If Akiki trail was dubbed as the “Killer trail,” Ambangeg trail would be the opposite. The stunning views of endless clouds, beautiful rolling hills and comfy grasslands for resting will leave you in awe. Some people even call it the “Artista trail” because of its traveler friendly pathways and features that are photo shoot worthy.
Continuing our Mt. Pulag traverse from Akiki Trail, we packed up at 4am, had breakfast and readied ourselves. We left Saddle Camp at 530am to further ascend to the hills going to the very rooftop of Luzon.
The dark figures of hikers were being lit up by the morning light when we were about 10 minutes away. We could see the sun rise through the sea of clouds that extended to the very end.
Finally, after trekking for more than 10 hours the day before, and another 30 minutes from camp, We have finally reached the very peak of Luzon!
The summit has a touristy vibe to it, hundreds of hikers were already there catching their breaths and taking photos. I couldn’t blame them for the prolonged summit photo ops, it had been a struggle going to the very top and the views were just stunning! They truly deserve the time to be there.
I sat on a spot where I could see the vista of hills, summits of neighboring mountains, lofty clouds that resemble a gigantic cotton sheet that extended to the very horizon, a 360 view of the northern regions of Luzon, and the beautiful sunrise. I was overwhelmed by it. All of it. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t able to decide to climb Mt. Pulag back then but the wait was well worth it. My friends were constantly telling me to join them for some more picture taking but I politely declined. I waited too long for this and I wanted to enjoy every bit of it. I didn’t mind the crowd as I stayed on that spot for a few more minutes to appreciate more of what I was seeing. It was total sensory pleasure!
But all good things must come to an end (Well, not exactly) as our guide told us that we had to go in order to reach the jumpoff in Bokod Ranger Station before lunch time.
Our guide told us that we were lucky because of the good weather. Other hikers had to visit Mt. Pulag several times to witness the famous sea of clouds and also to get a clear view of the whole place. He informed us that some climbers will be welcomed by cloudy or rainy weather which will somehow be a difficult experience and the view wouldn’t be that enticing compared to what we were seeing.
We moved on to follow the rolling hills of Ambangeg trail. Its slopes and gradual ascent were pleasure to our tired feet compared to the grueling Akiki Trail.
Just when we thought the summit was the end of the magnificent view, we were surprised by more eye candies along the hills. We had several options to climb some trails going to the grasslands and on the highlands. We decided to take the grasslands and enjoy more of what Mt. Pulag had to offer as more sea of clouds were visible along the nearby mountain ranges.
We took a rest on the soft, grassy ground. I didn’t get much sleep the night before because of the cold weather so I had to catch up. Luckily for us, the coldest temperature was only around 8 degrees Celsius compared to the week before when the temperature dropped to a freezing 1 degree! It was on the news during that time so we brought the sufficient gear for the situation but we still had the chills. Our guide told us that the grass that we were lying on were covered by frost during the 1 degree phenomenon.
The heat of the sun woke me from my quick slumber. The Chilling air was gone at this point making me take off my layers. We resumed our hike after less than an hour and headed to a smoother trek through the rest of the rolling hills, a man-made pathway, and then along the mossy forest going to Camp 1.
After a quick rest from the camp site. We made our way to the first part (Final part in our case) of Ambangeg trail. Pine trees which slightly resemble that of Mt. Tapulao and Mt. Ugo were everywhere. There were also terraces upon terraces of various vegetation and several tents and homestays for backpackers. We moved on until we settled near the Ranger Station in Bokod to finally conclude the epic 2 day Akiki-Ambangeg traverse.
Our organizer was nice enough to prepare some tinola for the group. The sumptuous meal was a kick to my senses after the 2 day trek. And since most food taste better during or after every climb, I just dug in to pig out on one of the best lunch I had in my life!
I wandered off to the local vegetable stores to bring some back home after settling. I concluded the adventure with a piece of carrot ice candy before heading back to Baguio.
Mt. Pulag is a very beautiful mountain to climb. Like I said in the first part of this write up, It will suck the life out of you just to put in a fresh one. The Akiki-Ambangeg route is a testament to this. It will test your endurance and patience especially when you proceed to the seemingly endless climb to Marlboro Country and the denser Mossy Forest.
Akiki trail could have been an easier climb but because of the 9-15kg of load that hikers usually carry, it raises the bar for beginners and experts alike.
The pathway of Ambangeg on the other hand is a reward for the sore feet of campers, and at the same time a good route for beginners who are there for the breathtaking views and less challenging hike.
MT. PULAG (AMBANGEG TRAIL)
- Major jump-off: Ambangeg Ranger Stn, Bokod, Benguet
- Days required / Hours to summit: 4-5 hours / 1-2 days
- 2922 MASL
- Days required / Hours to summit: 4-5 hours / 1-2 days
- Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-2
- 2000 Meet up at Shopwise Cubao
- 2100 ETD Baguio City
- 0400 ETA Baguio City
- 0500 ETA AKIKI DENR
- 0800 Briefing and Orientation/ Registration.
- 0830 Proceed to Akiki Jump Off.
- 0930 ETA Akiki Ranger station, Secure Guides
- 1000 Start Trekk
- 1100 Eddet River.Early Lunch
- 1130 Proceed to Marlboro Country
- 1600 ETA Marlboro Country
- 1630 Resume Trekk
- 1700 Mossy Forest
- 1800 Grassland / Sea of clouds
- 1900 Saddle Campsite/Pitch tent/Dinner
- 2000 Dinner, Socials
- 2100 Lights Off
- 0300 wake up call – Breakfast
- 0500 Summit assault
- 0530 Summit photo ops
- 0630 Descent to Ambangeg Ranger Station
- 0930 ETA Ranger Station, Wash Up
- 1030 ETD Baguio City
- 1300 ETA Baguio City
- 1400 ETD Manila
- 2100 ETA Manila