My First Summit (Mt. Ulap 2018)

Hiking has always been at the top of my bucket list. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. But being someone who gets a below average grade in PE class, I knew it won’t be easy. 

I was a sickly kid growing up, I just was. Convulsions would happen all the time that implores me to stay in the hospital for weeks. The doctors couldn’t identify what was causing it and there was no known cure at the time. All they said was that it usually goes away after 2 years and that I just need to ‘survive’ through it. So you can imagine how tough it was for my parents to have to go through all of that just to keep me alive. First two years of my life. Yep. And it’s not cheap. But enough about that.

I guess that’s why I’ve always tried to push myself to my limits to see how far I can go, how much harder I can push. I started walking, walking became running and next thing you know I’m getting finisher medals for 10km races.

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NAT Geo Earth Run 2018

It gave me the confidence and endurance I needed to finally start boxing and that developed my interest in Martial Arts.

So when I finally came across this hiking event on Facebook, I knew I was ready.

Tara Let’s Explore created a hiking event for Mt. Ulap and I remember just sitting at my desk and asking myself if I can really do it but before I get the chance to talk myself out of it, I 5-4-3-2-1 tagged my friend and paid the reservation fee!

What I love about Tara Lets is that they take care of everything. It’s like having your own DIY Hike without the hassles of planning where to go, what to do and how to get there. They got it all covered for you. It really felt like having a family where we all looked out for each other. Plus, you get to meet expert hikers!

Then, it’s all about the preparation. Start conditioning your body weeks before the event. Start working on your endurance and stamina. If you can go for a run everyday, do it. Too busy? schedule a session with a trainer to really get the most out of your workout. Buy the essentials. Invest in quality.

The day came and we headed for Itogon, Benguet and started to climb. The weather was nice and friendly. People in Sagada are the kindest! I would stop for a bit and talk to the locals and they would tell stories and show you how to pick ripe berries which can come in handy when you forget to bring snacks with you. We were telling jokes and sharing experiences, just enjoying ourselves and having a good laugh that it’s hard to notice that we were climbing a mountain.

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And then this view hits you…

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It’s hard to put into words all the amazing experiences hiking gave me. It made me see the beauty that surrounds us, the grandeur of nature; the extravagance of the space yet to be discovered and marveled at.

I’m telling you, it felt like coming home…

27173711_10208524574632004_2921357153910460958_o The cold, wild wind touching your skin; the smell of wet grasslands and flowers in full bloom; While you take in the majestic view of the vast forests and warm skies.

That wildness is a necessity.

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MT. ULAP ECO-TRAIL
Itogon, Benguet
Entry point: Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon
Exit point: Brgy. Sta. Fe, Itogon
LLA: 16.2904 N, 120.6312 E, 1846 MASL (Mt. Ulap)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours
Specs: Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3,
Features: Grassland and pine ridges, scenic views of the Cordilleras, burial caves

 

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