We arrived in Baguio City as early as 3 o’clock in the morning. The sudden bus get-off made us all shiver in cold. I was already catching my breath on the road, not expecting that the prevailing temperature of this high-altitude city will affect my system. Without any hesitation, we rode a taxi nearby and told the driver that we are bound to Dangwa Bus Station (which, all of us have no idea where). I was unable to stay still on my seat trying to keep myself warm and everyone seemed to be doing the same, except for the driver. My companions were mumbling about how cold it was in Baguio but my mind was completely focused on having a bowl of hot soup. Soon we will reach someplace to have our breakfast and we will wait for sunrise before we proceed to our next destination.
Why do we went to Baguio anyway? Well, it was our first stop before going to the highest mountain in Luzon, Mt. Pulag. It was not our plan to go there on a specific date, but we happen to discuss about places we want to go to. That time, since everyone was free, we decided to go to Mt. Pulag, even if it would be on the following week. All of us have no idea on how to get there, thanks to Mr. Google and we were able to get info that will be convenient to first-timers like us. We didn’t avail any tour package, we just followed a certain schedule we have read on the internet. Through that, though we encountered problems along the way, we were able to maximize our time without worrying for any strict schedule.
Excitement was in the air when everyone in the gang agreed to have our last-week-of-the-month adventure in Mt. Pulag. We only have a week to prepare but we managed to procure camping things like tent, blankets, butane burner among others. We tried as much as we could to make our travel paraphernalia as cheap as possible, but sufficient enough to meet our needs once we are there. When we were all set and prepared to go, we left Manila at exactly eleven-thirty in the evening, riding a Victory Liner Bus to Baguio City, and so began our three-day adventure.
We bought tickets right after we arrive in Victory Liner Bus Station in Cubao.
Luckily, some seats were still available for the 11:30 P.M. trip to Baguio City.
Our arrival in Baguio City was earlier than expected so we decided to look for a place to eat. Good thing there’s Good Taste Café nearby.
I was quite overwhelmed by the serving size of veggies at Good Taste. Perhaps this is due to the abundance of leafy vegetables in Baguio and its neighboring areas.
We walked all the way to Slaughter House upon daybreak. At first I thought the place was really a slaughter house, but I realized that it’s a market place and a bus terminal.
We’ve been asking people around on how to get to Mt Pulag and we were told that A-Liner buses pass by the area where we can take another ride to Mt Pulag Visitor’s Center. It took us three hours to reach that area with a bus fare of 80 pesos.
Few local merienda treats like “bitsu-bitsu” gave us delightful moments while on a bus stop halfway to our destination.
The bus driver told us that we can get off the bus when we arrived near this sign. We need to take the road on the left to reach the Visitor’s Center. A number of tricycle drivers offered us a ride to the Center.
Finally, the Visitor’s Center. I could feel my heart thumping for excitement on the mere sight of those tarps. We watched some videos on Mt. Pulag National Park preservation and attended an orientation conducted by one of the personnel on proper etiquette once we start our climb to the peak. He told us that the trail that we will be taking will be the Ambangeg Trail, the easiest among other trails to reach the summit.
It’s already past noon,but we’re still preparing for the “habal-habal” ride to the Ranger Station. We have no idea what lies ahead on our way to the station.
The habal-habal ride itself was adventure defined. I never imagined that such motorcycles can make their way through steep and rugged roads.
A stopover for a few minutes gave us a chance to look at the majestic mountain range.
After an hour of rough ride, we reached the Ranger Station where we took our late lunch. We rested for sometime then another personnel there assigned a tour guide for us who will accompany us to Camp 2. By 2 o’clock in the afternoon, we set off and started hiking. We’re just a hundred yards away from the Station but everyone seemed to be catching his own breath already. We stopped for a moment looking at the steep slopes of the nearby mountains and all we saw was a long way ahead. (To be continued on Part 2)