DAY ONE: HIKE TO DOMOLPOS
It took us 6 Hours to reach the Community School of Domolpos, Nueva Viscaya side. The trek was not easy as we ascend through lushforest going to Hindupit. From Hindupit we discovered that there's a road being developed. Thanks to our guides and 4 porters who helped us carry all the heavy loads. We stayed at the Community School for the night but the highlight is the FREEZING COLD weather matched with strong winds. Can't Sleep but we had the best camp dinner ever...!!!
DAY TWO: ASSAULT TO SUMMIT
We started our day having Eggs Benedict, coffee and corned beef omelet. Truly a great breakfast experience at this altitude. We resumed our trek at around 12nn and reached the summit of Mt. Ugo at 2:00pm. We stayed there for a while for picture taking and met some hikers coming from the other side (Itogon). We must reach the Losod Community School before dark. There's no clearing anyways so we resumed our descent after an hour. Losod Community School is 2 hrs away and we made it there by 5pm. It's time to cook Pansit Chami with chicharon for dinner. Racquel and Sam had a ghost encounter seeing mysterious objects coming from the cemetery. They were terrified but made us laugh all night!
DAY THREE: THE LONG & WINDING TRAIL TO ITOGON
The experience was surreal. This time we were joined by kuya Ramse who happens to be the President of Mt. Ugo Guides Association. But before that, we had French Toast for breakfast and coffee. We took our time and resumed our descent at 9:30am. Our guide said that it's 7km down to Itogon jump off or should I say another 2hrs of fast paced trekking. We managed the nail killing descent and reached the monkey bridge for the much anticipated photo ops. Our transpo is waiting at the main road and we went straight to the Barangay Hall where we received a very warm welcome from the staff of the Barangay. They served us food (Native Boar) and soup plus free Mountain Brewed Coffee that made our day complete before leaving for Baguio. Special thanks to our guides; Ma'am Liza Petten Gacoscos-Diase for assisting us with Transept and Guides. Thanks to Sir Ramse and Dindo and our porters for the patience and strength you've shown us. Thanks to Barangay Kap and staff for the warm welcome and for extending their services and hospitality to us. We really appreciate the experience. We shall go home full of good memories.
MT. UGO TRAVERSE ITINERARY IN PHOTO
DAY 1 / THURSDAY
4:00am to 6:00am: Disembarked at CCQ - Aritao Station & proceed to Kayapa Town Hall. Register at the Police station. we started trekking at around 7:00am.
As per Town Ordinance, smoking is strictly prohibited in Kayapa. Violators are fined up to Php5,000. So to avoid hassles and delays, please be mindful of this ordinance. We also met our guides here including our porters. According to Sir Ramse (President of Mt. Ugo Guides Association) Guide fee is pegged at Php400 per guide per 8pax. Porter's fees is also the same. No registration fees needed in this side of town. Just log in your names at the police station and proceed.
ETA Domolpos at around 3:00pm and our guide assigned a room for us. Drinking water is available and theres decent comfort room for mountaineers within the School Ground. You must bring layering clothing as it may get very very cold as the night approaches.
DAY 2 / FRIDAY
Team PNMS started the assault to summit at 1:00pm. We really took our time at the Domolpos School to enjoy the scenery and of course...food trip! We reached the summit by 3:00pm while our porters took the shortcut to Losod...our next stop. We stayed at the summit for an hour and resumed our trek down to Barangay Losod where we are spending the night. ETA Losod Community School at 5:30pm
DAY 3 / SATURDAY
The team woke up early this time in preparation for the long way down to Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet. We resumed trek at 9:00am and reached the finish line by 1:00pm. It was hot this time but a stop at one of the sari-sari store made our day as we refreshed ourselves with a couple of bottle of Soda drinks and ice. The jeepney just arrived moments after then we proceed to the Barangay Hall. We were all surprised by the kind of hospitality we received. They offered us food (Native Boar and Soup) and that famous Mountain Coffee that really made our day. Thanks to our guide Sir Ramse and the Kap for the kind gestures. We also received our certificate for a job well done.
Upon cleaning ourselves up, we went our way to Baguio at around 3:00pm and arrived at Victory Liner station sat 4:00pm. Regular airconditioned bus to Cubao is pegged at Php450 per person. Travel time is 5 hours.
*Special thank to Ma'am Liza Petten Gacoscos-Diase for assisting us with the guides and transportation. We truly appreciate it. Congratulations to the team for the determination and commitment to finish our goals. You truly deserve it.
*For more stories about our adventures, you may also visit and like our Facebook page. Just follow the link below:
By: Jade Rance Acidre
Philippine National Mountaineering Society (PNMS) scaled one of the most beautiful trails in the country. Mt. Napulauan is significantly important to complete a mountaineers portfolio. Joined by my wife Doc. Racquel Acidre, Jeno Acidre, Benjie Valeriano, Kenneth Gonzales Buena, Edwin Cuartero, Kuya Jimmy, Kuya Boyet, Lakwat Shella, Sir Carlos, Chief Guide Rammy and his porters and yours truly.
We thank everyone who joined the expedition. The time spent was truly amazing and worthwhile. Thank you to our guides porters...without you, the climb would be very difficult and less exciting. We also like to thank Kuya Benjie Valeriano for the Transportation, Gale Travel & Tours, Survivor Outdoor Shop, Mountain Adventure Project, Associated BlindsandDecors and Accon Designconstruct for the support.
Thank you to kuya Jimmy for Driving very patiently for 10 hours (22 hrs back & fort) and still managed to climb inspite all the obstacles. Thank you so much foe wearing sando...because of you nahawi mo ang lahat ng LIMATIK! :)
Thank you to our guest climbers; Ma'am Shella or better known as Lakwat Shella and her Bf Carlos Garcia..thank for joining and sharing your time with PNMS Family. We really enjoyed your company.
This climb is dedicated to the men and women of PNMS Family.
More power to us all! :)
BY: JULIUS LADIOS ROMAN
Three years in the making. Several invitations. Finally, it’s about to conquer me. I am about to surrender to its beauty, mystery, magnificence and harsh conditions.
Will I succumb to defeat? Will I give in to pressure? Will I lose this battle against myself? Will my knees tremble like in the name of love?
This is the outdoors Julius. Leave love for the meantime. XD
Departing the PNMS headquarters before Friday midnight brought us to the unassuming community of early Filipino settlers, the Aetas, in Dampay Salaza in Palauig, Zambales (close to six hours of driving).
Nanay Beth and her co-tourism personnel greeted us with warm smiles and gladly organized all information-gathering for our group of ten. Registration fee is at 30pesos per hiker/visitor while guide/porter fee is pegged at 700pesos (going up and down the mountain, weight limit should stay within 15kgs).
A quarter before seven saw our steps land into the world of solitude and unknown. Desolate and lonely, this is the once-mining location for chromite. And even in small-scale, it continues to do so. Wide and rocky, trucks used to take this road up to almost 2000masl. I almost got my panghilod here
It was a sight to behold as the trail began to show us an exact opposite of what’s instore for every hiker who challenges himself here. The West Philippine Sea is inviting together with its long coastline. I could just remember my one-day surfing escapade. And I ended-up with no washboard abs.
The adrenaline inside me pumped that much excitement in me that carried us into KM7 first water source in less than three hours.
“That was quick. Good pace!”, our trusted leader told us.
“We should be there as early as two or three in the afternoon. Let’s have lunch at the 10km mark second water source,” he added.
We pushed on. As hard as we can, still smiling and just being the students of life that we are. We marveled at God’s creation. Life is beautiful though the journey might suggest otherwise.
The halfway mark already provided a glimpse of what’s to come. Kuya Jimmy is now suffering from cramps. I dread this. And another dreadful situation would be rain pouring from giant dark cottons in the sky.
“We’re already there,” I mumbled. We will all be there, my personal belief kicking in after a hearty lunch of spicy pork and beans and some good old crackers.
I brought the rear of the group. This gave me some time to recover as well. I am heavy as well as my pack. The rain started to join in on the fun too. Darn!
Deceit killed me. The smiling flowers along the first pine forest area provided much energy boost until I learned I’m still far from finishing the enduring task of getting into campsite.
The windchill factor never joined the equation. Good! Someone we enjoyed the path of false hope.
“We’re still far from campsite,” Kuya Wilmer, our guide told us.
That place gave us just enough to finish the task. The rain really poured it in this time. The cold situation that I am in fast tracked my cramps.
I would stop by at every curve and before every assault. I am gathering enough energy to propel me to the next hurdle.
The finally, kilometer15 where the guard house is. Campsite alas! And we don’t have to trek until kilometer17 or so to pitch camp. Sweet! And it’s just about around four in the afternoon. <3
We took the opportunity of fixing our camping area while the rain is on break. We did it and hurriedly prepared an early dinner.
Due to unrelenting rain, we skipped the classic socials segment. Pack-up!
Next thing I knew, I was in dreamland snoring. And soon enough, I was up again. The wind was just howling throughout the night.
But as with every story, morning will come and rise from the east.
And it’s time to claim the prize. Off to the summit! After breakfast that is.
After fixing some things, we hurried off to the summit.
It’s still close to two hours of trekking to the summit from the campsite and I passed by some interesting things to see like the one below.
The world tree at the summit was magnificent as well as the numerous flora in the area.
Summit was reached around nine. We would trek back to camp before ten and proceeded as required, reaching basecamp just in time for meryenda.
What this climb taught me is to be patient. What this climb instilled in me is the proper attitude when nothing goes right according to plan. What this climb would like to express is to continue for as long as we endure and persevere, a great reward is just waiting around the corner.
BY: JEROME LAURON
Mount Tapulao (also known as High Peak) is the tallest mountain in the Zambales mountain range. The peak, which rise to an elevation of 2,037 metres (6,683 ft), is located in the municipality of Palauig, Zambales. Its name is derived from the abundance of Sumatran Pine trees in the area, known in the local Zambal dialect as tapulao. [Source: Wikipedia]
The Trail and Patience
The trail to Mt. Tapulao’s summit takes no more than 18 kilometers on a rocky terrain. Trekking your way through lowland grass, pine trees and mossy forests with slopes ranging from 20 to 40 degrees. Patience if your best friend. We’ve heard stories of couples breaking up or tampuhan after the trek. 18 kilometers by numbers seems short, but don’t be fooled. Trekking with kilos worth of camping materials and food at your back will exhaust much of your energy. Trail food like energy bars, sweets (chocolates), crackers and anything else helps give you more calories that is much needed during the climb. There are two water source along trail between the 5th-7th kilometer mark and past the 10th kilometer point. Another water source can be found near the campsite.
Training is very important. Do not force yourself to climb mountains without enough exercise or suffer straining your muscles.
We left Manila just before 12 midnight on a Friday. We reached the Palauig Information Center at dawn (Saturday). There were 10 of us plus a guide. After registering and doing a bit of stretching, we started our ascent. It took us 9 hours 18 minutes to reach the campsite (Some of us even got there earlier). We set up our tents, cooked dinner, relaxed and went to sleep.
The next morning, Sunday, we continued on to the summit after having our breakfast. In less than 2 hours, we reached Mt. Tapulao’s peak after trekking through thick mossy forest. 10 minutes later, we we’re on our way back to the campsite.
Mount Tapulao is very rich in Flora and Fauna. Along the trail, you will hear birds chirping and insects making noises. Ants in a color and size I have never seen before and a snake that crossed our path. Flowers and wild berries in bright colors. All of which are abundant in the area.
Special thanks to my PNMS Family!
BY: JULIUS LADIOS ROMAN
Ana: May tatlo akong joke...
Allan: Ano yun?
Ana: Eh di joke, joke, joke.
Ana follow-up: Alam mo ba kung paano mo ipapasok ang elepante sa ref?
Me: Hawk One this is Hawk Two, over
Hawk1: Come in Hawk Two
Me: Pwede bang umorder ng ekstrang tuhod at mas makapal na talampakan?
Hawk1: Naghihintay na ang beer, tinola at adobo. Bilisan nyo.
Me: Napapalibutan kami ng mga baka.
At iba't-ibang sari ng payabangan pati ang billiards table. Pati ang walang-kamatayang tae stories at ang nabuhay na lola.
2037metres above sea level, 18km of never-ending rocky trail. A Trek to Remember.
With Masters Jade Rance Acidre, Racquel Acidre, Benjie Valeriano, Allan Bolus, John Vendrelli Ramirez, Jerome Lauron, Ana Tan, Kuya Jimmy and his buddy (nakalimutan ko yung pangalan).
When you climb, you only have to get yourself to the peak.
If you climb with someone other than your regular partner, no one gets mad, in fact, you can all three climb together and share protection !
You can reuse your protection, and someone else even cleans it for you, provided you don't put it in too deep.
You can leave your protection in for the next guy.
There is such a thing as being too overhung.
You can get belayed without first be kissing.
A good hand jam can be as satisfying as any other kind of jam.
No matter how many times you fall off, you can always climb back on.
Having a belay slave is not a criminal offense.
The rocks never expect you to call afterward.
Dry friction is a positive quality when you're climbing.
The rocks don't care if you show up late.
The rocks don't complain after 7 or 8 pitches.
When you're climbing, a good two-finger jam will support your body weight.
Your belayer never hesitates when you yell "TAKE!"
When you're climbing, weird body positions are considered "cool".
The rocks don't scream for help when you try for the on-sight flash.
The rocks don't complain when you don't want to do cracks anymore and want to do some face.
A three-finger pocket isn't too big.
You don't have to wait an hour after getting pumped-out.
If you pop off early, the only one mad at you is yourself.
If you end up with little bumps on your skin, you can probably blame Poison Ivy or mosquitoes.
The gear is safer. And reusable.
Chalk is easier to get off the hands.
No one thinks you're weird if you have to feel around for a hole/hold.
Climbing w/o gear is safer than sex without gear. At least if you die, you die fast.
Always something to do with your feet.
Routes have safety grades, sex partners don't. I've never had a partner with a G on her forehead.
Its ok to stick your hands, feet, fingers, knees, nose, etc into any and all cracks while climbing.
You don't have to wash your climbing toys after using them.
The positions are more fun.
Climbing gets safer over the years, sex gets more dangerous.
If you fail, you can always get a second chance.
Choice of novice or expert routes.
A climb can last all day.
Guidebooks tell you who did the 1st ascent and how many time it's been done.
Lots of tight cracks.
The only rubber you wear is on your feet.
There are still rocks that haven't been touched.
I actually have someone to climb with.
Look at the calendar. Oh no, your climb is just a month away. You have to start training now. The best method to train yourself in any activity is to stimulate yourself into that activity. Therefore, in mountain climbing, the basic skill needed is hiking. So before you head out to that climb, you should grab a pack and begin a regime including hiking exercises that has low intensity cardiovascular exercise.
Give yourself two to six weeks in this kind of regime. At the end of that period, you would have known the basic mountain climbing skill.
1. The first two equipments you should purchase are a back pack and hiking shoes. For first timers, try not to buy expensive gears and it would be a waste of money if they will only use it that one time. A practical choice is better.2. Choose a small mountain or a hill near where you live.
3. Plan your exercise program. Make sure that the intensity and the length of the whole routine increases gradually.
Let’s say for example in the first week, you trek for thirty minutes thrice a week. In the second week, you go for forty five minutes carrying 15 to 30 lbs of weights with you for three to four times a week. In the third week, you go for an hour with 30 to 45 lbs of weight with you for three to four times a week. In the fourth week, ease on the weight and go for one or two sessions.
Next thing you know, you’re ready for your climb.
Just remember to adjust your program when called for. A particular routine isn’t appropriate to everybody. Weights are added and reduced, depending on the body type of the hiker.
Here are some important mountain climbing tips:
1. Your pack should have weights in the form of the water bottles. This is because they won’t tear up your back pack. You can also dump the water when you reach the peak so that you don’t put tension on your knees when you climb down.
2. Use poles for trekking. These lessen the strain in your knees when you ascend and descend.
3. Don’t rush yourself. Keep it slow and steady. Start and stop depending on your productivity. By listening to music, the rhythm is set.
4. Have realistic goals. If you push yourself too hard, you will only hurt yourself. Before your climb, stretch and stay hydrated. You should also rest two days before the expedition.
IT ALL BEGAN HERE.
It all started in 2009 when PNMS (Philippine National Mountaineering Society) organized the phenomenal Independence Day celebration which later became the 1st Annual Freedom Climb. The event was well attended and recognized by different municipalities; local government units; and other non-governmental organizations. It was a momentous occasion as thousands of mountaineers from different localities registered from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and simultaneously sung the National Anthem and held an Independence Day ceremonial at the peak of more than 50 mountain destinations. At that time, we were overwhelmed and surprised by the numbers of participant and continued to be surprised every time. We envisioned a unified mountaineering community in our country and took the opportunity to become a role model of Nationalism and environmentalism. It was a long trial and error process and a lot of commitment before we came to this point.
Moreover, having realized the impact of such big events in our environment and numerous calls from different outdoor organizations and environmentalist groups, we are going to make some major reboot in implementing FC2012. It is now time to move on to better things, higher causes and make a difference. The succeeding events opened our eyes that the outdoor community is in fact a growing industry and we find this self-evident as more and more people turn to mountaineering as an alternative weekend activity not to mention the growing industry related business sector who expressed their willingness to be a part of this event. In this light, we know that we can help in promoting domestic and local tourism in the Philippines. Tanay, Rizal is a good venue for this event and we intend to focus our attention in making Tanay, Rizal the host of FC2012. Specifically, we shall setup our program at Tanay Adventure Camp located at Brgy. Sampaloc, Tanay Rizal on June 9 – 10, 2012…”All roads lead to Tanay, Rizal as far as mountaineers are concerned”.
Rest assured that we will do our very best to make this event memorable to us and the community.