A hiker can do a traverse to Mount Pulag via Akiki Trail beginning in Kabayan for an entry point, a town in the Province of Benguet about 80 kilometers away from Baguio City.

This trail is for the more experienced hikers, though, because of the inclination that could reach up to 70 degrees at many points.

The level of difficulty is placed at 7/9 in Akiki, the trail is categorized as Class 3 which means hikes include “sections with rugged terrain where trekkers need to scramble across extreme terrain such as large rocks, steep slopes, or a combination of both.”

The distance to Mount Pulag (9,645 feet above sea level) from Kabayan is 16 kilometers. Thus, this route is considered a “killer trail” as it can send a pounding to the heart on most points with the constant assaults.

But the traverse to Pulag deemed the highest point in Luzon, despite the beating, is taken by every trekker as a badge.

We took this traverse too because of the scenic view of the cordillera that the trail offers from as far as Nueva Vizcaya and the easier terrain to the exit point in Ambangeg in Barangay Daclan, Bokod town. The Ambangeg trail is established for beginners where the route would only take at least seven kilometers on a gradual ascent.

We spent a night in Camp 1 near Eddet River via Akiki where we enjoyed a flood of moonshine, star-strewn sky, a carpet of pine needles littered all over, the soft “eddet” which means grass in the dialect of the Kalanguya tribe, and everybody’ story on how they dropped everything to be on Mount Pulag. The second night was spent in Camp 2, about a 20-minute walk to the summit.

The remarkable experience of being able to stand before a sea of clouds, with that cascading mist that the vista creates, seals Pulag climbs.

However, in our case, we swam in an ocean of fog as temperature dropped to four degrees Celsius. We raced past the “killer trail” but we could not summon Pulag to give us her everything.

We took mud-logged steps to complete the traverse from Akiki Killer Trail to Ambangeg under the intermittent rain as we experienced the stinging sensation of windburn for the very first time.