Climb Mount Pulag In 7 Simple Steps

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If you’re tired of beaches, why not climb a mountain instead?

Not just any mountain, but Mount Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon.

Maybe you want to climb Mount Pulag for that Instagram-worthy selfie with the famous “sea of clouds.” Maybe you just want to enjoy the almost freezing temperature you won’t feel anywhere in the country. Or maybe you just want to challenge yourself and conquer something.

Mount Pulag View

Mount Pulag Map

There are a hundred of other reasons to climb the highest mountain in Luzon. But for some people, there are also enough reasons to keep delaying the climb or perhaps not even go at all.

From stressing over the logistics of getting there to worrying about how arduous the trek will be, it’s no wonder a lot of our friends stop at just liking Mount Pulag selfies.

Don’t let these thoughts stop you from experiencing the beauty and serenity of this mountain yourself. After reading this article, you’ll find that you have nothing to worry about because there is a quick and easy way to climb it!

No travel agency, no tour group. Just your independent self planning your own trek by following just seven simple steps.

Mount Pulag Landscape

Step 1: Call the DENR office in Ambangeg.

Before your climb, you need to inform the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) office in Ambangeg that you will be there to climb Mount Pulag.

Tell them your intended date of climb and the number of participants in your group. Since Mount Pulag has gained extreme popularity among hikers, the crowd ballooned to a level sometimes too much for the mountain to handle. This is why DENR limits the number of climbers per day and also why you need to inform them ahead of time so they could reserve you a slot.

You may contact Emerita Albas, the DENR Superintendent, at +63 919-631-5402.

Step 2: Ride the overnight bus to Baguio.

Mount Pulag National Park is bordered by three provinces in Luzon: Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya. This means there are also at least three trails leading to the summit.

Shared by the towns of Bokod and Kabayan in Benguet, the Ambangeg Trail is said to be the easiest, making it the most common choice for mountaineers who like to experience Mount Pulag in the least amount of time, and with the least amount of physical effort.

Since we’re picking the easiest and quickest route; Baguio, being the primary gateway to Benguet, will be your first stop.

Victory Liner, Genesis, Dagupan Bus and Philippine Rabbit are among the popular bus companies servicing the route from Manila to Baguio. Terminals are located in Cubao, Pasay, and Avenida.

Travel time for first-class buses is between 5 to 6 hours and will set you back ₱750 while regular buses will take 6 to 7 hours and cost ₱500. Book a bus ride with a departure time of around 11:00 in the evening so that you get to Baguio in the early morning of the following day.

Baguio to Kabayan Van to Mount Pulag

Step 3: Ride the early morning van to Ambangeg.

Once you’re in Baguio, flag a taxi to bring you to the Old Slaughterhouse. Tell the driver to drop you off at the van terminal to Kabayan. Catch the first trip out to Kabayan which leaves around 7:00 AM.

The van to Kabayan will pass by Ambangeg. Get yourself dropped off at the junction in Ambangeg near the DENR Station. Travel time from Baguio to Ambangeg is 2 hours and will cost around ₱120.

Step 4: Register at the DENR Station

From the junction in Ambangeg, walk a few meters to the DENR Station.

If you are a first-timer to Mount Pulag, you will be asked to watch a short video presentation that summarizes the do’s and don’ts during the climb. This will also include some trivia and other helpful information that may come in handy throughout your hike.

DENR Registration for Mount Pulag

Following the brief orientation, an entrance fee of ₱100 per person and a camping fee of ₱50 per person will be collected. You should be able to complete all the requirements before lunchtime. You can start your climb immediately after this.

Step 5: Take a motorcycle ride to Babadac Ranger Station.

Outside the DENR Station, there will be motorcycles for hire (habal-habal) which can bring you to Babadac Ranger Station — the hike’s starting point. Fare costs ₱250 per person per way.

Motorcycle at Mount Pulag

Step 6: Hire a guide at Babadac Ranger Station.

As for guides and porters, you can request for one at the Babadac Ranger Station. Guide fee is ₱500 per group while the porter fee is at ₱500 with a limit of 15 kilos per porter.

If you are camping at the Saddle Camp, the one nearest the summit, ₱100 will be added to your guide and porter fee.

Step 7: Hike to the Mount Pulag’s Summit.

There are three established camps in Mount Pulag: Camp 1, Camp 2 and the Saddle Camp.

Mount Pulag Ambangeg Map

Camp 1 is an easy 30-minute trek from Babadac Ranger Station.

Then it takes another hour to reach Camp 2.

Mount Pulag Camping

If you wish to summit Mount Pulag on the same day you arrived from Baguio, you’ll be surprised to know that from Camp 2, the summit is just an easy 1.5-hour trek!

Saddle Camp is located 20 minutes below the peak so camping here is your best option, especially since you’ll probably be climbing back to the summit the next morning to welcome the sunrise and the breathtaking sea of clouds!

Mount Pulag Sunrise

Things to Bring

Unless you are camping in Mount Pulag for a week, you don’t need to bring your entire room in your backpack. Bringing less also means paying less porter fees.

Here’s a list of the basic items you’ll need for a two-day (one day ascent, next day descent) hike to Mount Pulag.

Tent
Food and Drinks (3 meals: lunch and dinner for Day 1, breakfast for Day 2)
Cookware: (Unless you plan to eat ready-to-eat food)
Jacket (Bring three if you are climbing any time between December to February)
Gloves (Because cold hands will make it difficult for you to sleep, trust me!)
Socks (You’ll need 3 pairs worn at once during the cold season)
Flashlight
Wet Wipes
Camera (The selfie, remember?)

Mount Pulag Harly

Most important reminder: Bring all your trash back home. Nature is best when kept pristine.

And that’s it! Wasn’t that quick and easy? As long as you conscientiously follow the 7 simple steps, climbing Mount Pulag will be a piece of cake!

Bonus: Sample Itinerary

Here’s a sample itinerary to help give you a better picture of how your days will be spent when you go to Mount Pulag.

Day 0

11:00 PM: Bus from Cubao to Baguio

Day 1

6:00 AM Arrival in Baguio, Taxi to Old Slaughterhouse
7:00 AM Van from Old Slaughterhouse to Ambangeg
9:00 AM Arrival in Ambangeg, Registration and Briefing at DENR Station
10:00 AM Motorcycle to Babadac Ranger Station
10:30 AM Arrival at Babadac Ranger Station, Early Lunch
11:00 AM Hire Trekking Guide and Porter, Briefing
12:00 PM Begin Trek to Summit
12:30 PM Arrival Camp 1
1:30 PM Arrival Camp 2
3:00 PM Arrival at the Summit
3:30 PM Descend to Saddle Camp
3:50 PM Arrival at Saddle Camp, Pitch Tent
5:00 PM Cook Dinner
6:00 PM Dinner
8:00 PM Lights Out

Nighttime at Mount Pulag

Day 2

3:30 AM Cook Breakfast
4:00 AM Eat Breakfast
4:30 AM Unpitch Tent
5:00 AM Hike to Summit
5:20 AM Arrival at the Summit, Golden Sunrise + Sea of Clouds!
7:00 AM Descend to Babadac Ranger Station
10:00 AM Arrival at Babadac, Motorcycle to Ambangeg Crossing
10:30 AM Arrival at Ambangeg Crossing, Van to Baguio
12:30 PM Arrival in Baguio, Lunch and Buy Pasalubong
3:00 PM Bus from Baguio to Manila
10:00 PM Arrival in Manila

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About Author

Harly Limlingan Marcuap

A young Filipino geologist and travel enthusiast, he is the writer behind Akrosdayunibers. He likes diving, mountain climbing and exploring remote islands across the Philippine Archipelago. His passion is to discover new places and share it with everyone!

  • Mike Laagan

    may van na pala. dati bus lang yung meron and around 9am yata first trip.

  • Steven Rogers

    What’s with the word “conquer”? It’s not a war and you’re not going there to conquer anything… the only thing you can “conquer” on a mountain is your own weakness. Maybe the whole “conquest” idea is why so many Manila climbers go to a mountain with a group that looks and acts like an invading army!

    • ginco

      “… the only thing you can “conquer” on a mountain is your own weakness”
      –Why the hate? At some point, this is what exactly the author is saying. The word “conquer” does not exclusively define winning a military war; go google it.

      • Steven Rogers

        The use of the word reflects an attitude. If you want to see that attitude at work, go to Pulag on a holiday weekend. Huge groups, screaming and squealing, boozing it up in the campsite, walking off the trail and trampling the dwarf bamboo into the ground, and on and on. “Leave no trace” becomes “leave no space”. Approaching a climb as a “conquest” leaves little room for respect, and if you’re not there to respect the mountain, better not to go.

        • ginco

          You better mind your own business, dear. They went up there for their own purpose, which isn’t yours. They may have a different “conquest” compared to you, and don’t get me wrong; I respect you for that.

          • Steven Rogers

            So if we see the Leave No Trace principles being ignored no a mountain, we’re just supposed to mind our own business? Where does that lead?

          • ginco

            Oh, boy. I don’t know. What’s your age, man? Since you wouldn’t let go of this easily, you really need to loosen up. I’m not the one whom you can complain to about this.

            Plus, you better check it with the right group(s) so to increase awareness to those who go outdoors. Or better yet, start an advocacy yourself… that’s how you can loosen this up. Not to me. I know you do respect nature. So, I pretty understand where you’re coming from.

          • Steven Rogers

            I am involved in advocacy on the subject, isn’t that obvious? Part of the advocacy is to challenge both destructive practices and the attitudes that produce them, whether you see them on the trail or on the internet. In most cases the problem is ignorance, not malice: people just haven’t thought much about what they’re doing. How do you expect to break that cycle without talking about it and putting the issues out in the open?

          • ginco

            Nope, it isn’t obvious. You show more of your words, rather than being an ‘action man’. Well, that sounds great. Continue what you are doing.

          • josh

            Ginco, you must be one of those booze drinking caveman who like to label themselves as a mountaineer, but does not know shit about LNT or has never done a BMC? If you hike, you should know that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep every other hiker accountable on practicing proper LNT principles.

  • Ivy Muyano

    this comes really handy. thank you very much for the detailed information. however, i was wondering where we could borrow a tent from and how much do they charge for it. thanks!

  • Kring-Kring

    Do they have tents for rent? Coz it’s heavy to bring one.

  • grace

    Thank you for this article Harly… i only used to wish wish and wish on this…. Now I am planning one

  • greg po

    dang, still no modern plumbing

  • Phuong Vy

    Thank you for this useful guide. We’ll be travelling Philippines next Febuary and will spend part of our time at mount Pulag. Because of luggage limitation, do you know the average price for renting tent, sleeping bag, headlamp, etc. at the DENR? That would help us a lot in planning our trip.

  • Gibby De Borja

    And it all began with the word conquer… in my opinion using harsh language to combat ignorance just defeats the purpose, it will just bring about resentment. The LNT principle can only be communicated effectively if you sell the idea and not by imposing it unto somebody… Create in the person the want not the need. But then again both your arguments have a point bit it does not suit well with the people you are trying to educate…

  • Stephanie Dova

    Hi Harley.

    I am 23 years old Indonesian who has always been interested to try hiking. I have never done it before, and now sitting on a random bench at SM mall in baguio, i am seriously considering of going up to mt. Pulag.

    I really appreciate your informative post, and if it’s not such a trouble for you, could I please ask a few things?

    1. If you were to rate the difficulty level of hiking this mountain for a first timer, from 1-5 (5 being the hardest), what would it be?

    2. What do you think is the biggest challenge for first time climber to climb (with minimum advance physical preparation and 0 experience of mountain climbing)?

    3. Will going up there around this time be a good time to view the scenery (clouds, sunrise)?

    4. Will hiking up there during such rainy and cold season like this bring particularly disadvantage?

    5. I’m travelling alone and so will hire a guide with me to go there. Does this sound alright or does it sound like another potential challenge?

    Despite the strong urge to visit Mt. Pulag, I am asking such questions just to wisely know the facts and everything I would have to know in order to come to a clear decision on my readiness.

    Because at the end of the day, I’ll need to be sure tht I am taking this decision while knowing the risks right. If you could help to shed a light on this, I’ll be forever grateful!

    Hope to hear from you very soon.

    Many thanks!

    Best,
    Stephanie

  • Great write up!

  • Rodriguez JM

    This is very helpful, !

  • Stella Marie Rusel

    Hi sir, we’re planning to climb pulag on December but I’m not so sure where to get or rent tents?? We don’t want to join a tour group but we’re not sure if there are tents for rent in the area?
    Hope you respond to this message. Thanks a lot.

  • Faye Rojas

    Hi guys, me and my friend are planning to climb mt pulag this june of 2016. im not sure how much we need to prepare and since 2 lang kami im not sure if it is possible. all the information i got from this website are all helpful but i am not sure if it is updated. pls help cheapest sana since sa baguio kami next month thank you po