Mt Ulap is a piece of heaven from the Cordilleras which immediately grew popularity among hiking enthusiasts and to those simply yearning for the experience in the trail. The Eco-Trail traverses from Barangay Ampucao going to Santa Fe. While it is the usual route, my hikes in Mt. Ulap always starts traversing from Santa Fe.
Eco-Trail Day Hike: Reverse Traverse
Mt Ulap is definitely a must try for those who are starting to hike mountains. It is possible to hike the mountain within a day and the view of the Cordillera Mountains surrounding the trail is simply stunning.
The Eco-Trail spans 8.4 kilometers featuring grasslands and pine trees. It is also easy to trek and the trails are well established. I will always recommend traversing from Santa Fe since it gives the initial leg of the hike a challenge. With steep ascents, this trail will use much of your energy though it is manageable. This route will also make you get closer to Gungal Rock ahead of those who started from Ampucao.
3 Peaks of Mt Ulap
From Santa Fe Exit Point it takes 2.3 km of steep assault to reach the Peak. At most, it is a 60° to 80° incline but the trail is made easier by the wooden steps. This initial leg is the hardest on the whole trail but this is also the most scenic part for me. The pine trees are thick in this area and the breeze is chilly. With the scenes being offered the most amazing is when the sunrise plays with the shadows of the pine trees.
3rd Peak: Mt. Ulap 1846 MASL
The 3rd Peak is actually Mt. Ulap’s highest point. This also serves as a campsite for those who wish spending overnight below the starry skies of Mt. Ulap. The wide grassland is also the place where locals send their cattle to feed.
2nd Peak: Gungal 1814 MASL
The most popular feature of Mt Ulap is its 2nd Peak, the Gungal Rock formation. If you are hiking on a weekend it is wise to have your lunch at this location since it will take hours for your turn to have your picture taken. The volume of hikers lining up is really long and the guides will only allow you 10 seconds to have your photo ops in this landscape.
1st Peak: Ambanao-Paoay 1788 MASL
Descending from Gungal Rock is much easier as there are no longer steep trail but the challenge now is the heat from the sun, so bring a lot of water and sunscreen. There are wild strawberries growing in this area and the descend will also introduce you to flower bearing plants common in the Cordillera mountains.
Mt Ulap is relatively easy to hike but still prepare yourself with proper exercise and enough rest before hiking. With the arrival of tourist in Itogon to hike this mountain please be mindful to take care of your own trash, avoid vandalism and have respect to the locals. In short, practice Leave No Trace Policy. Mt Ulap is one of my favorite mountains to hike. It is clean, relaxing and a very scenic place.