Rusty Baille once said, “In the mountains, there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can’t.”
Why am I doing this?
I managed to have an answer for quite a while now.
It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for kilometers with no reasons other than to see the growth of trees and pastures, mountains and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises, and sundown. The involvement was commanding and primal. It gives the impression to me that it had always felt like this to be a mortal in the wild, and as long as this planet existed it would forever feel this way.
It was the 1st of April when I started planning this hike. Originally, It will be composed of me, my siblings, my boyfriend, and some close friends. But for various reasons, it ended up that I’ll be going along with Macky (co-employee) and his happy friends Mart and Ge. For the sense of practicality, we decided to join with the freelancer travel tour that we found on Facebook (Traveling Tour – 09266930794).
Checklist That You Should Keep In Mind Before Hiking
0400 Assembly at Puregold Cubao
0500 ETD to Ternate Cavite
0630 ETA DENR/Registration/Coffee
0700 Start the trek
0830 ETA Campsite/Picture taking
0900 Summit assault
0915 ETA Summit of Pico de Loro
0930 Monolith (optional)
1000 Start Descend
1200 ETA DENR/Wash up
1300 Back to Manila
1500 ETA Manila
2.)Things to Bring:
Trail food (mixed nuts, jellies, chocolate, etc.)
Trail water 2L or Ion Drinks (Pocari Sweat is the most effective to me)
Extra budget for extra expenses
Headlamp/Flashlight with extra batteries
Set of clothes
Notes: Please wear hiking shoes/boots, sandals or running shoes only as much as possible
P750 per pax excluding meal
3.) Tips from Other Hikers who just recently climb the mountain you choose:
- Having your own rented vehicle will help you manage the time effectively.
- There was a separate payment for those who will attempt to climb the Monolith
- If you’re planning to traverse to Nasugbu, the separate guide will take over from the Summit. They were waiting at the Campsite (P100 pesos per head for big groups and negotiable for a small group).
- The monolith is now closed for climbers, but some still pursuing it. For safety reasons, it’s better to abide by the set rules by the DENR. Hikers were known for discipline anyway.
- Overnight stay is prohibited. No campers are allowed.
I go for this because it is famous, near to Manila, good for novice and its scenic views.
PICO DE LORO
Maragondon, Cavite, and Nasugbu, Batangas
Major jump-off: DENR Station, Magnetic Hill, Ternate, Cavite
Minor jump-off: Sitio Fronda, Brgy. Papaya, Ternate-Nasugbu Highway, Nasugbu, Batangas
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Distinctive spire at the summit, forests, scenic views of Cavite
I have several preparations to make it sure that I am in shape during my attempt to conquer the summit. This is basically a personal experience and can have different effects to other people depending on the response of their body.
I tried low-calorie but high protein diet for 2 Weeks. Just to reduce weight and strengthen the muscles.
Physical preparation will also very helpful. Cardio exercises such as low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process are necessary.
Mental conditioning and psychological preparation are very vigorous. It is important to anticipate the difficult and hazardous things, but your mind should also able to provide your own antidotes for your negative prospects. I read a lot and do visualization of what to expect.
I make sure that everything is set 2 to 3 days before. I also prepared sufficient amount of caffeine and sugar because more often than not the day before the climb is a sleepless one.
During the Climb
Pico de Loro or Mt. Palay palay, as they say, is just a minor climb. But like what I typically say, there is no easy ascent, they only differ in intensity. The hike is merely assault and descend. The good thing is that our journey up to the campsite isn’t that hot because of the shades of the trees and bamboos along the way. What’s really hard is the assault itself because the new trail comprises of shorter and steeper trek.
I’ve learned that there were 700 hikers visited the mountain day after we arrived. While 400 were already at the summit before we started our assault. Well, I guess it’s a valid proof that this place is really renowned. I must also say that I somehow feel sad by the fact that I saw several pieces of evidence of undisciplined invaders. Vandalizing trees and rocks by their unpopular name. We were retold before we started the trek to not leave any form of garbage up there. It isn’t a new reminder anyway. Actually, it’s even applicable everywhere and to everyone. Not just in the mountain and for the hikers.
“Every climb should be a clean climb”. And it is a basic rule. I just abhorrence to see this unruly group of people who after eating and fixing their selves (for the never-ending selfie) just leave their used wet tissues on the ground and no one among them care to put them in their bags. They were all adults.
We finished the long up and down walk and find ourselves resting on the campsite.
We rehydrated ourselves, ate some sugar and carbs to reenergize our exhausted being.
We took some lovely photos and enjoyed socializing with the newly acquainted co-hikers.
Starring a look from afar is the summit view waiting for us. And God, believe me, the first glimpse will make you feel a little bit scared to attempt the audacious assault. The people up there looks like a group of ants going up and down and the sun directly kissing their whole body. No roofs to hold, no trees and nothing but you and your feet will save you.
A solo backpacker lady then asked our group “Aakyat pa ba kayo sa summit? “
And I convincingly replied “Susubukan po”
And that girl with other groups refuses to proceed.
The tour guide made a sign that we will be leaving in a few minutes. We ready ourselves and pray silently “Lord give it to me, kakayanin ko to in Your Mercy”.
Way up to the summit is very pebbly and sharp. We cannot even stand straight while walking. At that moment, all we wanted is to finish this one. No more room for fatigue and giving up. Wow, my nerve is shaking, it seems like if my knees surrendered I might roll down and no one can stop it. So I rest for a while, I take a deep breath and I continued to mount. I was at the moment of exhaustion when one of the guides immediately held my hand. “ Thank you Kuya” I said “Huuuuuuh” That mixed emotions were unique every time. Nothing compared to those. I wanna shout out loud. I wanted to cry. I wanted to laugh.
This is it. I was at the top now. As the guide mentioned, I was in Batangas already and half of me still in Cavite. Borderline.
10:20am – Summit of Mt. Palay palay.
It’s very hot in there, but I do not care anyhow. We relished every single moment and views.
The perfect art of nature from that point. The monolith is inviting us, but we decided to be an abiding hiker. I personally believe that for safety concern, I must not risk it for an experience. I can always come back and do it again.
The monolith has been close since March 2016 but most of the visitors pursued it.
One of the hardest parts of every Hike is the descent. Though less of tiring, this will definitely attest your control. My knees habitually gave up at this part more than assault.
If the summit climbed is difficult, descending down to the campsite is even harder. But then again, I am committed to doing it. It says in a quote “going down is a must”.
And because we are excited to rest, the pacing became two times faster that we started.
We reached the jump off point exactly 12:30pm. Take a snap shower and relax while waiting for our departure to Manila. That was awesome. I’ll surely try it again.
Mt. Pico de Loro has a lot to offer. Aside from the views and the nature feel, the experiences during the process will go to be the best takeaway from this activity. It may not be the most difficult as of this writing, but this will always be one of the most experiencing.Being in nature is all about feeling permitted, limitless but protective, involving ourselves and exposure to the process, but not a distraction and invaders—not taking them with us.”
I did it without my buddies.
I long for it. I fought for it.
And I courageously made it.
To God be the Glory.
Until we hike again.