Adams, Ilocos Norte
Major jumpoff: Sitio Maligligay, Adams
LLA: 1271 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 4-6 hours
Specs: Major climb*, Difficulty 5/9, Trail class 2-3
Features: Tropical forest, Coastal views
An exciting new frontier in Philippine trekking are the mountains of Ilocos, which lie at the northern edge of the majestic Cordillera range. These mountains are lush and tropical though at times they reach the lofty, coniferous forests akin to the more southern peaks of Benguet and Ifugao. The views are fantastic – the Ilocos plains with such beautiful landmarks like the Laoag River and the windmills of Bangui; here the huge island of Luzon is at its northern border, facing South China Sea.
One of these mountains is Mt. Palemlem, otherwise known as Pico de Loro Norte. PinoyMountaineer.com teams up with ONE Degree Mountaineerin Group based in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, to document and feature these peaks. In the case of Palemlem, although it was initially featured as “Pico de Loro Norte”, we are favoring the local name Palemlem, which is Ilocano in origin and most likely the more accurate and definitely the more unique name of the peak.
The climb is dayhikable but given its distance from Laoag (3 hours by rented jeep), an overnight trip is recommended. The trail lies in lush, tropical forest with all its implications (limatik, thorns) as well as some rewards: a truly pristine environment with primordial feel. Some parts are steep and slippery, but after 3-4 hours of hiking, the dense foliage gives way to views of Luzon’s Northern frontier and the sea. Finally, at the summit, the views are rewarding. “From there one can see the mighty Bangui windmills shrunken to thumb size and the magnificent white beaches of Pagudpud reduced to a wispy, powdery white shoreline.”
1800 From Manila take bus to Laoag (P600)
0600 ETA Laoag; Take rented jeep to Adamas
0900 ETA Adams; proceed to Sitio Maligligay
0945 ETA Sitio Magligligay
1000 Start trek
1300 Resume trek
1600 ETA Summit campsite; set up cam
1800 Sunset viewing / dinner / socials
0600 Breakfast / break camp
0800 Start descent
1200 Back at jumpoff
1600 Back in Laoag
1900 Take Manila-bound bus (P600)
Logistics. Right now, there are no mechanisms in place for do-it-yourself contacting of guides in Adams. Instead, you can make contact with the ONE Degree Mountaineering Group and they can help you make arrangements for firstname.lastname@example.org. The municipality charges a minimal fee of P20/person as Green Fee and P30/person as camp fee if a visitor would be staying overnight. Guide fee ranges from P300-P400/day depending if one needs a porter as well.
Transportation. From Manila to Laoag, a number of buses ply the route including Maria de Leon, Farinas Trans, and Florida Bus Lines. These liners have terminals in Espana along Lacson St. Fare is around P600 one-way as of Aug. 2009. If you’re not renting a jeep, the alternative is to take the bus all the way to Pagudpud, and from there take a jeep to Adams. From Adams, you can perhaps take a tricycle to the jumpoff.
Camping notes. The summit campsite is only a small, barely cleared 6 x 6 meter area on top of one of the mountain’s twin peaks so prepare accordingly. There is cellphone signal at the summit but there are no water sources available.
This destination is the first Ilocos Norte mountain to be featured in PinoyMountaineer, and is currently the northernmost destination in Luzon in our records.
PinoyMountaineer thanks One Degree Mountaineering Group for its pioneering efforts in exploring and documenting the mountains of Ilocos. This mountain was first featured as “Invitation to Ilocos #1: Pico de Loro Norte.”