After an almost year-long review for the board exams, I have finally been able to go back to hiking. Not that I’ve been doing it every week (I’ve only gone to three mountains so far), but maybe I miss the fun and exhaustion (a different kind and a good one!) it gives.
I’ve joined a travel group, Biyahe Tayo Travel Adventures in which my friend is a co-founder. They usually arrange hikes around the Philippines for a cheap price. It’s also less of a hassle because you wouldn’t have to deal with paying the Environmental fees and such.
Mt. Pico de Loro/ Mt. Palay-Palay is located in Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas. Why I really want to conquer this mountain is because of the famous monolith. You can see below why, and I really want a picture from there just like that. Ha!
Our original meeting time was 4:00 AM but my friend told me she is intentionally going to be late. Talk about being an organizer. Haha! But they have three organizers and they leave at different times. Not that it matters because I can’t sleep the whole night I’m afraid I won’t get up on time. Most of us do that, probably and I end up arriving early. I just had breakfast and bought my lunch at McDonald’s since I want to go together with my friend.
Going by bus and a rental van, we arrived at the jump-off point around 8:00 AM. From there, a short trail will lead to the Basecamp 1 where you’ll have to register your name first. They are keeping a record of all those who want to hike. Snacks and souvenirs are also sold in the area.
There are two parts of the trail from basecamp 1 to the summit campsite, the first one is a gradual hike which is okay because it’s not too tiring; the second part has steeper steps and is really, REALLY the opposite of the first one. Let’s just say I was glad I had a chocolate bar with me, and that I didn’t want to go up the stairs by the time I came home. You’ll find yourself in between them when you reach a small resting area called the Alibangbang. It is called as such because there’s an Alibangbang tree planted in the middle.
The one thing I wish I knew before going was that the place has a lot of mango trees. It’s in season and the mangoes are just falling on the ground! I swore to myself I would bring a peeler and bagoong (shrimp paste) the next time I attempt to hike here.
I really thought that the *insert curse here* stairs (the second part of the trail) was never gonna end. There were hikers who were going down and was giving us moral support which is nice of them but my energy really dropped at this part of the trail (thank God for chocolates!). But by the time we arrived at the summit campsite, everything was worth it (I guess? Haha!). You will see this breathtaking view of Batangas I just wish I wouldn’t have to pass through that stairs.
You can eat your lunch in this area where drinks (Mountain Dew, Gatorade, and water) are also sold. They also sell noodles.
Both the summit and the famous monolith, making up the Parrot’s Beak is visible from the summit campsite.
We had an hour break so we had photos from the cliff. The view in front of us was beautiful, indeed but the clouds passing by were a distraction. It’s beautiful all the same especially witnessing how it travels by. (yes, I find that cool)
To get to the summit, we have to hike a bit again. At least the steps were not as high as before going to the camp so I got my legs relaxed a bit.
The tricky part is this slope just before the summit, it’s slippery and I almost had to crawl going up.
Being the highest point in Cavite, you will see the monolith, Hamilo Coast, and parts of Cavite and Batangas at the summit.
Now in getting to the monolith, you have to go down the summit carefully to the other side and straight ahead to some boulders. Two ropes are placed to help you in climbing up. No worries though because the guide (if you have one) will instruct you on where to step. “Whatever happens just hold on to the rope”, as our guide says.
My new found friends below were doing a poor struggle on climbing. The photo was taken on the safe part of the climb.
Meet Mr. Thursday (or Tuesday?), our tour guide’s partner.
It’s really windy on top of the monolith, and I’m thankful that the rain have stopped or else it would ruin the view and it would also be hard to climb up the monolith.
and for my split-second balancing act, see below. Yeah, I wish I was alone at the top it’s better than nothing.
Above all else, the most terrific part of this hike was meeting new people. Some were actual group of hikers, others met during an ultramarathon, high school friends, and couples. We’re made up of different sets of groups but that was what made this more fun.
Going down, as always is easier and better. If it took us almost 4 hours to go up, it only takes 2-3 hours to go down. We went along a different path and most of the trail is surrounded by bamboo trees.
I think of all mountains in the Philippines, although I haven’t gone to all of them; Mt. Pico de Loro is one of the best yet beginner-friendly hikes in the country.
0400 Board bus at Coastal Mall Terminal to Ternate
0700 ETA Ternate. Rent jeepney to jumpoff
0745 ETA DENR / jump-off point
0800 Start trek.
0845 ETA rest station, Basecamp 1
1130 ETA summit. Lunch.
1230 Start descent to Nasugbu-Ternate Highway
1530 ETA Nasugbu-Ternate Highway.
1600 ETA. Kaybiang Tunnel. Picture picture
1630 ETA DENR. Wash up. Tidy up
1730 ETA Ternate Bus terminal
2100 ETA Manila
What To Bring:
- Clothes (1 pair)
- Trekking Pants/Jogging Pants/Shorts
- Extra socks
- Trekking Shoes/Rubber Shoes/Sandals
- Bonnet/Head gear/Scarf
- Plastic bags (for water proofing of your bags, clothes, cameras and other items)
- Tissue Paper
- Water (at least 1-2 liters)
- Personal Trail food (candies, chocolates, cookies)
…a reminder: If you see an arrow along the trail don’t follow it. We made the mistake of doing just that, good thing there’s this dog near the area that barks when hikers are going to the wrong direction.