How I’m Preparing for Mt. Pulag

“But you’re not even athletic!” was the common reaction I got from friends when I said that I’m climbing my first mountain in March.

I may have been doing yoga for 10 years, but I doubt my ardha chakrasana poses will help me get to the top of Mt. Pulag. The third highest mountain in the Philippines and the highest peak in Luzon, Mt. Pulag reaches 2,922 meters above sea level. The borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain’s peak. (source: Wiki).

Mt. Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines, next to Mt. Apo and Mt. Dulang-Dulang.



With about five weeks to go before the descent, this non-athletic writer has been busy preparing for Mt. Pulag by:

1. Working out. According to my cousin Nik, a professional mountain climber and yogini, increasing my cardio workout and leg exercises will prep my body for the hike. I’ve been taking modern dance classes thrice a week now on top of my regular yoga, and I’m already seeing the results!

My friends Lio and Iya climbed Mt. Pulag last year, and their travel album inspired me to go.

2. Gear shopping. My birthday is coming and my wish list now includes a pair of hiking boots and a trekking pole (Hi, Ma!). I’m notoriously clumsy (I sprained my foot during a shopping spree in Hong Kong), so the proper gear can hopefully prevent a mishap.

It’s been over 100 years since snow fell on the mountaintop, but the climate reaches sub-freezing temperatures.




3. Packing light. The temperature drops to zero when you get to the top, so I’ve been scrambling for the lightest winter coat and other camping essentials that I can fit into my backpack.

4. Booking a reputable travel agency. Mt. Pulag is great for newbies as there are several safe trails available for the athletically challenged. While many enthusiasts prefer to go DIY, I’d rather enlist the help of a travel agency to make sure I secure the necessary permits and cover all the bases without a glitch.

5. Educating myself. Aside from the required orientation seminar with DENR (Department of Natural Resources) before the trek, I’m reading up on mountaineering ethics and tips. The last thing I want to be is an irresponsible tourist who desecrates and pollutes the site.

My friends who have camped at Mt. Pulag said that the “sea of clouds” and sunrise view are the highlights of the trek. I also heard that you can see the Milky Way galaxy at dawn.

Have you ever been to Mt. Pulag or other hiking spots? I’d love to hear your advice for my upcoming trek, from packing essentials to climbing tips.

Photos courtesy of Lio Mangubat

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