Mt. Ugo: Day Hike Challenge

Situated within the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet and belonging to The Great Cordillera Traverses together with Mt. Amuyao and Mt. Napulauan,  Mt. Ugo stands at roughly 2150 meters above sea level (MASL) and is categorized as a major climb with a 5/9 difficulty. The usual itinerary is scheduled for two days at minimum. Yet, on the 26th of February 2017, fifteen brave souls took on the challenge of doing what some may call insane, a day hike!

Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya Jump-Off Point

Photo courtesy of Louie Sanchez

From our meet up point in front of KFC in Telus Cubao, we departed at around 20:50 of February 25 and reached Kayapa Public Market at around 03:20 the next day. Soon as we were there, we made our own preparations until our tour guide came. A prayer was led and the trek commenced at 04:05.

The First Assault: Going Up to Indupit Village

Walking through a slope inclined at around 45 degrees or even higher that is all slippery, wet, and muddy ain’t that bad, right? We are into hiking after all. But take it as your first assault after coming from a relatively six and a half hour travel may seem a little too hard. At first I thought I was the only one but then I noticed others as well catching up to their breath and wiping off those sweat.

The trail goes on for a period of two hours until we reached the flat land in Indupit village at around 06:00. There is a sari-sari store where one can have some brewed coffee, cooked noodles, pancit canton, and the like for breakfast. Just remember that the village is in a remote area so the cost may be a little too pricey.

@ Indupit Village

Apart from the usual breakfast, you can even request for rice and canned goods to be cooked which some of our group members opted to do which served as their packed lunch. With that, we waited for more than an hour for it to be served. While we were there, others took on the opportunity to gather strength by sleeping while some decided to take some pictures.

Sunrise @ Indupit Village

Though the sun came to rise, the climate on the said village is totally absurd! We can’t deny it by the goose bumps we are having from the very low temperature that we can’t even stop shivering. It was a good thing though that I decided to wear jogging pants for this climb because if not, I would definitely freeze but not to death perhaps.

The Long Walk: Road to Domolpos Village

After the first assault and having our fair share of rest at Indupit village, we now resumed our trek at 07:50. From this point on, we only have to be patient because what lies ahead involves a long walk, literally. The key here is endurance, since there are no longer steep trails until one is nearing the summit.

Below are some of the pictures taken along the long walk before the summit.

Time check. It’s already 09:05 and we took a break on this panoramic view which is definitely a perfect spot for a pictorial. 😝

Mt. Ugo summit from afar

Photo courtesy of Rozel Vivero

After taking more than thirty or more shots, we continued to walk heading towards the path leading to Domolpos village, which is expected to be around two hours or so before the summit.

Never forget. Take nothing but pictures they say.

The Second Assault: Reaching the Summit

Photo courtesy of Louie Sanchez

We reached the area near Domolpos village at around 10:10 and took another break here while we wait for the others as we re-grouped. As soon as everyone took a rest, we are now ready for the next assault i.e., climbing up until the summit.

That small and young pine

Not sure if it’s supposed to be a heart shaped fence or am I just hungry that time

That leafless tree. There are actually many of them but this one stands out.

Summit: What to Expect
It was around 11:30 when we decided to take our lunch break just a few steps before the camp site. Since I am not used to heavy meals during climbs, I just brought some bread and chocolates.

Photo courtesy of Jerome Cuerdo

As soon as we finished eating, others preferred to take a nap while others enjoyed the view on top as we await the others. It was around 12:30 when we resumed our trek and reached the summit by 13:00. There is not much to see here really since it is well covered in plants and trees. Below is a short video on top.

Next stop: Lusod Village

We didn’t take long enough on the summit so we have decided to start our descent shortly after reaching. The trail going down is steep paired up with those loose fragments of small rocks and soil that you may want to slow down to stabilize your movements. Reaching the area of Lusod village took us roughly less than three hours, taking a stop by the sari-sari store at around 15:45.

12 more kilometers! Is it a good thing or a bad thing knowing how many more you need to walk?

Getting nearer! Yet exhausted we are.

The Last Leg: Road to Tinongdan

Taking a time to quench our thirst and resting our shaking feet, it was around 16:30 that we decided to commence with the last leg of our dayhike challenge. From this point on, we have seven kilometers remaining to walk, which is expected to be finished in two hours. The trail is far better now. There are more flat areas where you can possibly run if you want to but be cautious of those loose rocks while going down.

Time check. It is now 18:10 and we are now half a kilometer away from Tinongdan. This is where the hanging bridge is situated. Since we are here, we took the liberty of taking more pictures as we wait for the others.

The End: Mission Completed

Doing a day hike is normal. But doing a major climb as a day hike involving a 32 kilometer trail with several assaults is definitely insane! Though it was fun. It was a test of endurance. It is a leisure itself that leaves you with no option but to finish what you started, to take into responsibility every action that you make. This is mountaineering. It is extremely dangerous yet it’s all worth it in the end.

Finally done! Those unfeigned smiles show it all. Photo courtesy of Louie Sanchez

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