Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mt. Ulap

I first saw Mt. Ulap on my newsfeed as mountaineer friends have been
posting awesome photos.
Then my cousin who went there to do drone shots for the movie "Lakabay 2 Love" convinced me that it was a nice place.
 I go up the mountains but I don't consider myself as a hardcore mountaineer or even a mountaineer.
I go up for fun. To enjoy nature.

Friends said it was a runner's trail.
 What you will see on this post are two different times I went here.
The first experience was a bit of a challenge.
The second time was a walk in the park.

Our jump-off in Mt. Ulap was in Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet.
I organized the trip and decided to rent a van but this can be accessed by public transportation. I just found it more convenient and cheaper by getting a van.

Usual itinerary for a day hike is that you get to Barangay Ampucao at 4am.
Everyone is required to register.
The place has a comfort room.
They also sell food and drinks if you want to eat breakfast or buy trail food.


Ratio of guides is 1:10
We started off with the guides giving us a short orientation of what to expect . . .



. . . and friendly reminders of a responsible hiker.



From the barangay, we walked on a paved road going here.
To get to this "map", make sure you did your stretching.
It'll only take you like 10 minutes but . . .  hmmm . . . I'll leave this part out for you to find out.
On this map, they made us decide.
We can do Traverse or Back-Trail.
You can also do Reverse Traverse.


On my first visit, one of the guides whom I did not like kept
convincing us to do a back-trail.
I later realized she had her own agenda as she wanted to go back earlier so she can have another group to guide. I am not recommending her.

We decided the traverse trail as originally planned.


We witnessed a beautiful sunrise.

ann d explorer

Clouds covering the mountains. 
Behind that mountain is the view of Tuba, Benguet where La Presa is.


There are spots that you can take great photos except you need to have guts and a lot of extra care.

ann d explorer

ann d explorer


The start of the trail was just wonderful. Cool and fresh air.


Ascending was not that difficult. We got time for groupies.



Tree shots




We met a lot of cows.
Give way when you see them.
Don't run because they might get alarmed.. 


My first selfie with a cow. I was a little scared.


Then I tried talking to it.

ann d explorer

Then I got comfortable with them

ann d explorer

We had groupies.


And then I became too comfortable.


Until such time, I became their Khaleesi (the mother of cows) . . . or not!
(Too much watching of Game of Thrones)

Selfie!


On weekends, this is the truth about Mt. Ulap.
Mt. C-R-O-W-D-E-D


We had to fall in line to get that one great shot.


Sometimes, it's no longer a great photo.
So many people around.


Power Rangers
This may look like an ordinary photo but we were on top of a huge rock.
Since we could not get a good shot from afar where there are no other people's head showing, we succeeded in getting this one.
Our "buwis-buhay" shot just to get inside the frame.



The trail.
Going up.


Going flat :)


Going down.

ann d explorer

A stick will be very helpful. Thanks to my guide, he was able to get me a stick.


A lot of times, there will be traffic especially on a weekend.


The famous GUNGAL ROCK!

My first time.


My second time.


Because there are so many people, you get to have like 3 shots only on this rock.
(Do a burst shot so you'll have more :) )

Our normal group photo


We noticed one of our guides taking a photo of us with a slanting angle. 
We did not understand from afar why.


So we decided to follow his angle so it would look straight on the photo. Then he decided to take a normal angle ha ha ha 
Crazy guide. Crazy hikers.


Mt. Ulap has lots of rocks where we got great photos.
It should be called "Mt. Bato"
Hee hee here is another one.
I see this as "The Sphinx"
That's just me making it up.


If you want to go extreme, play hide and seek along the rocks.


When the sun is up, it gets warm (hmm I think that was a stupid sentence)
 There are few trees. 
Better to start really early.


Make sure you take time to poop . . . I mean sit down and enjoy the view.


Since we started really early, we had to eat our packed lunch at 9am.


Our guides taking their brunch too.
They are human. They get hungry too.


Summit.
No shades.


It was warm but windy (not always) up on the summit


Wind test.


Again, take time to emote.


Take photos of your sleeping boyfriend . . . 


We all had our moments at the summit


Our mandatory groupie at the summit







You can also camp here.
Down there is the campsite.


Cows versus Humans 



Then we went to what they call the 90 degrees going down.


Sadly, we did not get to see the burial caves. 
I was so excited to see it because I wanted to write about it. 
The Cordillerans have interesting cultures about their dead. I have written some.


Going down was always a challenge for me. I had a hard time the first time I visited because there were parts that it was lose soil. This was the most challenging part for me the first time but when I came back, everything was easy. They also improved on the steps.


We passed by some stores where we rested for a few minutes.


I love kids and I like getting to know locals.




Our exit was in Sante Fe.
Look up there . . . that's the summit.


Our day trek was around 7 hours.
Too many photos.
Too many people.
Too many cows.
Too many wonderful views to enjoy!

We still had our wonderful smiles with us.


Tired?


Why would you think that they were tired?

I think they were EXHAUSTED!

Recommended guides.

Gary Palubos
0950.291.5469


Keneth Dalipnas
0909.944.0569


Photo credits to everyone who shared their photos.