Mount Purgatory

On our recent year end hike for the year 2016, we braved the harsh terrain and unforgiving cold weather of Mount Purgatory. A traverse from the jump off point, up to Sitio Giweng, the peak of Mount Mangangew, mossy forest of Mount Pack, and to the campsite and bunker area of Mount Tangbaw, down to the Municipal Hall of Bokod, Benguet.

The jump off point of Japas, Bokol – Bisal, Bokod, Benguet is where we are greeted by our guides. From there, we prepared and packed our bags and were given a short briefing about dos and don’ts, basic rules and guidelines as well.

Shortly after the briefing, we started our hike and after some gruelling hour of mostly assault trekking, we finally reached Sitio Giweng, at the plains of Mount Mangangew.

The trail from Sitio Giweng to Sitio Bangtinan is one of the moments where everywhere you look, the view are simply spectacular and everything is just beautiful that you’d love to stare at the vast mountain ranges and the never ending lines of tall trees.

We also had a short break at Sitio Giweng, and the place have a store and luckily a bench for your tired legs. After a few minutes, we then proceed to continue our ascend to Sitio Bagtinan.

The hike from the base of Mount Mangangew in Sitio Giweng to the next Sitio is one of the most exhausting part, as we have to carefully trek the muddy and slippery trail going up Sitio Bagtinan.

Farming is one of the livelihoods of people living in Bokod, Benguet with most of their produce are vegetables like cabbages. The most common irrigation are by drip and subirrigation through a series of water tables and canals.

We had our early lunch at the base of Mount Pack at around 10 or 11AM, I guess. From there, we continued to the summit of Mount Pack which is about 2.93 kilometers to Mount Purgatory.

Since I don’t have a decent photo at the summit of Mount Pack, here are some of the guys I’m with at the mossy summit of Mount Pack. Also, a coffee break to warm ourselves since it’s already getting colder at every minute, that whenever we speak a smog would come out of our mouth and nose.

Into the mossy forest.  A trail of 2.93 kilometers of moss, tall trees, weird noises and sometimes, a total silence. I probably ran half of the trail from Mount Pack to Mount Purgatory because I was alone at the trail for almost an hour until I finally catched up with the next group that is ahead of us, since then, I got to relax a bit.

Unfortunately due to nature of mossy forest trail, the strong wind gust and raindrops from the trees, and the creepy noises, I wasn’t able to take a single picture at the summit of Mount Purgatory. I was also exhausted that I immediately went to the bunker nearby, and just sat there for a moment before being called that we are about to resume again. I strongly recommend to always stick with your group at the mossy forest, and bring a flashlight and compass as well because the signal is totally dead. Don’t be like me.

After reaching the campsite and bunkhouses at the summit of Mount Tangbaw at around 7PM, we immediately changed our clothes and prepared some side dish as we have already arranged for a dinner before our travel to Bokod.

The next day, we started our descend from Mount Tangbaw to the Municpal Hall of Bokod. The trail is manageable and you can actually make it down all by yourself from there.

Finally, we made it down to a store where we all had a quick bath, some coffee and snacks before riding on a Jeepney down to the Municipal Hall. You can also just walk it, but it is approximately more than an hour so we took the easiest route since we are all tired and already had a bath.

Hooray on topload. This is my first topload experience which is a little late. I’ve been in a lot of mountains and adventures but never had the chance to ride on top as it is always full and adrenaline junkies always prefer it. So this sums up our recent year end hike in Mount Purgatory. Truly a test of endurance and patience.

Sidenote: I don’t usually write a story about mountains, with just pictures and a short description but this one deserves an exemption.

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