Sunrise and sea of clouds. My daydream was all about Mt. Pulag. My monitors and mobile phone were loaded with google searches about the dreamy destination. I am definitely not a morning person but for this new and beautiful experience, I would give up my love for sleeping!

We travelled for seven long hours by bus. We reached Baguio at around two in the morning. We spend four more hours to reach the camp where the locals welcome the tourists (in this case, us) to their warm homes. Included in the package we got were: van, food, tents, tour and the registration fee for the climb. We stayed there for a day to set up our tents and rest. Reaching the Camp Ranger’s was enough. The view was unbelievable. We could almost touch the clouds! The sunset was perfect. I wish we stayed a little longer.

Lunch and dinner came, and the weather got chillier. We doubled up our clothes and turned out headlamps on because the only source brightness at that time was from the moon and the stars and it was beautiful! We could see the city lights from afar. Everything was perfect. It is a good destination for a date!

At 1 am, we started trekking from our campsite to our dream: the peak of the 3rd tallest mountain in the Philippines. It was a very cold night. The moon was bright and the stars twinkled just right. Everything seemed perfect (just in case you missed the previous paragraph ;))

We went down from our tents to the guide’s house to keep warm and eat a little. We had a nice cup of hot noodles. Afterwards, we prepared for the 8- hour torture.

That day, more than 600 hopefuls began climbing up. All were equipped with bonnets, gloves and layers of clothes. We were all excited and determined to finish the race. Each of us left more than 24,000 footprints, probably gained stronger muscles, but lost all excitement when Mr. Rain showed up. We lost the point of going up there anymore.

We surpassed camp 2, off to the final destination, the summit, where the famous sunrise lives and the sea of clouds look like a sea of marshmallows.

After four hours of struggling—from slipping over wet rocks, stepping on cold puddles, getting hungry and wanting to use the bathroom in the middle of the trek of 600 people– we were all advised to go back to the Camp Ranger’s. Ugh! All the hardships!That’s 4 more hours from where we were. We spent 8 hours chilling (literally) in the mountains, far from our comfort zones, far from all forms of civilization. Not reaching the peak made us kinda bitter.

The sun began to rise at around 5 am. Then we started taking photographs of our funny, disappointed and super tired faces. As we reached the Camp Ranger, people began flooding the trail where nature boasted of its glory. Surreal. Very. The Philippines is indeed a beautiful country.

We took pictures after pictures. We were tired, cold and frustrated; but the journey was worth it. We gained so much experience and met new people. We dined with the locals and drank water straight from their faucets. It was a beautiful journey. It wasn’t how we wanted it to be. But it was a beautiful journey.

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