Mt. Ulap, Benguet: Zero-visibility hiking in Itogon


Only half an hour from Burnham Park in Baguio, Mt. Ulap in Itogon, Benguet is an easy day hike that you can finish in 6 hours at an average pace. The 1,846 MASL eco-trail was opened for mountaineers last October 2015 and quicklymade buzz around social media because of the scenic view of the mountain ranges of the Cordillera regions.

August 28, 2016 — A year after its trail opened to the public, I was able to witness the beauty of Mt. Ulap on a rainy season. At 6 in the morning, our group arrived at the Registration Office where a large crowd of hikers gathered in preparation for the trek. It was overwhelming to see a huge number of people during this time, especially that the rain has been pouring down nonstop these past few days.

The first thing my friends and I did when we arrived was to secure our things, buy packed lunch (at the Registration Site) and put on our thick hooded jacket and top it with a disposable raincoat bought from ACE Hardware (for ₱29.50). After a quick orientation from the guides, we were sent off.

It was only drizzling and the pathways were still visible when we started the trail. There were upward and downwards steep slopes, grassy plains and muddy paths surrounded by tall pine trees that could have been a scenic sight if the sun shed us some light that day. To be honest, this would have been an easy trek if the trail wasn’t slippery. We were not even halfway done yet but our shoes were already soaked in dirt and mud.


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At some elevated parts of the trek, we paused for a moment to take a glimpse of the sea of clouds rolling in the air. This was the closest sight we got to that majestic scenery because the cloud started to fog our view of everything as we proceeded.


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The rain fell harder and the wind blew much stronger as we advanced further towards the summit. I haven’t monitored our eco-trail progress because the mist covered our view of the surroundings. During these moments, I was amazed at the eeriness evoked by the foggy trail. It reminded me so much of the game Silent Hill, with a different version – Mt. Ulap has cows instead of wolves.


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There was even a time where we were just walking with no clue on what lies ahead. It was a good thing that our guides were familiar with the routes. The soil became much softer that I became more cautious with every step I took. No matter how careful I was, I slipped and slid twice. It was really tough battling the mud.


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Upon reaching the Gungal Rock, I was surprised to see everyone settled down on their preferred spots to eat their lunch. The whole site was filled with people; there was barely a place to sit on.


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After lunchtime, we separated from our group since we decided to traverse to Sta. Fe exit instead of going back to Ambanao Jump-Off. We were told that taking the Sta. Fe Exit was faster. As we encounter steeper and more challenging descent to Sta. Fe, we realized it took us a longer time to finish the trail especially because of the slimy paths. Nonetheless, we were glad to see this part of Ulap.

We crossed three hanging bridges as we were getting closer to the exit point. Finally, we reached the highway and utterly bought a pair of rubber slip-on’s for ₱60.00.


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In order to go back to the Ambanao Registration Office, we hailed a private vehicle for ₱250.00. After reaching the Registration Office, we immediately looked for available place for shower. We paid ₱20.00 for a shower facility area and endured the chilling temperature of the ice cold water against my goosebumps-filled skin.


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Although things didn’t go as planned, we were still able to gain new friends, new experiences, and new learning. It was definitely a day to remember, especially that I was reminded to trust the path in front of me no matter how risky it seemed to be. At almost zero-visibility, there were uncertainties; I had fears of getting lost or falling off the cliff. The feeling of anxiety was washed away when I realized all I had to do was follow the lead of the ones who have gone before me. And just like them, I have overcome this mountain. Just like them, I have pressed on. We made it back safe and sound after all. I am thankful.




Guide to Mt. Ulap, Itogon, Benguet


  • Bring water and some trail snacks.
  • Buy food. Make sure not to bring oily food, or else grease will solidify since it’s cold up in the peak. If you forgot to pack your food, there is a vendor at the registration site. ₱70 of viand plus rice at average.
  • Bring slippers to relieve your feet from the trek. (₱60 slippers at Sta. Fe exit)
  • Because of social media fad, Mt. Ulap has become overly crowded during trekking season, and the local government now regulated number of people who would be permitted to trek the said mountain. (as of 02-08-17)


[tg_accordion title=”Things to Bring” icon=”” close=”0″]

  • Thick Jacket
  • Raincoat (in case)
  • High friction trekking shoes
  • Trail food
  • Bottle of water
  • Packed food for Lunch
  • Waterproof casing for cameras and phones


[tg_accordion title=”Itinerary and Budget” icon=”” close=”0″][one_fourth]August 28[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]10:00 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Meet up at Araneta Gateway Mall 7-11[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 1,300/head (Tour Fee including van transfer from Manila to Benguet (vise versa))[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]11:00 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETD from Cubao[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]05:30 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Brgy. Ampucao, register[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 100/head (registration fee); ₱ 400/guide (4 persons maximum)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]05:45 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Start Trek[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]07:00 am [/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Reach Mt. Ulap Rock (15mins photo, rest)[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]08:30 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Summit (15mins photo,rest)[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]09:00 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Start Descent[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]12:00 nn[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Reach Sta. Fe Exit point (15mins. wash up, change clothes)[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 250/group  (Private service from Sta. Fe Exit back to Ambucao); ₱ 20/head (Shower fee) [/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]01:00 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Baguio City[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]06:00 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETD Baguio City[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]10:00 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Manila[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ESTIMATED EXPENSES[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 1,570 / head[/one_fourth_last]



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