Friday, June 13, 2014

Mountain | Mt Pulag Sunrise In The Rolling Hills

MOUNTAIN | Mt Pulag Sunrise In The Rolling Hills Part II
Mt Pulag Climb In Photos Part II

Everyone who climbs the slopes of Mt Pulag in Benguet hopes to witness the sunrise as it unfolds in the Summit. Said to be one of the most scenic spot for Sunrise viewing in the country due to Sea of Clouds Phenomena and being that Mt Pulag is the roof of Luzon. I got my share of the spectacle, and these are some of the photos leading up to this memorable experience.

This timelapse presentation is evocative of the feeling when you climb Mt Pulag.
All Credits to Bong Bajo.
Please play with your speakers turned to maximum volume.

In this climb, I've seen children guided by their parents, I've seen a diabetic as he struggled along the trails, the withered faces of guides who had seen the sunrise in these summits countless times, of lovers sharing warmth, of friends gladly taking photos of each other, in this melee; I found a moment to contemplate feeling peace and warmth enveloping my being as I stare into the open space of the blue sky. There is that feeling of void, the natural silence of nature humbling me that when I look down at my feet I see dirt and dust, I see Earth in its raw form instead of concrete pavements that I am so familiar with. There is no substitute to that feeling of indescribable elation, I am left without words to describe the beauty before me, the world before the sunrise seen above the clouds, the mountain as strong and as proud, yet delicate and alluring in its charm. This climb to Mt Pulag is certainly a first to many, as I make a vow to climb this mountain again and again, you see I'm besotted, and from this day forward there is no looking back.


These First Set of photos are well past the Sunrise, and I was just having a good time feeling the weather in the coldest place in the Philippines, breathing the fresh high altitude thin air and the sun caressing my face. I am literally on top of the world yet at the same time, I feel the dirt of the Earth in my feet.

Reaching Camp 2 Site

Going back to where I left off. I have to back track first from the day before I waived my hands in the summit. Exhausted upon reaching the Mt Pulag Camping Ground 2 merely due to excessive sweating. I sweat more than your average healthy adult male, though this is already something I am familiar with my body, the several layers of clothing kept me warm while the exposed skin of my face and head feels the pangs of cold. I'm wearing thermal jacket with a cotton undershirt beneath, this is to say I am soaked upon reaching the camp site.

The camp site is located just beyond the Mossy forest, in the borders of the summit grasslands, the dusty dwarf bamboos are everywhere, and I found myself in the middle of a valley, a landscape in rolling hills of dried grass and closer to the clouds that are moving fast. It's getting colder as the sunset approaches, I would have wanted to catch a glimpse of Sunset but that would require that I hike further in one of the surrounding summits, already its out of the question as the clouds just blocked the last ray of light for this day. We are to expect a cold night after all.

Here I was, beyond the edge of the mossy forest, hugging the pole sign that confirms we have reached the 2nd Camping Site, the place for us to pitch our tent.

Hoping for a Sunset View that never came. Wet with sweat but feeling cold, I was dreading taking off my jacket and shirt, the cold elements are just too strong here. Before I pitched my tent, I was observing the landscape hoping for a better view when suddenly the clouds enveloped everything, time to tuck my camera away.

Finally decided to change my clothes, it was only for a couple of minutes as I was challenged to have my own photo taken with my shirt off. My chattering teeth gave it all away, but I braved it. The air is dry but cold.

Trekking The Rolling Landscape

Its 3 AM when we were ask to be ready to trek the summit. I've been stuck all night in my tent, locked in fetal position with my thick thermal jacket and fleece blanket. It was hard for me to move, the cold always bother me. When I finally decided to step out, I realised that its a pitch black night, but the stars are visible. It was with pangs of regret that as I stare into the night sky, I pinpointed the Milkyway Galazy visible through clear night sky. My camera, being entry level is not capable of capturing star trails, I would have gauge my eyes out for a once in a lifetime chance to take Galaxy Photos but my equipment is not up to the job.

Already, hikers are passing by our area one by one in the hope of being in the summit when the morning Sunlight burst through the clouds to cover and illuminate the Sea of Clouds that had made Mt Pulag famous. Our hired porters were left to the campsite, guarding our things while we brought only the most essential of things, that is to say, all the camera tools, bottles of waters, our thickest jackets available, head gears, sun glasses and most importantly our happy dispositions despite the lack of sleep. 

The summit was swamped by hikers when we arrived, and we were just in time for it's still dark. We scoured for a good spot to watch over the Sunrise.

The sun's first peak for the day.

Sadly, the Sea of Clouds wasn't much as we are already at the start of the Tropical Dry Season. The clouds are still prevalent, we can see that the summit has pearce the clouds, and where our feet stands, the clouds are just below us.

Walking In The Park, Descent To An Amazing Landscape

There is nothing more amazing than taking a leisure walk on an beautiful valley. The difficult part which is the climb is over, though we opted to be the last to leave the summit, the sun feels hot but pleasant in our skin. Walking down dusty paths, observing closely for the first time the trails which we passed by the dark hours before the sunrise earlier, on open fields of dry grass, the steep downhill paths in a background of amazing landscape. It's hard to imagine that I'm still in the Philippines, feeling the tropical air and the cold weather at the same time, understanding for the first time that I am in one of the most beautiful place in this country. 

On The Map

Mount Pulag (or sometimes Mount Pulog) is the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines (but is currently the official 2nd highest). It is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,922 meters above sea level. The borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain's peak.

Read The First Part in This Link:

Francis Balgos is a Call Center Agent, Weekend Travel Warrior, Amateur Spelunker, Sometime Surfer, Newbie Mountain Climber, Photography Enthusiast, Certified Beach Bum, A first born son, Faithful lover, True Explorer...

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  1. Pala-lagaw ka at nakita ko ang tiyan mo...nice travel and photos.

    1. hahaha! thanks Sir! labas pala tyan ko sa jumpshot..
      That was memorable. ;)

  2. So beautiful! Our country really has beautiful places that we can proudly show to foreigners and those who haven't been to Mt. Pulag.

    Have you been to Dahilayan? It reminded me so much of New Zealand.. :D

  3. The photos speak for themselves, this is a great place for retreat. Kasi you are so close sa Nature.

  4. Wow. Mt. Pulag. It's in my wishlist before because of it's magnificent view. I can still remember when a friend of mine posted her picture in Mt. Pulag.. She is sitting and the sea of cloud is just below her. Amazing.

    1. Sea of Clouds is what attracts people to Mt Pulag

  5. I wasn't able to join our group travel last month in Mt. Pulag. This is a great adventure that for sure you will treasure for a lifetime.

    1. Why?
      The mountain can't go anywhere, but opportunity can be rare.

  6. Great shots and my favorite was the Sunset of course and I hope next time you can also capture some starry sky night too.

    1. I wish that too.. next time, I'll bring in an advance camera

  7. I wanna go there!! Never tried this kind of adventure :(

    1. Wishing is different than doing..
      and certainly, the mountain doesnt go anywhere.

  8. Your photos are so lovely and I really envy that you're so adventurous! There's nothing quite like watching a sunrise :D

  9. Amazing photos as always. Congratulations on climbing up Mt. Pulag, this mountain is on my bucket list and I hope to cross it off soon.

  10. Beautiful photos again! You have a way with words Francis that seduces your readers into reading some more and following your journey.

    This is definitely in my wish-list now. Can you go up year-round?

  11. Mt Pulag is just majestic. I'll try to pencil in a visit here when I go home in Baguio. I already informed my cousins so I won't forget.

  12. This site is one of the best places for landscape photography! It's good that you came when it was not raining, otherwise you'll have difficulties in pitching your tent.

  13. It is refreshing to be visiting photography and travel blogs like yours. And your photos... look perfectly taken as always. :)


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