MT. UGO (2,150+)
Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet
Jump-off points: Kayapa, N. Vizcaya; Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet
LLA: 16.31916°N, 120.80166°E, 2130 MASL
Days required / hours to summit: 2-3 days, 9-10 hrs
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail Class 1-3
Features: Pine forests, highland villages, views of Cordillera peaks
Day by day, this world is fast changing and sometimes we feel like being left behind. Look back, and see that great things changed in just a year. Do new stuff, seek higher playgrounds, that you’ll be proud of as you look back years from now.
The Way to the Indupit
We left Manila at around 12:30am and had a long ride amidst the battering rains outside. Trip took longer than expected since zero visibility welcomed us as we took the winding roads of Aritao by 7:30am. We arrived at Kayapa an hour later and the weather got better and that was a sigh of relief.
A quick breakfast at the public market and courtesy call at the police station before we proceeded with the trek by 9:45am. Although guides were still not with us since they are coming down from the mountain, we just agreed to meet somewhere along the trail. First leg of the trail is through some local houses while walking on cemented stairs and a few minutes later, pine forests welcomed us and so are the guides.
The weather was a bit gloomy and dank, but thank god that it was not raining hard. The steepness are gradual on some parts and took us around 2hrs before we reached the Indupit Village, local kids joined us as we arrived. We decided to have our lunch from there and rest for a while.
From Indupit Village, a wide road connects it down to the town proper for easy hauling of goods from village to village, and it is also a government project to make this part of the mountain accessible to vehicles.
On the west is Mt. Samiento at 1730masl while the summit of Mt. Ugo is at the back, it showed up for a brief time before clouds started to engulf the whole place in white again. Still a long way to go.
After taking a brief rest, temperature started to drop down together with cold winds blowing from all directions. So we continued with the trek. We also happened to pass by Mt. Samiento (1730+) and took take 5’s every now and then.
Almost three hours now on the trail, with nothing to see but fog and nothing to feel but cold winds and light rains. We reached the Ansipsip Waiting Shed near the Km. 4 marker and planned to rest, but instead we continued since stopping would mean cooling down and feeling the cold a little bit stinging than the usual.
The Great Cordillera Traverse
What led to the discovery of this mountain is due to two seperate accounts of plane crashes that happened in the past decades. First one happened in the late 1960’s where a passenger plane crashed at Sitio Kalaudan, and the second one took place some 200 yards from the southwest part of the summit, killing 50 passengers, on a fateful day of June 1987 as it was about to land at Loakan Airport in Baguio during a monsoon.
We then reached the summit of Mt. Ugo by 5:00pm. It was also a relief to see the weather had been good to us upon reaching the peak, an afternoon sea of clouds appeared before us. Several provinces also came in full view.
This is dubbed as one of the great cordillera traverses followed by Mt. Napulauan and Mt. Amuyao. Mt. Ugo, being named as such, came from the Spanish word “Ugoan” or to “slit the throat” after the Headhunters or “Busols” took the head of a spanish secretary general as they protected their area from the invasion. But back in the days before it was named Ugo, it was first called Bundok Umag-aga (Mt. Umag-aga).
How Far Can You Go?
This is where the fun starts now: the traverse to Itogon. After some much needed rest, we made haste since night time is starting to befall on us. By 5:40pm we descended down. The steep trail composed of rolling terrains and ravines with pine trees made the trek more beautiful, seems like this side of the mountain came out from a fiction book. And as the dark night shrouded us, the group took a slower pace so that each can follow and no one will be left behind. We reached the Km. 10.5 marker by 7pm, while the Km. 4.5 by 9:20pm. Our endurance was tested largely by how far can each of us go, by how determined we are. And also our patience were tested big time. As we reached Km. 0 by 10:15pm. The great Agno River welcomed us, and passed over it via the Petican-Animal Hanging Bridge.
Thinking it was over was a great misconception, from here the Brgy. Hall of Tinongdan is somewhere located above the mountain sides and is still several kilometers from where we are. (read: basag tuhod)
We were really lying down on the concrete road just dreaming about the billion star kind of night upon having a brief break. But we still continued on and reached Tinongdan Brgy. Hall by 12 midnight and was welcomed with unlimited Kalinga Brewed Coffee. That was one for the bucketlist!. We got back at Manila safe and sound by 9am the following day.
Props to the Trip Ni Juan Crew, Sir Eros Agustin and Maria Rodas for making this climb possible.
Since this has been resounding for a while now, let me share my few cents. Whatever we choose, may it be a day hike or an overnight camp, both of it will produce impacts to the environment, and that is reality. Needless to say, be responsible and act your age, and just enjoy whatever you are doing. Camp if you must camp and wait for that glorious sunrise or test your limits and finish it in the shortest time possible, the thing is, just don’t brag about it and blow your own trumpets, the only competition here is with yourself. Maybe skip that posting of monumental pictures on social media groups of your amazing selfies/groupies and remind yourself: is this post helpful? will it benefit the reader or only the one who posted it by the number of likes? If yes, continue and spread the word, if no then you know the drill.
Enjoy life, live in the moment, take risks, and carve that niche. 🙂
Budget and Itinerary
Mt. Ugo Day Hike Traverse
Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya – Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet
0030 – Departure from Manila
0730 – Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya
0830 – Arrival at Kayapa Town Proper
0845 – Register, breakfast
0945 – Start trek
1200 – Indupit Village, Lunch
1245 – Resume trek
1530 – Km. 4 marker, Ansipsip Waiting Shed
1700 – Mt. Ugo summit
1740 – Start descend to Itogon, Benguet
1900 – Km. 10.5 marker
2120 – Km. 4.5 marker
2215 – Km. 0 Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet
– walk to Tinongdan Brgy. Hall
0000 – Arrival at Brgy. Hall of Tinongdan
0200 – Take jeep to Tinongdan Police Station
0215 – Itogon Police Station, depart for Manila
0245 – ETD to Manila
0315 – Baguio City, early breakfast
0900 – Back to Manila
●Event: Dayhike/Overnight – 1500php-2500php
Bus – 230php/Pax (Manila – Aritao)
Jeep – 1000php-2000php/20pax (Aritao – Kayapa)
– 2500php (Baguio-Itogon-Baguio)
-From Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya
-From Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet
• Registration Fee: 200php/pax
• Guide Fee: 500php/10pax/day
• Porter Fee: 500php/day (optional)
Total Damage: 1800php (2500php/safe budget)
■ If starting from Itogon, Benguet:
– Take Baguio bound buses (e.g. Victory Liner), then from Baguio, rent jeepneys going to Tinongdan. Alternately, some mountaineers takes the taxi going to the jump off, rates range from 600php-800php.
– You can contact:
Brgy. Chairman Benjamin Medino 09082637134 / 09282890886 / 09398345655
Tourism Coordinator Norbert Pacio 09102508492
■ If starting from Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya:
– Take Nueva Vizcaya or Ifugao bound buses (e.g. Ohayami, Florida, Victory), alight at Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya and from there, you can catch jeepneys bound to Kayapa, or contact the Kayapa Tourism for them to pre-arrange your ride prior to the day of event
– You can contact:
Sir Alex – 09461978178
■ Water sources are only at Indupit Village and Domolpos Village, bring lots of water
■ Practice LNT Principles
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Go, carve that niche,