Above the Clouds in Mt. Pulag

Nary a drop of rain in sight for our visit to Mt. Pulag <3

Nary a drop of rain in sight for our visit to Mt. Pulag ❀

2016 started off in a very high note for me becauseΒ  I was able to climb the third highest mountain in the Philippines. January 10-11 will mark the dates when I was able to see the sea of clouds on top of Mt. Pulag. The experience was not without difficulty, but it just made the trip more precious. I hope that my first trip of the year set the tone for an adventure-filled 2016. And so far, it has been πŸ™‚

My Companions:

Rose, Ian and I joined a scheduled climb of the Off the Grid Adventures team for Mt. Pulag. The schedule was originally for the third week of December, but we had to re-schedule because of bad weather conditions. I already know the organizers because they were also our guides for the Mt. Batulao climb. I knew that we were in good hands with the OTG team πŸ™‚

L-R: Rose, Ruby, Deejay, Mayette, Dalvin, Sir H, Ian & Ara at the bottom :)

L-R: Rose, Ruby, Deejay, Mayette, Dalvin, Sir H, Ian & Ara at the bottom πŸ™‚ (Photo by Sir Abner)

Our group was made up of 7 guests and 2 guides. We didn’t really talk with each other at first, but the long climb and the cold night was an excellent icebreaker. Pretty soon we were getting to know each other and exchanging jokes.

What I wore in Mt. Pulag:

I Googled a lot and asked several people about what I should wear for the climb. I get cold easily and I didn’t want to spend the whole night trembling in our tent because I didn’t prepare well. My research paid off. I didn’t turn to ice during the long and cold night. Lol.

The following is what I wore during the climb and I hope that this will be a helpful reference to anyone who reads this section:

My full battle gear against the cold. Brrrrrrr.

My full battle gear against the cold. Brrrrrrr.

For the head:

  1. Bonnet – I brought 2. One had a visor to protect my eyes from the sun. The other was a regular bonnet that I wore at night. You need this to keep your head protected from the cold or you might suffer fromΒ  headache.
  2. Brimless beanie – I used this as a nose cover most of the time to lessen the cold air coming up my head and also to cover my face from dust.

Upper body:

  1. Sports bra – just a personal preference
  2. Heattech long-sleeve shirt from Uniqlo – a friend suggested this as a good base layer. I had some doubts at first because the material felt thin when I bought it from Uniqlo. I tried it at home and I almost fainted from the heat. The material retains body heat and soaks up sweat. I bought this on sale.

    Heattech shirt & leggings from Uniqlo. Photo lifted from Uniqlo's website.

    Heattech shirt & leggings from Uniqlo. Photo lifted from Uniqlo’s website.

  3. Long-sleeve cotton shirt – this and the Heattech base was enough to keep me warm as we were climbing
  4. Heattech long-sleeve fleece shirt from Uniqlo (borrowed) – I only added this layer when we were about to sleep until our trek to the peak
  5. Polyester winter jacket with fleece lining (borrowed) – this had a fleece lining and is windproof. All these layers bundled me up in a nice cocoon of warmth even when I was standing at the peak with the cold wind coming at me.
  6. Winter gloves (borrowed) – I only intended to wear crocheted gloves until a friend advised me that it won’t do anything against the cold. So I borrowed winter gloves instead. I’m thankful I did because it kept my hands warm. My hands immediately felt like ice whenever I removed them.

Legs:

  1. Heattech leggings from Uniqlo
  2. Regular leggings
  3. Trek pants – three layers were not enough. I should have added more.
  4. Socks – I wore one pair during the trek, but I added two more layers when we arrived at camp

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Throwback: Baguio in Bloom (Panagbenga Festival 2012)

It has been a yearly tradition of my friends to go to Baguio for Panagbenga Festival and for Zhorea’s birthday. You could say it is a 2-in-1 celebration. My friends have been doing it since high school but it was my first time to join this year’s Panagbenga Festival. To be honest, I’m afraid of traveling to Baguio. I hate zigzag roads. But since this is for friendship and for adventure, I decided to ignore my fear and look forward of things to come.

My Companions

The people I was with on this weekend getaway were my long-time friends. I’ve known them since high school. There were 9 of us who visited Zhorea in Baguio. So imagine the chaos and fun that 10 people could share! It didn’t take too much to convince people to come to Baguio since it already was a habit for most of them. I was actually the only one who would experience the Panagbenga Festival for the first time.

IMG_6543

the only picture where we were complete + Zhorea’s cousin πŸ™‚

The Roadtrip

Only Jhodan and I will be coming from Manila. The rest will come from Pangasinan which was just 2 hours away from Baguio. Travelling from Manila to Baguio will take 7 hours so Jhodan and I met at the Victory Liner terminal in Cubao before midnight. And we were met with super long lines of people who were also thinking of going to Baguio. We should have reserved seats 😦 We stood up in line for 1 hour and we were still standing outside the terminal. That’s how long the line was!Β  Luckily, there were vans that arrived at the area and they were accepting passengers bound for Baguio. The fare was Php 150 more expensive than the regular aircon bus fare, but we decided to take the offer instead of waiting until dawn to be able to get on a bus.

I wanted to sleep the whole way, but unfortunately I was woken up when we got to the zigzag roads. It was hard to sleep when your body is being pulled left and right by gravity. Hahaha. I was still nervous but I decided to focus on the views. To road to Baguio was beautiful but I was saddened to see patches of tree-less mountains. We didn’t encounter heavy traffic until we arrived in Baguio. The traffic delayed our arrival time by 30 minutes. Zhorea picked us up at the terminal and I slept until the others arrived from Pangasinan.

Our Accommodation: Transient House somewhere in Bakakeng Road

This trip was only decided a week before so by the time I was calling up hotels, inns and transient houses, they were all fully booked. Zhorea looked for our accommodations and luckily talked with a neighbor who was willing to let us sleep at their empty house for a night. The house was unused so there was no running water. The owners left us with plenty of stocked water though. Other than that, we had everything we needed to sleep peacefully: pillows, blankets and soft mattresses. The owners also let us take a bath at the main house the morning after. I have no complaints. I truly truly appreciated the water heater. Our simple accommodations for night cost us only Php 250 per head. Continue reading