Benguet: A Letter to Mt. Pulag

Dear Mt. Pulag,

By the time you’re reading this letter, I’m probably on my way home or back in the office desk sipping a cup of coffee. I could also be eating in KFC and gulping a large Coke or just plainly sitting somewhere while thinking of you. It was great to see you again last weekend. Honestly, I was hesitant when I was invited to join that climb. Why should I climb a mountain for the second time when there are many mountains from up North to down South that I haven’t been to or don’t even know?

But I guess yours is a different story.

The first time I went there last year, I have loved you and have hated you at the same time. You’ll know why if you read my Mt. Pulag: Love it, Hate it. I revisited my pics the last time I went there. I was still amazed with you sea of clouds. I wanted to see that again so I found myself climbing with a different group of people.

During our pre-climb meeting, our group lead Juancho said we really need to push through with the date because it’s a full moon and he mentioned you offer the best view for that. I have seen a full moon before, from the city but I haven’t seen it rise. I wondered, would it be the same experience as when the run rises?

We left Manila on the night of January and arrived Baguio 2am on the 30th. We had our power naps the left Baguio to Benguet at 8am. There’s an inexplicable thrill riding on top of a jeepney, so I asked my boyfriend and friend Chris to join me.

We passed by DENR and started the trek from the Babadac Ranger Station. It wasn’t that cold on our way up. You haven’t changed at all. You still have your mystic mossy forest, your remarkable grass lands and your clear blue skies. It was close to dusk when we arrive at the camp site. We pitched out tents then we went at the peak to witness the sunset and the moon rise. I saw your immensely beautiful sea of clouds once again which never fails to amaze me. The sunset looks very tranquil. I was excited to see the moon rise. We waited for about 10-15 minutes. The horizon was sprayed with pink, purple and blue hazes. Below these hazes are cottony soft looking white clouds. Not so long, a white circle thing was rising from a far. Yes, it was the moon. I was speechless for a moment and the first thing I said was “WOW”. I love art and Nature.

I can’t resist the sight of the moon’s ceremonious ascend into the blanket of clouds. While I stare at that magnificent sight, it became easy to forget the sensation of muscles aching from my shoulder blades down to the tip of my toes while I climb up. It became easy to forget the sensation of being slapped crazy by foliage and thorny branches in some parts of the trail. It became easy to forget the long drive we had from Manila to Benguet and the super-bumpy-ride from DENR to Babadac Ranger station. It was a jaw dropping experience to see a moon rise the first time especially in that setting when you’re on top of the highest peak in Luzon and you’re above the clouds. You, Mt. Pulag, once again, gave me another unforgettably captivating experience.

Your night was guarded by the amazing moon. You were flushed with a soft steady light that glows boastfully on the zenith.  The moon and the campers became your best friends that night.

We had a great dinner. I loved Kuya Mike’s Pork Steak and Christoferou’s mashed potato. Pork steak, pork adobo, mashed potato, cheesecake and wine for dinner, in the mountain, isn’t that perfect?!
I was feeling so sleepy so I went inside the tent early. Your night was irritably freezing. I was awake when you reached sub zero. It was so freakishly cold. I thought that was dawn already but when I checked my clock, it was just 10:30pm. And that meant I’ll be awake for another 5-6 hours. That’s the time when I wished the campsite was just near the city, I wished our tent was that big I can make a fireplace in it. But no, the reality was, I was tired, I needed sleep and the temperature just keeps me awake. I used my emergency blanket, the next thing I know I woke up around 5am to get ready to witness the sunrise.

Last year, when I first visited you, I was impressed when I saw your sunrise. Seeing it the second time, the feeling was still unexplainably blissful. I can’t resist the beauty of sun solemnly soaring from the East to begin a new day. You were draped in clouds spread on the horizon – earth while trees at the distance like tendrils of the most delicate of ferns, and the colorful blue sky with rays from the sun. It was a glimpse of heaven that stimulated my spirits.

It’s a new day and it’s time to leave you again. I hated you but I loved you for the most times we’ve spent together. I’ll visit you soon. And when I see you again, I know you’ll keep your promise of awesome experience.

Love forever,

GaiL

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