Mt. Ulap is located in Itogon, Benguet and reaches to 1846 mASL at its peak. Its height is half of the famous Mt. Pulag, which is the highest mountain in Luzon. An average length of time to hike is 10 hours from Entry Point (Tomtombek) to Exit Point (Sta. Fe). Because of its high elevation, the climate most of the time is temperate.
We took the hike as a package tour “Mt. Ulap Traverse (Dayhike) with Baguio side trip” from ‘Hamog Outdoor Adventures‘, organized by our friend. Our meetup landmark is at Chowking EDSA-Balintawak beside Total Gas (LRT Balintawak station). We were the first to arrive among our group so instead of waiting outside the store we decided to have a light dinner, a few minutes after, one by one each of our group member arrived. When all of the hikers are in the area, our coordinator settled our payments then we were directed to our van and he gave us a brief orientation of our tour. A moment later everything was set and we started the trip.
Our first stop over is at Pangasinan. There are 2 stores where you can buy some accessories that you might need to bring or snacks and lunch. After the stop over we traveled for two hours and we arrived at the Brgy. Ampucao’s municipal hall where we prepare for the trek. Since we had our hike from a tour package, our coordinator handled our registration and tour guides. In the municipal hall we can already feel the chilling wind and all of us wore a jacket.
A few minutes later, our coordinator gathered us and we were instructed to have our breakfast because it’s going to be a cold and long walk. After everybody is full and energized, we all gathered in a small circle, introduced ourselves and had a brief orientation of the do’s and dont’s of the hike from our tour guide. When everything was clear and set, instead of walking to our starting point, our coordinator recommended that we will take our van and be dropped off in the entry point.
The hike to the clouds
We were dropped-off by the van at the entry point while other groups opt to walk from the registration point. As explained by our guide, upon hiking to Mt. Ulap, this hike have six points where the highlights are the Ampucao Paoay, Gungal rock and Mt. Ulaps peak. It was a short assault at first then a more manageable trail will follow. The vast grassland and mountain ranges are breathtaking. Pine trees everywhere and the fresh air are so refreshing that you would want to take a moment just to smell the leaves and feel the air.
We reached the Gungal rock earlier than estimated time and were lucky to be the second group to arrived. The line to take the picture to the rock can be too long because each one will take its turn. My knees are shaking while preparing to climb the rock. I thought I’ll slide to the diagonal position of the rock, but the rock surface was rough enough to hold me in place. It was extra special for our friend because a proposal was made on the Gungal rock. An unforgettable and definitely an extra-ordinary way of proposing.
After taking pictures, we continue our hike to the lunch area. Along the way, you can meet hikers who have camped over night and are heading to the Gungal rock. When we reached the lunch area, each of us find our own spots to eat and prepared the food. Sadly, the pack lunch we ordered is almost spoiled so we ate a little. But the view here is unbelievably amazing. This is indeed a hike to the clouds. We can see the clouds approaching our way and covering the mountain ranges around us.
The descent from Mt. Ulap was steep but most of the steps have wooden piece to prevent hikers from sliding. Along the way we pass through a cave with the mummy, but it was mentioned to us during the orientation that we cannot see the mummy that was discovered in this mountain. That is because the light is damaging the remains so they have to move it to a much secure place and close the cave.
Half-way down we stopped into a store. They are selling food, drinks and souvenirs. We bought ref magnets, though it’s a bit pricey, it is considerable due to its location. Think of it as a way of helping the locals as well. There is also a toilet, but do not expect much from it. On the descent, we also passed a few hanging bridges made of metal.
Vans are already waiting at the exit point. There are houses offering wash area but our coordinator advised us to wash up near the registration point. The reason for this, to prevent the long line as other hikers have also descent. While waiting for our group to be complete, we ate an ice cream sold on a small store in the area. How refreshing it is to eat an ice cream after a long day hike. On our way from Sta Fe, the road is already very foggy. It looks dangerous to drive at that state but our driver assured us he was experienced on this situation.
When we arrived in the wash area, we just wait a little for our turn. There are a lot of changing rooms where the water is refilled using a bucket. The water feels very cold and I am almost freezing. But that was refreshing.
Side trip to Baguio City
We had a one hour side trip to Mines view scheduled in our itinerary. But since it is already raining hard at the moment we all decided to just have our dinner. We ate at one of the restaurants that served bulalo and savored the hot soup on a cold weather. Also stores are just around Mines View where you can buy pasalubong like peanut brittle, choco flakes, the famous strawberry jams and a lot more. We were off to Manila at around 5 PM and with no stopover arrived at 10 PM.
Itinerary from tour package
- Day 0 – Saturday
- 10:00 PM Asssembly/Meetup
- 10:30 PM ETD to Benguet
- Day 1 – Sunday
- 02:30 AM ETA in Sison, Pangasinan (Stop-over/Early breakfast)
- 03:00 AM ETD to Ampucao
- 04:00 AM ETA in Ampucao Jump-off
- 04:30 AM Start trek
- 05:30 AM ETA in Ambanao Paoay
- 08:00 AM ETA in Gungal Rock
- 11:00 AM ETA in Summit of Mt. Ulap (Lunch time)
- 11:30 AM ETD to Descend
- 02:00 PM ETA in Sta. Fe (Wash Up)
- 03:00 PM ETD to Baguio City
- 04:00 PM ETA in Baguio City, Mines View side trip
- 05:00 PM ETD to Manila
- 11:00 PM ETA in Manila
Tips and Reminders
- Caution when taking pictures
- Bring first aid kit
- If you can, bring your own pack lunch
- Bring enough water and snacks, you’ll only find stores on your way down
- Jackets or Windbreaker (Lightweight jackets are preferred)
- Bring extra clothes
- Light and disposable raincoats are advised
- Keep an extra cash to give as a tip to your guides
The Mt. Ulap hike was a great experience. Being at the height where you can grab the clouds and feel it on your skin is fascinating and surreal. For our tour, we recommend that you also check out Hamog Outdoors Adventures Facebook Page for more details on the package.
We would like to hear from you too
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