Dances, Wisps and Otherworlds at Mt. Pulog, Sorsogon

Monday, June 09, 2014

May 24, 2014

I crave exhaustion. I welcome aching muscles and joints; hail shallow breaths and parched throat. I enjoy pushing myself to the limit because I am confident that there is more, that I can do more. I like to think I am one step closer to evolution by doing this.

This is, perhaps, the reason why I love conquering peaks. Hiking and trekking do not have the same monotonous rhythm that mere running entails. It is exciting and I truly truly enjoy it.

My fourth summit was Mt. Pulog. Not to be confused with the more popular Mt. Pulag, Pulog is somewhat lesser known to most adventurers. Found in Bacon, Sorsogon, the trail cuts through thick forests that seemed mostly undisturbed.

For this climb, it was just my adventure-buddy-for-life Dennis and I. From our house in Basud, Bacon, we hailed a tricycle to Brgy. Sta. Cruz - a fifteen-minute travel. We were at the baranggay hall a little past seven and were a little rattled when we found the place closed. I realized office starts at eight. Reluctant to waste away almost an hour waiting, we asked around the basketball court behind the baranggay hall. We were directed to a stone stairway that led down to a cluster of houses, and were ultimately led to the house of our guide-to-be. Kuya Glen, our guide, appeared to have just woken up so we had to wait for a while for him to get ready. By 7:30, we were making our way to the mountain.

We passed by a length of cemented path, through a dirt road beside green rice fields. We were then led to a trail along coconut trees, cows, and my friend the carabaos. We transitioned into moist earth and towering trees after twenty minutes. From here, it was mostly inclines. We had to use our hands to hoist ourselves up the assaults.

After a couple of minutes doing this, we stopped to catch our breaths. I could feel my heart beating in my throat which was really something considering how active I've been the last couple of weeks.

At any rate, we forged ahead. We tested trunks and branches for support, careful not to break them or uproot them. We looked for sure footholds before pulling ourselves up.

Our ascent turned into somewhat of a badly choreographed dance that was essentially composed of the following steps: grab, pull, test, hoist. Then repeat. The sound the birds were making did not help. Unlike the usual happy melodic chirps, we heard a noise similar to a tripped-off alarm. It was as if the birds were alerting the mountain of intruders. I pushed that thought away and concentrated on my rhythm. I was sweating profusely, beads of sweat occasionally fell down from my chin to the ground. If you were to wring me, salty liquid essences of Celine would probably squirt out.

After more than an hour of assaults and inclines, we emerged through a clearing. I looked over my shoulder and I gasped. I paused, turning heel so I could completely face what was there. To my left, I had a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean - pelagically limitless. Then there was the vista of the whole of Bacon to my right - bunches of green appearing between groups of buildings, like pieces of kangkong stuck to one's teeth. It was magnificent.

We stayed here for quite some time, stealing some rest while appreciating the sublime view. By 9:10, we were again moving forward.

Later on, wisps of white hovered barely a few inches above us. It was exactly 10:15 when we arrived at the summit.

We literally could almost touch the clouds, could almost grab a handful and stash it away in our pockets.

While above, the clouds seem to entertain us, below was a perfectly circular valley that seemed to beckon us. Surreal was the word I chose to describe the whole scene.

Here, we had a snack and just marveled at the clouds making their rounds. Several minutes later, we got up and told Kuya Glen we wanted to go down the "lake." Apparently, what is now a waterless valley turns into a pond during the months of August through December. Tita Chato later informed me that this place was called danum and older locals believe that if it someday overflowed, the whole of Bacon will be razed.


In any event, on our way down, I realized it looked like as though someone had scooped out a large piece of the mountains.

The descent was rough. We basically did our ascent choreography in reverse, only we added a "slip and slide" from time to time. Mt. Pulog was testing our skills. It took us thirty-five minutes to get down the basin.

Down in the circular hollow, the ambience turned a litle eerie. With the clouds noticeably turning with the earth, the lighting below could go from resplendent to gloomy in a matter of seconds. The soil was also infirm, perhaps from being submerged in water for long periods. We were surrounded by mountains, by different shades of green. It felt as if there were eyes everywhere, watching us. The feeling was not menacing though, we weren't afraid.

In truth, we felt like we've crossed into another world - into a paradise of some sort. Something was slightly different here, pleasantly warped but we didn't know what. We knew, however, that we were safe but we were also certain we shouldn't stay long. Places like this cannot be dwelt in. It already belonged to someone else. Of this, I was sure.
fossilized tiny crabs found in the dried-up danum
After twenty minutes, we went back to the summit. It took us thirty minutes to go back. We sat down for a moment, took deep breaths, whispered our goodbyes to our invisible observers then began our descent.

By 2PM, we were back in the baranggay hall. We settled our fee with Kuya Glen and went to hail a tricycle back to Basud.

Our brief venture into paradise was over. I like to think we are welcome to come back, despite the sound alarm the birds appeared to send throughout the forest.

Mt. Pulog is my favorite mountain so far.

Cheers to the next adventure!

07:00 Departure to Sta. Cruz from Basud
07:15 Arrival at Sta. Cruz baranggay hall
07:30 Start ascent
08:50 Arrival at clearing
09:10 Resume trek
10:15 Summit
10:55 Descent to "Danum"
11:30 Arrival at Danum
11:50 Ascent Back to Summit
12:20 Summit
12:35 Start Descent
14:00 Back to baranggay hall

How to get there
In Cubao Bus Terminal, there are buses bound for Sorsogon. Some only stop at the Diversion Road or at the Sorsogon Town Proper, while some go as far as Bacon. Once you're in either one of this places, you could wait for jeepneys going to Sta. Cruz, or hire a tricycle to take you there. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the baranggay hall.

Bus fare to Sorsogon - Php600.00 (but this could be cheaper during low season)
Tricycle fare from Basud, Bacon to Sta. Cruz baranggay hall - Php60.00 for two persons
Registration fee - none since the baranggay hall was still closed
Guide fee- we gave Kuya Glen Php500.00
Tricycle fare from Sta. Cruz to Basud - Php60.00 for two persons

Special Concerns
Presence of tiger limatik
Lots of forked and barely discernible trails
Overgrowth and thick bushes

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  1. Eto yung pinag-uusapan natin nung pauwi tayo galing Daraitan? Yung enchanted forest-slash-mountain? Based dun sa pictures, parang ang eerie. Alam mo 'yun? yung may diwata na lang na lalabas. LOL

    Pero, ang galing. Ganda! :) Good job, bebe! ♥

    1. Yup, eto nga yun. Nice di ba? Hehehe. :D Sama kita dyan, one of these days. :)

      Thank you. <3