Mount Pulag

philippines

Mount Pulag: The Third Highest Filipino Peak

Mountain Stats
Natural Form and History
Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Support Facilities
Safety & Accessibility
Special Tips
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Quick Answers

Q:How long does it take to climb Mount Pulag?
A:Depending on which trail you decide to take as well as your stamina, climbing Mount Pulag can take anything from 6 hours to 2-3 days.
Q:How can I prepare for Mount Pulag?
A:There’s no network signal or electricity throughout the Mount Pulag hike. Temperatures tend to drop down to the negatives during night time. In order to catch the sunrise at the peak, you’ll most likely have to start your trek around 03:00-04:00 AM on Day 2.

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Mountain Stats

Country
philippines
Height
2,926 m (9,600 ft)
Climbing Height
2,922 m (9,587 ft)
Numbers
  • #3 Highest Mountain in The Philippines
Other names
  • Playground of the Gods

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Natural Form and History

Natural Mount Pulag Philippines - Natural history

Known as an inactive volcano, Mount Pulag has no record of any past eruptions.

Natural Mount Pulag Philippines - Climbing history

The first ascent is believed to have been made around 2000BC by the native Ibalois. Since then, the Ibaloi people of Benguet have been mummifying their dead and placing them in caverns within the mountain. 

The burial caves, one of the main attractions of this site, are considered Philippine national cultural treasures.

Natural Mount Pulag Philippines - Current status

Pulag was proclaimed a National Park in 1987, covering an area of 28,500 acres. As part of the Cordillera Biogeographic Zone, it is a National Integrated Protected Areas Programme (NIPAP) site.

Various ethnic groups such as the Ibalois, Kalanguya, Kankana-eys, Karao, Ifugaos and the Ilocanos continue to live within the National Park to date.

Mount Pulag is famous for its “sea of clouds” and the view of the Milky Way Galaxy at dawn, attracting numerous tourists every year hoping to catch a glimpse of this sunrise scenery.

The mountain is also believed to be home to the tinmongao mountain spirits.

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Climbing Experience & Itinerary

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Climbing Experience

This is a climb that boasts a variety of trees and flora and fauna with a lot of mossy trees, grass and dwarf bamboo along the way. The final climb to the peak may be quite steep and tough, sometimes requiring some scrambling.

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Trail options

Number of options
4
Summary

There are four major trails up the summit: the Ambangeg, Akiki, and Tawangan trails from Benguet and the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Vizcaya. These trails are managed by the Mount Pulag National Park, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Time to complete
2 days

This is the easiest and most popular route, especially amongst beginners.

Itinerary
Number of days
2
Day 1
00:00:

Arrival in Baguio

06:00:

Departure to DENR Visitor Center

07:00:

You’ll want to grab a bite for breakfast along the way.

08:00:

Arrival at DENR Visitor Office.

09:00:

Departure from DENR.

10:30:

Arrival at the Babadac Ranger Station.

11:00:

You can finally begin the actual hike!

13:00:

Arrival at Camp 1. Hit the brakes and grab a bite to eat for lunch.

16:00:

Arrival at Camp 2. You’ll want to set up camp for the night here.

18:00:

Considering the early start next morning, you’ll want to grab a quick dinner and hit the sleeping bags early tonight.

Day 2
03:30:

Wake-up call!

04:00:

Start trek to summit after a quick cup of tea/coffee.

05:00:

Arrival at summit. Spend some time watching the sunrise, enjoying the views.

06:45:

Trek down back to Camp 2. After breakfast, pack up and begin descending towards the station.

12:30:

Arrival at Babadac Ranger Station and lunch.

13:30:

Departure from Ranger Station.

15:00:

Arrival at DENR.

17:30:

Arrival in Baguio.

18:00:

Have an early dinner before the 2-hour journey back to Manila.

Time to complete
3 days

This is a 3 day long, advanced level hike.

The Akiki trail is also known as the “killer trail” due to its steep and winding trails. 

 Aside from the Akiki trail being considered a ‘hardcore’ level climb, it is also a hike where you can best experience the biodiversity of Mount Pulag where you will encounter the pine forest, mossy forest, and grasslands as you hike to its summit. Witness both the sunset and the sunrise from the summit as your second camp will be just minutes away from the peak.

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Support facilities

Guides and porters

Guides are required
Porters are recommended

Trail facilities

Trail head - Registration kiosk
Trail head - Toilets / Bathrooms
Summit base camp - Shelters for overnight rest

Food & water

Trail head - Food & potable water only available from guide / porters
Trail - Food & potable water only available from guide / porters
Summit base camp - Food & potable water only available from guide / porters

Network connectivity

Trail head - Network signal

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Safety & Accessibility

Weather

Because of its high elevation, the climate on Mount Pulag is temperate with rains predominating the whole year. August is the wettest month of the year. Snow has not fallen on its top in over 100 years, however there have been mild flurries on the mountain, especially during the winter months of December, January and February.

The best time to climb Pulag would be during the summer months of March to May.

Climbing safety

There are many plants and some say leeches and various other insects and rodents too so it’s best to dress appropriately to avoid any hazards. 

There may be some scrambling towards the peak of this trek too so prepare for any scrambling.

Personal safety

This is an okay hike for solo travellers, however taking a guide from the ranger station is a requirement.

It is advisable that hikers pack and wear attire fit for the freezing temperatures that can cause discomfort, especially during the night.

Permits, Fees, and Regulations

You’ll need to first register at the DENR and then pay the guide’s fees as well as the Environment and Cultural Heritage fees at the Ranger Station.

Emergency contacts

National Emergency Hotline: 911.

Police: 117 or (02) 722-0650.

Red Cross: 143 or (02) 527-8385 to 95.

Getting there and away

The trip by private vehicle to Baguio from Manila should take around 4hours. However, there are buses that start from Cubao as well.

The Manila International Airport is the nearest airport for travellers from across the seas.

Money Matters

The entire trek with local transportation costs and all payable fees shouldn’t cost you more than $100 USD.

Climbing Mount Pulag Philippines - Special Tips

Tips for amateur climbers

The Ambangeg Trail is best for beginners and is considered the easiest trail for summiting the 3rd highest peak in the Philippines.

Tips for advanced climbers

If you’d like to challenge yourself, try the Akiki “Killer” Trail.

Tips for women

The Philippines does not present special challenges for women. It’s still best to always be on the watch for sketchy areas where crime might be a particular problem.

Tips for trail runners

There are a few trail runs that do take place at Mount Pulag around April every year.

Tips for nature lovers

Mount Pulag is home to 528 documented plant species. It is the natural habitat of the endemic Dwarf Bamboo and the Benguet pine. 

Among Pulag’s native wildlife are 33 bird species and several threatened mammals such as the Philippine Deer, Giant Bushy-Tailed Cloud Rat and the Long-Haired Fruit Bat. 

Mount Pulag is one of the most biodiverse locations in the Philippines.

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