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 1, 2019

Mt Pulag via Akiki-Ambaguio : the Killer meet the Longest

   Mt. Pulag is one of the most beautiful and mystifying mountain in the Philippines. It also have three trails that can be considered some of the best in this country. Having able to try two of those trails already (akiki and tawangan), I had been planning to try the last one - the Ambaguio trail. 
  So I went with a friend and an officemate who created a team of 12. Yes the climb was to Pulag which exits in Ambaguio, but the entry was in Akiki trail. The plan completion of the trek was in 3 days. 
  Akiki is always difficult to hike that is reason it was named the "killer" trail of Mt. Pulag, the total elevation gain is around 1850 meters. On the day of the climb it was harder for us, as we are in the middle of the mossy forest, it started to rain. The rain did not stop until we reached camp (approximately 6KM distance). Cold, rain, darkness and tired body made the trek more difficult. Plus add the situation that I got seperated from the group and got lost. We were so tired that we did not ate dinner and went straight to sleep. 

Jump-off / Trail head of Akiki Trail

Akiki is know for steep start at the trail head

We saw this bull skull at the trail

The pines looks like planted with measurement distances

The Edet river bridge has been newly renovated

"Killer" trail. So difficult carrying a pack loaded with supplies for 3 days

We saw this blue colored worm, that I had to put out my camera eventhough is already drizzling.  

Mt Pulag is at the leftmost. If you look closely, you  can see tourist lining up to go to the summit. All of them came from Ambangeg trail, known as the tourist trail

Sea of cloud-lets. No sign it rained almost the whole night

  The next 2 days, it was still raining but now more manageable. We were able to see the beauty of what Ambaguio trail has to offer. Ambaguio is considered the longest trail of Mt Pulag (30KM distance with a gain/decent of 2100 meters), that 2 days is normally allocated to complete the hike. The trail connsist of beautiful and pristine mossy forrest. We surmise the only regular users of the trail are the locals. There are also cliff side roads that reminisce the similarity to Mt. Ugo. Hikers will pass by several villages which are not often reached by civilization. We camped on our 2nd night in Brgy Napo, which consist of Upper and Lower distinction. As the name suggest the Barangay is segregated on by  a hill which Upper is located on the top. The current nationwide drought has also affected this place. What is known to have abundant water sources along the trail, almost all of them had dried up.  We also saw several landslide area due to the the heavy rains that poured in the past days. 

  The trail ended when we reached Brgy Amueg near the Ambaguio City Hall in Nueva Viscaya. 

One of the most Kikay-est hikemate I been with. Manage to bring those rollers!

Team  resting at a shelter along the trail

Mossy and pristine!

Saw this landslide along the trail. The thick forest was not enough to prevent this. 

Descending to Brgy Napo

Lower Napo have the High School, while Elementary is in the Upper Napo

Where we camped for the night. It also became our kitchen. Good this as it also rained heavy that time.

Brgy Napo, Ambaguio, Nueva Viscaya

Napo Elementary School

The house in the middle of the mountain is where we had our lunch the previous day, under heavy rains.

Napo Vegetable farms

Because of the heavy  rains the night before, we saw this fresh landslide along the trail

Upper Napo as seen from the trail

After almost half a day without water, we are so glad to see this water source. It is so refreshing

Saw this orchid like flower on the ground, anyone familiar with its name? 

A waterfall from a distance as seen on the trail

Rice terraces as we are nearing our exit point.

Golden rice fields almost ready for harvest 
It was raining on the mountains, that the water turned brown.

So having tried all the 3 famous trails of Mt Pulag which one do I like best and least? 
 I like Ambaguio trail best as the trail is pristine and there is also a cultural experience. You blend with the local which are not yet into commercialism. Our camp in Brgy Napo was for free, even though we stayed on the Brgy Hall. 

 The least I like is Akiki trail as it is the most popular and easy to access. The trail is badly beaten though not as bad as those close to Manila.