The weather was
February 7, 2016. Sunny day. Ideal for hiking.
How I (we) travelled
Rented a van from Cubao straight to Barangay Ampucao in Benguet.
Where I went/ What I saw
Day hikeable, Mt.Ulap in Ampucao, Benguet. 1846Masl.
What / Where we ate
Typical hiker lunch – Tuna Paella and/or packed lunch bought from Leeza’s Restaurant – stop over in Pangasinan on our way to Baguio.
Souvenir stores present at Sta.Fe Traverse
Unforgettable Moment / What I enjoyed Most
Doing the Mt. Ulap’s summit Trail twice!
Upon arriving at Gungal Rock formation, a whole other group was already there and we opted to just continue the Trek in the summit and just be back in Gungal since most of our groups where left behind (too far) and looking at Mt. Ulap’s summit is closer than them reaching us at the Gungal in one hour. After pictures taken in Gungal with the whole group of 40-50 pax, we were informed that one of our service got flat tire and the guide advised us to do the Sta.Fe traverse completing the Ampucao-Gungal-Summit-Gungal-Summit-Campsite-Sta.Fe loop. Everything there was lovely why not do it thrice or more! Exceed yourself! Hike pa more!
The unlimited Uphills and Downhills
We reached Mt. Ulap summit around 8:40am and there was hardly a cloud formation near us and around 9:40am, back in Gungal, the mist started covering around us and a fine view of cloud formation hugging Mt.Ulap summit was seen.
Far from mossy forests features of Cordilera Mountains, Mt. Ulap stands out for it has nothing to do with mossy forest. The Mountain views feel like Mt.Batulao’s (Batangas) brother except the low temperature in Benguet.
There was a mossy part during the hike, just before arriving at the foot of Mt. Ulap summit, that we trekked and lasts for 30 seconds.
My Feet Hurts!
Half way from Summit to Sta. Fe traverse, my feet started to hurt. My toenails banging inside my shoes every time I step. The steep trail is like to Mt.Apayam’s Trail without the man-made-stairs. There were no bushes or tree around thus the only way to avoid slipping is just to control every step.
Three bridges were crossed from summit to Sta. Fe traverse but all of those do not have water flowing underneath.
A short 1.2km from Ampucao Elementary School brought us to the jump off and started the trek after 10 minutes of trekking, a sketched map / trail of Ampucao – Sta. Fe Traverse where the guide discussed the trail and said that we will just be in Gungal and won’t be reaching Mt. Ulap’s summit.
We protested against our guides and settled down in giving the decision to them if our group / which among our groups can reach the summit and do the traverse. The guides implied that Sta.Fe traverse is much harder but a shorter trail than doing the back (longer) trail.
Almost 30% to 40% of the trail (traverse hike) is a single-line-trail cliff / bangin akin to Mt. Batulao’s but in higher MASL, so you might wanna take extra careful of your steps especially if another group is approaching you. I don’t recommend this hike for those who have acrophobia – fear of heights . I don’t have fear in heights but I felt uneasy in my steps here, it even makes the AmBANGIN (Ambangeg) Trail of Mt.Pulag looks like a baby.
I imagined myself enjoying (if ever) I slipped and rolled in Ambangeg before I die but I can’t see myself enjoying the slipping or rolling experience here in Mt.Ulap so this might be the last place I wanted and imagined me to die.
Refreshments – There were three sari-sari stores we encountered from summit to Sta.Fe traverse and No water source along the way from Ampucao to Summit.
Don’t forget to wear layers of clothes and jacket. You don’t wanna catch a cold.
Being the scribe of the group, here’s what I logged before, during and after the hike:
Day 0 – Feb6
10:25pm Van ride out from Farmers, Cubao
Day 1 – Feb7
2:00am Arrived at Pangasinan, Leeza’s Restau for Breakfast and packed lunch
2:45am Van ride out from Leeza’s Restau
4:00am Stop over at PMA in Baguio
4:40am Arrived at Brgy. Ampucao
Register, Guides, Wash room
5:30am Walk – out from Brgy. Ampucao
5:40am Start Trek
7:55am Passed by Gungal Rock Formation
8:35am Arrived at Mt.Ulap Summit
9:00am Start descend from Summit to Gungal
9:40am Arrived at Gungal
Picture taking, rest
10:30am Start trek out from Gungal
11:00am Arrived at a fork that divides foot of Mt.Ulap summit and traverse to Camp site.
11:10am Arrived at Campsite traverse to Sta.Fe
Lunch taken, rest
11:50am Start descend out of campsite. Sta.Fe Traverse
12:35pm Arrived at 1st tindahan
1:00pm Trekked out from 1st tindahan
1:20pm Arrived at 2nd tindahan
Rest, Shower, Wash up
2:25pm Trekked Out from 2nd tindahan
2:40pm Arrived at Sta.Fe jump off
2:45pm Van droves out of Benguet
7:25pm Arrived at Leeza’s Restau for dinner
8:15pm Van drove out from Leeza’s restau
Day2 – Feb8
12:10am Arrived at Cubao
Summary of our actual time of the hike :
Hope this might help as a guide especially in checking the percentage of the trek.
Ampucao to Gungal ~ 2 hours and 15 minutes
Gungal to Mt.Ulap Summit ~ 40 minutes
Mt.Ulap Summit to Campsite ~ 15 minutes
Campsite to Sta.Fe jump off ~ 1 hour and 20 minutes
Bit by bit pictures in my ig: nopeimnot
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