Ever since it opened its doors (or mountains rather) to the public last October 2015, the Ampucao-Sta. Fe Ridge, more popularly known as the Mt. Ulap Eco Trail, has become a perfect dayhike destination for hiking enthusiasts and first-timers looking for great way to experience nature not too far from the City of Pines. `Don’t get me wrong. I love Baguio City to bones, but sometimes city life can get so stressful especially since it’s Panagbenga season. What better way is there to spend one whole day with your closest friends than to go on a hike?
Our day started by meeting up at 6:30 in the morning along Lakandula Street, where the Ampucao Jeepney station is located. There was no jeepney available yet, and we wanted to get there as early as possible, so when we asked around, we were advised that the Samoyao jeepney (their terminal is located across the Ampucao jeepney terminal) can also get us there. Most of us in the jeepney were going to the trail, so we weren’t worried about getting lost. After more or less 45 minutes, we were dropped off at Ampucao Elementary and High School, where registration for the hike is located. This is the best time to go to the comfort room and attend to your needs before the hike because the next comfort room will be located at the third station, which will be roughly 7-8 hours away.
Since we went on a Sunday, there were a lot of hikers who wanted to brave the trail like us. I heard the tour guides talking to each other that there were around approximately 350 of us that day. Most of them seemed like they weren’t Baguio peeps like us. After registration, we had to wait for around 15 minutes so they could find us a tour guide.
Mt. Ulap Eco Trail Hike Proper
So off we go! The first part looked easy-peasy to us. We were talking and laughing a lot. But after a while, we were all busy trying to keep our balance and catching on our breaths to even talk. Raymond, our tour guide, was around a few years younger than us, so we got along pretty well. He was also from the same alma mater as me and my friends, which was nice. According to him, the trail can be finished within 5-6 hours, depending on your pace. We finished the trail at exactly 8 hours, the two hours were spent between resting, taking a million selfies, and appreciating the view. What’s also nice about the hike was that fellow hikers would greet “Good morning!” or “take care!” to each other. It was really a pleasant day to be surrounded by warm people.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit the Pong-ol Burial Caves. One of my friends got her foot sprained, so our tour guide recommended that we take the easier route down. By this time, our feet were sore from the super steep way going down.
Here’s how our dayhike went:
|6:30-7:00 AM||Meetup at Lakandula St. (Ampucao Jeepney Station along Baguio Center Mall)
Fare – Php 31.00
|7:00 – 7:45 AM||Travel Time Baguio City Proper– Ampucao High School|
|7:45 – 8:00 AM||Registration
Registration fee per head – Php 100.00
Tour guide fee – Php 400.00
|8:00-10:00 AM||First Peak (Ambanao Paoay)|
|10:00-1:00 PM||Second Peak (Gungal Rock)
-spent most of the time waiting for our turn to have a photo ops on the rock. Worth it!
|1:00- 4:00 PM||End of Trail (Sta. Fe)|
|4:00 – 5:00 PM||Travel Time Sta. Fe – Baguio City Proper
Fare – Php 50.00
Friendly Reminders/ Tips:
- Bring a good amount of energy and enthusiasm that will last you for the day
- Bring snacks, lunch, and plenty of water
- It is definitely an advantage to bring basic first aid. Safety is our first priority.
- Wear proper hiking footwear, comfortable attire, and of course, lather up in sunblock.
- The earlier you start the hike, the better. 6 to 7 AM is the most ideal time to start.
- Be a responsible hiker. Refrain from leaving trash on the premises.
- Take pictures, appreciate the view, and breathe!
Overall, the Mt. Ulap Eco Trail hike was pretty chill and challenging at the same time. The weather was also fair, so it was the perfect day for a hike. For a first time hiker, besides the normal flight of stairs I commonly take in the city, this was definitely a very good choice for a destination, since the hike can be finished within the day. If you’re a working person like me who can’t afford going that far on a weekend but want to get away from the hustles and bustles of city life, the Mt. Ulap Eco Trail Ridge is definitely a good start for a year full of adventures.