Nature-ral High

Nature-ral High
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

June 5, 2018

Return to Mt Tabayoc and Mt Pulag Climb via the Tawangan trail

Mt. Tabayoc and Four lakes of Tabeyo

The last time I was in Mt Tabayoc was 9 years ago. We came for an outreach with PALMC and we did the climb as a sidetrip together with the visit of the lakes on the mountain. Nothing has changed much in the mountain, almost exactly the same we climb it. I could not say the same around the mountains base and the surrounding area. There is a creeping human invasion, turning the vegetation to farmlands. During our last visit, the Mayor was in conflict with the people of Ballay, Kabayan on not to convert this land into vegetable plantation. I don't know what happen since then, but it seems the mayor lost his fight.

There are 4 lakes in this place but we managed to only visit 2. Tired from the Dayclimb and reserving our energy for the hike the next day, we opted to skip the other 2.
Camping in between the mountain and the lake. Mountain is covered in cloud every afternoon 

The lake is just a few meters from our tents

Locals set up traps in the lake, then harvest this type of fish

Local getting his traps

Would have been perfect view if not for houses!

Wild berry picking. The mountains is now covered by farms!

One of the view decks

View deck at the summit which is dangerously unstable. Have not been properly maintained

Ambulalakao Lake. We assume lake Tabeyo was like this a long time ago

Highest lake I had bee so far!

Tawangan Trail of Mt. Pulag

Tawangan is actually the name of the village at the start of the trail. Early the next day after our Tabayoc dayclimb, we proceed with our Pulag push using Tawangan trail. The trailhead measures around 1600 Masl. After a few meters walking on the pavement, immediately the trail became uncomfortably steep and the trees became very dense. Limatik (tropical leech) was also very plenty in an instant, albeit they are not as aggressive as the ones I experience in Pantingan Peak. The trail is amazingly pretty, I believe it is very rare that locals and hikers pass by the place. The incline trail goes up to 1900 masl, after which it becomes moderately steep and partly rolling. As the altitude goes higher, the limatik encounter became less and less.  When we reached 2300 masl, the limatiks were almost,if not totally gone. My hunch is that this leeches cant live on colder temperatures. I was really amazed by the vegetation, it is very mossy, lush and pristine. I did not thought such a place still survived within the northern area of the PI.

Lush and steep

One of the several rivers

A different kind of mushroom

Limatiks are residents of the trail

Mossy as can be. One of the mossiest mountain I had been

View of where we started

One of the few uncovered areas

Locals call this spot Junior Pulag. Probably because of he grassy terrain

Noel emerging into junior pulag


Another open area.

Junior Pulag seen from afar

Pretty mushroom. 

Mt Pulag Grassland

When we reached 2600-2700 masl, we emerge from the forest and set foot on the famous Mt Pulag grassland. This side of the grassland is also very pristine. It would have been more grand if it was not raining when we came out on this area. It was around 5PM that day and wind was blowing hard. Camping in camp3 (saddle) was not allowed and we planned to settle in camp2. Fortunately and luckily, no other hikers were staying overnight in the mountain. We were allowed to stay in the bunker house of the guides. If not it would have been very cold to pitch and damp to stay in camp2.

I was very happy to see that the change in park rules not to allow campers in the mountain (for those coming from ambangeg trail) has a very positive effect. The trails is now recovering and so is the mountain. It was very far from the sorry state I saw the last time I visited.

Ranger station is now very bustling and has lot of development, but I think its fine. From memory, I recall it was my friend who pushed for homestay as an alternative to camping. He suggested this to PASU (park superindent) Mering Albas, also the same time when we last visited.

Clearing at last!

Trail to Ranger station now has railings. This is due to the influx of tourist.

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