“Climbing a mountain is a passion, not a competition”
October 18, 2014 – “I’m in Baguio!!”
The trip from Baguio to Manila took about 5 hours. I couldn’t believe that I’m finally in Baguio! I was trying not to let my excitement show, but man, I gotta try that Strawberry Taho! (OMG, it was so good… and the regular-flavored one had a deeper flavor than the ones sold in Manila, so better get Taho when you’re in Baguio!)
Anyway, we left Baguio at 5 AM to go to Benguet. Although the cold was tolerable, it was drizzling and it seemed like the rain will not stop anytime soon. We had breakfast along the way and reached the DENR visitors’ center at 9 AM for our registration and orientation.
Signing in at the DENR center is required for the regulation of the mountaineers going to Pulag. A 15-minute video will be shown before a short discussion. T-shirts and other souvenir items are sold at the center, while several other stores are available just across the street. We were able to buy some rain coats, gloves, and bonnets at one of those stores. These proved to be really helpful throughout the whole trip. Preparations for the climb were done after lunch before heading out for another 2 hours of drive to the jump-off site.
The Ranger Station is the main jump-off point for the Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail. Restrooms and bathing areas are available for use of the mountaineers. The weather and cold temperature was making us hesitant to pursue the climb. After several minutes, it was then decided that we will start our ascent by 3 PM. It was still raining so we had to protect ourselves from getting wet by either using raincoats or even garbage bags.
Hiking in Unpredictable Weather Conditions
We found out later on that the rain was due to an LPA. We pursued the trail until about a third of the way, when we met two people from the Akiki-Amba group going our way. They told us that all the campsites are flooded, and that the rest of the group were on their way to the Ranger Station as well. We were hesitant at first, but the team leader decided that it’s for the safety of everyone to just go back. Walking in the rain was tough. And the wind made things worse… I’m just thankful that I’m in good company — and that the guide was friendly. 🙂
We stayed at the sari-sari store in front of the Ranger Station to warm our tummies with coffee.
Ranger Station: Our Temporary Shelter
We were allowed to stay at the Ranger station after our team leader sought the help of the Rangers. They were very kind to us, and accommodating too. Dinner was Tinolang Manok, cooked by our own chef — Sir Aris. There’s nothing better to have in this weather. 🙂
The cold was soon becoming unbearable as the temperature reached 2 degrees on the scale…
Sleep is difficult to come by when you’re shivering/freezing. It’s much more difficult when you’re trying to get sleep on the cold, cold floor.
Watch out what happens next in the last of the 3-part blog series! 🙂