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The Killer Trail and on ‘Earning the Badge’

Day Two

Many Pulag-Akiki veterans cannot say enough about how beautiful the trails are (it’s what makes the suffering worth it) and they are all correct. We hiked up a changing landscape: from pleasant-smelling and refreshing pine forest, to a humid but cool rainforest, to exposed ridges with nothing but shrubs and dwarf bamboo. It was like being on another planet.

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 1 Trail 4 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 1 Trail 5 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 2 Trail 1 jsncruz

The end-goal of the second day was to reach the Saddle Camp, the staging point of summit assaults from this trail. We reached it with plenty of daylight left, but we were amazed to be struck with torrential rain and hailstones. Yes, you read that right. We were lucky that our Trail Adventours leaders expertly set up tents during a momentary lull so that we could all change into dry gear.

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 2 Trail 2 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 2 Trail 3 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 2 Trail 4 jsncruz

At the Saddle Camp, many hikers would already go up the summit on Day Two, to view the sunset. We elected to stay at camp and cook a delicious dinner. Team Leader Pau even made Wicked Oreos for a birthday celebrant!

Day Three

Like all who hike up Mt. Pulag, we were up early. Everyone wants to catch a view of the famous ‘sea of clouds’ from the summit, and we were not disappointed. This was, in fact, the second time I’ve experienced this unpredictable but much sought-after view!

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 3 Trail 1 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 3 Trail 2 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 3 Trail 3 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 3 Trail 4 jsncruz

The hike down was along the straightforward Ambangeg Trail, concluding at a local rest house. It was great to see other people for once, as during the past few days, a total of just twenty-five people (excluding native guides) hiked through the Killer Trail.

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 3 Trail 5 jsncruz

Trail Adventours Akiki - Day 3 Trail 6 jsncruz

We even had some time to pass by some other sights, before head down to Baguio City in our colourful monster jeep.

Finally, I have earned the unofficial badge of having “done Pulag via Akiki” – with a knowing look and eyes of wisdom that only fellow Akiki “alums” recognize.

Book your own private trip with Trail Adventours and experience the unspoiled natural beauty and the challenge of the Killer Trail!

Gear Reminders:

Tents are required and are provided by Trail Adventours upon request, but I elected to use my own ultralight one-person tent. A sleeping pad helps, and a sleeping bag is a must. Cold- and wet weather gear are absolutely necessary, but be prepared for a brutally-sunny first day (and end of the third day).

Disclaimer:

This hike was generously sponsored by Trail Adventours. This has not affected the personal sentiments of this article. Some gear courtesy of Berghaus and adidas Philippines.