Hiking Adventure in Philippines: Mt. Pulag and Mt. Pinatubo Itinerary

Mount Pulag and Mount Pinatubo Itinerary

Exploring Benguet: The Ultimate Itinerary Guide to Mount Pulag and Mount Pinatubo

Before we embark on an unforgettable mountain-climbing adventure, let's explore the beauty of Benguet. Join me and my two closest friends as we push each other to conquer Mount Pulag, one of the Philippines' most breathtaking mountains, and discover the splendor of Mount Pinatubo, one of the country's most stunning volcanoes. Here's a detailed itinerary that outlines our journey, which will not only help us reach the summit but also strengthen our bond as friends. Let’s go!

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Travel Tips
  • For flights, Skyscanner is excellent for comparing the best airline deals.
  • For accommodations, our family trusts Booking.com for reasonable prices.

Budget: SGD 300 / PHP 10,000 

Mt. Pulag Tour: 9,600 php ( 4 pax ) Manila- Pulag only
Mt. Pinatubo Tour: 7,770 php ( 3 pax ) Tour only
Spa Package: 1,650 php (1 pax)

April 29 , Friday - Arrival
Mt. Pulag Itinerary Itinerary
Tour Operator: I won't recommend our Tour Group
1035am - 1415pm Cebu Pacific - Singapore to Manila, Philippines 
Flight Travel time: 4 hours 

0900pm ETD Victory Liner Pasay
Manila to Baguio 
Travel time: 4-5 hours

April 30 , Saturday - Mt. Pulag Basecamp
0200am ETA Baguio arrange jeep
0500am ETA Sightseeing in Benguet
0730am Briefing
0900am ETD DENR to Ranger station
1100am ETA Ranger Campsite
Set camp freetime to explore ranger

May 1, Sunday - Mount Pulag, Philippines
0100am ETD Ranger to summit
0500am ETA Summit
0900am ETA Ranger
0100pm ETA DENR *Lunch
04.00pm ETA Baguio
Dinner with a Friend in Tarlac

Check-in Blue Inn Hotel
350 php each per night

May 2, Sunday - Mt. Pinatubo Hike 
Tour Operator: Tripinas Travel and Tour Ventures 
Mt. Pinatubo Itinerary
0530am Meet up at base camp in Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac (there is a paid parking if you bring your car)
0530am - 0630am Board 4×4 vehicles.
0800am Start trekking (around 1h30 walking using the old way, you can also choose the short trek: 45 minutes walking – as of today the short trek is not available)
0930am Arrival at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo.
Relax, photos, early lunch (at clients' account)
1130am Start return trek (1h30 walking using the old way)
1300pm Back to the 4x4s.
1430pm Back at base camp. Freshen up

May 3, Monday - Spa Time in Antipolo
Luljetta's Hanging Gardens and Spa
Hanging Gardens Retreat Package: 1,650 PHP
2020pm - 2355 Flight: Cebu Pacific - Manila, Philippines to Singapore 

Basecamp of Mount Pulag in Benguet, Philippines

What To Do in Benguet

I've been dreaming of clouds in my head for the past few days. The moment we've started planning for our next climb the exciting feeling overwhelms me almost every day. I love the mountains and I believe it's a mutual understanding, I have this feeling that the mountains are calling me to meet them. I'm just drawn to its beauty, addicted to the pain of climbing its slopes, the motivational view, the summit climb, and the deep sense of friendship between man and nature. This is love, this is love and I'm loving it. 

It's been a year since our most challenging climb in Mount Kota Kinabalu and now we're heading to another epic adventure. This time around we're heading to the Sea of Clouds. It is considered one of the most beautiful mountains in the Philippines. Mt. Pulag stands 2,922 metres above sea level and is located between the border provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya. A few years ago it was the second-highest mountain next to Mt. Apo in Davao, however, according to the new standing, it is officially the third-highest mountain in the Philippines. I'm glad we choose the Philippines for our climb, our country can offer so much more than just its natural beauty but also the ambiance, the people, and the weather, it is simply The perfect destination for everybody. 

Day 1
April 29 
Cebu Pacific, Singapore to Manila, Philippines 1035-1415

There are four of us climbing Mt. Pulag; my two loyal climbing buddies plus another additional member of the gang my buddy's sister. All of us booked our promo flight months before our desired trip. I've settled our Mt. Pulag camp package with the 8 Wonders travel tour which includes our transportation, meals, tent, and a guide. I wanted a DIY plan but with the permits and all the news for limited climbers per day, prioritizing the tour groups, I figured it wasn't really a good idea. 

The scheduled meet-up time was 9 in the evening with Victory Liner Bus Service in Pasay. We arrived on time in Manila so there was ample time to eat, shop, and maybe watch a movie. Traffic is bad as usual. It took us 2 hours to get to the Mall of Asia from the airport, which was just 30 minutes away. We planned on watching Jungle Book, but surprisingly all the cinemas only show The Avengers Civil War. Instead of watching the movie, we spent our remaining time eating at Congo Grill which my friend insisted we should try. While waiting for our food we went inside the department store to buy Sandugo sandals for our Mt. Pinatubo hike, which cost around 600 PHP. Even though our bus was still around 9 in the evening we arrived an hour before time. However, when we got there the tour coordinator told us that our scheduled bus was still around 10:30 pm. It's a good thing the bus terminal has clean toilet facilities so we were able to wash our faces and brush our teeth. I'm getting accustomed to this kind of habit, most of my travels now involve night bus rides. 

Victory Line Bus from Manila to Baguio 
Travel time: 4-5 hours
Fare: 450 php -700 php (Covered with our Tour Package)
Tour Operator: I won't recommend our Tour Group

Ambuklao Dam

Baguio is different from Manila, less crowded, has fewer vehicles and the temperature is cold. Thou the city is getting more urbanized now compared last time I visited I still like it because it's closer to the mountains. The temperature in the city can drop up to 11-13 degrees in the early morning, better get those jackets ready during the trip. We arrived early in the morning giving us ample time to go sightseeing. Our first stop is the Ambuklao Dam a hydroelectric facility in Bokod, Benguet Province.

Daclan Sulphur Spring

The next stop is the Daclan Sulphur Spring also known as "Badekbek Sulfur Spring." No swimming is involved at all it was just a sightseeing side trip. A boiling pot of muddy, sulfur with a faint smell of something metallic.

Jangjang Hanging Bridge

The last stop was the Jangjang Hanging Bridge, 290 metres long and one of the longest bridges in Benguet. There's a 10-person limit notice on the bridge and people don't mind it all. During that time It was pretty much crowded, I'm sure it was more of them there. We were more hungry than adventurous at that given time, so we just had a quick peek and that's it. We went straight to the DENR office afterwards for a brief orientation of our climb and signed our attendance. Reached base camp early in the afternoon however, we were not able to set up camp right away as our equipment was left behind by the tour group. One of the reasons why I do not recommend the tour coordinator for anyone to climb. 

Packing for these trips was a challenge as we were carrying our bags on our shoulders most of the time. I wanted my bag to be as lightweight as possible. Here are a few things I've packed for the trip. I needed to prepare clothes for two hikes: Mt. Pulag and Mt. Pinatubo and winter wear for the summit climb.

Things to Bring for the Hike: (5 days 4 nights) 
Motto: Travel light. Less is More.
  • Top (2 dri-fit shirts, 3-5 sleeveless tops) - I end up buying one top for the last day.
  • 2 Compression leggings - I washed one of them which I used for the last day.
  • 1 Jogging Shorts
  • 1 Windbreaker Jacket with Fleece -Temperature in the summit drops up to 2 degrees. Better come prepared.
  • 1 Heatech top and leggings (optional) 
  • 2 Poncho - Weather is unpredictable in the mountains.
  • 1 Waterproof Trekking Pants
  • 3 Extra Hiking socks - Choose thick and breathable hiking socks. 
  • Trekking Shoes - I prefer hi-cut shoes for good support.
  • Slippers -Life-saver after a long hike.
  • Waterproof Gloves
  • A Bonnet, Neck scarf - Buy those outdoor neck scarf which is multipurpose: as you can use them as a face mask against the wind during the summit climb, a neck warmer, even as a headgear and sweat absorber.
  • Small hiking bag - I've purposely brought it with me for my camera and to pack my snacks, first aid, whistle, jacket, gloves, and bonnet during the descend as it gets warmer in the morning. 
  • Plastic bags - For soiled clothing after the hike.
  • Sleeping bag (optional)
  • Large Garbage bags (at least 2 pcs) - This comes in handy when it rains as it serves as a bag cover and more importantly as a mat you can sit on in the summit, at the same to collect your trash.
  • Headlamp plus extra batteries - Test it again and again or you'll end up like me using my phone light while hiking in the dark.
  • Personal whistle - Hook this up with you all throughout the climb. A necessity for climbers, emergency situations happen when you least expect it.
  • First Aid Kit (bandage, plaster, alcohol swabs, antibacterial ointment/betadine, vomiting meds, paracetamol)- A must bring for everyone. Be a responsible climber)
  • Tissue Paper (wet and dry)
  • Mess kit (plate/container bowl, camper utensils) - The tour group can provide this.
  • Water bottle (at least 3 liters for those with sensitive tummy if not then a 1-2 liter container will do which is easily refillable with cool, fresh, and clean mountain water)
  • Personal Trail food (candies, chocolates, cookies)
  • Camera - Pack lots of silica gels to absorb moisture. I've also placed it inside the corners of my bag. This is a campers life hacks I'm graciously sharing with everyone as it really works big time.
  • Powerbank - There's no electricity in the base camp, welcome to the outdoor life!
  • Passport, Ticket, Visa, COE (for OFW)
  • Shades - This is a must-have as it hides tired eyes and a great sleeping tool.
  • Toothbrush, Cotton buds
  • Sunblock, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Soap -  Distribute this among your gang which we always do with my climbing buddies. Maybe leave the shampoo and soap in the hands of your hotel service. Besides a sachet of shampoo is always on hand in all Sari-Sari stores(Convenient stores) in the Philippines.
  • Underwear - I prefer a sports bra as it is a climbing trip. Avoid cotton for the undies.
  • Two-piece Bikini - I would never leave without these babies. We planned on pampering ourselves at a Spa resort in Antipolo after all our climb.

The bus took off around 10:30 pm from Manila, thus arriving at 5 in the morning the following day in Baguio. The first word that woke me up that day was this guy shouting Strawberry Taho. My senses were brought to life after sleeping on the bus for hours. But then it's not advisable to have some soy milk early in the morning, especially for someone who is lactose intolerant just in the morning, and embarking on a climb expedition. I like the sound of the word 'expedition' though it doesn't fit the climb we're partaking in. I let it go which is something I shouldn't have done. They said once you bump into something good, get it and have it. Anyway, it's not really a bad call, I knew that but my craving was pushing me to go for it. I can't afford a serious toilet break-up in the mountains. The bus dropped us off at a certain point where a van was waiting to send us off to the basecamp. We went for breakfast and had our orientation in the DENR office. 

The guide told us the wake-up call is around 12:30 yet we were woken up as early as 11:30 in the evening. The Mt. Pulag climb was successful, and by 5 pm the next day we were already on our way to another adventure, we took a van to Tarlac City to meet a friend of mine for dinner. While my friend's sister took the bus back to Manila along with fellow climbers in our group. Next on our itinerary is Mt. Pinatubo, a famous active volcano located between the provinces of Tarlac and Zambales. 

More about the Mt. Pulag Climb Hike here: Mt. Pulag, Philippines

More about the Mt. Pinatubo Trip and Spa experience here:

May 2, Sunday - Mt. Pinatubo Hike 

We woke up early the next day to prepare for our hike, checked out and left our baggage with the hostel. Little did we know the hassle of getting to our meet-up point at "Bong parking and showers" parking area in Baranggay Sta. Juliana, Capas. There was no pick-up transfer included in the package so we were on our own. The tricycle ride to the meet-up place was 30 minutes away and cost us 300 PHP for a one-way trip. 

The 4x4 ride won't be so exciting if you have the enclosed back part of the vehicle thou you're sheltered from dust, rain and the heat of the sun. But hey! How will you enjoy the great outdoors? I always wonder why most people are afraid of getting a tan or for some, they would say it's to avoid getting skin cancer. It got me thinking it's just a few minute's ride even if it's an hour ride just go for it. This kind of activity doesn't happen every day unless you live in the desert or in the jungle, I wouldn't mind at all you will still see me standing at the back holding on to the metal railing for my dear life. Yes, we did that. We stood up and held on tight to the side of the rover to avoid being thrown out of the vehicle. Bounce here, Bounce there, Smack here, and Smack that. Howling, Laughing, Giggling and Goofing around at the back of the rover was all we did throughout the tour. 

May 3, Monday - Spa Time in Antipolo

It's important to have a blast on your vacation these activities highlight the trip and, at the same time balance it with a day full of relaxation. I tried to end most of my travels with a spa treat or a massage. Having your mind at peace before you hop on to that plane will clear out those messy strings clinging to your goals and objectives in life. On this trip, we had it after our sightseeing in Benguet, climbing Mount Pulag and hiking Mount Pinatubo.  A perfect fix for all those twisted muscles after all the adventures we had. Our last day in the Philippines was entirely focused on relaxation and rejuvenation in a spa resort located in Antipolo. 

Reservations need at least 7 days before the arrival date. 
Email: reservations@bienvenidotours.com / SMS (+65) 9175444432 / 09286278897 with complete name, contact number, number of persons, date & time of arrival, package or service, time of service.

My friend had her eye on this spa resort for quite some time, and when we had the chance to travel together again we made sure to visit the resort on our last day. It is advised to book the package days before the spa treatment and pay the whole amount. We had some issues with the reservation process and adding ala carte services made it more complicated. All ended well we got what we wanted thanks to my friend's patience and perseverance. 

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