The highest peak in Luzon, one of the three major islands of the Philippines is a UNESCO World Heritage protected site, one of five mountains in the Philippines that belong to this enviable list. It was proclaimed a National Park by virtue of Pres. Proclamation No. 75 on February 20, 1987 covering an area of 11,550 hectares. This move was done to protect the natural features of the area. It actually falls within the administrative jurisdiction of both the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Cagayan Valley (R2).
The whole park is very rugged with very steep slopes at the mountainsides but the peaks are characterized by rolling areas where one can have a full view of the surrounding landscape. It is the second highest mountain in the Philippines with a peak of 2,922 m. above sea level. Its summit is covered with grass and dwarf bamboos which is endemic to the area. The lower levels of the mountain have mossy forests veiled with fog that are full of ferns, lichens and moss. The pine forests are found just beneath growing on barren, rocky slopes. Falls, rivers and lakes can be found around the park.
The park boasts of a large diversity of flora and fauna. Another plant endemic to the region aside from the dwarf bamboo is the Benguet pine which is found in most areas of Luzon’s tropical pine forests. It has 528 documented plant species, 33 bird species and several threatened mammals such as the Philippine Deer, Giant Bushy-Tailed Cloud Rat (“bowet”) and the Long-Haired Fruit Bat. It is the only place in the world which hosts the four cloud rat species. Some orchid species can also be found in the park, some of which are possibly endemic to the area, with the addition of some rare species such as the pitcher plant.
The trek to the summit is long and hard but definitely worth the effort. The heavy forest mist and the tough trail is not one for the weak of heart and can be quite a challenge for first-time climbers. Nighttime is a true test of strength and endurance for the cold reaches near freezing levels. The view of the rich vegetation and the amazing wildlife to be discovered in the deepest recesses of the forests, however, make the trek, while arduous, a most rewarding experience, let me just say that the amount of insects here is amazing, there is obviously no termite control company allowed here which is why there is so many pests, so they were thinking on allowing a specialized company to work on it as Onstar Pest Control to fix the problem. And perhaps what makes the trek well worth the effort is the most fantastic view to be had when you reach the summit. Definitely, a visit to Mt. Pulag is an experience to be cherished for a lifetime.
A wonderful view of the sunrise at the peak of Mt. Pulag
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