Bokod, Benguet: On Climbing Luzon’s Highest Peak, Mount Pulag

Mount Pulag Kabayan Benguet mountaineering

When I heard the phrases “3-4 hour hike”, “below-zero temperature”, especially the word “hypothermia” while listening to the mandatory orientation at Mount Pulag National Park DENR Office, that’s when I begin to question my physical and mental capacities – “Am I ready for this?”

At that point, I also realized that there was no turning back, no other way but up, and I just have to pull myself together and find out if I could conquer and survive Luzon Island’s highest peak, Mount Pulag.

How High Is 2,922 MASL?

To put these figures into perspective, let’s compare the altitude of the mountain to a more familiar structure – let’s say, the tallest building in the Philippines, Ayala Center’s PBCom Tower. Stack 11 of these together, base to spire, and you’re looking at the staggering height of the third highest mountain in the Philippines, the highest point of elevation in Luzon Island, the “playground of the gods”, the massive Mount Pulag of Benguetthat’s what 2,922 MASL means.

Trekking Ambangeg

Hiking Ambangeg Trail, the easiest route, begins at the Ranger Station situated at 2,340 MASL already. This leaves hikers with only 20% of the mountain, or 8 kilometers of gradual ascends with a handful of moderately steep sections, to scale from jump off point to summit. However, the 3-4 hour Ambangeg trek could be quite a task if you’re not physically or mentally prepared. Getting your mind and body into the game weeks or months before and during the climb date can spell out a difference.

Enduring The Cold

Three jackets, two shirts, two bonnets, two pairs of pants, three pairs of socks, a sarong, a towel, a sleeping bag and I can still feel the cold pierce into those multiple layers.  With Mount Pulag’s high altitude, conditions can drop to a bone-chilling below zero temperature. During our climb, numbers didn’t even reached negative and I was shivering inside my tent. Enduring the frigid climate was my biggest challenge in Mount Pulag.

The Summit

Mountaineers and non-mountaineers come to Mount Pulag for a sole purpose. All hikers underwent the same obstacles thrown by nature to witness a unique spectacle which makes all the beating worth it. The 2,922 MASL Mount Pulag summit is your front row seat to the majestic Mount Pulag sunrise and the phenomenal sea of clouds, and you could just feel the excitement intensify as every minute pass. When the sun comes up, it is going to be and will always be, a celebration of Mother Nature’s majesty indeed.

Looking back down from 2,922 MASL makes you reflect on your doubts, the immense length of the journey, and the challenges one must endure in scaling Mount Pulag for this one phenomenal and spectacular purpose. In the end, I realized it wasn’t about conquering the mountain anymore, but conquering myself. Overcoming doubts and exceeding physical limits makes you realize that there’s more to you than what or who you think you are and thing things you could do.

This is my Mount Pulag story, the first major climb in my entire life. Thanks to everyone who shared this wonderful and memorable experience with me.

(Photos were taken on my January and March 2015 climbs to Mount Pulag.)

Hanging bridge ambuklao mount pulag benguet

Mount Pulag Camp 2 weekday Kabayan Benguet

foggy haze mount pulag kabayan benguet ambangeg

Mount Pulag Camp 2 kabayan bokod benguet

Mount Pulag KabayanBokod Benguet Camp 2

Mount Pulag Kabayan benguet

Kabayan Bokod Benguet Mount Pulag Camp 2

Mount Pulag summit kabayan benguet

Mount Pulag Ambangeg Trail Benguet

Watching the sunrise mount pulag kabayan benguet

Mount Pulag Bokod Benguet Ambangeg Trail Camp 2

Mount Pulag Kabayan Benguet sunrise sea of clouds


1. For Mt. Pulag Climbs, contact Biyahe Lokal on Facebook or call/text them at 0998 95 56525

2. Enjoyed hiking with Buwisbuhay Adventures and Outdoors Guild (BAOG).

3. Basic things to bring in Mount Pulag.

  • Clothes (2 + 1 pairs)
  • Jackets (yes, plural) that could withstand really cold temperatures
  • Trekking Pants or Jogging Pants that will also keep you warm (bring both)
  • Socks, thick ones, and bring extra.
  • Gloves, thick ones, and bring extra.
  • Bonnet/Headgears/Scarf/Malong, bring all of them. You will thank this list for this.
  • Hiking Shoes or Running Shoes
  • Plastic Bags, to waterproof your electronic items (and your feet as well, one of the important things I learned during this climb).
  • Sleeping Bag, should keep you warm if you want to sleep well. Bring an earth pad as well, a ground sheet, an insulator, anything that would shield your body from the cold.
  • Garbage Bags, 2 at least, can do a lot of things aside from being just a garbage bag.
  • Flashlight/Headlamps, unless you have night vision eyes.
  • Trail food, well of course, so you won’t go hungry. Our meals were prepared by our experienced guides and team leaders, again, thank you very much.

4. You don’t have to buy brand new signature equipments, try borrowing from friends.

5. Keep it light, as much as possible, but then again DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the temperature. Bring what you think is needed.

6. If you think, you will need a porter, there is always someone available at the Ambangeg Ranger Station. I think, the fee is P500.00 (two-way)

7. I am not a seasoned mountaineer but I think anyone can do Ambangeg Trail. Don’t hesitate to try. But remember, exercising and body conditioning weeks or months prior can and will help you a lot.

8. And besides, it’s not a race. Take your time and enjoy the view. One step forward is always one step closer to the destination.

9. Wear light clothes during the hike.

10. Orientation at the DENR Office is required. Medical certificate is also required

11. All the fees, the transportation from Manila-Baguio, Baguio-Ranger Station, and back, the food, were all covered in our payment.

12. More about Benguet

13. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook..

14. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter

15. Follow @biyaherongbarat on Instagram.

16. Be safe and happy travels.

Mount Pulag summit Kabayan Benguet

Mount Pulag summit basekamp sandugo market market

24 thoughts on “Bokod, Benguet: On Climbing Luzon’s Highest Peak, Mount Pulag

  1. You did it again Jed. congrats you’ve have scaled Mt. Pulag. Your caption is as astounding as your photographs. As if I’m already there.

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    • wala naman pong age limit. di rin naman po required na regular hiker or mountaineer. Pero mas ok po na makapag exercise kayo at least a month or weeks prior the hike para kahit papano macondition po yung katawan niyo.

  5. This is a nice reference sir! Thanks! I’m considering climbing when I go home to PH end of this year. I’m only a bit scared we won’t see the sea of clouds ‘cos we’re probably climbing first or second week of January. I saw some posts about climbing then, foggy daw and wala sea of clouds? 😦 Would it really not be a good time to climb? :/

    • Hello Ma’am Abeth, kakayin niyo po ang Mt. Pulag, ma’am. Pero mas advisable po, tuloy tuloy lang yung akyat niyo for body conditioning and/or regular exercise. Magkakaroon po kami ng open climb sa Pulag starting October. Right now, mga minor climb po, tapos September may Mt. Ugo kami, baka gusto niyo po sumama.

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