#TheClimb Mt. Pico de Loro day hike

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It has been my dream to climb a high moutain since when I was still young. The only mountain that I was able to climb back then was a mountain of sand and gravel whenever there is a construction in an area. It was fun, though.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this due to some reasons. It was December of 2015 when we planned this hike, but because of the changes in the schedule, some weren’t able to come. We opened the invitation to other people from other company. With the newely met friends, we went to Mt. Pico de Loro in January 30, 2016.

A night before, I prepared important things as required for this hike.
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● Water
● Energy drink
● Sun protection
● Set of clothes
● First aid kit
● Food

Mt. Pico de Loro (Mt. Palay palay) is one of the beautiful mountains in Luzon. It was named by Spanish which means “Parrot’s Beak” because of its triangular shape. It is situated between the province of Cavite and Batangas. The monolith sitting beside the mountain is something to reckon with.
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About 4:30AM, we completed the group at Coastal Mall Provincial Terminal. Past 4:30AM, we embarked on a bus going to Ternate Cavite. Bus fare is 84.00/pax airconditioned.
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We arrived at Ternate Cavite past 5AM already. From there, we hired a tricycle to bring us to DENR. The tricycle fare is 85.00/head maximum of 3pax per travel. The travel going to DENR was a challenge. Since there was no sun yet, the weather was so cold, and I was sitting at the back of the driver, so I could really feel it. I regret not bringing a jacket. From the outside, you could see the cliff, which will make you realized that you are running on a high ground.
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We reached DENR at about 6AM. We stopped there for a little while to take breakfast and buy gloves for protection. Soon after, we had ourselves registered for 20.00/pax. (Environmental Fee)
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About 6:50AM, we started the trek. On the initial part of the trail, we saw a stream of running water which is clear. We’re not sure if the water was fit for consumption, but it can be used to wash yourself.
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We never got worried about not being familiar to the trail and getting lost because there were lots of mountain climbers walking the same trail. They came there by group like us. For a first time climber like me, I could say that the first part of the trail was easy. It was an up and down walk. There was an easy part and there was a somewhat steep part. I was amazed at the large trees and unfamiliar plants. Large stones welcomed us along the trail. I thought I would be able to see wild animals and weird creatures, but I didn’t. However, we used to hear birds chirping really weird. Aside from the trail’s difficulty level, the good thing about it is, it’s forested.
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We used to stop during the trek so that way, we could somehow rest our feet and gain strength. We wanted to be refreshed after trekking less than half of the trail; luckily, there was this man “kuya” to quench your thirst. He was selling ice cream. I brought a loaf of bread and it was very useful. hahaha. Truly, you won’t feel the stress if you are with happy people.

Be advised that there is no signal during the trek and observe the “Leave No Trace” rule.
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About 9AM, we reached the campsite. There, you could see bunches of climbers. Some are amateurs and some are pro. There were also stores and food stalls that offered drinks, meals and snacks. I was a bit curious how they brought merchandise up there, so I asked the lady. She said that they use to hire people to carry the stuff up there in exchange of some money. So, do not be surprised if the price of each item is almost doubled.
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From the campsite, you can clearly see the summit and the very famous Pico de Loro Monolith. It is a very good spot to take photos because of beautiful scenery. You can wholly capture the summit and the monolith.
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After a long rest and photo opp, we started the treacherous assault to the summit. It was an up and down walk again going there. The way up to the summit was so dangerous due to lack of stones to hold on to. There were little stones which were very loose and slippery. I had to cawl up so as not to lose balance and not to be swayed by the strong wind that added to the challenge. The steepness of the trail was almost 90°. A wrong move could lead us to fatal fall. We finally reached the summit at around 10AM. I was exhilirated when I saw the monolith too close to me. The view was indeed stuperfying. From the summit, you can overlook the nearby provinces. Thumbs up!
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Some people opted not to climb the monolith. For me, this trip wouldn’t be complete without trying the big stone. We had to climb down to reach the foot of the monolith. The trail down there was dangerous as well. I had to hold grass and bamboo as not to slide down. When I was almost there, I took a photo of monolith in worm’s eye view. So astounding. I used to ask myself in my mind if this stone was like this when God created the Earth.

Whenever I see astonishing view of nature, I remember the great Creator.
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About 10:30AM, we reached the monolith. Unfortunately, we had to wait in the queue for almost an hour to climb up the stone. It was dangerous yet challenging to climb the big stone because the place of the queue was an open cliff, and we had to rappel with no harness or safety gears. In other words, an erroneous move could make you fall.
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We reached the very top of the monolith at about 11:30AM. Yahoo! The feeling was like, I fulfilled the life’s greatest dream. Lol. Am very proud of myself that I made it. Of course, we did picture taking. (Taking selfie or group shot is something you should never miss when you are at the top of the monolith). We stayed at the top for more than an hour because we waited our other colleagues to climb up. From the top, you can see the province of Batangas and its enticing white beaches. The picturesque view of nearby mountains and beaches was dumbfounding. (Picture perfect) The heat from the sun was scorching, so if you plan to climb the monolith, you better bring jacket or scarf to protect you from the direct heat of the sun.
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Traverse is also possible for this trip, but we didn’t do that due to lack of preparation, and it was not part of the plan. Traverse is reaching the other side of the mountain. If we did, we could have reached Nasugbu Batangas and enjoyed the white sand beach. If there is a chance, I will definitely do the traverse.

The way down from the summit was harder for me because I had to crawl down in sitting position. I almost slide down to the cliff because of the loose stones. Karen who’s a second timer was guiding me where to step. When we reached the campsite, we stopped there to take our late lunch. I was very hungry that time. Too bad, lunch meal ran out. We had no other choice but to eat the barkadas all time favorite pancit canton. One pack of pancit canton cost 25.00. Not bad if you realized how hard it is to bring these merchandise up there.
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We started the trail going back at around 2:30PM. In my experience, descending was harder than ascending because I have exhausted most of my strength already. During our walk along the trail, we could see some climbers taking off their footwear, maybe because of sores and opted to finish the trail barefooted.

It was past 4PM when we finished the long trail and reached DENR. It took us at least one hour and 20 minutes to finish the trail going back. We logged out from the registration and cleaned ourselves. Taking a bath has a fee of 10.00 and 5.00 for peeing and changing clothes. It was past 5:30PM, we left DENR.
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It was an energy-draining, yet fulfilling experience. I did it, I did it! Making yourself proud is priceless. Credits to my climb buddies, you’ve been so amazing, chums. Looking forward to more mountains to surmount. Thanks God cause none of us got harmed.

BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES
● 40.00 bus fare from Farmers Cubao to Coastal Mall.
● 84.00 bus fare from Coastal Mall to Ternate Cavite
● 85.00 tricycle ride from Ternate to DENR
● 20.00 environmental fee
● Meals prices may vary from 50.00 to 100.00

It was a budget climb, though.

Thanks for taking time to read this. More blogs to post.

#TheClimb
#MtPicoDeLoro
#MyFirstIn2016
#AssaultToTheSummit
#Monolith

@jethro

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