I was so nervous climbing up the 2nd highest peak in the Philippines; the coldest part in the country which temperature they said could go down to 10 degrees Celsius or less.. in the summer.  I was worried when we're still planning it.. I got excited, got more nervous, and got a bit more worried after hearing the seminar before going to the Ranger Station.  Maybe if you do have like 90% caffeine in your body, you get freaked out so easy.. praning ba?

DENR registration office



Mt. Pulag is known for its breathtaking sunrise and its jaw-dropping sea of clouds, which unfortunately I/we weren't able to witness.  But I must say we were still lucky, actually, we were very lucky we never needed to grab our garbage bags and make a raincoat out of it because we weren't able to buy raincoats and it was constantly raining before our hike.  We were so thankful it didn't rain the whole time we were climbing up and down the summit.

Some parts of the trail though was muddy and slippery.  I almost fell when we needed to jump, and there were times that my balance went off because I was carrying a wrong bag, and on the most difficult part I almost gave up and just let them go without me.  I was so tired; my legs were begging for more rest, and I just wanted to lay down but I couldn't because I will roll down the steep mountain and end up in our tent or somebody else's tents in the other dimension if I did.

I don't know where I got my last energy to continue grabbing the grass, lifting myself up and forcing my legs to carry me up to the fucking summit! goddammit! but I did.  I fucking did, and now that I'm writing it, I remember how it felt; how difficult it was, how tired I was, and sleepy! god, I wanted to sleep while walking! who does that!?

We were not allowed to shout, but I wasn't able to control myself.  I had to let go of a little whoa! (no, I did not curse, the worst thing I could do there is to curse and I respect the place that much and I still want to live and go home safely, and that's a sacred place and there were forces of nature who protect the place and that must not be taken lightly) when we reached the final step!

We got there first.  We're the first group among hundreds of hikers who I don't know were all struggling like we did, I bet some of them were pros, but man, I did it! we did it!!! we fucking made it!!!!  But I think we got there first because our guide walks so fucking fast, and the first half of our group (we're 10) never had problems keeping up with her, and I had to keep up with them; I'm the fifth.

I had no problem keeping up with their long, strong legs, but when we reached the grassland, that's when I really felt like my legs and my feet were almost giving up.  There were lot of times when we're walking along the trail of the Grassland, I was walking alone because I can't keep up with the first half of the group, and the rest (6th to 10th) were a bit slow.  And I got to the point that I was really slowing down, that I almost let them pass by me and let them go without me, seriously.. I wanted to give up.  I don't know what happened.  I don't know what kind of force forced me to move and finish what I started.

Going down was a bit difficult, although it wasn't as difficult as climbing up, but seeing the trail got me feel a bit dizzy.  Even if my eyes were looking straight the path, I could still see from the corner of my eye how fucking high we were, and it felt like I could fall any moment.  One simple mistake could end my life or maybe just a few bruises and an amnesia(?) and a broken leg or ankle.

There's one in the other group who got sick; she wasn't able to go on and had to be taken to the clinic.. actually, she'd been feeling ill going up, but I think her friends were very enthusiastic, and maybe she as well wants to prove she can do it.  We were constantly stopping for her to get rest, which I was kind of thankful about, but we were stopping like every 10 min!, and we feared we might miss the only reason we were doing that shit.  But they finally let us pass when we reached the Grassland.

Ok, so going back was faster.. yes it was.  It only took us about 3 hours to go back to our tents (in the Ranger Station) but it was like forever! and it got really hot!  I was constantly asking them, asking myself, asking the air when my misery will ever end???  I was like a zombie.  My mind was focused on getting on my final destination; getting some rest, taking a bath, and getting some food.. brainssss I was so sorry about my feet, my legs, my feet, thankfully my shoes were ok, but my feet.. they needed to breathe, and they needed to rest, and they thanked me big time when they finally wore some slippers on.  Sorry, feet.. that won't happen again.. or maybe next year?!  or maybe not.  I don't know.

To sum it up, there were more than a hundred hikers who registered on that day; only the first 150 campers were allowed to camp on the camp sites; there are 3.  We weren't lucky enough to be included on that first 150, so we end up camping near the Ranger Station; the starting point.  And for us to guarantee we could witness the great sunrise, we started hiking at 12 midnight and reached the summit at around 5 in the morning.. and I tell you, I was wearing 5 layers of clothing including 2 shirts, 2 thick sweatshirts and a thick jacket, a scarf, a bonnet, and pair of gloves.. I should have doubled my socks because my feet were numb, as well as my hands were numb.

The wind was strong and super cold!  But the dwarf bamboos were there to protect you against it.. I just never thought of doing that though.  I was worried that I might fall asleep curling up in between the bamboos and miss the sunrise and the great view.

dwarf bamboos at the summit


I was shaking constantly.. it was so difficult to take pictures!  I looked like a ninja, we all looked like ninjas up there, but I was happy, we were happy for our accomplishments.  We didn't see the sea of clouds, but I was still happy.  It was a spectacular view.. no fog, thankfully, and there was the great sunshine.  The sunrise of all sunrises, and I witnessed its transformation; how the sky changes colors, until the baby sun finally comes out, and little by little it grew larger and everyone cheered when the sun gave us its first smile, the biggest smile, it was almost blinding.

before sunrise at Mt. Pulag

Mt. Pulag Summit

Mt. Pulag Summit

Mt. Pulag Summit

Mt. Pulag sunrise


Pulag sunrise

Mt. Pulag Summit

Mt. Pulag sunrise

Mt. Pulag sunrise

Mt. Pulag sunrise

here comes the sun

Mt. Pulag summit

But to be honest, I was thankful that our group wasn't included in the first 150 campers who were allowed to camp in the camp sites, because I don't know if I could carry my bag hiking that kind of height in 4 hours or more although the whole camping experience won't be complete if you're not in the camp site.  The stars, the milky way, the shooting stars, the sun set.. they all enjoyed it in the camp site.. oh, and the water; natural spring.. they said is the sweetest, and is really clean and pure, and magical.

If I ever do it again, which I think I must, because I haven't really experienced it.. I'd be prepared, and I was right not to take Mt. Pulag so lightly.  Also, I'll shoot the mossy trail the next time I climb.. yes, the trail in the forest was so fucking pretty.  If only I had the speed and enough energy to shoot everything on our way back, I could have had more than a hundred shots in my Flickr Set.  So maybe, yeah.. I think I'll go back.