One of the most rewarding adventure I did so far was when I reached my first summit last March 19 2011. Along with 14 former colleagues from HP, we climbed the peak of Pico De Loro, the highest point within the boundary of Cavite and Batangas. We left HP McKinley Hill office on a Saturday morning between 5.30-6am. It took around 3hours, more or less, to reach the DENR outpost where the group registered and paid Php20 each. There’s also a store where you can buy trail food and water.
We started our trek few minutes away from the DENR outpost, just along Ternate Highway. I remember how excited I was because it’s my first time to climb a peak. I prepared for the climb by running a few kms in the gym the day before and I even religiously followed the checklist of things to bring that Kian, the our leader in this out-of-office activity, gave us. And yes, I ate bananas.
After 20 to 30minutes of what seemed to be an easy trek, we arrived at the first base camp. Again, there’s another registration at the camp. The group sat for a while to rest – yes we needed rest after a 30minute walk! HAHA, but no seriously we’re actually preparing for a full 3-hour trek which I swear is not for the faint hearted.
The trail to Pico de Loro’s peak is actually easy to follow. There are signs on the forks (there was two or three forks, as far as my poor memory could remember) put up by the DENR people and other trekkers who’ve first been there. You really have to be careful following the path/signs because if you take the wrong path, you’d get lost (obviously).
And yes, have I mentioned that the trail is steep? No? Well, yes some parts are really steep! You need upper body strength here to pull yourself up! HAHA We would hold on stones and tree roots and almost anything we could actually hold on to just to climb our way up!
The whole trek up the mountain was REALLY HARD. I kid you not. I don’t know why they say it’s an “easy minor climb” HAHA. Well I guess for first timers like most of us in our group, it’s understandable that we found the hike super exhausting. Anyway, no matter how hard it has been for me, I still enjoyed it. What made me appreciate the trek was the sound of nature – the birds, the trees, the wind – and just the feeling of being one with nature brought bliss to me. And of course for some parts, I thank Bob Marley HAHA Sometimes I would sing loud and the group would join me, it’s hilarious how we’d sing “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing’s gonna be alright” while we’re all catching our breaths!
The team continued hiking, trekking, climbing steep slopes, and after what seemed like an endless feat, we finally arrived at the camp site where other trekkers would usually set up tents and spend a night.
The First Peak
After regaining some energy, we continued to climb the peaks of Pico de Loro. Climbing the first peak proved to be the most difficult - steep slope with only grasses to hold on to plus strong winds to challenge your balance. You can really feel the wind slapping you all over, it’s too strong it could actually knock you down if you aren’t careful!
While the climb gets more difficult, the view gets more rewarding!
The Second Peak
Now, this is why the organizer of our trip Kian has made us sign a waiver – climbing the second peak (that rocky summit up there) is what they call “buwis buhay” kind of trip. I think only half of the group were daredevil enough to climb it, mostly guys.
Climbing this rocky top I think needs assistance from someone who climbs rock. Does that make sense? Or at least from someone who’s not so amateur with this kind of things because really it’s dangerous. There’s a soooper steep part here where you had to climb up using a small rope (which has always been there according to tales LOL) – you have to pull yourself up and use your legs to support your body as you climb up – it’s actually like rappelling but only you’re going up.
This is the most fulfilling part of climbing Pico de Loro. Not all hikers brave this summit. #mayabanglangakobakitbaHAHA
We started our descend around past 1 in the afternoon. Some people from the group decided to have a detour to the falls, but I am included in the sub-group who decided to skip the falls because I heard the falls is dried during summer.
So here we were after a day hike in Pico de Loro – exhausted but happy.
The Parrot’s Beak
Pico de Loro was named as such because of it’s contour that resembles a parrot’s beak when viewed from afar. It’s 664 meter above sea level and considered as a minor climb ( Level I, Easy ). It was said that the best time to hike Pico de Loro is during summer ( April/May ) where rain is almost impossible.