And so the first leg of my Lagataw Adventure Series has just been completed. I climbed Mt Pulag (the highest elevation in the island of Luzon) in a day’s hike via Akiki-Ambangeg route. That was actually not just an Ultimate Pulag adventure. My Day 1 (Saturday) commenced at KM 54 along Halsema Highway up to the summit of Mt Timbak (the third highest mountain in Luzon) then down to Kabayan Barrio and Kabayan Central where I spent the night! Day 2 (Sunday) was the actual Ultimate Pulag climb. This was actually my sixth time in Mt Timbak and my fourth climb up Akiki and down Ambangeg trails.
Sir Rheyson Cornilla (my nutritionist and medical adviser)
Ma’am Emerita Tamiray (Mt Pulag PaSu) for letting me stay at the Visitors’ Center Sunday night
Travel Factor for giving me a ride from Mt Pulag Ranger Station to DENR
This was my itinerary:
Day 0 (Feb 18; Friday) BUS RIDE
2355hrs: Departure @ Victory Liner Pasay
Day 1 (Feb 19; Saturday) TIMBAK DAY HIKE
0600hrs: Arrival @ Baguio
0630hrs: Tapsilog @ 456 Restaurant (Session Rd.).
0700hrs: Shop at 7-11. Get a cab for D Rising Sun bus terminal (Slaughter)
0720hrs: Departure @ Slaughter Terminal to KM 54 (take any bus that will go along the Halsema highway. There’s plenty of ‘em!)
0940hrs: Arrival @ KM 54. Start Trek
1100hrs: Arrival @ Mt Timbak summit. Visit Ate Josie’s place
1210hrs: Resume trek to Kabayan barrio
1230hrs: Lunch @ the store across from the Timbak mummies burial rock.
1320hrs: Resume trek. Took the wrong road to the right...Wasted 45 minutes. You’ll know when you’re on the wrong trail if Kabayan barrio is no longer in sight below. At a fork, you should take the road to the left, five meters after which, you’ll see a ‘gate’ that blocks the road. Just go through it.
1620hrs: Arrival @ Kabayan barrio. Find the short cut to Kabayan Central
1710hrs: Arrival @ Kabayan Lodge (Kabayan Central). Check in overnight. Do some grocery shopping. Have your dinner at any restaurant around. They stay open ‘till 8 pm. Place your orders at any (for breakfast) at night. When you say ‘breakfast at 0530’, you’ll have your breakfast no later than that time!
Day 2 (Feb 20’ Sunday) MT PULAG (akiki-ambangeg) DAY HIKE
0530hrs: Breakfast at the restaurant beside the lodge.
0620hrs: Start trek to Akiki Trail trailhead.
0650hrs: Arrival @ the trailhead to Akiki. Register. I was going to trek without a guide but that would have been very irresponsible (and pasikat) of me, so I decided to get one.
0730hrs: Start trek
0820hrs: Arrival @ Eddet River
0930hrs: Arrival @ the first resting bench
1000hrs: Arrival @ Marlboro Country (Helipad)
1040hrs: Arrival @ Mossy forest (last water source). Lunch
1100hrs: Resume trek
1155hrs: Arrival @ Saddle campsite
1210hrs: Arrivel @ Mt Pulag Summit
1220hrs: Start descent
1250hrs: Arrival @ Camp2 (water source)
1330hrs: Arrival @ Camp1
1350hrs: Arrival @ Ranger Station. Hitch a ride
1500hrs: Arrival @ DENR Visitors’ Center. Log out. Chat with fellow hikers. Wash up. I had the option to hitch a ride to Baguio but I was running low on cash. Couldn’t monitor my expenses…forgot that I still had to buy my bus ticket from Baguio to Manila. I had some amount transferred through LBC but by the time I got to Baguio, LBC branches would have already closed. So I decided to have a good night’s rest at the Visitors’ Center.
Manila—Baguio v-v: P990
Baguio—KM 54: P70
Guide fee: P1000
Park fees: P200
Food and stuff: (~P500)
What I learned from this adventure:
- 1. There are a lot of non-mountaineers in Mt Pulag. It’s funny how they talk and exchange malicious remarks against each other when one gets someone else’s ‘wash-up’ water, and when somebody jumps the line (among other comically tense and yet trivial scenarios at the Visitors' Center). They don’t possess this mountaineers’ ‘forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’ rule of thumb.
- 2. I’m starting to think there is no such thing as ‘pasma’. I followed Sir Rheys’ advice and I didn’t feel the vibrating abdominal muscle sensation (to think that this was an even more arduous activity than my Mt Pulag Invitational Climb two weeks before).
- 3. There is a reason why hikers shouldn’t climb fast. Exposing your body to rapidly fluctuating temperature and barometric pressure doesn’t sound like a very good idea. Do what I did and your body will tell you what I mean.
- 4. These lessons will decide how the remaining nine on the list (of my Lagataw Adventure Series) will be executed.