It is not difficult to fall in love with Mt. Purgatory range, especially that it will let you experience what a Cordillera mountain has to offer. The balance between intense mossy trails, and paths lined with tall pine trees makes it one of the best hiking destinations in the Cordilleras, let alone its trails, which are mostly very manageable. No wonder, there was no second thoughts when I got invited to hike again the Purgatory range. I was too excited, almost one year, I came back to do the exact same thing—a Mangisi Traverse, aka Purgatory Mountain Range traverse via the six peaks.
Saturday - December 7, 2013
At 7:50 in the morning, our gang reached Japas jump-off point, this was after the long but-numbing ride from Manila to Baguio City on a bus, then another 2 hours or so vomit-inducing ride on a van from Baguio City to the jump-off point in Bokod, Benguet.
Tipid Tip: When planning a hike in Mt. Purgatory and if just a group of 10 or less, consider renting a van instead of a monster jeep for it will cost you less.
|As we waited for our guide and porter, stretching muna. It has been a long while since I last hiked a mountain.|
While following our lady guide, my memory of the past Purgatory hike kept flashing back. Lahat ng dinadaanan namin pamilyar pa rin. I still know when to go left or to turn right, and even the resting stations.
|Pine trees kaagad ang pambungad. Sarap!|
|approaching Mangakew peak, the first in the 6 peaks of Purgatory range.|
And while we're all inside the multipurpose hall hearing the orientation, an unfortunate thing happened. Some hungry mongrels snatched my lunch for the day, leaving me with nothing. Ang naabutan ko na lang ay isang empty plastic bag. Arggh! Kaasar. Lesson learned, never leave your belongings unattended. Realizing that my pack lunch has gone for good, we carried on towards the next peak.
|More pine trees to en route to Mt. Pack junction|
|Marker of the Mt. Pack junction.|
As soon as we finished eating, we continued towards Mt. Purgatory's mossy forest zone. And the portal to this amazing world is found right next to the kubo where we had our lunch. Brace yourself for some amazing photos of the amazing world of moss, coming next.
|I came across this giant earthworm while threading the trail to Mt. Purgatory Peak. Pinakamalaking earthworm na nakita ko sa buong buhay ko.|
|There, a marker was set to welcome all the passers by.|
|Also there, were remnants of the transport system of the former lumber industry in the area.|
After another 30 mins more or less of trekking, we came to Aponan junction where we stopped for a short break inside a shed. I know Bakian Primary School could be reached in 15 or 20 minutes if I trail run from this junction, so I asked our guide if we can pace up. Ngumiti lang siya at bigla na lang kumaripas ng takbo. I tried keeping up with her but wasn't able to, trail runner ata si ate.
|Bakian Primary School. Our destination for the day. However, the doors were padlocked when we arrived, and our guides weren't able to get the keys. Naku po!|
|before I entered the school, I did notice Mt. Ugo on the horizon.|
|the trespassers entering the school|
|Staying inside local houses, sheds, or multipurpose buildings would make food preparation a lot easier, especially on a cold dark night. At kapag ganon, asahan nang mayroong something special na kakainin.|
Sunday - December 8, 2013
Waking up the following day was a challenge, as our bodies ache, and the chilly morning air keeping us stuck in bed, I mean on the floor. It was a very foggy morning. Pati bibig namin umuusok dahil sa lamig. The temperature was so low that I caught a cold over the night. Yikes. Pero kelangan nang kumilos!
It took us 2 hours plus to prepare our breakfast, stuff it into our stomachs, and then pack our things. And then at 7:50 AM, we resumed marching on the trails.
|after staying for a night in Bakian School which is located at the base of Bakian Peak, the 4th peak of the Purgatory traverse, we're now headed for the next peak.|
|En route to Mt. Tangbaw, a grandiose display of pine trees can be sighted The trail was not that challenging, so the pleasant view can be well appreciated.|
At Tangbaw Peak, which is a very nice viewing deck, we spotted other familiar Benguet mountains, including Mt. Sto. Tomas, Mt. Timbak, and of course, the great Mt. Pulag.
|Mt. Tangbaw is also an ideal campsite, with its wide clearing.|
|Cascading Cordillera mountains, the highest point being Mt. Sto. Tomas|
|Mt. Pulag, the summit is covered by clouds|
|Foggy at Komkompol peak.|
|just one more round of thick lush forest, before we enter one of the best things in Purgatory Range.|
By 10:20 AM, we exited the mossy zone and entered the great pines. To me, Mt. Purgatory's pine forest is really the best among the Cordillera mountains that I've hiked so far. So feed your eyes with this rundown of pine forest photos, taken while I was walking down the trails.
We decided to ran the remaining length, which is probably 4 kilometers or so, over a concrete road which wasn't there the last time. Rough road lang yung naalala ko noon. The last leg was quite steep, definitely not friendly to your weakened knees. But we still made it to the finish line. It was around 12:30 when we got to Ekip-Pethal border, marking the end of our traverse hike.
Whew, thanks so much to Team Tramping for letting me experience again one of my most favorite hiking destinations in the Cordillaras. The best talaga kayo! Thanks also to Adrian at Jason for joining this hike, I hope you guys had a great hiking time.