Climbing Mt. Pulag (Akiki-Ambangeg Trail) – Day 2

I woke up to a cold morning in the emergency camp of Mt Pulag. My legs were still very tired but my mental energy was back to its maximum capacity after a good night’s sleep and a perfect breakfast.

We were still on the Akiki Trail, also known as the “killer trail”. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a difficult trail. There were no giant boulders, no need for ropes, no crawling under fallen trees, no run-for-your-life sting bees, or anything else of the sort. Mostly it was just narrow foot paths littered with dead pine needles or knee-length cogon grass. But the trail was just soooooooo long it seemed to take forever to reach the next stop. What is being tested here is definitely not SKILL, but ENDURANCE and PATIENCE.

ENDURANCE. I don’t have that. But thankfully I got to our first stop for the day without falling behind the group. Marlboro Country, so named because of its rolling hills and scenic view resembling the TV commercial.

This should have been our campsite on the first day, but we ended up in the emergency camp because our pacing was too slow. Nevertheless, we were able to catch up for lost time and could even afford a few minutes of rest and fooling around.

From there, our next target was the campsite at the foot of Mt. Pulag’s peak. We walked on a seemingly endless path of cogon grass. Some of them so steep, you’d think it would lead straight up to heaven. And you really would think that because heaven could be just as breathtakingly awesome as this.

Remember what I said about the Akiki trail testing your PATIENCE? Well, here’s why. The trail has a lot of ups and downs. You see a peak , you follow the trail and climb towards it thinking that you’re only a few steps away, only to find out that ooops, no, the peak is still behind that other mountain. So you go on. And ooops, no, its still behind that other mountain. The process repeats quite a few times. Sigh.

But eventually, you’ll find the light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, the tents at the end of the trail! Yipeeeee! Campsite at last!!! ♥ Suddenly I was half-running towards it, not knowing where I got all the energy after a full day of non-stop walking.

When we finally arrived (praise the Lord for taking me this far), we set up our tents quickly and took on the short walk towards Mt. Pulag’s highest point. This time, without our heavy bags so it took us no time at all. We were just in time for sunset but the fog was so thick there was hardly anything to see.

It started to get cold at the peak so we climbed back down, and had a festive dinner. It was a celebration, after all.

I slept soundly despite the cold, which I estimated to be less than 10 degrees Celsius, around 7 or 8 degrees maybe. I’m no expert, I’ve only experienced winter a few times. But for the Filipino blood whose used to the tropical heat, this is INTENSE!

But we were lucky because it didn’t rain, the perfect weather for what would be one of the most precious moments of my life that awaited us the following day. ♥

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