Major jumpoff: Brgy. Sta Cruz, Bacon
Alternate jumpoff: Brgy. San Juan, Bacon
LLA: 1020 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 3-4 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-3
Credits to www.pinoymountaineer.com for the source of information.
Mystical, serene and intimidating was how I think of Mt Pulog or rather the Pocdol mountain range as I overlook it from the bus’ window. Since our planned Catanduanes trip with my college friends was postponed, I embarked on a third major journey to Sorsogon, not to swim on a beach or spring but to hike this time. It took me some time to pursue this mountain for I was afraid I have to do it alone. I invited some group of friends to go with me but it seems that they are not yet ready to conquer a mountain. Well, conquering a mountain is hard as it looks like especially if you don’t have the time for preparation, right resources and mindset and most importantly, bravery and passion. I was with myself on my second mountain. I think people should try being with themselves, travelling alone even once in their lifetime for it was quite an experience for me hiking solo and soul-searching at the least elevated major mountain in mainland Bicol. It’s life changing.
I left Legazpi at around 5am with a little bit of a morning high and excitement. After a week of lingering whether to do it or not and tiring days of jogging to physically prepare for it, I said to myself that “This is it”, as I saw the first rays of the sun on the horizon and once again saw the southerner smiles of the people on the streets who wakes up in the morning with high hopes. I got off the bus at the Bacon crossing and rode a tricycle going to Brgy. Sta Cruz, the major jump-off point. I arrived there very early for I had to wait for the Barangay Hall to open. The residents of the barangay were very accommodating and friendly. They knew from my get-up that I am a mountaineer and they welcomed me warmly as I sip a hot coffee from kuya Milbert (one of the residents who owns a store), of course I bought it. When the barangay hall opened at 8am, I immediately informed the secretary my intention of climbing their mountain. She gave me a briefing and said that the mountain is not that popular to local mountaineers but is well-known to foreign mountaineers. I then registered my name on a logbook. She said there is a minor problem in securing a guide because the ones who are hired to guide the hikers are the barangay tanods and all of them were busy on that day. She immediately called the barangay captain who welcomed me and helped secure a guide. After an hour of waiting, the guides arrived and we prepared for the hike.
We started walking from the guide’s house passing by some agricultural lands that some residents own. Farming is the main livelihood of the residents of the barangays that encompasses the fertile mountain. I asked if the native fruit “hagis” can be picked up on the trail but the guide said that it is not in season. We just picked up some coconut or “lumbod” on the way. The trail to the campsite is easy but my heavy carriage of water and food took us some time to get to the campsite. After an hour and a half we reached the campsite or what they call “dakulang tukas” or big field which is grassy and resembles the hill I used to climb as a child. It is really a vast place to rest, set-up a camp and bonfire for an overnight hike which made me like this mountain more. Overnight hiking is highly recommended. At the campsite you can see the Pacific Ocean, the whole town of Bacon and the distant Paguriran shores. After a short break at the campsite we continued a harder assault going to the summit. The trail gets steeper and steeper as we climb further to the summit. I also get a bite from big ants or “antik” occasionally as if they’re saying “Welcome to our abode.” We can only hear the chirping birds and the rustling trees as we make a full assault to the summit. The lush forest is said to be home to many wild animals, snakes mostly. From a distance, we can hear the echo of the shouts of the group that climbed after us but it seems that they’re still far away. After another hour and a half we finally reached the summit! I did not mind the scorching afternoon sun as I walked through the swaying grassland due to the blow of the cool breeze at the summit. I then saw one of the most magnificent views at the top; 180˚ view of Pocdol mountain range, the real higher summit which is inaccessible and the mystical Lake Pulog! We went down from the summit going to the dried lake and stayed there for roughly an hour. This is one of the highlights of the climb for you can either expect if the lake’s gonna be dried up or filled with water. The ground is as soft as cotton and I can tell that there is still water underground which made it a thrill-some walk. Going back to the summit, I was still so overwhelmed by the beautiful view that I didn’t stick to my itinerary. We went down the mountain at 5pm and reached the jump-off point at 8pm. The two guides said that it was the first time they accompany a sole hiker and it was also their first day-hike-almost turned to-overnight-hike guide. It was my pleasure. I promised them that I would payback their hospitality by returning with some company next time.
Registration at Brgy. Sta Cruz with Kap. Isidro and his secretary.
There’s the goal man!
The trail leading to the campsite…
The two guides, Paul and Din.
Views at the campsite.
The assault going to the summit.
Stunning views at the summit.
Cheers to you mate!
Pictures with the guides.
The blogger’s point of view at the summit.
The blogger overlooking the dried Pulog Lake.
Picked up a native sour fruit called “uway” on the way back to the summit.
The legendary jelly-ace! This will save you a lot on a mountain.
Went home at 0700 the next day.
So let’s hike and conquer Mt. Pulog!