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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Camping at the Babadak Ranger Station: Sea of Clouds

From the DENR Office for registration and orientation, we reached our destination - Babadak Ranger Station (a.k.a Ambangeg Ranger Station) in less than an hour.

mount pulag ranger station

Major jump-off: Ambangeg Ranger Station, Bokod, Benguet
LLA: 16°34’58?N 120°53’15?E, 2922 MASL (#3)
Days required / Hours to summit: 4-5 hours / 1-2 days
Specs: Major Climb | Difficulty 3/9 | Trail class 1-2
Trail system: Grand Cordillera Trail, Section 3
Features: Sea of Clouds | Dwarf Bamboo Slopes | Mossy Oak Forest

For those who will take the Ambangeg Trail, this is the major jump of point.   For us in the Above the Clouds Tour group, it also means our camping site as we were given this notice prior to the trip "starting last February 2015, Mt. Pulag park management decided to close camping sites (Camp 2 and 3) in order to help Mt. Pulag recover from all the years/months of intense human activity due to the spike in tourism." I have yet to certify this content because when we reach Camp 1 and Camp 2, they were a lot of campers there.  Camp 3 is for the campers who will take the Akiki Trail.
mount pulag ranger station
Hello Carabao!
fter our bags were unloaded from the jeep, many from the group began to set up their tents.  From our group, Matt and Andrew were also setting up their tent.  The rest of us are puzzled.  Silently, I was thinking "Here?  Really?  Beside this carabao and his carabao poo?".  Fortunately, my cousin Angelo and King King voluntarily went up to hike a bit to search for a better alternative.  A few minutes later, they called to tell us to go up because they found a good spot.  By this time, many have set up their tents.  Matt and Andrew were already testing the comforts of their tents.  Since all of us wanted to camp elsewhere, they had to ask the staffs to transfer their tents to the new spot as well.  Before we left, we witnessed the carabao attack one of the tents so they had to move.

mount pulag ranger station
After our firm insistence to camp elsewhere, our tour guides agreed provided that we also hike back down for our dinner.  We agreed.  We then hiked on our chosen camp site which involved crossing this little wooden bridge. 

mount pulag ranger station

When we arrived, there was already another tour group camping at the site.  See the simple tent on the right with a orange canvass?  That's their tour guide cooking their meals.  

mount pulag ranger station
While waiting for our rented tents, our camp site became foggy and it drizzled.  We brought out Raingears (2-pieces and 1 piece poncho)  and covered our stuff with garbage bags to protect them from the rain and moisture.

mount pulag ranger station
Unfortunately, my friend Steph and I were the last to have our tent put up so we were invited by these guys to have some cover.  Too bad I forgot to get the name of their tour group.  They were really nice.  On Day 2, they even offered us some Hot Sopas which we had to decline because we have our own meals.

mount pulag ranger station
The orange tent is a tent for 3.  The rest of the tents are a tent for 2.
Because it was drizzling and we were soaked, everyone decided to take a nap as soon as our tents were pitched.  When we woke up, the fog and drizzle has already cleared.

mount pulag ranger station
The back of our camp site has a stunning view of an ocean of clouds and fog overlooking the green fields.

mount pulag ranger station

The coolness was so comforting.  And, the air was so fresh.  I wish I could wake up to this every morning of my life. 

mount pulag ranger station
We were surrounded by tall green grass, pine trees and the sea of clouds rolling over the Cordillera Mountains.

mount pulag ranger station
After our pictorial sessions, the clouds slowly disappeared. 

mount pulag ranger station
We decided to hike down to the  Babadak Ranger Station and see what they have there.

mount pulag ranger station
Mt. Pulag Da-Guhan Store became our official tambayan store for hot drinks, cigarette breaks and rest room.

mount pulag ranger station
Instant coffee has never tasted so good!  It warmed us up from the cool weather.

mount pulag ranger station

There were other stores around the area too.  You can buy meals, coffee or rice wine.  You can also rent tents, sleeping bag, stove and cookset.

mount pulag ranger station
Everyone has their own favorite store.

mount pulag ranger station
And, their preferred pay rest rooms and shower rooms.

mount pulag ranger station
Friendly respectful native kids!
Some even opted to just camp and set their tents outside houses at the Ranger Station.

mount pulag ranger station
At night, we only have the full moon to light upon us.  We didn't have a starry view like those in the upper camps.  We went down for dinner with the aid of our flash lights and head lamps.  Matt led the group down.  But, Steph and I went down a bit later.  We got a little lost finding our way down.  Good thing some guys camping there pointed us to the right direction.

mount pulag ranger station

It was my first time to be inside a tent.  I discovered that I have a bit of a claustrophobia.  I had to breath out of the camp tent once in a while.  I also found it too cramp to sleep on.  In the middle of the night, my stomach also grumbled so I ate some Nova JalapeƱo inside my tent.  To my surprise, my friend Steph woke up from the smell haha! =p  When I got out of the tent, I was surprised to see that they are now more tents at our sight.  I guess some from our group also transferred they during the day.  I didn't get to sleep anymore since call time is nearing.

Pros for Camping a the Babadak Ranger Station
  • Easy food and drink replenishment
  • Clean pay restrooms and shower room
  • Availability of equipment rental and assistance in set up
  • Sea of clouds view
  • Comfortable and manageable temperature
Cons for Camping a the Babadak Ranger Station
  • Not entirely in one with nature
  • No stars or constellation view
Related Posts:
Ultimate Prepation Guide for Mt. Pulag
Mount Pulag DENR Registration: Hiker's Orientation
Mount Pulag: Hike to the Summit (Peak 3) to Watch the Sunrise
Mount Pulag: Chasing the Sea of Clouds
Mount Pulag: Hiking Down Ambangeg Trail