Mt Pulag via Tawangan to Ambangeg

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After the knee-breaking Mt. Timbak Traverse and the chilling climb to the Avatar mountain, also known as Mt. Tabayoc, we *rented an elf truck to bring us to our next and last destination for our Luzon 321 climb – Mt Pulag Tawangan to Ambangeg . 

The pursuit in climbing the 3 highest peaks of Luzon3 – MT. TIMBAK TRAVERSE (Luzon's 3rd Highest Peak) -…

Posted by Love Eat Wander on Friday, 17 May 2013

(click on the Facebook logo at the upper, right-hand side of the photo album to see the whole set)

On our way to Mt Pulag Tawangan jump-off point, our truck driver and guide were so kind enough to let us see the cleanest lake of Benguet, locally known as Ambulalakao Lake. Indeed it was a rewarding view. We stayed there for several minutes, absorbing the magnificent beauty of nature, before we traced back the wooden steps that lead to the rough road where our truck was waiting. We boarded the elf truck again and off we went.



The road down to Tawangan was bumpy as hell. It was more scary than a rollercoaster ride because our driver was hastily going down uneven slopes with cliffs on both sides. One wrong move and we will be drop dead several meters below. We were torn between looking at the magnificent views of the lush mountains and gripping our fingers tightly to the sides of the truck to make sure we will not be thrown out by the exhilarating ride. We tried our might to do both.

Mountain Facts of Mt Pulag Tawangan – Ambangeg 

Major Jump-Off: Sitio Labang, Brgy. Tawangan, Kabayan
LLA: 16°34’58″N 120°53’15″E
Elevation: 2922 MASL
Hours to summit / Days required: 10-11 hours / 3 days
Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 3

  • (1) Tawangan Trail is one of the 5 known trails of Pulag. Others are: (2) Akiki Trail, (3) Ambangeg Trail, (4) Ambaguio Trail, (5) Lusod Trail.
  • Tawangan trail can be combined with other trails so do not be surprised if some climbers do Tawangan-Akiki, Ambaguio-Tawangan, or Tawangan-Ambangeg. The easiet combination however is the Mt Pulag Tawangan – Ambangeg trail which is the one commonly used for the Luzon 321 challenge where the 3rd and 4th days are reserved for Mt. Pulag via Tawangan-Ambangeg.
  • Like Mt. tabayoc, the beauty of Tawangan trail lies in its mossy forest which takes up half of the ascend climb to the summit.
  • Tawangan trail is one of the longest trail of Mt. Pulag. Trekkers have to pass by Mt. Ludok and summit of Mt. Pupulag. Yes, technically that will be 3 mountains altogether. Some mountaineers can finish Tawangan to Pulag saddle campsite in 9 hours. In our case, it took us 12 hours to do so. our guide said that the group before us took 18 hours!
  • There are several water sources along the trail.  After the last water source, you have to trek around 3 hours to reach the saddle campsite.

How to Get to Mt Pulag Tawangan Jump-Off Point

Private Transportation

  1. Head northeast and then turn right onto Kisad Road.
  2. Continue driving until you reach Shuntug Road then turn left onto Quirino Highway
  3. Continue until you reach Naguilian Road
  4. Turn right onto Bokawkan Road then continue driving until you reach Magsaysay Avenue
  5. Slightly turn left when you reach Baguio-La Trinidad-Bontoc Road
  6. Continue onto Halsema Highway then exit via the Buguias Road en route to Kabayan.
  7. You will pass by Brgy. Ballay which is situated at the foot of Mt. Tabayoc, continue driving down the rough road until you reach Brgy. Tawangan.

Public Transportation

Go to Dangwa Terminal (located at city proper) or at the Slaughterhouse bus terminal along Magsaysay Avenue. Dangwa Terminal is more accessible.

Option 1 (for Luzon 3-2-1)

  1. Take the bus bound to Kabayan and alight the bus when you reach Ballay. Ballay is the last stop of Kabayan buses. It is the jump off for Tabayoc and the four lakes.  Buses bound for Kabayan leave Baguio City at 10 AM; last trip leaves at 12NN. It is a 5-6 hour trip. If buses bound to Kabayan are not available, take those buses en route to Baguio-Bontoc via Halsema Highway and get off at Abatan, Buguias, Benguet. There are jeepneys bound to Ballay from Abatan but only during Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 7AM to 12NN only.
  2. From Ballay, you can rent habal-habal to bring you to Brgy. Tawangan which is the jumpoff.

Option 2 (for Tawangan-Ambangeg climb only)

  1. Alight Kabayan bus bound when you reach Poblacion. Here you can go to DENR for registration and briefing.
  2. Rent habal-habal to Tawangan jump-off.

If you plan to do Luzon 321 – climbing Mts. Timbac and Tabayoc first – you may rent a habal-habal from Tabayoc to Tawangan. There were no available habal-habal drivers during our climb so we rented an elf truck. 

It is easier to go back to Baguio by exiting through the Ambangeg trail . Going down to Tawangan jump-off point is not a very good idea if you do not have your own service.



Projected Expenses for Mt Pulag Tawangan – Ambangeg

Aircon van Manila-Baguio Php455 per way
Taxi fare to Slaughterhouse terminal Php50 per way
A-Liner Bus Baguio – Ballay Php155 per way
Camping fee Php50
Cultural Free Php30
Environmental /Park Fee Php200
Guide fee Php3,000/day for 7 pax ( Php100 per person in excess of 7) Php3000 / number of pax
TOTAL (the amount varies depending on your number)

Sample Itinerary for Mt Pulag Tawangan – Ambangeg

This can be your sample IT guide if you plan to do Mt. Pulag climb via Tawangan-Ambangeg. Necessary adjustments should be done if (a.) you plan to do Luzon 3-2-1 or (b) if you plan to do not have your own service, and will just commute to reach jump-off points.

Day 1

0100 ETD Manila to Baguio via Victory Liner Bus
0700 ETA Baguio City (breakfast, buy provisions)
0800 ETD Slaughterhouse to Kabayan
1300 ETA Kabayan Poblacion (Late lunch)
1400 DENR Registration/Briefing
1500 ETD to Tawangan
1700 Tawangan Jumpoff (prepare dinner)
1800 Dinner / Socials

Day 2

0400 Wake-up call / Breakfast/ packup
0600 Start ascend (packed lunch)
1500 ETA Last water Source 20 minutes to grassland
1800 ETA saddle campsite / pitch tents
1900 Dinner / socials

(if you are early you can assault to summit for sunset viewing before going to saddle camp)

Day 3

0430 Wake-up call
0500 Start assault to summit
0530 ETA Mt. Pulag summit for sunrise viewing
0700 Back to saddle campsite / Breakfast / Break camp
0900 Start Descent
1100 ETA Ranger Station
1200 ETA Ambangeg, DENR (Log-out)
1230 ETD Ambangeg / Lunch along the way
1700 ETA Baguio

Most campers usually ascend to summit first before breaking camp (as provided in this IT). In our case, we woke up early, broke up camp, and ascended the to summit. We already brought our things with us so there was no need to go back to saddle camp.

Travel Tips

  • Bring warmer, gloves, sweater, thermal jacket; anything that can keep you warm.
  • Get a guide who’s knowledgeable of the trails and can assist you throughout the climb. Coordinate with DENR.
  • Start early! Early enough to make sure you will not be stranded in the heart of the forest when the darkness started to embrace the surrounding.
  • Tawangan trail is limatik infested. Prepare accordingly. Check this link for tips on how to deal with a limatik-infested mountain.
  • If you want to take advantage of climb services of a travel agency, you can contact Sole Adventours.
  • For more virtual and interactive live updates, you can check our INSTAGRAM PAGE or follow us in TWITTER.
  • Be part of Love. Eat. Wander. Facebook Community Page for more updates, travel tips, and for more photos of our Luzon 321 climb. You can also visit our YouTube Channel for videos. 

Interesting Fact

The town of Kabayan, being the heart of Ibaloi culture, is known as a cultural hotspot in Benguet.  If you have enough time you can visit Opdas Mass Burial Cave (Kabayan Museum) and other natural wonders of the province.

Contact Details

Permit should be secured from the Park Superintendent if you plan to climb Pulag. Making personal and unofficial arrangements with the locals is being discouraged.

For your future climb you may contact these people for assistance:

Ermita Albas PASU / DENR 0919-631-5402 / 0929-166-8864
Mayo Ligligan Tawangan Park Ranger 0920-505-0692 / 0926-407-9393

*Guide will be provided by people mentioned above.

Our Plate of Unsolicited Advice

I personally think that trail should be kept as is in order to make it more appealing. I do not appreciate the “cleaning” (removing some trees, weeds, shrubs, and grasses) and widening that DENR or Tawangan guide association is doing in various trails. Indeed it makes the climb easier, but it lost the challenge in climbing which is actually the very essence of mountaineering.

Thank you for dropping by!

Love,

Missy of 

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Should you want to add/dispute something in this article, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

 

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Note: This entry is part of our Luzon 3-2-1 climb which happened four years ago. This is a repost from our old site, with new updates included.

Climb Guide for Mt. Timbak
Climb Guide for Mt. Tabayoc
Climb Guide for Mt. Pulag via Tawangan Trail
Climb Guide for Luzon 3-2-1

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