A couple of weeks ago, my friends from Microsoft Philippines’ Mountaineering Club invited me to join a trek to Pico de Loro in Cavite. Without hesitation I confirmed joining the group. My only hestitation was that I registered to join the Tour of the Fireflies on April 18… so I wasn’t sure if my legs could handle a mountain trek and a 40km bicycle ride on the same weekend. Nonetheless… I joined the trek
A few facts about Pico de Loro. It is located in both Cavite and Batangas Province. Its elevation is around 664 meters above sea level. It is accessible from Ternate Cavite, or Nasugbu Batangas. The trek is considered a Level I or “Easy”… and all things considered, yes it was an easy trek.
The group had decided that it would be easier (and more convenient) to rent some vans to take us to the jump off point.
Getting there was easy. Head towards Puerto Azul. Go past Puerto Azul and look out for the sign to the magnetic point. There is actually a sign which indicates the place… but it has loong been faded. So if you pass a sign on the left (mountain side) where you can’t read anything… that’s it. Go forward a few more meters till you see an opening in the foliage. (see picture below).
When we got there, there was a local with a logbook waiting to take people’s names. There is no fee to pay, but he will then offer the services of a guide which will cost you P1,500. Though, if you can follow a trail and read the signs, a guide isn’t really necessary.
There a group that was there just before us and they were about to start when we got there.
After the required photo-ops we were off!
Ok, the first 30-45 min was quite easy. You just follow a path up through the foliage away from the road… the sound from the tricycles and jeeps slowly fades away.
Apparently, there are signs along the way. Some of these were put up by the DENR… other signs were placed by past trekkers.
Continue walking… and walking… until you find a path which goes down, yes down. Even when your objective is to go up, there are points where you have to go down before going up again. (sigh)
At the bottom, of this downward path there is an intersection. Fear not, there are… signs…
… magalang pa ang mga signs. Hehe.
After roughly 30 min or so, we get to Base Camp 1. The camp is a nice first resting point. They also sell canned Coke or Sprite for P40. We didn’t buy any on the way up, but we did on the way back… and a cold Coke is definitely refreshing.
I wasn’t just sure of what that big pile of plastic waste was for. Was it to just pile up? Or did they ever plan on bringing it down the mountain?
Anyway, we proceeded on our trek. The trek was mainly flat with some ups and downs.
Every now and then I would stop to appreciate the scenery…
Part of the trail brings us past some private property. At first we weren’t sure if we were on the right path when we saw a fence. Apparently we just walk through it. It had a very interesting gate which closed automatically! Ingenuous!
And every now and then… another sign to point us on our way…
Most of the trek was under trees and miscellaneous shrubbery. So the sun wasn’t much of an issue.
But every now and then we would go through a clear path… although this was few.
After maybe around 45 min, We reached our next major rest stop. We reached a big flattened area just before we would make the final uphill assault. We stopped here to eat out “lunch”.
So we proceeded updard. We followed the trail up to the summit…
It was a loooong climb…
then after around an hour and a half…
WE MADE IT! We were not quite at the top yet. That was another 15 min. But this is the base camp location where anyone would set up camp.
So we made ourselves comfy.
Photo-opp muna. Oh, the shot above… I was standing on around a foot of surface area. Behind me was a straight drop downward! . And while it isn’t obvious… I was shaking in fear as Johnny was taking the picture..
Before proceeding to the summit.
… THAT is the summit. And that column on the left is the “Parrot’s beak” or Pico de Loro.
So after around another 15 min upward…
Here I am at the summit of Pico de Loro. The highest point of Cavite…
Syempre… photo opp muna…
The views were spectacular…
There was a group of young mountaineers that made their way up to the parrot’s beak. We were not as daring.
Going back down
It was now already around 5:00PM and we had to start our way back down. And we had to rush as we needed to get down before dark. Given its summer, we had around 1.5 hours left of daylight. We actually made it in the nick of time. We just had enough light to make it back to the vans. With the resolve that we needed to make it down… we kept on going… and we only had two rest stops.
All in all, it was a very fun trek. And though it was “easy” it was still nonetheless tiring as hell. The formost learning. START EARLY. I recommend starting the trek at around 7 to 8 am for two reasons… its cool when you start early… and you don’t have to run after the sun.
No photo opps on the way down as we rushed down like zombies. Also… it was getting dark.
Just a thought
Johnny had told us to bring around 2 liters of water. I loaded around 3 literts of water in my hydration pack’s bladder. It lasted me the trip… yet I wondered, where did it all go? And I didn’t pee through the trip.
Check out the photo set on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lakwatsa/sets/72157623755971403/
( In preparing for the trek, check out this site for more details: http://www.waypoints.ph/detail_gen.html?wpt=picodl )