Moonwalk Mt. Ulap

The official opening of the hiking trek at Mt. Ulap - Cloud Mountain - was to my knowledge in 2015. As the name hints - a place in the clouds. How did it start? I was excited to climb Mt. Ulap as soon as I saw the group announcement of the event. I bound for the Edsa meeting point where the other guys were waiting to get in our van.

Ahhhyaaaa everything started with a sour grape. The rented van was one of the comfy looking 12-sitters. What fun - we were twelve but not all Filipinos. I had been dreaming of sitting on cushioned seats sleeping on my way to Ampucao. But this was just a dream.

A frustrated ride was in for us. Sitting like a yogi in a cramped position hindered not only sleep but got worse due to bumping and, as it seemed, a never-ending ride. Wonderful!

With barely enough sleep from the entire night, we trotted on toward the entry path. On to our moonwalk. An easy start and a beguiling scenery all along the route. First through a sea of pines and seemingly endless grassland slopes came the first steep assault. Then a trail carved a few inches from the edge of a cliff where we could marvel at the far-flung mountains.

The walks over rolling hills went on for a couple of hours, but with the breathtaking 360-degree view of the beautiful scenery, any hardship was fast forgotten.

After another steep assault, we arrived at the much talked about rock but to get an image you have to wait for several minutes. There is a really stunning view atop the cliff.

After that and some rolling hills farther it was a straightforward descent along an eroded trail. That's slowed us down and took another two hours. Worse you may also go home with a blue and aching toe not to talk about the knees as some of my compatriots complained.

Passing over a hanging bridge, we arrived at the end of the hiking journey, and some of us took a much-needed shower. But now again the fun of the van. A great hike but a horribly long way from Manila.