I have been to some of the countries fabled climbs from Bugarin to Sierra Madre in its entirety (say Infanta) to Baguio-Kenon/Marcos to Bicol’s 3M and Andaya Hi-way and even Halsema, Sagada, Banaue and Besang Pass. There will definitely be steeper roads but their short distance disqualify them from being epic- like the fabled Maarat wall. But based on riding those routes, nothing compares to the Ambuklao to Baguio route of Pacdal Road. We already did Pacdal once from Baguio to Pulag Ranger but I would say that it is way easier than the reverse route. This may be half-truth as there are several factors involved like my fitness level, age when I did it, etc. But I would still insist if it’s not the top one- it will definitely be on the list of tops.
We started out our ride at Baguio and made our way to La Trinidad and then Halsema. There is a point in Halsema where there is a road that goes to Ambuklao. I first saw this route more than 10 years ago on our way to Mt. Pulag when our driver avoided Pacdal for some reason. Then again a few years ago when we did the Globe Cordillera Challenge; we discovered this route as an awesome downhill road. In fact we are still considering doing this ride again due to the sweet downhill but next time around, upon reaching Ambuklao, we will just ride our SAG back to Baguio than riding it by bike.
Going back, after reaching Ambuklao, we said it was great, we are already halfway the ride
few hours before lunch. But we were in for a surprise- it was a relentless 30+ kilometers climb back to Baguio with very little opportunity to rest (meaning very few flats for recovery). This was the first time that, I only not lost my leg power (bonked) but even my arms was gone so even the idea of a bike push is exhausting. Marcos and Kenon is also in the range of 30 Kilometers climbs but those are not purely uphill. Maybe the climb in Halsema was a contributing factor- that if you only do the Ambukalo to Baguio will be different but still- I would consider this a Killer Route on its own class.
We did this ride- me, Dindo Narciso, Al Jumarang and George Saguinsin.