Our humble abode for the night
What I liked about Mount Pulag was the fact that they conducted a talk with the hikers before we started our hike. They highlighted to us the importance of keeping Mount Pulag clean, and not to litter or wash our things along any water bodies because the residents around the area relied on Mount Pulag as a watershed for its clean water supply.
Looking at the map of the Akiki trail 🙂
The first part of the trail, approaching the Eddet River
love the sound of the rushing waters
The climb was alright before the river, but after the Eddet River it was uphill all the way. Up, up, up. Took in the beauty of everything around me. The pine forest and its needle-like leaves, the cool breeze tickling my ears. The blue dragonfly that whizzed past my shoes. Strands of thoughts weaved in and out of my head. Work, school, colleagues. I sincerely tried to shake these thoughts away and focused on the surroundings instead.
All ready to immerse in the beauty of Mother Nature 😊
My hiking guide shows us the trail route. All hikers have to pay and hire a local guide.
“Many locals are trying to convert the forest into agricultural land for commercial farming. To minimise the conversion of the forest, the only way is to give them another source of $$$ income – tour guiding.”
Watershed area that provides water to the community and dams. That’s why rubbish is not allowed to be left there. Everyone is advised to bring down garbage, and to wash their things away from water sources.
I love the calming sounds of nature – the rhythm of the rushing waters, and the gentle pitter-patter of the rain.
I heard the sound of a motorbike in the distance, except it had been going on for awhile. Where was the route for a motorbike, and why has that motor sound remained for some time? I asked Kyle, our guide. He tells us that that’s the sound of a chainsaw. I was surprised. I learnt that illegal logging meant lifetime imprisonment as imposed by the government. They were allowed only to saw the trees for their own uses. Buffalo tree, sticky sap…
Almost there. The guide hiding water in the middle of the grassland. LOL
Apparently they do this so they have extra water here (for cooking etc), hidden in their secret spots.
We reached the base camp at about 5pm. Before long it started raining and we hid in our tents, already set up by our dear porters and guide. In the drizzle and the cold we were greeted by a surprise knock on our tents – dinner, served! Room service! We exclaimed excitedly. Yummy hot rice with corned beef. In the cold and after the long walk, everything tasted like sweet relief. I finished Persepolis 1 and started on Persepolis 2 while Jolene blabbered on (LOL). Eventually we fell asleep.
Room service despite the rain!!! Actually I loved the rice – the somewhat hard texture of the rice, and the treat of eggs, maggie noodle on 1 day, the corned beef (YUMMYYYYY) and tuna!
We awoke at 8am and set off at 9.30am.
The vegetation took a gradual shift with an increase in altitude, from the pine forest to the mossy forest, and at the end, we emerged to the grassland – my favourite!
we got incredibly excited waking up to cows strutting outside our tents, and squealed way too early in the morning. HAHAHHA
So happy. So so happy. We reached at about 11.30am to a vast field of grassland. There was nobody but us! I wanted to roll around in the sunshine. I wanted to shout with joy. I did. I wanted to lie on the grass and read my book while soaking in the warmth of the rays. It was not so practical, and though I loved the cool breeze I crept back into the tent instead. We had all the time in the world, in the middle of this vast field. My usual day had barely begun but here, in this time and in this moment, I relished in the joy of not having to do anything. I had a blank space of time for myself, for the rest of the day, to do nothing. Absolutely nothing, if I wished! Stripped of all of my responsibilities, the large sacks I burdened myself with back home. So happy. I finished the rest of Persepolis 2, made a mental note to read up on the Iranian Revolution / Iraq-Kuwait conflict / Iraq-Iran & Iran-Kuwait relations and fell asleep to the lazy afternoon heat.
Sadly this photo reminds me of the timelapse video of our guide setting up the tent that we didn’t receive 😦
copying our guides’ pose, which we thought was genius
The descent down the Ambangeg trail was pretty straightforward. After that, we made our way back to Manila and stayed at DG Budget Hotel, aka Salem Domestic Guesthouse for a night. At $31sgd a night for a private room for two of us, it was reasonable and comfortable after a long hike. Very near the airport too!
That night, we bought lots of polveron from 7-11 (hahaha) and I bought more at the airport the next day.
Thank you, Mount Pulag! You were beautiful and I’m blessed for the experience!