Asia,  Philippines,  Travel

Hiking Mount Ugo

It all started with this kind of conversation one day last year

 

Me: You’re going on a hike?
Friend: Yeah. Wanna join?
Me: Will I be able to do it?
Friend: Yeah.
Me: Okay.

 

And that’s how I got myself into a two-day hike of Mount Ugo. It was my first hike and people in our group were surprised to learn that I was doing this one as my first. Apparently, my friend has a reputation of taking first timers to major hikes 馃槀

 

We started the traverse from Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya and finished at Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet.聽Here is the general timeline of our weekend hike:

 

Day Time Activity
Fri 23:00 Depart Manila
Sat 8:00 Start ascent
Sat 17:00 Arrived at camp site
Sun 5:00 Continue ascent
Sun 7:30 Arrived at summit
Sun 8:30 Start descent
Sun 18:00 End of descent
Sun 21:00 Depart for Manila
Mon 3:00 Arrived in Manila

 

The jump-off point is hours away from Manila so we had to leave on Friday evening in order to start the hike by Saturday morning. We had vans as transport, which posed as a challenge to me since I usually have a hard time sleeping while in a moving object. As expected, I got to rest my eyes by closing them but I didn’t fall asleep during the trip. I was sleepless when we finally began with the hike but the excitement must have been enough to fuel me for the event.

 

We spent most hours of Saturday hiking. We arrived at the camp site – a school at Domolpos Village – by late afternoon. There were toilets and water source in the school so we weren’t roughing it up so much. It was nice to be able to take a bath after a whole day of hiking. However, it was with ice cold water so it was a very quick one 馃檪

 

It was still dark when we broke camp and continued towards the summit early morning of Sunday. We packed everything and made sure that we didn’t leave anything behind – most especially trash. Flashlights and headlamps were necessary during that time, especially for the parts where we were hiking somewhat close to the edge of the mountain. We were hoping to witness a sea of clouds on our way up to the summit but we weren’t so lucky. We did get to see the sunrise though! And when we reached the summit – IT. FELT. SO. GREAT!!! Sometimes, you’ll be surprised with how far you can push yourself.

 

I admit that there were numerous times when I questioned my decision to join the hike. I’m not fond of heights and walking by the side of a mountain sometimes made my heart beat fast. Doing that with an 8-kg bag on my back was not a walk in the park for me but I had no choice but to move forward. Every time I felt scared, I chanted “You can do this. One step at a time” or “You’re almost there. You can do it” in my mind. Thankfully, I was able to finish this challenge! Gosh, I felt so fulfilled (and tired!) when we’re finally done.

 

The descent felt more tiring than the ascent. It’s a killer to the knees! I suppose it鈥檚 because most of our strength was already used up in the ascent and we鈥檙e finally running low on energy on the second day. It was also not ideal to take so many rests/breaks. Our muscles felt sorer after taking a break than how they were before the break. That’s why we tried to walk for as long as we could, pushing ourselves to the limit, before even considering a few minutes of rest. I know that the hike made me tired since I fell asleep during the van ride going back to Manila 馃檪

 

Despite the muscle pain, I’m glad that I joined this hike with my friend! It was a challenge worth taking! Plus, the beautiful pine forest was very pleasant to the eyes. Hiking is one of the activities that will make you appreciate more the beauty of nature 馃檪

 

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Family picture 馃悙

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Moving our asses after lunch on Saturday
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Saturday selfie 馃檪
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Heading for the summit on Sunday morning
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Sunrise on a Sunday
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A little break after watching the sunrise. We’re close to the summit.

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Getting more foggy as we got closer to the summit
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After reaching the summit, there’s still the descent! 馃檪

 

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