AdventureHescape: Mt Napulauan

27 04 2012
Sunday, 18 March 2012
Hungduan, Ifugao
Luzon, Philippines

Here are 5 things to bear in mind when preparing for a successful summit chances on Mt. Napulauan:

1)    Contact guides from BANAUE and not from Hungduan, as a precautionary measures only. There are quite a number of stories from here and there that guides from Hungduan have tendencies of drinking liquor while on the trail and or campsite. So why take the risk? I already attempted to hike up here couple of years ago but failed due to security reasons. There were some other hikers mobbed on the trail. Hence, our group decided to abort the climb. Yes, hard to accept, but safety and security first. Ask Abe Culhi for guide endorsement.

2)    Rent a transportation who will take you back and forth your destination. For a sure safe and fun driving the scenic area of Ifugao, you may call Abe Culhi, at +63921-991-4655. He has been our driver for more than 7 years now.

3)    Itinerary should be Poblacion Hungduan and back. There are two routes to Mt. Napulauan. One from Poblacion Hungduan and back. Another would be from Poblacion Hungduan to Hapao (traverse, multiple days). But why go the longer way when you could do the hike in shorter days with no vacation leaves from your work, logical right? Well, if you have the time, why not?! So go and take the traverse

4)    Buy good food as soon as you arrive Banaue. Where else? Our fave is “Las Vegas” in Tam-An since they really know how to cook well. Aside from having a pretty good service in the mountainous area of Ifugao, the personnel and owners are very friendly. You could relax and chit chat with them while you fix your things (food, backpack, water bladder or container, etc). Have breakfast and order your pack lunch. Yes, lunch on trail. Prepare your dinner and the following breakfast and or lunch (depending on what time you will reach the jumpoff) in the campsite. Water source on the other hand is available but already 5-min away FROM the summit.

5)    Most importantly, physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually gear up for the climb. “Train train train” is the operative word for Mt. Napulawan! First and foremost, you have to pray for your security and safety. This will answer the spiritually side but mentally preparing oneself too. As we were hiking up, I saw 2 locals of Poblacion Hungduan and they were just following us to up to a certain point before the summit. Our guides asked them in their local dialect, and the 2 locals did not respond. They were like stalkers following us for no reason at all. I therefore ended up guarding the tent inside while the OMishes, my friends,are happily sleeping.

Another preparation is the fact that you will be hiking in deep forest so expect that there are “matok” around. The “matok” or  leeches here actually are not used to seeing people. So if given the chance, they will suck blood all over your body.  So try to secure all possible passages like ears, nose, eyes etc. Yes, a little nasty. Look what happened to this hiker >



One matok went inside the tent and bit the earlobe. Another matok even hitchhiked from Ifugao to Manila and reached kubo!

Physical preparation is a must before going here since most of the trails are 75 deg- 85 degrees in inclination. But after reaching the 6th campsite (about 10-15 min leisure walk to the summit, the trail is already a breeze – patag! Or elevation is even)

SAMPLE ITINERARY
(overall elevation: 2642 m asl. 3 nights and 4 days including the travel time from Manila)

Day1: Take the 10pm Ohayami bus in Sampaloc that leaves from Manila to Banaue. This is considered your 1st night. Have some sleep so you will maximize the 9-10 hr bus traveltime.

Day 2: Meet up your driver and guides for breakfast. Start going to Poblacion Hunduan from Banaue. The trip takes about 1 hr and 15 minutes. Register at the Police Station then go to the jump off where you could see the signboard “Welcome Hungduan Patrol Base”.
This is the designated jump-off with an elevation of 1080m asl. If this signboard is no longer visible in the future, ask the locals. It is better to converse with the locals in English since they have a different dialect in this region. (See related comment in my other entry here for the dialects in the country  >> https://adventureh.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/dinagyang-fever/)

Depending on your pacing, after about 2 hrs of trekking you will reach Ny-O campsite (1630m asl).

You could rest for your lunch on trail.

Then as you hike up the mossy forest, try to reach up to the 6th base camp area before summiting. Camp here. Do not attempt to camp at the summit as trails before the summit maybe steep and there is a part exposed to wind element. The only demarcation between life and death is a black ribbon used in funeral areas! Shame! This serves as your 2nd night.

Day 3: Try to get up early morning so that you could feel the mountain breeze in the area. Then you could take a snap of the picturesque view of the summit. But make sure to take the same path where you headed up since there is a trail that goes to the traverse side as mentioned in #3 above. Total hours to descend back to the jumpoff would be 4-6 hrs depending on your pacing. Enjoy the flora and fauna abound >>

Take a side trip to UNESCO’s Hunduan Rice Terraces and see the Mountain Province of the country.

After reaching Banaue, take the bus bound back to Manila. This serves as your 3rd night since you will be reaching Manila the following day. For sure, if you need to go to work, you will be sleepy towards the afternoon. So careful if the boss is around! Enjoy climbing!

BUDGET: <4,000php / <95 USD per pax for a group of 3 inclusive of rented vehicle within Ifugao.

WHEN TO GO THERE: All year round. Just remember to complete all the 5 things mentioned above. Once you have achieved 100% readiness, buy the bus tickets! h

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