One of the most popular hiking destinations in Benguet is Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail in Barangay Ampucao, Itogon. No wonder why – it’s very accessible, can be hiked in a day, and beginner-friendly. It can be traversed to Sta. Fe which is the recommended trail. It has 3 peaks namely Ambanaw-Paoay, Gungal where the iconic rock for photo ops is located, and the summit.
Just a forewarning though, the hike can still be challenging for beginners who will hike it in a day because of the set itinerary.
I’ve been to Mt Ulap in 2016 for a dayhike and I can still remember how it was so tiring! This time, we decided to camp. We did Wednesday to Thursday and because it was a weekday hike, we were the only ones at Gungal Rock, which can be super crowded and with long lines during weekends.
Although this is my 2nd time, I still can’t get over how beautiful the trails are! Pine trees are everywhere and hiking in the morning is just refreshing because of the cool breeze. The hike is easy in most parts, but there are parts of inclined slopes where I felt really tired because this time I was carrying 12 kilos on my back.
We initially planned on camping at Camp 1 only but learned from our guide that it has no nearby water source. We then decided to camp at Camp 2 which is after 6.5km, after the very summit.
The experience is totally different when you’re doing this on a day hike. Because we’re not in a hurry, we arrived at the campsite just before lunch, we even took naps, ate our snacks without any rush, and enjoyed and appreciated Mt. Ulap 10x better. We didn’t see the sunset as the weather turned gloomy later in the afternoon but we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise the next day.
Check out the list of what we ate during this overnight trip: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CuGxNPxAEKl/
What To Do Before DIY Camping/Hiking Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail
1. Reserve your slots and pre-register through this link provided by the Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail Tourism Information Center. This link should be open from 8:00am -4:00pm and take note that if the dates you want are not visible in the form anymore, it means that the slots are already full. You may also check out their Facebook page for announcements and other queries.
2. Wait for their confirmation email which will include all information – rates and reminders.
3. You may also reach out to the guide that we hired and talked to, Kuya Doni. He can help you arrange your pre-registration. He is responsive and very accommodating!
How To Get To Mt. Ulap – DIY
1. If you’re coming from Manila, take a bus to Baguio (Travel time:4-5hours). For this, we opted for the earliest trip of Joybus/Genesis at 1:00am which costs P850 each. We booked online here: https://joybus.ph.
There are other lines offering a trip to Baguio such as Victory Liner and Solid North. Check your preferred schedule and bus type.
2. From Baguio, you have two choices to get to Mt. Ulap’s jump-off/registration area in Brgy. Ampucao: a) take a jeepney from the terminal near Jollibee Center Mall and look for the jeep signage that says “Baguio Plaza Ampucao” or “Baguio Samoyao” (P50 per person); or b) take a taxi directly to the jump-off with a fixed rate (P800-1000, depends on your agreement with the driver)
We did the latter and took advantage that we are a group for 4 to save time and effort and also because it’s less hassle since we were carrying big tall packs. We found a taxi driver, Kuya Edwin, who could take us there and agreed with a rate of P800 per way. We also agreed that he’ll pick us up the next day with the same rate. You can contact him thru: 09303526947. Travel time is more or less than 45minutes.
3. Go to the Barangay Hall for the registration and to settle your fees.
Sample Itinerary of Mt. Ulap DIY Camping
Note that weather, transportation schedule, traffic, and other factors may affect designated time.
12:00am – Meetup at Joybus/Genesis Cubao Terminal (along EDSA), get bus boarding pass
12:30am – Boarding
1:00am – Departure to Baguio
5:00am – Arrival in Baguio, breakfast + buy packed lunch, snacks, and drinking water
5:30am – Departure to Brgy. Ampucao
6:20am – Arrival in barangay hall of Brgy. Ampucao, orientation, registration, secure porters
7:30am – Start hike
11:30am – Arrive at Camp 2, Lunch, free time
3:00pm – Pitch tent, cook dinner
5:00pm – Early dinner
9:00pm – Lights off
5:30am – Sunrise viewing
6:30am – Prepare and have breakfast
7:00am – Break camp
8:00am – Start descent
10:30am – Reach Sta. Fe exit, freshen up
11:30am – Arrive in Baguio, secure tickets, eat lunch, cafe hopping
4:00pm – Depart to Manila
9:00pm – Back in Manila
Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail Rates (As of June 2023)
I. Registration fee:
*18y/o – 59y/o: Php100.00 per head
*13y/o – 17 y/o: Php20.00 per head
*Students (w/ Valid Student I.D): Php50.00 per head
*12y/o and below: Free
*Senior Citizen: Free
Note: For students, kindly present your valid Student I.D at the registration area for your discount.
II. Guide fee:
*Day hike: Php600.00 per group of seven (7) persons and below
*Camping: Php1,000.00 per group of seven (7) persons and below
III. Camping Fee:
*Php800.00 per group of ten (10) persons and below
IV. Porter Fee (Optional)
*One-Way (Day Hike): Php500.00 – maximum of 15 kilograms of the baggage weight
*Two-way (Overnight): Php800.00 – maximum of 15 kilograms of the baggage weight
V. Parking Fee
*Php100 per vehicle
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES FEE/S;
VI. PROTECTED AREA ENTRANCE FEE
*Php30.00 per head (regular)
*Students (w/ Valid Student I.D): Php15.00 per head
*Foreigners: Php100.00 per head
*For Filipino persons with disability, senior citizens, and children below seven (7) years old: FREE
* For Camping, you need to pay an additional Php200.00 per group per designated spot
Sample Expenses List for Mt. Ulap DIY Camping 2023:
|Registration Fee||P100 each|
|Guide fee||P1000/4 = P250 each|
|Camping fee||P800/4 = P200 each|
|Porter fee – overnight (optional)||P800/4 = P200|
|Designated camping spot fee||P200/5 = P40|
|Bus fare RT||P1700|
|Taxi 2-way||P400 each|
|Miscellaneous – food contribution, Cr fee, snacks, etc||P500|
|TOTAL||Php 3420 each|
If don’t like to DIY and you’re interested for a day hike only, you can avail a tour from Klook! Click this link to avail the arranged tour for Mt. Ulap Dayhike by Klook. Don’t forget to use my code DESA5OFF for a 5% off in all Klook activities without any minimum spend!
How about hiking Mt. Pulag? Check out this guide: Mt. Pulag 2023 Hiking Guide and Tips
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