Pulag, Parks, and Puppies

Mount Pulag

On our second week in the Philippines our team coordinator planned a day to hike up Mount Pulag, which is also the 3rd tallest mountain in the Philippines. Kate and I met up with Marcia, Kenzie, and part of their sub-team. Our subteam couldn’t make it because they still had work to do, but I’ll be sure to show them pictures when I see them. And lets just say I underestimated Mount Pulag, but I’m glad I survived.

Made it to the summit!

Before I knew anything about Mount Pulag, I believed it was going to be a quick 1 day hike and then we would head back to the barangay. That was not the case… We were going to sleep/rest the first day to prepare for the hike then at 1 am we would start. The hike would take about 10 hours total (going up and down) and they wanted us to see the sunrise so that’t why we left at 1am. There were also 2 types of trails: Akiki and Babaol. Akiki would take about 2 days and Babaol (the one we took) would take 10 hours. We were also required to take a local guide with us and I’m so glad we did. If it weren’t for the guide we would be lost and have many injuries.

The Babaol trail was insane! I’ve never been hiking before, so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. When we first started the hike was an amazing view of stars but that lasted only a few minutes because you need to look down at where you are stepping and the only light source was from the little flashlights everyone had. At 1 am you don’t know what’s in front of you… it could be a narrow walkway, irregular shaped rocks, puddle, log, or a steep step. The hike felt endless but I had to keep reminding myself that it is only ____ meters away, if you can do this you can do anything. When we were only 50 meters away from the summit, it felt so much longer because there were more steps that were on an incline. After 5 hours, our team made it to the summit and the view was so worth it! We were able to see the sunrise and took amazing pictures.

Before traveling to Ilocos Norte, the girls and I had a rest day to prepare for the 6 hour bus ride. Aly and her team took us on a tour around Baguio City. We first headed to Tam Awan Village which is also known as the Garden in the Sky. There was a lot of artwork displayed here and we were able to walk around to see the “foresty” area. Because it rained the day before the steps we took were slippery and felt like I was on Mount Pulag again. There usually is a traditional dance that would be preformed during the day, but sadly we missed it. After Tam Awan Village, we visited a haunted mansion that creeped me out. We went up to the roof of the building to take pictures and see the view of Baguio City but on the way down we got locked in… We forgot that they lock the door to the top at 4:30, but we were able to get out after a couple minutes.

Some artwork at Tam-Awan Village

Next up was the botanical garden and right off the bat we were played by 5 old women. When we were about to take a picture, an old woman comes up to us to take it with us and we didn’t think anything of it. Then her 4 friends also came along and took pictures with us. We were so happy to have our picture taken with them until they asked us for 50 pisos. We were so confused about what was happening but in the end we gave it to them. Anyways the garden was really beautiful but we couldn’t explore it completely because of the downpour. We were stuck in this cramped area for about 15 minutes until we decided to leave so we can go to SM. I really wish it didn’t rain so we could see other areas at the garden.

The 5 old ladies that played us…

The next day we also had some free time, so the girls and I decided to revisit Burnham Park because we were only there for 5 minutes at first. We were able to ride on a boat, buy some mangoes from a vendor, go to the Christmas tree and take more pictures. The paddle boat was exciting because there were also many people on the lake as well enjoying their time. Since it was our first time rowing(?) a boat we had some trouble with steering. We would either hit other boats or almost hit one. In the end, it was so much fun as it was our last adventure at Baguio City.

Side note: There are so many stray dogs here in the Philippines and I want take them all home. Since I cant pet them I decided to take pictures of them. I will post them in my photos tab!

We will be on our next adventure to Marikina, so I don’t know If I will have enough service to post a blog.

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