Cavite Mountain Climbing

Trekking Pico de Loro

Wednesday, February 01, 2012Ryan Mach

Eli Guieb’s short story entitled “Kasal” (Wedding) is what started it – the fascination with mountains. A sad, heartbreaking, and beautiful story about a couple breaking up atop Mt. Pulag with dramatic descriptions of the sunrise, of the clouds, of the cold atmosphere. It's what propelled the desire to experience being on the summit.

So when the opportunity to climb a mountain came, I grabbed it without any hesitation. Thanks to Ross, a former officemate who’s a member of ASCEND (a mountaineering group composed of working professionals), for tagging me along. 

But there were two things I had to worry about – trek equipment and stamina.
I don’t have a tent or a sleeping bag. I doubted my strength because I didn’t have proper exercise. Only things I could proudly wear on my sleeve were a backpack and some guts. I told my travel buddy jokingly that I’m giving him permission to carry me should I collapse along the way. The first problem was easily solved when a good friend offered to let me share her tent. Sweet. The stamina part, however, bugged me to no end. But I could be sometimes stubborn and determined - traits that come in handy in times of self-doubt.

The trek would happen on Saturday morning, which posed another problem. I had a shift before that. Going to battle without proper pre-hike exercise and sleep seemed like a stupid idea. My worry bar was raised to a frighteningly high level when a few extra pounds were added (against my will) to my baggage making it heavier. Since I would be sharing a tent with a friend, I should by default share the load of carrying it too. I could refuse but sleeping outside, battering the cold was a just scary thought.
My bag

His bag

My concern looked petty though when I noticed the enormous bags that my companions were carrying. But then again, they’re seasoned mountaineers, not to mention big and burly.

The ascent began after a prayer and some stretching. Five minutes later, I could already feel the weight on my shoulders. It would drag me down in no time, I was sure. The leader of the pack, Ian (lovingly called Tatay by his peers), told us the hike would last for 4 hours. That’s nuts, I thought. I wished he were joking but he wasn’t.
Photo credit: Mark Gonzales
From time to time, we would take rest under the canopy of trees, drink a lot of water, and eat chocolates and lots of Jelly Ace. Legs wobbling, whole body sweating, we continued our ascent, occasionally humming Miley Cyrus’ song, which proved more than helpful as it provided us some laugh and distraction.
Photo credit: Mark Gonzales
You’d think that since we’re climbing a mountain, the hike would be an endless upward slope. Wrong. There were flat areas and some trails required us to go down. The hardest part was the final assault, a seemingly continuous uphill area that leads to the camp. Depending on how tired you are, surpassing this stage can take at least two hours. 

We reached the camp just in time for the sunset. Tonics, who got there first with Pike, suggested that we climb to Peak 1 to get a better view of the setting sun. We scurried like hell and followed the trail to the top. Getting there was a bit tricky since the hill was kind of loose and gravelly and there was nothing to hold on to except for cogon grasses. The wind, if you’re not too careful, can uproot and send you spiraling down the cliff. Not an exaggeration, I tell you. And not a good spot for acrophobics either.
Taking it slow and easy

My friend Erpe
But man, the view was all worth it! All the superlatives. Breathtaking. Spectacular. Amazing. Magnificent. Wicked.
Photo credit: Mark Gonzales

Atop, you’ll feel like you’re close to the heavens. You get a 360-view of the scenery below – thick forest, coves and white sand beaches. Come night time, you’ll see the stars, really see them. And the cool air will calm your senses. You’ll probably sleep soundly too after downing a bottle of Empis or tequila. In the morning, you can watch the sun rise while you sip hot coffee near the cliff. If you’re lucky, you can see a few birds hopping on rocks.

Some facts about Pico de Loro
It lies between Cavite and Batangas Province. Jump-off point is either in Ternate, Cavite or Nasugbu, Batangas. Elevation is around 664 meters above sea level. Trek to the camp site is considered “Easy.” But for first timers, no it isn’t.
Photo credit: Mark Gonzales
It got its name from the distinctive contours that look like a giant parrot from afar.

There’s a famous rock tower beside Peak 1 which has a summit that can fit a few people. Getting there requires guts and rock climbing skills.
Photo credit: Mark Gonzales
Entrance fee of 30 pesos for day trippers (60 for overnight stay) is collected at the DENR post at the jump-off point. 
DENR post at the jump-off point in Ternate, Cavite
In your trek back, you can make a detour to a small waterfall where you can take a shower. 
 Never hiked before? Check out a few tips on how to survive your first climb

You Might Also Like


Contact Form - Powered by Blogger