It was a big leap for me... after conquering several Southern-Tagalog Mountains, I headed north to experience my first Cordillera mountain.
On this splendid Mt. Ugo 2-day traverse from Nueva Vizcaya to Benguet, not only did we trek through a seemingly non-ending pine forest trail and savor a view of sea of clouds, we also got a chance to view Luzon's three highest peaks (aka Luzon 3-2-1) from its summit.
Day 1 - March 17, 2012
Kayapa at last, after a long butt-numbing ride from Manila - six long hours spent on the bus and another one hour on a chartered jeep - we reached this quaint town in Nueva Vizcaya (perstaym ko makaapak sa Nueva Vizcaya, ito ang pang-22nd province ko).
|the jump-off for the 2-day climb.|
We arrived just right on time, it was only 06:45 am and the people of Kayapa were just starting with their daily lives. Our guide, kuya Bernard, welcomed us and led us to the registration area at the local police office. After listing our names at their logbook (there's no registration fee), our 2-day traverse commenced.
I was really ecstatic thinking that I'll soon be conquering my first Cordillera mountain. Sea of clouds, pine trees, chilly breeze... all of these were playing inside my mind.
I think it was the starting trail that challenged us the most throughout the whole 2-day traverse. It's a two-hour steep assault towards Indupit, the first village you'd encounter along the trail. We had more than 3 rests, and we're panting as if there's no tomorrow. But despite that welcoming challenge, our eyes were fed with awesome sceneries of pine tree forests, bunching tree-like ferns, and various wild flowers. According to kuya Bernard, there's another trail along a mossy forest which would also lead us to Indupit Village, however the locals there demand a fee.
|the beautiful trail of Mt. Ugo|
|pine trees are everywhere|
|Kuya Bernard waiting for us|
|this part was known as the Indupit-Ansipsip trail|
|and it's getting wider because of the mayor's project|
|as in wider|
|we passed by the summit of Mt. Samiento|
|Sir Bryan doing his photography.|
Mt. Ugo's trail was indeed very picturesque
|the splitting trail, turn right to Domolpos, left to Ansipsip Shed|
|Mt. Ugo overlooking at us|
|My lunch for the day, Jollibeee chicken (c/o Sir Bryan Cuesta) + tuna paella. ang healthy no?|
The trail still runs flat on the side of the mountain, then it slowly became a steep (the ground was loose rocks so be careful) as we near the next water source.
Mt. Ugo's summit was almost at our reach by 03:00 PM, just less than an hour away. The trail was steep again, similar to the challenging trail to Indupit Village, and the sun was striking at his best. Everytime we were stopping to take 2-minute rest, I would sit on the ground, drop my bag and gulp water in large amounts, truly I was tired already. It was the view of Mt. Ugo's summit that powered me up to continue the trek. I was getting closer to my first Cordillera mountain's summit.
|nearing the summit|
|getting ready for the final assualt|
There's a wide campsite at the summit (probably more than 15 tents would fit side by side at the same time). But only 2 tents were accommodated that day. No one was there but us, we own the mountain!
Around 4:30 PM, the temperature was beginning to drop, clouds were starting to accumulate around us, hence we (I mean they) started to put up the camp.
|ang aming silong c/o Dane|
|because we own the summit|
|lovely sunset at the summit|
At 7:00 pm, the temp was excruciatingly cold. My body was shivering from head to toe. I only have one jacket and 2 layers of socks protecting me against the cold (I forgot to pack my other jackets, geez). Before I froze to death, I wrapped myself with trash bag (yung black na plastic) and gulped some red wine (nako pag-iipunan ko talaga ang maraming wool jacket, ayoko nang ginawin ulit). It was about 8 in the evening when we decided to call it a day.
Day 2 - March 18, 2012
I woke up as early as 5:30 am just before the day breaks. I was excited to see the sea of clouds so I went outside the tent, but it was still very dark and extremely cold. I jogged around and did jumping-jacks to battle the early morning chills.
I waited a few minutes more then vwalla, the sea of clouds finally showed up. Dane soon joined me watching the sea of clouds. Awesome! Then when the horizon cleared a bit, Luzon's three highest summits appeared before our eyes. Dubbed as the Luzon 3-2-1, Mts. Timbac, Tabayoc and Pulag are visible from Mt. Ugo's summit. Awesome again!
|sea of clouds in the early morning|
|Luzon 3-2-1. Mts. Timbac, Tabayoc and Pulag|
|the summit marker|
the blue plastic bag contains the mayor's prayer request.
It was an endless trail on a beautiful pine forest. Distant peaks of several cordillera mountains such as Mts. Sto. Tomas, Cabuyao and Kibungan were viewed from the trail. Even the populous city of Baguio and La Trinidad are visible from the trail as we were trekking down. San Roque Dam was seen as well..
|peeking at the center is the San Roque Dam|
|down trekking along a beautiful pine forest trail|
|tall pine trees gave us shade|
|pang advertisement ng corned beef|
|remnant of the pass lumber industry - pulley for cable transportation of the lumbers|
|at Lusod Village, there were no people around because everyone was out for the Sunday mass|
I reached my limit when we reached the 2.5 KM marker. My knees were shaking already. Dane, Agnes, and Ron along with Kuya Bernard were far ahead of me. While Sir Bryan and the porter guy were also far behind me because they did not run with us. I was alone, almost crawled on the trail. So I decided to sit on the side for about 10 minutes before continuing the trek. Thank God I caught up with Kuya Bernard et al near the 1.5 KM marker.
I was awed by the view that emerged from the slopes, a river. It was the great Agno River that amazed me and swept my weariness.
|view of Agno river beside the Kawayan Village|
We've completed the traverse, but to formally end this climb, we must head to Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet and register there. We then crossed the great Agno River via a hanging bridge known as the "Petican-Animal Bridge". This hanging bridge has the best view among all the hanging bridges I ever crossed.
|the great Agno River. Magnifique|
|to complete the traverse climb, we registered here|
|and I got my first climb certificate. yey!|