The Noob Hiker Experience: Mt. Pico de Loro

First of all, I want to give credit to experienced mountaineers/hikers as climbing and hiking is starting to become a ‘thing’ right now. What you guys do–and the experience that comes with it is utterly amazing. And I am glad that hiking is getting more popular and that I got the chance to see and feel the experience myself. 

When I hiked to Mt. Pico de Loro (also known as Mt. Palay Palay which is located in Ternate, Cavite) last 28th February, I came there without hesitations and felt nothing but pure excitement. True enough, it felt worth it in the end. We, (my brother, father, and I,) timed ourselves from the moment we stepped in the hiking area, to the point where we arrived to the campsite/vista, which took almost two very looooong hours (7:02AM-8:45AM). Thinking it was easy at first since most mountaineers give it 3/10, we thought it’s going to be fast and ‘chill lang’ but when we reached the base camp, sweat was pouring down everywhere and I sat right away when I got to the front of the vista. Since we were tired, we took a short break by the campsite and ate lugaw with egg. An experienced hiker said I needed to eat more carbs so that I wont get tired, because I did get very exhausted that morning! After I ate, I felt very energetic as if the tiredness didn’t wash over me that morning. 🙂

After the snack, I went back by the peak and simply looked at the majestic view whilst waiting for my company to head back down. It was too beautiful, and I felt blown away.
(Me by the peak of the base camp)
 (The view of the summit by the base camp)

When going back down to the DENR station, you could either go back to the new trail (the trail where you entered), or the traverse to Nasugbu. We chose the latter. Here’s where it starts to get really tough. In order to get to the traverse route to Nasugbu, you need to pass by the summit. Which is that tall peak right there. Yet another thing I assumed that was easy to climb since the guide said it would only take 15 minutes to get to the summit. But then, it was a really a struggle. I guess I really need to stop making these assumptions! Hah! Thanks to the guide that helped us (mainly me) to go up the summit. I was pretty much crawling because I was afraid I would slip and fall, that would probably lead to numerous injuries, or maybe even death (it was THAT scary for me). Heh. It was really steep. But it was fun. Just… scary at the same time. 
Another thing I would like to say is that I strongly envy people who climb without being afraid. I have been scared of heights ever since! And climbing mountains haven’t solved it, not yet that is. I remembered shaking and kneeling when I reached the summit. I didn’t even bother to stand! Plus the wind was scary even though it wasn’t ‘that’ hard (quote unquote made by the guide. It was actually very windy!)

I wanted to hike mainly to appreciate nature, and to unwind. To forget the troubles I kept thinking of. Come to think of it, I hiked the weekend before midterms week! (I did not tell my parents that. OOPS.)

Then, we opted to climb the monolith. Which is very near the summit, and you could choose to climb it or not. Here I learned that no matter what you do, or how much you try– it is in your system to be afraid. We met another guide who apparently was afraid of the monolith, simply because he was afraid of heights. Note: He’s been a guide for a long time now, yet he still doesn’t want to get to the monolith. So that proves a point. A point that going up on mountains definitely DOES NOT solve one’s fear of heights. Maybe it will, if you do it all of the time (eh?). 
My brother was already up on the monolith, but my father didn’t bother going up anymore. By the time I was almost up on the monolith, my brother asked the people up there if they could cheer for me. And they did! I was embarrassed, but felt giddy (inside) at the same time. Here then I realized that hikers are one of the nicest people I have met! You greet each other good morning’s, hello’s, and say ingat to one another! Plus, there’s a lot of foreigners too. 🙂 Above everything else, the view was just breath taking. I think it’s the highest I have ever been.

A really memorable experience for me is when I went rappelling down the monolith, my phone fell out of my pocket! YES, rappelling down! Good thing the kuya Spiderman (aka. the guide by the climbing area) has fast reflexes and caught it! Or else “sayang yung mga selfie” said by one of the people I met up on the monolith. Just. Wow. Thanks kuya Spiderman!

Though it was all fun, I also encountered bad experiences like slipping down countless of times because I wasn’t wearing the appropriate shoes. My shoes had no proper grip! I used my running shoes (Asics GT-2000). There were also times I had the difficulty climbing because my shoes wont stay put. Another bad experience is where I stumbled (na tapilok) by the time it was almost over! Resulting to a re-injuring my ankle, and getting scratches and bruises on my legs. I may be very clumsy sometimes. Well, most of the times. I admit, I have been quite unprepared for this trip that’s why I got these bad experiences. I highly suggest that if you have plans on hiking anytime soon, DO your research! Research on how to get ready for a hike (essentials), research about the mountains you would want to climb, etc. 🙂

Anyway, that is all for now! Thank you so much for reading this post. Overall, I had a thrilling time with this experience. I’m hoping I could get on more trips like these in the future, *fingers crossed*! 🙂

P.S. – I’ll post a photodump of the experience soon!

 (By the summit, in front of the monolith)

Private car using CAVITEX, exit at Naic, Cavite (ask for Ternate at the toll if you don’t know). Go past Puerto Azul, look for the DENR station.
Fees cost: 
Registration – P25 /per person
Guide (3 persons) + monolith climb (2 persons) = P500
Trike back to DENR: PHP400

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