There’s no other place like Benguet. Sitting beside Baguio, many have fallen in love with this place because of its fresh air, scenic views, and alpine-covered slopes that resemble a bit of Europe’s fairy-tale forests. Besides that, Benguet boasts of giant mountains that defy the deities by touching the heavens. Among these is Mt. Ulap, which lives up to its name because it welcomes its visitors into the cradle of the heavenlies.
We left Cubao at 10pm to ensure we’d arrive at Benguet by 4 or 5am. First-timers are estimated to take an 8 to 10-hour trek on the mountain.
The glorious sunrise was a wonderful opening to this long hike. Ever since my old phone has been damaged due to this poor writer’s absent-mindedness at the beach, I never imagined I would be able to catch again a momentous moment that actually happens everyday.
The hike was not as tiring as I first expected. It was one of the most refreshing hikes I had since I had my first taste of wonder at Mt. Pulag in 2015.
The wind was cool enough to lessen the sting of the rising sun. I was surprised I did not consume a liter of water as I only brought a small canister with me. I decided not to tire myself with a backpack. I wanted to have the liberty of freeing my back from such heavy load. Besides, I enjoyed having my own stick, which I had bought at the registration area. I can be a good memorabilia after the hike.
There are three peaks at Mt. Ulap. The first peak already has amazing views itself.
Along the way, I took a moment to listen to the bird that was singing its praises to the Creator, who had artfully sculpted the beauty that I saw all around.
The Gungal Rock, which was the second peak, has been the most challenging one. One has to be loaded with guts to cross the sloping rocks to pose for a rocking profile pic.
Most breathtaking of them all is the last and highest peak.
Mt. Ulap would never be called as it is without the clouds that had slyly curtailed our wide-eyed, sun-kissed faces. The evergreen slopes beyond was playfully peeking behind those rising white pillars while we pranced and jumped around to get that perfect, perfect shot!
After going down a short but very steep portion of the mountain, we were finally relieved when we dropped by Mt. Ulap’s 7-Eleven. Oh, yes! More ref magnets to collect!
The descent at Mt. Ulap has been developed by installing makeshift wooden stairs. Lans, my friend who organized this trip, told me there were no manmade steps when they first trekked here in 2016. Mt. Ulap has just been officially opened in 2015 so it only took only awhile to improve the more dangerous path.
What I’ve appreciated most in this trip was the camaraderie that has been developed among the group. Most of us were unknown to one another at the start but most of us have became clingy to one another at the end of the trek. That’s why hiking is more enjoyable than beach. The challenges we face in the mountains are actually refining us to become stronger individuals and to make stronger bonds of friendship.