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Reaching the Clouds – Mt. Ulap, Cordillera, Philippines

“I’m a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds.”  – Mike Tyson (American former professional boxer)

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God bestowed the Cordillera Region with majestic mountains, lovely waterfalls, chilly rivers, numerous hills and varieties of flora and fauna. No one can resist to discover its beauty.

Located in Cordillera Region specifically Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet is Mt. Ulap. Mt. Ulap was new to tourists and mountaineers since it was newly opened to the public last October 2015. As months passed, it gained popularity to wanderlusts and zealous hikers because it features pine ridges, grasslands, and exquisite scenic views of some parts of Cordillera, Mt. Sto. Tomas and Philex Mines.

Browsing and checking my Facebook, I saw some posts of my friends about their Mt. Ulap adventures so we decided to go too. Fortunately, it was the best time to go since ending the month of January with an adventure would be exciting.

Hiking wasn’t a new experience for me, so I did the usual stuff- woke up early, eat enough breakfast and prepare. Hiking shoes, wicking t-shirt, quick-drying pants, sun-shielding hat, packed lunch, snacks, water bottles, insect repellent, bag for collecting trash, outdoor journal and camera. All set. I am ready to conquer Mt. Ulap.

The jeepney took us to the Barangay Hall where the registration for the trail takes place. Upon registration, they assigned us our tour guide, Elvira.

We walked through a concrete way before starting our hike, at that moment we got to know Elvira. At the age of 18, she was a tour guide since Mt. Ulap opened, she was only there on Sundays because she’s studying in Baguio.

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The main entrance showing the elevations of the major peaks along the eco trail.

The starting point of the trail will truly test your endurance. It is a combination of rocky roads, grasslands and concrete ways. The first view you will see is an over view of Baguio City and Mt. Sto. Tomas which I trekked a few years ago.

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A photo overviewing Mt. Sto. Tomas.

Just after 30 minutes of hike we felt exhausted. We need a place to regain our stamina because there are a lot of uphill assaults and narrow trails which measured our endurance, so we decided to take a rest in the rock formations we saw.

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Feeling the cold breeze and the incredible view.

It was tiring but we knew we were just starting the cold breeze of air helped a lot. After an hour hike in the pine trees and forests, we saw a clear view. No pine trees. No rocky roads. No slippery trails, just the grasses. It’s like a grass field with few trees that you can count in your hands.

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The trail going to Mount Gungal.
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A selfie with our kind tour guide, Elvira.

I can say that I really liked the hike in this part. It was a “chill” hike for me. Moreover, the hot ray of the sun that contradicts to the cold wind is a perfect combination.

After some time, a more captivating view of Mt. Sto. Tomas was seen.

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Mt. Sto. Tomas in the background

Hiking farther (approximately 2 hours), we saw Philex Mines and the dam.

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Overviewing Philex Mines and its dam.

And at last we reached our destination. It was 1814 meters above sea level. The toil and sweat were totally paid off.

(Fun Trivia) This rock is called the “Gungal Rock”. Elvira said that the star was from the Japanese colonizers which represents that there were hidden treasures at that place.

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The highlight, the Mount Gungal/ Gungal Rock.

Mt. Ulap is indeed God’s art. It is really the place for you to enjoy and appreciate God’s given treasures.

Like what Mike Tyson said I’m a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds.but for us we didn’t miss our star and we merrily grabbed a handful of clouds.

Travel Details:

  • Jeepney to Mt. Ulap: P24.00 (Student)
  • Tour Guide Fee: P400.00
  • Registration Fee: P100.00 (Regular) P50.00 (Student)
  • Jeepney back to Baguio: P24.00 (Student)

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