First hike ever!

This photo is taken by AllWinner's v3-sdv

Celebrating my 20th birthday, I had attended two college parties. One, with unlimited beer. The other, with unlimited whisky cola. Apparently, it was a fun night filled with alcohol, laughter, headaches, and a little bit of heartbreak due to a fight with my then-suitor, now boyfriend, Gio.

January 30, 2016. The morning after my birthday celebration.

5 AM. I woke this early because of the alcohol in my system, the hardcore headache I was experiencing. I forgot to mention that Gio and I, along with another couple, planned a hike the weekend before my birthday. I thought that the hike plan is over since we fought the night before, but lo and behold, 5:05 AM, there was a text from him that if ever I still wanted to hike, he’s going to meet me at the jeepney station by 6 AM.

I immediately took a cold bath, braided my hair, wore my “hiking shoes”, and went to the jeepney station. I wouldn’t mention how, but Gio and I reconciled there. Now, on with the real purpose of this post.

The jeepney station of Mt. Ulap can be found behind Jollibee Centermall, look for the jeeps heading to Brgy. Ampucao. It leaves as early as 6:30 AM and there are trips every 30 minutes. The ride costs ₱50 and lasts for 45 minutes-1 hour so you can still sleep during the trip if you are sleep-deprived (like I was).

The end of the jeepney line is the barangay hall of Brgy. Ampucao. You have to register and pay ₱100 if regular and ₱50 if student (present valid ID) for the environmental fee. You are not allowed to go hiking without an assigned guide, so pay the guide fee of ₱400 for four persons max. Don’t worry if your group is less than four, the registration officials will group you with other hikers (if you wish) so that you can lessen your expenses.

The starting point of the hike is a paved road and a little bit steep so it is definitely going to be hard on your feet and legs make sure you’ll take things slowly if you’re a beginner. After the paved road, all you can see are rolling hills, roaming cows and horses (and of course, their excrement are everywhere). There are also parts of the hike where there are groves so you can sit under the tree for picnics and even just to catch your breath.

The traverse of Mt. Ulap contains three peaks. After the first peak, there are a lot of ascents and descents and the descents can be really steep (30-45 degrees). The second peak is where the famous Gungal Rock is. We never went to take a picture then since there was a very long line of tourists. Be careful when you try to take a picture on the rock! A small misstep is very fatal. The third peak is where you can lie under the clouds (thus, Ulap) and our group stayed here for a long time so we were sunburnt but it was really relaxing.

The descent from the mountain itself is very steep and very slippery due to light drizzles during the hike. Even experienced hikers slip every now and then. It was the most difficult part of the hike, to be honest. There was one stop where you can buy something to replenish your energy or take a break from the challenging descent. Once you reach the area with established stairs, congratulations! The challenging descent is over and you can now relax your aching feet. Once you reach the exit, all you have to do is wait for a jeepney or hitchhike, as the jeepneys there are usually full. The fare going back to town is also ₱50.

Overall, the hike was a thrilling experience for me since it was my first hike ever and I was 1) hungover and 2) hungry because I didn’t bring any trail food. Also, I used my DC shoes to hike and I saw others using their doll shoes. The hike is fairly easy and can be accomplished by anyone fit enough, but there are times when the trail can be frightening, and a little unbalance can cause you to send yourself down the ravine.

I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures due to the rainy weather and my overall state that time. Here are some of the pictures you can check out!

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Here are some things you need to know for your Mt. Ulap hike:

  • Fare: ₱100/person, two-way
  • Registration fee: ₱100/person or ₱50/person if student or senior citizen, bring valid ID
  • Guide fee: ₱400/4 persons
  • Dayhike: 4-6 hours
  • Campsite: Yes, just after third peak
  • Water: No water sources; bring at least 2L for dayhikers
  • Cellphone/Data signal: Strong in most areas
  • Restrooms: Yes, at least one per peak
  • Convenience Stores: Yes, at descent only
  • Medical: Guides will be communicating once needed

Click this link for PinoyMountaineer’s post about Mt. Ulap, and check out their pictures!

Mt. Ulap is a perfect side trip for those who are visiting Baguio City and also a perfect mountain to start your hiking experience. Don’t miss this one!

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