“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous

Have you felt like even if your feet are moving yet you don’t know at where you are heading? You may be a lost soul – preoccupied by so many things that hunt your peace of mind. You may want to take a break from the demanding days of your life. You may want to rest your heart and mind from glitches.

How to overcome the challenge and find your lost soul? Simple, Travel! As implied by the above quote, by travelling you’re not escaping the life nor the reality but for life not to leave you behind. Instead of confronting the circumstances with jumbled mind and do things with unsound decisions that will makes things worst, step back…breathe…relax!

Now, let’s join us as you may consider Mt. Ulap as your temple for gaining back your soul and making realizations out of your difficult times.

January 16, 2016

0200H: Depart from Victory Liner terminal in Pasay. We actually arrive at the terminal at 0000H, waited for our chance to board a bus bound to Bagiuo since fare tickets were already sold out. Tips: if you’re on a tight schedule, securing fare tickets in advance would save your time. Otherwise, there’s no harm of being spontaneous as for Lao Tzu: “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
Travel time is six hours with fare of Php 455 per pax having two stops in Tarlac and Pangasinan for short breaks.

0800H: Touch down, Baguio! This is now the start of the quest as we are in search for the Lakandula Street where jeepneys bound to Brgy. Ampucao were situated. We took a taxi to bring us there with a fare of Php 60.00 and for about 15 minutes, we found ourselves at the terminal near Baguio public market.

0815H: Set foot in Lakandula Street. So after the long trip, we feel famished and scouted first for a fast serving food diner before heading straight to Brgy. Ampucao. We had a chance to freshen up at Jollibee after having our breakfast and taking out orders for lunch.

0915H: Depart Lakandula. We rode an Ampucao bound jeepney that is in queue at the terminal which quickly left even with some passengers. The fare is Php 31.00 per pax. A forty five minute to an hour jeepney trip is a bit long so it’s best to enjoy the sight out of the window. We have noted several views of mountain ridges as we are passing by. We likewise adored the cold breeze of the highland which was obviously incomparable from the country capital.

1005H: Onset at Brgy. Ampucao. We walked towards the registration area where we paid for our guide and registration fees. Currently, guide fee is fixed at Php 400.00 per group and registration fee is Php 100.00 per pax both for dayhike. Kudos by the way to those who are managing the area for being organized: processes are well established, fees are fixed, and acknowledgment receipts are being issued to climbers. Guides are also trained in case of misadventure per my inquiry. A female guide, Fatima, was assigned to our group and that was the first time we are being led by a lass. Before we started our trek, our lady guide did some orientation of what to expect from the climb.

1025H: Start trek. As we left the registration area, we met hikers who already started trekking but sojourned and went back to Ampucao. They happened to be the members of the group which Fatima had first guided together with her cousin. Fatima led back the members who submitted and the members who lingered were guided by her cousin. The hikers however wished us luck and told us not to give up. As we followed the road heading to Philex, I pondered why those hikers sojourned just meters away from the trail if the mountain's difficulty is rated at 3/9 at 1846 MASL. After a few walks from the opening of the trail, I understand that with no enough physical preparation plus the drowsy feeling from the long trip from Manila and some medical conditions will spoil the plan for one will be welcomed by a 15 to 20 minutes full assault of a cemented trail. Numerous assaults will be expected throughout the first peak, Ambunao Paoay. We started to appreciate the milieu of the mountain when we entered the Pine forest.

1145H: Lunch. Just before we reached the first peak, we decided to take our lunch under the shades of the pine trees. Our meal was the one we took out earlier with provision for the guide. Queries and dialogues with Fatima had transpired with debate of Rommel and Rhea on the side.

1215H: Ambunao Paoay. This is referred to be the first peak, we had a chance to explore the area visibly at 360 degrees. Shade is nowhere to find while the sun is up shining. We took pictures for keeps and continue the trek.

1345H: Gungal rock. This is the famous mark where hikers devote time to take pictures. One can see the entirety of mountain ridges if clouds permits. In our case, clouds are covering the background area and at times the whole having zero visibility of  the landscapes.

1520H: Summit. It was marked by a cemented cube with texts that reads below.

1600H: Start descent.
1730H: End of trek.

At Mt. Ulap, there are instances that you will find yourself alone in the trail because of clouds covering the whole area, offering a zero visibility. This is a time that you may ponder how hard the situation that you're into and feel alone on the battle. Then you'll realise that once the wind blown out the clouds and clear out the view, you'll find your companions standing still and are waiting for you. Implying that they're just there watching over you and will act swiftly anytime you need them.

That is life! Hardships may cover our visions and at times confine our senses. In such case, what we need is a realisation that "no man is an island". We may feel were alone even if were not, we may feel were abandoned even if were being taken care of, we may feel helpless even if countless of hands are at reach, Don't be afraid, the so called family and friends are you're weapon. Reach out and make use of them, because that's they're purpose in our life as we serve the same purpose to them. Now that you found yourself, bring it back to life!

HAFEEX PH | #happyfeetexplorerPhilippines
Emilio Atabay Jr./Jason Arnoco/Rommel Montalan/Alpha Rhea Galomalim

Blogged by: Jason

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