What is the Pamulaklakin Forest Trail?
Named after the Pamulaklakin vine that grows in abundance in the area, the Pamulaklakin Forest Trail is one of the many routes that have been used for training by the US Army during the American Colonial Period, with the aetas as their teachers. The aetas taught them valuable lessons on how to survive in the jungle, and shared their vast knowledge of flora and fauna in the area. Up until today, the aetas take the lead in protecting the site and are sharing their expertise through tours organized in partnership with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
I had a great time doing the two-hour ecology tour, with my guide, Menmen, showing me a glimpse of the richness of the forest.
Here are some visitor tips to help you organize your trip:
Official name: Pamulaklakin Forest Trail
How to get there: Via private vehicle, navigate towards Pamulaklakin Forest. There’s a large sign at the entrance with the name of the place, so it’s difficult to miss.
Before starting with your trail tour: You need to register at the jump-off point with the guide on duty. There is no mark that says “registration,” but it is pretty straightforward to find since there is just one table in front of the stores with a lady with a notebook.
Fees are as follows (as of March 2018):
- PHP 100/person (entrance fee for sightseeing or picnic)
- PHP 100/person (mini-jungle tour: goes for 30 minutes, inclusive of a local guide)
- PHP 250/person (ecology tour: goes for 2-3 hours, inclusive of a local guide)
- The trail is family and beginner-friendly, so do not worry about boulders and slippery slopes along the trail.
- Although there is a rich water source along the trail, it is still best to bring water that you know you are comfortable to drink.
- There is a small local store at the jump-off point where you can purchase water, sports drinks, soft drinks, chips, candies, and cookies.
- Toilets are not available along the trail. They are only available at the jump-off point.
- Please bring a plastic bag for your own trash. It’s unfortunate that many visitors leave their trash along the trails. As any responsible hiker would know, what you bring to the trail, you must also bring with you when you get back.
- Please don’t haggle with the local guides’ prices. Many guides have this as their sole source of income. If you’re doing budget travel, save on other areas of your trip, not on the guides’ fees.
Why you must consider a trip to Pamulaklakin Forest: The forest offers the best of all worlds: trails and the fresh stream that offer a sense of comfort, young and old trees that protect you from the heat, and humbling insights on how the aetas utilize and preserve what nature has to offer.
P.S. The keys to sustainable hikes are universal (lifted from The Leave No Trace Behind program): plan ahead and prepare | travel and camp on durable surfaces | dispose of waste properly | leave what you find | minimize campfire impacts | respect wildlife | be considerate of other visitors | listen to your gut ❤