Mt. Ulap shot to popularity in the past couple of years and it comes as no surprise because there’s a lot to love about this mountain.
It has a spectacular view of the Cordilleras, it gives you the feeling of being high up with the clouds, it’s surrounded by verdant, rolling hills, and it has a relatively easy trail. Visitors have the option to do the trek as a day trip or spend a night in one of the peaks.
- 1846 MASL
- Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet is your jump-off point
- The hike features pine ridges, rolling grasslands and spectacular views of the landscape
- Possible day hike of around 6 hours
- Camping possible in some areas
How to Get to Mt. Ulap
By Public Transportation
One of the reasons Mt. Ulap is popular is because of its accessibility by public transportion, making it the perfect weekend or holiday destination. Your first stop to get to the mountain is Baguio; there are many buses that ply this route from Manila. The fare is around ₱450 to ₱750 per way and may take up to four to six hours. Once in Baguio City, board a jeep bound for Barangay Ampucao. The fare for this trip is around P50 and may take up to 40 minutes or more.
You also have the option to rent a taxi from Baguio City to Brgy. Ampucao for around ₱1000, round trip. Get the number of the driver so you can inform him or her of your pick-up time.
By Private Car
Alternatively, you can also drive to Mt. Ulap from Manila which is a good option if you are traveling with a group. Drive to Baguio City and then once you’re there, follow the route to Itogon and turn left to Brgy. Ampucao.
By Joining a Tour
Since its rise in popularity, more and more agencies and groups are offering hikes up Mt. Ulap every weekend. All you need to do is make a quick search online or through Facebook and multiple options will appear. The tours cost anywhere between ₱500 to ₱3000 per person. The inclusions vary and some take public transportion or hire a van with a driver.
Fees During Your Trip
- ₱100 registration fee
- ₱400 required guide fee per day (1 guide is good for up to 10 people)
- ₱500 camping fee
- ₱500 porter fee for every 20 kilos
- ₱20 for use of shower and toilet
The trail of the traverse is approximately 8km that goes through a handful of peaks. There are gradual ascents and descents through rolling hills and scenic views of the Ampucao-Sta. Fe Ridge. If you start early enough, you’ll get to see the captivating sunrise and a sea of clouds from a distance.
The trail is easy enough for hikers of all levels, from first-timers to experienced ones. It takes around 6 hours to complete the traverse, but may take longer depending on the number of stops and photo ops you take along the way. As you move up from the jump-off point, you’ll see many pine trees, rolling grassland and captivating views of the mountains in the distance. You might also see Mt. Sto. Tomas and the Central Cordilleras, depending on the visibility.
The first peak you’ll reach after an hour or so is Ambanao Paoay which has an elevation of 1788 MASL. There is also a campsite here for those who want to spend a night or two here. Further along this trail, you’ll see more of the same pine trees, rolling ascents and descents, and rock formations.
After Ambanao, you’ll make it to the second peak, which is Gungal. The latter has an elevation of around 1814 MASL and is where the iconic photos of Mt. Ulap are usually taken. The rock jutting out of the cliff is where many visitors take photos of themselves in various poses, with the majestic mountains and sky as their background.
However, this is also the busiest part of the hike because there will be many people taking turns to stand or sit on the rock formation. Your guide will call you once it’s your group’s turn. Be careful when walking on the rock as it is inclined and one wrong step could mean falling off the cliff.
The official summit of Mt. Ulap is not too far from Gungal Rock which has an elevation of around 1846 MASL. The descent is just as scenic as the beginning and middle of the trail, with more hills dotted with pine trees. Some sections going down may be tricky because of the loose rock and steep incline, which is why it’s so important to wear the right shoes.
For the most safe and secure trekking experience, you can try out the newest hiking shoes from Merrell. Called the Chameleon 7, they’re equipped with featherweight protection, tuned stability, and smart grip. Built with FlexPlate technology, you can expect more versatile movements as well as more protection for your feet when you have them on. These features will prove especially handy for the latter part of the Mt. Ulap trek where it’s all downhill. You can get the new Chameleon 7 hiking shoes from any Merrell store branch in the Philippines!
- Begin your hike as early as possible to avoid the crowds (around 5:00 AM to 5:30 AM)
- Bring a jacket, gloves, and/or a bonnet because it can get cold and windy during your hike
- Bring a trekking pole as some sections of the trail can be steep, whether going up or down
- Bring a poncho or raincoat, if you’re going during the rainy season
- Bring your own snacks and drinks
- Bring a garbage bag and leave no trace during your hike
- Bring personal medicine and a first aid kit
|0000||Depart Manila for Baguio|
|0500||Arrival Baguio City|
|0520||Depart for Brgy. Ampucao|
|0600||Arrival at the registration hall and begin hike|
|0800||Arrival at Gungal Rock and peak|
|0930||Arrival at the official summit, lunch, snacks, rest and other activities|
|1030-1100||Visit burial caves and begin descent|
|1300||Arrival at the exit of the trail on the Sta. Fe side,
wash up, change clothes and rest
|1400||Departure for Baguio for side trips or return to Manila
by public transport or private car
The trip can take longer or faster depending on the pace of your group and the number of stops you make along the way. Just keep in mind that the hike is not a race. Why would you want to breeze through such a beautiful trail with spectacular views anyway! Take your time, enjoy the hike and take in the beautiful scenery.