. Pulag the weather was not at its best. Consistent rain battered us through the middle until the end of our hike. So after few years, I decided to comeback using the same magnificent trail of Akiki-Ambangeg. Exactly the same time last year, we completed a very successfull Mt. Ugo climb with a very good weather. But this time, according the the ranger in the akiki trail entry, there are lots of rain in the summit of Mt. Pulag. This coincides with the international forecast I have been verifying before leaving Manila. There was also a Low Pressure Area (LPA) that had been brewing in Mindanao, and for some reason is affecting the northern part of Luzon. But according to the forecast, we will have a fair weather on the third day (Saturday) of our hike, this made us decide to proceed with our climb plus the fact that this had been planned several months back.
On the first day of our climb, the weather was still good, probably because the rain clouds was well above us. We were able to camp comfortably in Edet river (1300 masl). As you might have already know, Akiki trail was also known as the 'killer trail'. This because from the Edet river it was all assault climb until you reach the summit, an elevation gain of around 1600 masl. This had become more killer for us due to the rain, it rained when we reach the height of around 1500 masl. The weather was so cold that we can't rest stop for long or else chill will get the best of us. We reached the summit after around seven hours of hiking almost non stop. The rained continued until the next day and only let up for a while when we were cooking dinner. My watch registered 10deg celcius inside our tent when we were sleeping. We trek back to the Ranger station on the same weather condition. No sunrise, no sea of clouds.... but there was serenity. We almost had the mountain all by ourselves. Plus the feeling when your in unlimited pine trees, the grassland after exiting the Mossy forest.... Majestic - Mt Pulag is still a beauty. But I could’nt say the same on the Ambangeg side of the Mountain, I was in disbelief so see how sorry the mountains states is. The are four lane trails, muddy campsite... according to the DENR, 400 climbers (or tourists????) are camping that weekend. Ranger station was like a market place, we met 15 jeep loads going down......but I want to write about this some other time.
For now I am disappointed yet happy. Disappointed that I have not settled the score with Mt. Pulag, Happy that we have climbed this mountain safely, and that I have discovered that the Itinerary for the Mt. Pulag via akiki-ambangeg can bedone in two days instead of three.
|Vans can now be hired due to better roads|
|Sacred Burial Ground|
|Big part of the lower portion of the Mountain was affected by forest fire.....|
|....which made the trekking more dangerous|
|Edet River Bridge|
|First day Camp|
|Serene Mt Pulag, summit is on the opposite side of the pic|
|More water, if you look closely rain can be seen|