One of the hottest tourist destination in Cavite/Batangas right now is Pico de Loro and its popularity is growing not only to mountaineers but to common travelers and adventure-seekers who want something a bit challenging.
Pico De Loro was first named by Spanish sea-farers which means “Parrot’s Beak” as its pointed summit resembles the shape of a parrot’s beak from afar and it is commonly used as a signal by sea-farers to turn east to get to Manila Bay
If this is your first mountain climb and you are planning to go there, here are some things to think about. First, going up there is not easy. It usually takes 3-4 hours or more to climb (ascend) and the distance from the jump off point is 2 kilometers. If you are travelling with a group, you have to wait for others before you move as guides have to keep the group intact. Also, keep in mind that you are not going to walk on pavement. The trail is forested with inclined trail dotted with rocks which gradually gets rockier. Second, as mentioned earlier, it is forested, so, cover your legs, arms, and hands to protect your body from surrounding plants that might scratch your skin or even wound during hiking. Third, wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring extra slippers. You might need to change footwear depending on the trail. You will also pass a few rivers, so prepare to get wet or muddy. Fourth, Pico de Loro is 2246 feet or 685 meters above sea level. The ascent to the summit from the campsite is difficult due to a very steep slope and slippery and it gets more and more difficult as you get closer to the top. If you have acrophobia or fear of heights and the like – prepare and condition yourself before deciding to jump on this adventure .
How to get there
We went to Coastal Mall at 4am and departed at 4:30am for Ternate, Cavite. The fare to Ternate is P65. We asked the driver to drop us at the motorcycle terminal going to the DENR office in Ternate. At 6:00am we arrived in Ternate and rode a tricycle to the DENR office. The fare is P75/head. At DENR office, we paid P25/each as registration fee. Time check, 6:30am.
Journey starts now…
Right after we bought some supplies like, boiled egg, candies, and water, we started our hike to jump-off point where one of their staffs guided us. The only instruction he gave is, “This path is new, and you won’t get lost because there is no other path to Pico de Loro. Just follow the trail.” In addition, just keep in mind that if there’s an intersection, choose the “right” path. Time check, 6:45am.
Below were the beautiful sites along the way, we were dwarfed by the towering trees.
Pico De Loro have designated resting camps. From this resting camp, you can have a nice view of the “Parrot’s Beak”, a name that really suits well to the shape of the mountain’s peak.
After 3 hours of hiking including short breaks and rest, we arrived at the campsite. There are stores here that sell all sorts of snacks, drinks, “lugaw with egg”, and “halu-halo”. This location is also an ideal place to take pictures where you can get the best view of Pico de Loro. We ate our lunch here and rested for a while for the last push to the summit. All of us don’t have any idea how difficult and how steep the slope is, so we were just all excited. At around 11am, we started our journey to the summit.
To the summit
The trail to the summit was the most challenging and very dangerous part of this hike, because of the steep slope. Here are some of the pictures I took to give my readers an idea how hard was the ascent to the peak.
The final ascent to the summit. This is a difficult trail because the only available option to hold it the grass which is at the edge of the mountain. The soil is dusty and very slippery as it exposed to the heat of the sun. Note that this area get crowded sometimes as this is the only path climbers can climbing up and going down the summit. You can always ask for assistance from the tour guides if you feel your position is compromised. Better safe than sorry.
My first summit or our first summit
The sweat, body pains, and fatigue were all worth it after we saw what we came for. 2246 feet above sea level, the view was amazing, even though our legs were still shaking.
If the summit was difficult and challenging, the monolith was easier to climb if you know how to rappel. The descent from the summit to the monolith was not difficult compared to the ascent to the summit because the path is rocky and we can have a firm grip going down.
We waited for more than an hour before we were able to get to the top because there were many people queuing to climb the monolith. It was an baffling experience to conquer one of my fears – the fear of heights. The icing on the cake was, at some point, I was alone and standing at the monolith and looking down.
The view from the monolith is stunning!
Pico de Loro to Nasugbu
Due to the difficulty of the trail back to Ternate, we decided to traverse to Nasugbu, Batangas. This will give us an easier trail plus we can explore further. Due to the difficulty of the trail we experienced, we hired a guide to help us on our descent. The fee for the guide P100 per person. The hike was a little difficult near the monolith because it was so steep. It took us two and a half hours to reach the firing range, where we ride a motorcycle to terminal to Nasugbu for P150 per person. Travel time is about an hour. From Nasugbu, we rode DLTB bus to Buendia. Fare is 160 pesos.
Below are the full details of the itinerary and budget.
|4:00am||Coastal Mall meet up|
|4:30am||Departure at Coastal Mall||₱ 60.00||Bus fare|
|6:00am||Arrival at Ternate, Cavite and ride trike to DENR office||₱ 75.00||Trike fare|
|6:30am||Registration at DENR office and last minute preparation||₱ 25.00||Registration fee|
|9:30am||Arrival at Campsite and Photo op|
|10:30am||Lunch||₱ 50.00||Food, brought from home|
|11:00am||Hike to the Summit|
|11:30am||Summit! Photo op|
|1:00pm||Monolith Photo op|
|1:30pm||Start of the Traverse to Nasugbu||₱ 100.00||Guide|
|4:00pm||Arrival at the firing range and motorcycle terminal||₱ 150.00||Trike fare|
|5:00pm||Nasugbu downtown and Dinner||₱ 100.00||Food|
|6:00pm||DLTBco Terminal to Buendia||₱ 160.00||Bus fare|
|10:00pm||Arrival at Buendia|