Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Mt. Pulag Climb, January 2014

We climbed Mt. Pulag, the Philippines' 2nd highest mountain at 2,922 meters above sea level, last January 31, descended February 01, 2014. Same group, Congress Mountaineers, we first climbed the mountain in January 1994 or exactly 20 years ago. This time, some of us brought their kids.

It was my 3rd climb in this mountain. 1st time in 1994 with same group, 2nd time in 2002 with NEDA group. Very clear that my legs, lungs and body are indeed older than the 1st and 2nd time I climbed it.

From Baguio City, before we reached the PAWB/DENR registration and seminar station, we passed by Ambuklao Dam, Benguet. This hydro-power plant is owned by SN-Aboitiz.

Among the "orig climbers" in January 1994. Iya Tiu, standing in orange shirt front row, was only 6 years old then. Now she is 26. How time flies...

The girls...

The boys...

The kids, second generation of climbers...

At the PAWB-DENR registration and seminar area. The Dumlao family (clockwise: Jun, Peachy, Third, Huggy. The younger kid, Huggy, is my godson.

Start of climb from the Ranger Station. I was still smiling as the walk has just started. About a kilometer from this point, my legs, lungs, and ageing body started to complain.

First big campsite/rest area, about 1/3 the distance to the Pulag camping areas.

Mt. Pulag is about 10,500 hectares. Pine forest then mossy forest then grassland, actually dwarf bamboo around the summit. These 3 plant ecosystems don't mix or encroach each other. Elevation and soil/rock condition dictate who should stay where.

The mountains, carpet of clouds, and sunset in Pulag.

Cooking our dinner at near freezing temp., probably at 1-3 C. After dinner around 7pm, we all went to our respective tents to hide from brutal winds and cold.

Around 8 or 8L39pm, only a few people would be outside their tents. We were at camp2 with probably 100+ other climbers. Another hundred plus at Camps 1 and 3. Some were already sleeping.

We took our dinner then a short chat inside the tent, Jun Velasco's tent, the biggest and tallest tent in the area that night, can accommodate 10 people.

Then around 12 midnight, we woke up, harsh winds and thick clouds were pummeling our tents. We were partly wet, at midnight. The next hours were miserable for us. The rains started around 1am, and did not stop. 

(All photos above from Gene Penas and Jun Dumlao's cameras. Thanks Gene, Jun/Peachy).

(To be Continued)

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