by Ssialings

Mt. Ugo rests on the boundary of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet. It is one of the highest mountains in Benguet with an estimated elevation of 2,150 meters above sea level.   There are two usual jump-off points: Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, and Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet. For this trip, we felt very adventurous (and ambitious) so we decided to take the Itogon-Itogon route.  We heard it was the more challenging route and we’re happy to report that the rumors are true. 

See our 2D1N ITINERARY AND BUDGET BREAKDOWN
Trip dates: January 27 to 29, 2017
Trip budget: PHP 1528 / person

How to get there:

  • Take a bus to Baguio. (Travel time: 5 to 6 hours. Fare: PHP 445 via Victory Liner Cubao Terminal Station)
  • Hire a jeepney, van or taxi to Brgy. Tinongdan. (Travel time: 1 to 1.5 hours. Fare: PHP 2500/jeep for 21 pax)
    *Note: If you are less than 21 in the group, you can also choose to hire a van for PHP 2300 which is good for 13 pax or taxi for PHP 1500 good for 5 pax.
  • Hike to the campsite – KM14. (Travel time: 7 to 8 hours. Fare: PHP 0. Just buckets of sweat and a sore body afterwards!)

 

What to expect in Mt. Ugo:

As difficult as it was, the Itogon-Itogon trail was rewarding because the scene was magnificent all throughout our 7-hour hike. We passed through villages, rice paddies and pine forests. Every time our legs cried out for some rest, we just had to look at the view to compensate for the exhaustion.

Mt. Ugo

Mt. Ugo

The weather was quite erratic. There was one point we were so confused whether to wear our jackets or not because every time we put our hood on, it would become sunny but when we removed it, it would rain for a little while. Nonetheless, I was kind of grateful for that kind of weather because then mother nature wouldn’t have been able to show off and amaze us with her magic tricks i.e. this rainbow!!!

Mt. Ugo

Our night pretty much ended early because the wind was really strong and it was just unbearably cold outside the comforts of our tents. I even remember waking up in the middle of the night to the swaying of trees which the sounded like crashing waves. I tried all sorts of bending, crouching, twisting – at one point I was convinced I was a contortionist – just to keep my whole body warm.

Mt. Ugo

Originally, our plan was to start the trek to the summit at 4 AM but it was 9 degrees and the wind was still so strong. We decided to delay the ascent and cooked our breakfast. This was what our “kitchen” looked like and we had to make do with whatever materials available – a.k.a the egg tray and plastic container lid – to make sure the wind did not blowout the fire. We succeeded and was able to make a good and warm meal.

Mt. Ugo

At the summit, the sea of clouds was sparse but it was nevertheless spectacular. Seeing such magnificence made me feel like I had my eyes closed the last time I climbed. No matter how many mountains I would conquer, there always will be a feeling of humbling excitement, awe and surrealism upon reaching the top.

Since the trail we took was not the popular route for most hikers, we were lucky enough to have the entire campsite all to ourselves.

These were the 14 other brave souls who conquered Mt. Ugo with us. From slightly “tamed” online pre-climb sessions to making laughable “commercials” during break times, this bunch definitely made our climb worth it and pleasantly hilarious!

Rates:

PHP 200 – barangay fee
PHP 2500 – jeepney rental / 21 pax (one way)
PHP 500 – guide fee per day / 10 tourists
PHP 500 – porter fee per day / 15 kilos max.

Contact Mr. Ruben Cunanan, Punong Barangay at 09485382799 for registration and guides. You can also visit their website for more details.

Adventure hacks:

  • Waterproof everything! Bring a poncho!
  • The more, the merrier. If you’re on a budget, try to travel in a big group (around 10pax or more).
  • Good Taste restaurant is a good place to get breakfast and buy your packed meals for the first day of the hike. Their serving is very generous and their food is delicious! You can ask your jeepney driver to stopover here before you proceed to the jump-off point.
  • Get your bus tickets at least a week before your trip.
  • Pack light. You can leave your change of clothes for the next day at the barangay hall.

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