First hike of the year!
Becuase of the many 'ups and downs' of Mt. Batulao, the altitude gain from the jump-off point to the summit is actually less than 300 MASL.
Batulao's name is said to derive from a spectacular origin. Every yearend, the sun sets right between Batulao’s two peaks, creating an image of rocks surrounding a disc of red light. In Tagalog, this phenomenon of “Bato sa Ilao” (Illuminated Rocks) became abbreviated to “Batulao”. Although this happens only in the last week of December, Batulao’s charms throughout the year are more than enough to make it among the favored mountaineering destinations.”
Noel once again organized the hike while Phil researched about all the essentials, I did nothing but be the muse of the two.haha Noel brought a car and we all met at SM Bacoor. We had breakfast at McDonalds and drove for 2hrs to Nasugbu, Batangas.
We stopped at Evercrest Golf course to find a guide and a tricycle that would bring us to our trek’s starting point. Our guide’s name was Mac. He just woke up. He walked with us without breakfast while just wearing some home clothes and his Sandugo slippers. Humbling, hiking that mountain seemed to be just a regular chore for him.
Wow! The view of the mountain from afar was amazing. It has multiple peaks shaped like some reptile’s teeth.
We used the old trail to ascend and it started of like a walk in the park, easy trails. After almost 2hrs of hiking, we reached the more difficult part of the trek, dusty, rocky and more inclined parts (60-70 degrees). At some point we had to use a rope to ascend. The wind was blowing hard, I was scared that it could easily carry me and lead me to my death. Just last March, someone passed away climbing that mountain.
Noel, Phil and Mac patiently gave me a lot of moral and physical support. And that I appreciate. My knees were shaking badly when we reached the rope part hence; Mac came to the rescue.
Trekking along the old trail, we had to pay 20Php per person to the base camps; same goes for trekking the new trail. We had to sign in and out of the mountain. Along the way there were some stores selling drinks and fingerfood therefore you wouldn’t get hungry climbing this mountain.
Yay! We reached the summit. Views of the plains, lakes and the nearby mountains were spectacular! We had our lunch, took some photos and got ready for our descent.
It was an open hike. If ascending was already a challenge for me, descending using the new trail was worse. Heavy wind and drizzles made it less tolerable. The trails were small and both sides were steep slopes. I held onto Noels backpack while Phil held onto mine to keep me going, and for me not to get scared of being blown away by the furious wind.
We finished the whole hike in 4.45 hrs. Quite fast as compared to those sites I’ve read.
After the hike we went for our second lunch at Mushroom burger and headed for some shopping because kuya Noel’s wife asked him to buy some stuff.
We all parted at Alabang, promising each other that we’ll hike together again.
Tricycle from Evercrest entrance to the starting point of the trek – 20Php per person
Guide fee – 300Ph