Our third team building for the month is our longest to date! We treated our employees to a Baguio vacation and a trek to Mt. Ulap. Since April 28 was declared as a non working holiday due to the ASEAN summit, we stayed in Baguio from April 28 to May 1. It was a treat!
We booked a place to stay using AirBNB. We have been booking using AirBNB for a long time and fortunately every time we book was a wholesome experience. Since we would be taking the whole team and then some, we booked the whole house for the duration of our stay. The house we booked was about 10 minutes from the city. If you like walking, it is about 15 to 20 minutes walk to Wright Park, Botanical Garden and Camp John Hay. We booked the place 2 weeks in advance.
We left Manila 8:00 AM so we can arrive in Baguio by 2 PM the latest. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. There was light traffic in A. Bonifacio but traffic was hellish in the San Fernando part of NLEX. We had planned to eat at Petron Mexico station by 10:30 AM but because of the freaking traffic, we arrived in Petron Mexico at 12:30 PM.
After eating, we continued our way to Baguio City. We figured that there shouldn’t be any more traffic going to Baguio City. We were freaking wrong. The remaining SCTEX-TPLEX was a breeze, Binalonan and Pozzorubio were manageable. However, Sison to Rosario, La Union was a crawl. We were stucked in a monstrous traffic jam in Sison going to Rosario, La Union for almost 2 hours.
Suffice to say, we arrived in Baguio City at 5 PM! We checked our rooms, rested, ate dinner and the team prepared itinerary for tomorrow.
April 29 and April 30 trek to Mt. Ulap
April 29 was a free day and the team decided to take a tour of Baguio City. They visited the various Baguio tourist spots and even went to La Trinidad to do strawberry picking.
April 30 was our scheduled climb to Mt. Ulap. We rented a jeep to take us to the jump off point. We started our trek 6:30 AM and with our pace we figured we will summit around 11:00 AM. The trek to the summit is a relaxing trek. The team had to stop a few time to catch our breaths and take pictures. Views in Mt. Ulap are breathtaking. We can’t wait to take our pictures in the famed Gungal Rock.
Well, Gungal Rock is so famous that there was a line so you can take pictures. Guides only allow you 10 seconds to take pictures. Unfortunately for the team, there were almost 80 people ahead of us. After waiting for about 30 minutes, we decided to not take our pictures in Gungal Rock anymore and proceeded to summit Mt. Ulap.
We reached Mt. Ulap’s summit around 12:30 PM. After taking pictures in the summit, we proceeded to descend. There is a canteen during descent and we decided to eat lunch before proceeding to the descent proper.
Eating lunch was a good decision. The descent is so steep and so freaking difficult that we’d rather climb the summit again instead of descending. Mt. Ulap’s descent is a straight descent with no ridges or straight pathways whatsoever for 300 meters. The descent is so steep that you can clearly see from above where you’ll be headed. It took us 2 hours of our will and might to descend Mt. Ulap. After reaching the hanging bridges, we rested for 30 to 45 minutes to gather our senses and rest our tired knees. This is the hardest descent I have ever encountered.
We completely descended and reached Santa Fe around 4:00 PM. It was a blast trekking Mt. Ulap. For the year, this is my 4th mountain to summit. For the team, this was their 2nd mountain to summit.
We left Baguio City on May 1. We expected light traffic since it was a holiday. We arrived in Manila around 3:00 PM. This team building was a blast and we are planning a similar outing in the coming months!
Our next team building activity will coincide with our 3rd year anniversary. That activity is in the planning stages right now but it will be another treat!