Nature Trail to Gungal
We started our walk again by 6:00am. From Abanao Paoay, we could see the trail before us. Sloping hills, narrow ridges and amazing views. From here on, the trail was actually more relaxed with gentle ascents. What impressed me more was the flora and fauna I saw. Since there were thunderstorms every morning, I could see an abundant growth of mushrooms. Some edible, some not. There were a few wild berries as well I picked up some on the trail. Then a species of pitcher plant (Sarracenia?) in abundance on the trail. I really love how alive the trail is. Aside from the views, I appreciate the dramatic trees along the trail and even the rocky fields.
We reached Gungal in an hour and a half later. Finally we get to meet other climbers. We’re already halfway the trail by this point says our guide Alex. The other group were already hogging the famous Gungal Rock. A dramatic rock overhang perfect for those daring photo ops. I heard this spot could get really crowded. I’m glad we climbed real early and I had the chance to squeeze in for my photo. The other group climbed from Sta Fe and was going on another way. I am intrigued by that pentagram markings though. I wonder who used it?
Summit Hills of Mt Ulap
We continued on our way towards the highest peak of the trail. From here on the clouds was a welcome cover, but we were also concerned that rains may come. I continue to admire the trail, the richness of the greens and bursting saturation of colors from the flowers. Even the details of a tree branch is fascinating. An hour later, we finally climbed the highest point of the Mt Ulap Eco-Trail. It was a scenic hill and I was surprised someone was sweeping the grounds. Clearing of any animal poop on the grassy area. We also met his two companion dogs and gave them treats. We rested on the ground and felt accomplished finally reaching the summit. I decided to practice some of my yoga headstand there and was suprised I still had the energy for it.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.