Mt Pulag
Hiking Itineraries,  Mountains

Mt. Pulag National Park
Complete Hiking Guide & Itinerary

Last updated: 22nd October 2020

Dubbed as the highest peak in Luzon, Mount Pulag is situated between the borders of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya. It stands 2,926 meters above sea level and is famous for its sea of clouds. It’s also called the “Playground of the Gods” by the Ibaloi because for them; it is a sacred place where the Gods live and play.

You might be wondering right now if you can climb Pulag with little or no experience at all. Or if it’s worth the climb. I have been there three times now, and I have ZERO regrets at all. All the sweat and pain were worth it.

Let me share you our recent Mt. Pulag experience, along with a sample itinerary, estimated budget, important contacts, and some FAQs. But before we start, let’s look back on my first and second hike in the Playground of the Gods.

Hiking Mt. Pulag for the First Time (And Second)

My first and second hike on Mt. Pulag was on November 2016 (Ambangeg trail) and January 2017 (Akiki trail). It was my fourth mountain to climb and I was so lucky to witness the sunrise with a sea of clouds.

The Ambangeg trail, or simply called Amba, is classified as a major hike with a 3/9 rating from Pinoy Mountaineer. To experience a more challenging climb, we decided to team up with the ‘Batangas Boys’ (our hiking friends in Batangas) and opt for a 3-day hike via the Akiki trail (7/9 difficulty).

I thought I was going to die.

Eddet River
Eddet River via Akiki Trail

It was THAT hard. My heart pumped so hard that I thought it’s going to burst. The trail is steep, and almost endless. And the bag I carried was around 12 kilos (I don’t even have a tent with me so I can’t recall what’s in there) and it made my life worse.

And here’s the fun part. The itinerary was designed for us to be at the Mt. Pulag summit on the third day. It happened as planned, yes, but it rained so hard on our second night that we missed the chance of seeing the beautiful sunrise. It was so disappointing. After all the near-to-death moments we’ve experienced hiking via the Akiki trail, we witnessed no breathtaking view as a reward.

So we decided to go back. Again.

Preparation for the Third Hike

It was July 2018 when we decided making the preparations for our next Mt. Pulag climb. The target month was on November to celebrate the anniversary of our hike on 2016. Gladys, a super close friend of mine, the one who introduced hiking to me, organized the event. She’s our go-to gal when it comes to contacts. Securing permits, homestay, monster jeep rental; Gladys can arrange it all.

Mt. Pulag Itinerary

This was the proposed itinerary:

Sample Itinerary

We were so organized that even the meal plan was based on the joiners’ votes. Everything was well coordinated and well communicated within the group, especially when the hike is getting nearer.

We also opted to book a Victory Liner bus ticket in advance bound to Baguio (from Cubao) which costs P450 so we can save time instead of falling in line at the bus station. The only catch is that there is a P50 online booking fee per person. On the travel date, I just presented my ID and claimed the tickets in behalf of the joiners.

Aside from Victory Liner, you can also opt for JoyBus if you wish to get to Baguio in just 4-5 hours. You can read our JoyBus experience here, https://chamtravels.com/joybus-premiere-experience.

2019 Update: Bus fare from Cubao to Baguio is now amounting to P485. You can book bus tickets here: https://www.victoryliner.com/

Off to Mount Pulag (Yey!)

We arrived in Baguio at 4:00 AM as planned. Our next stop was supposed to be the Ambuklao Bridge and Sulfur River but we decided to visit those on our way back home. We went to the public market instead and bought food to cook at the homestay.

2019 Update: The lovely and hospitable caretakers at the homestay can cook food for your group. Fee is P100 per head, per meal. You can contact the homestay for more info. Contact numbers can be found below.

At 6:00 AM, we were on our way to DENR.

1. DENR Visit

For those who haven’t been to Mount Pulag [1], all hikers are required to visit DENR before the hike. Actually, the organizer must call in advance to reserve slots for the group. The number of hikers in this mountain is growing rapidly (especially on weekends) that the local government must control it. Click here so you can contact them on their Facebook page or you can reach them at 09165424030 and 09612499071.

At DENR, everyone is required to sign-up and provide their medical certificate which shows that you are “Fit to Hike/Climb”. There is also a 30-minute seminar in where you’ll learn the guidelines in hiking Mount Pulag.

Tip: To avoid the “sea of crowds”, plan your Mount Pulag trip on a weekday.

DENR Benguet

Another important update from Mt. Pulag Management (2019):

All trekkers and organizers are advised to have one month earlier booking in Mt. Pulag NP starting at Day 1 of the preceding month. Reservations on week ends are usually taken on Day 1 which has the highest demand. Those who will have reservation through calls shall be supported with payments and are advised to pay thru electronic means or other modes within the day as much as possible with administrative charges on the SMS too. The management shall cancel reservation thru calls without complying with the required period of payment. Upon receipt of the amount, the Official receipt shall be sent photoscanned.

You can visit their Facebook page for more updates: https://www.facebook.com/Mt-Pulag-National-Park-Bulletin-499104300135824/

2. Securing the Guides

After our DENR visit, we headed to the Ranger Station. It is the jump-off point going to Mt. Pulag. We arrived around 11:30 AM and secured our guides.

The topload experience is a must-try when you’re going to Mount Pulag. We did that from DENR to the Ranger Station. It is where you sit on top of the jeep while it ascends the mountains. What a beautiful way to enjoy Benguet.

Topload experience at Ranger Station

3. Baban’s Homestay

We arrived at the homestay at almost 12 noon. It is located in Babalak, Kabayan, Benguet, and is managed by Teacher Baban. The place never fails to give us a cozy and relaxing feel.

There is no cellular signal inside the homestay. There is a spot outside though, overlooking the mountains, which says “Signal here”. But don’t expect that you can play Mobile Legends there. I can’t even text my family that I am safe and still alive (lol) because the signal was going on and off.

You can contact Ma’am Odel Baban Sarapao at 09483577154 to reserve your accommodation at Baban’s Homestay. You can also check out their Facebook page here.

baban's homestay

4. The Outfit

Everyone looked like they were part of a Korean drama. Everyone looked cute! I wore a t-shirt, long sleeves, thick jacket, and a light waterproof jacket. Add the leggings, hiking pants, thick socks, and of course, the hiking shoes.

Accessories include these must-haves: headlamps or flashlights, gloves, bonnet, and scarf. If you wonder where I bought the jackets from, it’s from Columbia. And the shoes is from there too. 

Ranger Station

5. The Actual Hike

We started at around 1:30 AM, after the briefing courtesy of our two guides. We also offered a prayer for a safe journey.

On the first hour of the hike, we were surprised that it wasn’t cold as expected. Some even removed their gloves, bonnets, because really, it wasn’t like 9 degrees Celsius. But when the wind started to blow, damn, everybody suited up once more.

We stopped at the dedicated resting stations to eat and catch up with each other. The amazing things happen when all the flashlights are turned off. Look up and you can see the stars (and shooting stars!) with your eyes. Not just the typical view when we look up from the city. It’s the clearest view of the sky that you will see.

At 5:30 AM, freezing and shaking because of the cold wind, we arrived at Mt. Pulag summit. I can’t even describe the feeling of seeing one of the most amazing things in life – sunrise. Here are some of the pictures:

Sunrise at Mt Pulag

Mt Pulag summit

Sea of clouds

6. The Descent

The trail was mixed with flat and gradual assault so the whole experience was not really hard for us. Hiking before sunrise makes you appreciate the stars in the sky but when it’s time to descend, you’ll appreciate the beauty of the whole trail. Imagine the rich biodiversity in the area. You’ll encounter the dwarf bamboo grassland, mossy forest, and pine forest (if you’re coming from the summit), in one mountain. The pine forest part of the trail looks the same with the views in Mount Ugo. Here are more pictures:

Mount Pulag hike

Ambangeg Trail

After of almost four hours of walking, we reached Ranger Station where we “logged out” and thanked our guides for looking over us during the hike.

You can also watch our travel video below.

Estimated Budget in Hiking Mt. Pulag (2019)

  • Bus from Cubao to Baguio (one way) – P485 per head, additional P50 (also per head) if you will book online
  • Monster jeep rental – P8,000 (Baguio – Ranger Station – Baguio)
  • Registration at DENR Pulag – P175 per head
  • Tour Guide Fee – P120 per head (to be paid at Ranger Station, 2 guides)
  • Environment and Cultural Heritage Fee – P150 (to be paid at Ranger Station)
  • Accommodation at Baban’s Homestay – P300 per head, overnight
  • Food at Baban’s Homestay – P100 per meal, per head

Assuming that there are 10 hikers in the group who booked their bus tickets online going to Baguio, and ate lunch + dinner at Baban’s Homestay, the total expenses would be P2,765.

This estimated amount includes the share expenses on the jeep rental and bus ticket going back to Cubao (tickets bought at the terminal).

Important Contacts & Links (Save This!)

2020 Update: Reserve slots by contacting Mt. Pulag Park Management BEFORE heading to DENR. No walk-ins are allowed anymore. Most of the time, weekend slots are FULLY-BOOKED so we highly recommend that you plan your hike on a WEEKDAY.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How High is Mt. Pulag?

Mt. Pulag is 2,922 MASL (meters above sea level) and is dubbed as the highest peak in Luzon. It is third in the Philippines while Mt. Apo (Davao) and Mt. Dulang-Dulang (Bukidnon) rein at the first and second spots.

2. Is Mt. Pulag a Volcano?

Mt. Pulag is tagged as an inactive volcano by Wikipedia. A mountain and volcano have similarities, like how it was formed but Mt. Pulag does not have an active crater that might explode anytime soon. You can hike here all-year round with the assurance that you’ll not be burnt when you arrive back home. 🙂

3. How Long Does It Take To Climb Mount Pulag?

Climbing Mt. Pulag would take 4-6 hours to summit if trekking via Ambageg trail. If via the Akiki trail, it would take 2-3 days to get to the summit. The estimated hiking duration would still of course depend on the pace of the hikers.

4. How Can I Prepare for Mt. Pulag?

Prepare for your Mt. Pulag adventure by jogging and exercising at least 2 weeks prior the hike. This will put your body in the right condition and to get yourself used to being “tired”. You might think that hiking via the Ambangeg trail is so easy that you don’t need to workout anymore but hey, never underestimate the mountains.

5. What Should I Bring to Mt. Pulag?

When hiking Mt. Pulag, we recommend that you bring the following to protect you from the cold weather:

  • Several dri-fit clothes (preferably long sleeves)
  • Thermal jacket
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho (raincoat)
  • Leggings
  • Hiking pants
  • Thick pair of socks
  • Hiking shoes
  • Gloves, bonnet, scarf, headwear
  • Eyewear

If your group opted to stay at a homestay (like what we did), you’ll be able to leave your bags there. You can bring a small bag during the hike to carry your trail food, water, and camera. Don’t forget to put your gadgets inside a ziplock (any plastic would do) so it will not moisten.

6. How’s the commute for solo hikers or smaller groups? We don’t want to rent a monster jeep.

You can commute from Baguio to DENR without riding a monster jeep. Go to Slaughterhouse and from there, you can ride a bus (Norton Trans) going to Kabayan. First trip is at 6:00 AM. Ask the driver to drop you off near DENR and ride a habal-habal (ask the owner of the store in front of DENR). Or you can ride a van from Dangwa too and do the same thing.

What I Learned from Hiking Mt. Pulag

Mt. Pulag view

Now that I have shared you our itinerary, estimated budget, important contacts, and answered a few FAQs, I’m sure that you are now ready to hike Mount Pulag.

Hiking the Playground of the Gods changed my perception about life. I once thought that I must travel abroad, because the most beautiful places can be found there.

But Mount Pulag taught me that I don’t need to spend a lot of thousands just to be amazed with the beauty of our world. This mountain made me look forward to the sky every morning and afternoon, where its colors are always different and beautiful, whatever shade it is on.

Mount Pulag showed me that beauty can be found even in the simplest things. And that, makes me happy. Check out more of our hiking itineraries here.

Hope to see you in the mountains! 🙂

I'm an online freelancer who has a passion for hiking, traveling, and photography. Cham believes that having an adventurous life makes our soul happy and fulfilled. She travels with her super-old Nikon D3100 and her new baby boy, GoPro Hero 7 Black.

33 Comments

  • Bryan Antonio

    hi, just read your blog….and just got wow…may homestay na pala ngayon sa mt pulag

    question dun sa homestay, malayo ba sya sa ranger station? because of the new ruling din ng DENR na no camping allowed during weekends..sure na fullpack ang ranger station…

    my last climb sa pulag was 2013 pa..pwede pa sa saddle mag camp… laki na changes

    and planning to do it again pero sa Feb pa with my officemate…e baka pumatak ng weekend so baka maghomestay kami…iniwan nyo mga gamit sa homestay pagbaba na lang nyo kinuha ulet before going back to baguio?

    thanks sa feedback

    God Bless!

    “hike more, worry less”

    • Cham Joven

      Hi, Bryan! Thanks for reading the article! Yung homestay ay walking distance naman from Ranger Station pero yung monster jeep na hinire namin e hinatid-sundo kami from dun to Ranger para hindi kami mapagod 🙂

      You can leave your bags sa homestay. Super safe yung gamit nyo run! Ang dala lang namin pag-akyat ay yung essentials. You know, the usual 🙂 Dun na rin kami naligo at kumain bago bumalik sa Baguio.

      Ito yung number ni Teacher Baban, 09483577154 so pwede kayo makapag-reserve.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions pa. 🙂

  • Maria

    Hi ma’am cham!good day po😊i just read your blog and i can tell that it was so amazing experience by just reading it po and it makes me more excited to experience /witness what have you been experienced during the hike..to climb mt.pulag has been my dream hike as i start to love hiking..may question lng po ako regarding sa homestay na pinag stayhan niyo po..doon na po kayo ng start ng hiking niyo?ganon po cia kalapit po?firt timer po kasi mag hike to pulag..plan po nmin this nov.umakyat kaya po ngsstart na po sna mag plan😊baka po may mga tips pa po kayo for us para po mas mapadaling pagpaplan ng itinerary nmin i appreciate much po😊thank you so.much po for sharing your experience on us😊

    • Cham Joven

      Hi Maria! Thanks sa feedback. Yes, nakaka-excite talaga umakyat sa Mt. Pulag at pagdating mo dun, lalo kang maaamaze sa ganda nya! About sa question mo, kung sa homestay kami nagstar mag-hike, no. Sa Ranger Station kami nag-start. Bale hinatid kami dun nung monster jeep na ni-rent namin mula sa homestay.

      Sa tips naman, ito siguro yung mga important:

      1. Make sure na may med cert na kayo / fit to climb bago pa pumunta ng Baguio. Hindi kayo makaka-hike pag wala nito!
      2. Tsaka you need to contact din pala yung DENR to reserve slots kasi wala nang walk-in.
      3. I highly suggest na mag Pulag kayo on a weekday to avoid the crowd.
      4. Magdala ka ng bag na maliit for your essentials like water, trail food, camera para iwanan mo na lang yung bag mong malaki sa homestay.
      5. Take a lot of pictures!!! Lahat dun halos Instagrammable 🙂 And most importantly, enjoy 🙂

      Hope it helps!

      Cham

  • Jayson

    Hi, salamat sa info, yun Monster jeep rental, pwedi ba kami makishare sa ibang group para maless yun bayad namin, 8000 kasi mabigat, 6 lang po kami

    • Cham Joven

      Hello Jayson! I think pwede naman maki-share. Ang catch nga lang is you need to find those people na pwede mong maka-share kasi you need to rent the jeep in advance. So kung may kakilala kang interested mag Pulag on the same dates ng hike nyo, pwede mo sila yayain para isang jeep na lang kayo. 🙂

        • Cham Joven

          Hell Kevin! Actually hindi ito nadiscuss nung nagtanong kami dun sa store sa tapat ng DENR lol nawala sa isip naming tanungin kung magkano. We’ll try to find out!

  • Harjit

    Hi Cham,

    Thanks alot for the excellent guide in relation to your experience and hike up Mount Pulag.

    Am from Malaysia and looking to hike Mt Pulag come end October, so hoping you may be able to help with a few questions….

    1. Since ill be a solo traveler, is it possible to skip the monster jeep and maybe drive from Baguio to the homestay/ranger station myself ? Just wondering if there is another way instead of spending the p8000 for just me alone.

    2. Since itll be end October, any idea if itll be too rainy or if it should still be ok to hike?

    • Cham Joven

      Hello Harjit! Driving is possible, but to be honest, I would not recommend it for safety reasons. Some parts of the road going to the Ranger Station (or almost anywhere in Benguet) is uphill and is almost at the side of the mountain, so it’s really best if the driver is 100% familiar of the route.

      I hiked Pulag twice at the start of November and the weather’s perfect. We experienced a little bit of rain showers but it did not affect the beauty of the sunrise. 🙂

      We might go back this November! Let me know if you want to join.

  • ferd

    Hi . Ive been following your post for the last 3 months and wonder if there is another transportation from Baguio to the DENR Office then to the Ranger aside from the Monster Jeep? I dont remember it mentioned in your previous post.

    • Cham Joven

      Hi Ferd! You can commute from Baguio to DENR without riding a monster jeep. Go to Slaughterhouse and from there, you can ride a bus (Norton Trans) going to Kabayan. First trip is at 6:00 AM. Ask the driver to drop you off near DENR and ride a habal-habal. Or you can ride a van from Dangwa too and do the same thing.

      This would work for small groups but for a bigger headcount, the monster jeep would be a better option. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Chris

    Hey Cham!

    Thank you so much for writing this post, I have found it very helpful for my trip to Mt. Pulag. I do have a question, can you hire a tour guide at the ranger station? How did you find your guides?

  • Jay-ar Casuncad

    Hi Cham! Thank you for this. I find it very helpful and interesting. Continue inspiring others with your mountain experiences and good luck on your future climbs! 🙂

  • Crisgin Hinacay Cagatin

    Hi mam cham, your blog is quite interesting and helpful. I have one question in mind, is it ok to hike solo in Mt. Pulag?

  • Joy A. Ursabia

    Hi cham, thank you for the info. We’re planning to climb too and we are all beginners. Is it possible to climb on weekends (saturday & sunday)?? Thank you

    • Cham Joven

      Hello Joy! Yes, it’s possible naman to climb during weekends but I won’t recommend it especially now (January-Feb). For sure, there will be LOTS of hikers so the summit will be crowded. The Park Management might not allow everyone to go to the summit and you’ll be given a designated peak to watch the sunrise from.

      It’s best to hike during weekdays if your schedule will allow it. And also, you should contact the Park Management in advance to reserve your slots. You can learn more from their Facebook page here, https://www.facebook.com/Mt-Pulag-National-Park-Bulletin-499104300135824/. Thank you!

  • Jackson Neal S. Ortaleza

    HI Cham..Nakita ko lang tong blog mo since naghahanap ako ng contacts and any para ma try rin namin maka hike sa Pulag..ask ko lang, pano kung my sariling sasakyan na? pwede na ba un, gamitin papunta sa DENR or any sa mga pwede puntahan ng sasakyan or need parin ng monster jeep? and sabi nila, need daw ng med certificate, pwede ba kumuha any hospital/clinic ng ganun or dun narin mismo? thank you in advance sa reply..enjoy lang sa pag hihiking and hope to see you sa mga bundok pag my chance.. 🙂

    • Cham Joven

      Hello Jackson! Based on experience, recommended ang monster jeep kasi yung drivers nila ay talagang knowledgeable sa daan. Pa-curve kasi yung road dun tapos medyo bangin so better kung taga-dun yung driver.

      About naman sa med cert, yes, kelangan ng “fit to climb” na med cert. Please get it before arriving sa DENR kasi kelangan yun dun. Wala ring available na clinic na malapit sa Pulag so para walang hassle, get your med cert in advance. 🙂

      Hope to see you rin sa bundok!

  • Chastine

    Hi Ms. Cham! Yung medcert hindi na po available sa jump-off ng Pulag mismo? Or may marereco ka ba na medcert near Mt. Pulag? Thank you! 😀

    • Cham Joven

      Hello Chastine! Walang kuhanan ng med cert sa Pulag so make sure na may fit to climb na kayo bago pumunta run 😀 or kung nasa Baguio ka, pwede dun ka kumuha sa mga clinic sa town. Hope this helps!

  • Renz Mendoza

    Hi, Cham, Thank you for sharing your experience. I find it so informative and it makes me more excited to try Mt Pulag.
    And I just got a question, Is it advisable to bring your own Tent? Or it is much better to just rent for one? And how much would it cost for rental.
    2., Can we also Rent Headlamps or should we bring one? And how much would it cost for rental too? Looking foward for your reply 😊

    • Cham Joven

      Hello Miguel! This might be possible. You can coordinate with the Park Management to be sure. Pero ako, I will recommend Akiki paakyat tapos Amba pabalik. Matarik kasi ang Akiki so I can’t imagine kung gano kahirap ang pababa sa trail na yun.

  • Bridge Dubao

    Thank you very much, Cham. I appreciate your presence in this space. You are a light from Mount Pulag radiating to everyone who loves mountains and climbing to the peaks.
    As a native of Kabayan where Mount Pulag is located, I enjoy reading your feedback after the experience. Reading your sharing is actually a part of my research.

    May you be energized from power of Mount Pulag.

    More power…and keep going…keep climbing….

  • Marion

    Hello po may climb po kami sa Mt. Pulag on the said dates may30-june 1 via ambangeg-ambangeg trail. We need at least 10 more participants para po makahati sa renta ng jeep. Text niyo lang po ako kung interesado po kayo 09158895253

  • Dan de la Cruz

    Hello po..

    Tanong ko lng, if solo backpacker ka lang bah.. pwde pa rin? I mean ipapa join ka lng sa mga group dretso?

    thank you..

    • Cham Joven

      Hello Dan! Pwede naman pero magastos to eh kasi wala kang ka-share sa mga guide, etc. Tsaka yung transpo papunta baka mahal din compared sa may kahati ka sa costs.

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